(WMC-TV) - As the 14-story Sears Tower in Crosstown remains a vacant giant, Memphis residents anxiously wait for a revival —especially after the Church Health Center's pledge to move into the iconic building.
The group looking to redevelop the vacant Sears Tower gained support earlier this year from the Mayor's office and Memphis Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb to help find the $15 million dollars needed to fund part of the Crosstown Development Project.
Several organizations—including the Church Health Center, ALSAC St. Jude, and Methodist hospital—committed to moving into the space and raising the capital to refurbish the building.
Of the $175 million needed for the Sears Crosstown Project, $160 million of the funds is in the bag. Lipscomb must find that $15 million in public funds to pay for necessary infrastructure improvements despite some council members say the Sears Tower project is not in the budget. The Land Use Board approved the developer's zoning request in October, according to the Memphis Flyer.
Meanwhile, a variety of businesses fill a handful of other Sears buildings across the nation.
The Sears, Roebuck & Company Retail and Catalog constructed and operated ten properties like the building in the Crosstown neighborhood around the country between 1910 and 1930, according to the Crosstown Development Project's website.
Several of these properties in Minneapolis, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, and Boston have been transformed in recent years as a result of public-private partnerships focused on retail, office, and a range of residential uses.
Many of the redeveloped buildings are recognized for their architecture nationwide such as the Minneapolis property, which is now known as The Midtown Market Exchange.
Other properties, like the Seattle location, snagged corporate interest. The former Sears, Roebuck & Company Retail and Catalog Seattle Tower now serves as the Starbucks Headquarters. See photos and more former Sears buildings in this slideshow.
Back in Memphis, the Sears Crosstown Tower was closed permanently in 1993 after ceasing operations for a decade; it has been abandoned for nearly 20 years. When redeveloped, the building would include many elements other refurbished towers possess while integrating health care, education, and arts offerings.
Developers say the 1.5 million square-foot former warehouse, distribution, and retail facility located at the intersection of North Watkins and North Parkway on the V&E Greenline has the potential to create more than 800 new jobs once the project is complete. Also, it will create 1,800 jobs during construction.
The yearly economic impact is estimated at $330 million. Developing partners want to move into the Sears Building by 2016.