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sleepy

Memphis' Dowtown Ballpark Neighborhood

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I've previously posted these pics on other forums.

This is a downtown Memphis residential area that's more or less centered around AutoZone Park, mainly the 3 square block Echelon at the Ballpark apts and the YMCA--half condos and half downtown YMCA.

The neighborhood doesn't make sense without the ballpark:

44495294.jpg

Which is home to the-----

44495076.jpg

Past the outfield is the Y and the Echelon:

44495017.jpg

The residents get views like this:

44497284.jpg

And this:

44495099.jpg

Echelon:

44495777.jpg

Echelon:

44495399.jpg

The downtown elementary school in the background:

44495252.jpg

Echelon:

44495181.jpg

YMCA around the corner:

44495259.jpg

Moving into the Y:

44495285.jpg

Top of the Y:

original.jpg

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AutoZone Park and its surrounding area is a real gem for downtown Memphis, and IMO has probably done the most to rehab the image of downtown for alot of folks in the city. It gave people a real reason to come downtown on a regular basis and cleaned up and revitalized what had been a rather less than stellar area.

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Great Pictures.

Do you know the development costs for the ballpark and surrounding area? How much was public? Private?

Was it redeveloped as one project or did the ballpark start it all?

Thanks

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AutoZone Park and its surrounding area is a real gem for downtown Memphis, and IMO has probably done the most to rehab the image of downtown for alot of folks in the city. It gave people a real reason to come downtown on a regular basis and cleaned up and revitalized what had been a rather less than stellar area.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Many people date the beginning of the rebirth of downtown Memphis to 1983 when the Peabody Hotel was restored and the 10 story Wagner Place condos opened. In the 80's you also had Harbortown on Mud Island and the conversions of the Exchange Building and the Shrine Building to apartments, as well as Beale Street taking off. And, bit by bit, in the 90's more and more people started living down there with South Main started taking off with all the loft renovations and so on.

The rest is history, as they say. :)

BUT--you are absolutely correct that the opening of AutoZone Park in 2000 brought the suburbanites downtown who saw what was going on, and started hanging out at restaurants, bringing their kids, going to movies, etc. Before then, downtown was viewed as a place that was "interesting", but mostly filled with "weird urbanites".

As a result, downtown Memphis is one of the most desired residential areas in the city. The downtown residential growth is 10% annually since 2000, while the rest of the metro grows at 1.1% annually. It's no longer viewed as the province of those "weird urbanites." For example, today a project was announced in the South Main area for a gated, 17 single family development. I hate that kind of development--gated-- but it's on a brownfield and goes to show you that even suburbanites with their suburban houses want to live downtown.

Great Pictures.

Do you know the development costs for the ballpark and surrounding area? How much was public? Private?

Was it redeveloped as one project or did the ballpark start it all?

Thanks

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

AutoZone Park is owned by the Redbirds. The Redbirds are a non-profit organization which was able to sell tax-exempt bonds to finance the construction of the stadium which cost $46 million. The Redbirds are the only professional sports tax exempt organization. They get their status from donating any profit to the development of innercity baseball.

The public money used in the deal was the city's re-routing of 2 blocks of Monroe Avenue, and I would guess rerouting of sewer and water lines, etc. But not for construction.

The Echelon apartments were privately developed. But they also received the TIF breaks I'm sure (everything down there does).

It wasn't "one project". Both have different financing and are owned by different entities. But both were planned simultaneously, with Echelon opening a year later. AutoZone would've been built regardless of Echelon. Echelon sorta tagged along.

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Nice pics and a nice project. It's great to hear something like this making such a great difference. I see TIFs are at work elsewhere. There was a big arguement about them a while back ago here in Arkansas. I was also curious is Autozone a local company or were they simply a willing sponsor? As far as gated communities are concerned, after some were build in my metro they are no longer allowed to be built.

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I remember these pics. Great stuff. I was in Memphis not long ago and the impact of the park is so evident. I hope if we get ours in Nashville, the impact will be similar. Thanks sleepy.

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Nice pics and a nice project.  It's great to hear something like this making such a great difference.  I see TIFs are at work elsewhere.  There was a big arguement about them a while back ago here in Arkansas.  I was also curious is Autozone a local company or were they simply a willing sponsor?  As far as gated communities are concerned, after some were build in my metro they are no longer allowed to be built.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Second reply to you today. Your question about Autozone. Yes, Autozone is a local company. It started as a division of a grocery wholesale company that had been based in Memphis for years. The company sold the wholesale bussiness to a wholesale grocery company out of Oklahoma City and spun off Autozone as a stand alone company and grew it into the largest do it yourself oriented auto parts company. It's headquarters are downtown in the Peabody Place Center.

