Memphis City Council committee votes on incentive plan for $1.1B Pinch District development

City Council: Pinch District

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis city council members took their first vote in committee Tuesday on approving an incentive plan for the $1.1 billion mixed-use development in the Pinch District.

There’s still a long way to go on this. The first full council vote is expected in two weeks on the Pinch project.

On Tuesday, New York developer Tom Intrator appeared before the Memphis City Council for the first time just days after plans for 18 Main were announced. Downtown Memphis officials say the project will transform the Pinch District. The billion-dollar development includes apartments, office space and two hotels.

“You really have to get going in order to know that you have a project and that you can even go those next steps on getting partners on the financing side,” said Jennifer Oswalt with the Downtown Memphis Commission.

Meanwhile, plans for the Loews Convention Center Hotel are still a go with the council set to approve an incentive to allow the hotel to charge a 5-percent tax on goods and services. The funds would be used to finance construction.

The council also heard from Union Row developers with word that phase 1 of that project is doubling in size and the price tag is now up to $750 million. Demolition there is set to begin after Thanksgiving. It’s been a year since that project was announced.

“You’ve seen that really happen now with Union Row, and we are really pleased with it,” said Oswalt. "And I think all we are asking is to give this project the same opportunity to get started.

As for 18 Main in the Pinch, developers want the council to approve an incentive plan that allows them to use tax payments to pay back debt on the project. Despite voting their approval, some council members still expressed concerns.

“It’s fantastic to get it here,” said Council Member Cheyenne Johnson. “You love to see the growth. You’re excited about tourism. You’re excited about potential. But I’m trying to figure out is 30 years maybe a little too long for these projects? And it may need to be cut back.”

So what’s next for 18 Main? There will need to be a series of full city council and county commission votes.

Downtown officials also say they must meet with the state of Tennessee in December.

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