MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Union Row is slated to be the largest redevelopment project in Memphis history. Ahead of the groundbreaking for the $950 million project, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, toured the site Friday morning.
Phase one of the Union Row project will start the transform of an area of mostly blighted properties into a vibrant area that will continue to invest in downtown and the city.
Currently it’s the site of a low-dollar hotel and abandoned auto dealers, but soon this 11 acres will transform into a mixed-use space filled with apartments, a hotel, retail, and office space. Union Row will focus on the area between Union Avenue, Gayoso Avenue and Fourth Street.
“It thrills my heart when I see things like this. I know this is going to be highly successful . And what this will do is stimulate more activity elsewhere," said Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Ben Carson.
Carson, along with Tennessee lawmakers, toured the future home of Union Row Friday morning.
All praised the Opportunity Zone program as it showcases the development’s potential.
“I have seen these redevelopments all over the country now. These are things that we are completely capable of doing through public, private partnerships. And that’s what this whole opportunity zone thing is about,” said Carson.
The program was created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Zones are designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities.
The federal Opportunity Zone program will help fund Union Row’s $512 million, 11-acre first phase.
“This is such a exciting project. You think about the people it’s going to lead who want to live in downtown Memphis and who want to live in this area,” said Congressman David Kustoff, (R)-TN 8th District.
The project will create a new welcome mat to Downtown Memphis, changing the way people work, live and invest in the Bluff City.
“Many times people of think Memphis as blues and Elvis and now we know that through projects revitalization such as this they are going to think about it an innovation hub,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn, (R)- TN 7th District.
Demolition is expected to start by the end of the year. Construction should get underway by late spring or early summer of next year.