Memphis just anounced another gated comunity downtown. It is being done by Tigret. The son of the man that created the folding paly pen and the head dunking bird. The son was one of the founders of the Hard Rock Cafe.

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Thanks for the information...

I hope Nashville finds a way to get our Ballpark and associated development approved. It seems that with Rolling Mill and the new Sysmphony Hall moving forward there would be a large 'no man's land' with out the ballpark.

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Another note about Autozone: Look at the Memphis Twins pictures. The second picture show the Peabody Place in the front and the 11 story building behind is the Autozone Headquarters.

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Another note about Autozone: Look at the Memphis Twins pictures. The second picture show the Peabody Place in the front and the 11 story building behind is the Autozone Headquarters.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's a shot of Peabody Place Tower between Main and Second, not Autozone headquarters.

Autozone is located on Front and Gayoso, between Front and Wagner. Here's a pic of Autozone's building:

original.jpg

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That's a shot of Peabody Place Tower between Main and Second, not Autozone headquarters.

Autozone is located on Front and Gayoso, between Front and Wagner.  Here's a pic of Autozone's building:

original.jpg

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sleepy,

Thanks. Like I have said, I live in the DC area and only make it to Memphis every so often. I really did think that Autozone was in the Peabody Place Tower. I have to say that the building that they are in is much nicer looking. I don't even remember it from the last time that I made it into town.

Thanks again. Mith here's a good answer for you.

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That is a great looking building. Good tto see them invest in their hometown...if only I could say that same for HCA and others here in nahville.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Frankly, I think most Tennessee modern architecture really stinks. I look at the AutoZone building, and it looks like something nice from 1972. The Peabody Place tower is even worse. And I'm no fan of the Batman building.

I spent 3 days a week in Houston for 2 years in the 80's, and saw buildings being built there then, or even stuff there built in the 60's, that puts recent Tennessee architecture to shame.

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I am a purist at heart; give me a design by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius or Eames any day over an ostentatious Frank Gehry design any day.

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I am a purist at heart; give me a design by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius or Eames any day over an ostentatious Frank Gehry design any day.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My favorite building in Houston isn't something like Transco Tower (old name) or the BOA Tower (the dutch guildhall building), it's the old Tenneco Building from 1963, which is a real classic of modernist architecture, well-done, and will withstand the test of time. Also, the Pennzoil Building from 1974, is my 2nd favorite--a really intriguing looking building that changes shape depending on where you view it from. I'm still not sure what it really looks like--it's like it's 5th dimensional.

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My taste in buildings is strange I guess, I like the Autozone Bldg., but then again I like 100 North Main (the old UP Bank -Memphis), the old NBC Tower (now Suntrust -Memphis) , and the Snodgrass (Tennessee Tower- Nashville). LOL

But I'm really old school too, my favorite is the Porter Building in downtown Memphis.

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My taste in buildings is strange I guess, I like the Autozone Bldg., but then again I like 100 North Main (the old UP Bank -Memphis), the old NBC Tower (now Suntrust -Memphis) , and the Snodgrass (Tennessee Tower- Nashville). LOL

But I'm really old school too, my favorite is the Porter Building in downtown Memphis.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm with you on the 100 North Main building. It just looks so cool! I can't even imagine how futuristic it looked in the 60's when it was built, with the circular glass top and the big bright UP Bank sign.

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I remember growing up my brother and I would always call it the up building not like U.P. but like the word up. and we always thought it was stupid how theyd name a skyscraper the up bank. we later found out it stood for something else haha and we fealt stupid

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I remember growing up my brother and I would always call it the up building not like U.P. but like the word up. and we always thought it was stupid how theyd name a skyscraper the up bank. we later found out it stood for something else haha and we fealt    stupid

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Funny thing, I still call it the up bank when giving people directions. :D

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Second reply to you today. Your question about Autozone. Yes, Autozone is a local company. It started as a division of a grocery wholesale company that had been based in Memphis for years. The company sold the wholesale bussiness to a wholesale grocery company out of Oklahoma City and spun off Autozone as a stand alone company and grew it into the largest do it yourself oriented auto parts company. It's headquarters are downtown in the Peabody Place Center.

