MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A New York-based development group has got a billion-dollar plan for the Pinch District.
The Pinch district is home to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, but not much else.
City leaders have been promising to turn this community around for years, but now they say they have found someone that can fulfill the city’s vision.
Westy’s owner Jake Schorr has called the Pinch home since 1983.
Schorr says this neighborhood has seen better days with plenty empty lots and crumbling buildings.
“Comeback Coffee," a new coffee shop next door brought a rare new neighbor to the neighborhood, but he may get a lot more.
The real estate investment group, 18 Main LLC, has purchased about $14 million in Pinch Properties.
“It’s going to be a great, big development,” said Schorr. “Think about what this is for the Pinch. Think what it is for the city most of this land is open and unused.”
Wednesday, the investment group gave Shelby County commissioners their first look at a more than $1.1 billion mixed-use development plan with greenspace, apartments, two hotels, and office space.
“And then a lot of commercial space to really bring amenities to the people that live in Harbor Town and people visiting the convention center,” said Jennifer Oswalt, Downtown Memphis Commission CEO and President.
Oswalt says the newly released plan fulfills efforts to make the Pinch district a walkable neighborhood for future residents.
However with more than 900 planned rental units in the Pinch development and over 1,000 apartments in the Union Row project just a short distance away, some wonder if the city can fill this influx of high-end apartments.
“Well, it's a mixture in downtown. We're really blessed that we have a range of affordable apartments,” said Oswalt.
Oswalt says a master study showed downtown can handle about 10,000 new rental units over the next 10 years.
Schorr's one concern about this project is parking. He says the Pinch District is pretty small and will need parking garages.
Schorr says he hasn’t seen a plan, but is confident that the developer can work something out.
This investment group will be asking for a tax break, a 30-year PILOT or a payment in lieu of taxes.
If all goes as planned, Oswalt says they could begin construction in the Pinch district in about 18 months.