Memphis just anounced another gated comunity downtown. It is being done by Tigret. The son of the man that created the folding paly pen and the head dunking bird. The son was one of the founders of the Hard Rock Cafe.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I had never thought about it, but I had noticed their name pop up a lot around that area. Thanks for the info.

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Funny the things that we all remember. I remember the days that you used to get dressed up to go downtown to go shopping. Going to Gerber's, Lowenstein's, and Goldsmith's, as well as whatever small stores that you went into between them. Having lunch in the Tea Room in the Antebellum portion of Gerber's that faced Front St. I used to love Christmeas when Goldsmith's had their Santa Land leading to where Santa was with all the elves and so on. I'm sure that it was far less impressive then it seemed at the time, but that is what childhood is about. I remember Julius-Lewis in Midtown and when Woolfe Brothers moved into the Exchange Building. I'm with Sleepy, I have always liked the Exchange Building. I didn't like the D. T. Porter Building as a child, but grew to like as I got older. I remeber the 50's facade that was added to the Cositt Library. I remember how much I liked it as a child and grew to hate it. Even more so when I learned what was lost to create it for modernization. Overall, I consider most 50's-60's architechture to be ugly. Too much bad reworking of Mies Van Der Rohe designs. I was impressed by the First National Bank Building when it was built. It marked the first new building downtown since when. The other two big banks followed suit. Reminds me of the battle in Charlotte on a larger scale between their big two. I liked the 100 North Main at the time, but quickly grew to think it a poor design. Always liked and still do, Commerce Square. Didn't like the White Station Tower when it was built and that hasn't changed. Thought that Clark Tower looked OK, still do. I just never liked having highrises growing that far from downtown. Downtown by then was dead. That was where the business area had moved to, so it made sense from the developer's point-of-view. Even though I have not lived in Memphis since 1972, I am happy to see the downtown come back. I'll quit rambling. See Ya.

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Many people date the beginning of the rebirth of downtown Memphis to 1983 when the Peabody Hotel was restored and the 10 story Wagner Place condos opened.  In the 80's you also had Harbortown on Mud Island and the conversions of the Exchange Building and the Shrine Building to apartments, as well as Beale Street taking off.  And, bit by bit, in the 90's more and more people started living down there with South Main started taking off with all the loft renovations and so on.

The rest is history, as they say.  :)

BUT--you are absolutely correct that the opening of AutoZone Park in 2000 brought the suburbanites downtown who saw what was going on, and started hanging out at restaurants, bringing their kids, going to movies, etc.  Before then, downtown was viewed as a place that was "interesting", but mostly filled with "weird urbanites".

As a result, downtown Memphis is one of the most desired residential areas in the city.  The downtown residential growth is 10% annually since 2000, while the rest of the metro grows at 1.1% annually.  It's no longer viewed as the province of those "weird urbanites."  For example, today a project was announced in the South Main area for a gated, 17 single family development.  I hate that kind of development--gated-- but it's on a brownfield and goes to show you that even suburbanites with their suburban houses want to live downtown.

AutoZone Park is owned by the Redbirds.  The Redbirds are a non-profit organization which was able to sell tax-exempt bonds to finance the construction of the stadium which cost $46 million.  The Redbirds are the only professional sports tax exempt organization.  They get their status from donating any profit to the development of innercity baseball.

The public money used in the deal was the city's re-routing of 2 blocks of Monroe Avenue, and I would guess rerouting of sewer and water lines, etc.  But not for construction.

The Echelon apartments were privately developed.  But they also received the TIF breaks I'm sure (everything down there does).

It wasn't "one project".  Both have different financing and are owned by different entities.  But both were planned simultaneously, with Echelon opening a year later.  AutoZone would've been built regardless of Echelon.  Echelon sorta tagged along.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think this area of downtown Memphis is going to become even more vibrant if/when the National Pastime Museum opens. The rendering shows the exterior facade of the building on the Madison Avenue side and it looks just like the Sterick Building to me. Does anyone have any information on this?

http://www.memphisredbirds.com/Ballpark/museum.asp

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I think this area of downtown Memphis is going to become even more vibrant if/when the National Pastime Museum opens.  The rendering shows the exterior facade of the building on the Madison Avenue side and it looks just like the Sterick Building to me.  Does anyone have any information on this? 

http://www.memphisredbirds.com/Ballpark/museum.asp

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Mandrws, I don't know anything about the museum but the building shown in the drawing is the Toof Building. It is located at 195 Madison.

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