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bluff2085

Downtown Memphis

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It seems to me that compared to other cities of its size (Nashville, Birmingham, Louisville, etc), Memphis does not have much concern for boosting its skyline. On the other hand, Memphis competes quite well with cities of comparable size when it comes to creating downtown foot traffic. Still, Memphis' lagging skyline seems to overshadow the accomplishments this city has made in creating a livable, urban environment within its downtown area. Considering this, I was just wondering...How long before downtown Memphis gets a 500 footer, or even just another 350-400 footer?

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It seems to me that compared to other cities of its size (Nashville, Birmingham, Louisville, etc), Memphis does not have much concern for boosting its skyline. On the other hand, Memphis competes quite well with cities of comparable size when it comes to creating downtown foot traffic. Still, Memphis' lagging skyline seems to overshadow the accomplishments this city has made in creating a livable, urban environment within its downtown area. Considering this, I was just wondering...How long before downtown Memphis gets a 500 footer, or even just another 350-400 footer?

Do you live in downtown Memphis? Lack of a glass skyscraper doesn't bother anyone I know that lives down there! My guess on the lack of tall glass is that Memphis developers have had in the last 10 years so many older, shorter buildings to renovate. It is, in fact, those older, portly buildings that have made downtown so livable. By the time developers have run out of old buildings, and converted nearly all to residence, Memphis will eventually get its glass. Besides, what's in a skyline, a feeling?

To really understand the lack of glass and the availability of shorter, older buildings, you must understand the dichotomy between between east memphis and downtown memphis. That, in turn, takes you back to the Sanitation strike of 1968, afterwhich, and until the 1980s, Memphis's downtown was effectively deserted.

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I actually prefer if they built older looking skyscrapers. I think those are more pleasing than a super shiny glass building. I think the older look fits in better with memphis.

memphis im hoping will get a new tallest proposed in the next 2-3 years

Vun on main is 290 ft. thats the tallest right now that theyre working on(have they started construction?)

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It seems to me that compared to other cities of its size (Nashville, Birmingham, Louisville, etc), Memphis does not have much concern for boosting its skyline. On the other hand, Memphis competes quite well with cities of comparable size when it comes to creating downtown foot traffic. Still, Memphis' lagging skyline seems to overshadow the accomplishments this city has made in creating a livable, urban environment within its downtown area. Considering this, I was just wondering...How long before downtown Memphis gets a 500 footer, or even just another 350-400 footer?

Memphis is pretty well-known and praised for its downtown as a liveable urban environment, so I don't think the lack of new office skyscrapers downtown means much to most people, and doesn't overshadow things at all.

I like Memphis's antique looking skyline and would actually prefer that they demolish the old UP bank building. I'd actually like any shiney, new stuff be kept low-mid rise like AutoZone's building or Peabody Place Tower.

I actually prefer if they built older looking skyscrapers. I think those are more pleasing than a super shiny glass building. I think the older look fits in better with memphis.

memphis im hoping will get a new tallest proposed in the next 2-3 years

Vun on main is 290 ft. thats the tallest right now that theyre working on(have they started construction?)

Downtown Memphis seems to get a new office building every ten years, so I guess in a couple years might be right, though I don't think it will be a tall one. I actually think the next tall office building might be around the old Medical Center if the biotech research center takes off, and that's 5-10 yr. down the road.

Edit: I think the One Beale development is probably waiting to see how the Horizon Towers sell. Horizon just opened its sales office the first week of October. If they go quickly--and I have no idea what "quickly" means in developer "time"--I suspect shortly thereafter One Beale will go ahead.

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I think you'll see Memphis's skyline take off in either or both of these areas: medical district or/and the area around the Convention Center. As far as office towers, I'd say the next high rise will be in the medical district as some of you have stated. I could imagine a biotech research facility or some medical company(-ies) coming in and all occupying maybe a 500-600 foot tower on Union. I think the next explosion in Memphis development will be in the Medical District. It's going to be exciting! As far as residential buildings, I'm seeing a Sig Tower-esque design going somewhere around the Convention Center/Auto Zone Park/river front. I'd see it happening more around the Convention Center or Autozone Park before I'd say the river. Height ordinances are a bit more lax around the first two areas. IMO, Memphis will have a New Orleans skyline. The older parts of the city still remain and are used, but there is definitely an urban feel. I can imagine that's how downtown will expand. "Old downtown" will be the Peabody, Beale, South Main, South End, etc. while "New downtown" focuses on the medical buildings in the medical district and residential areas to the north. And I now think this reply would be better in the coffee shop or whatever that subforum of ours is.

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^Its urban discussion, but your right it could go either place. If bluff wants it moved I'll move it.

I think Memphis's lack of towers has been in many ways a good thing. Would we prefer the city to have some new shiney glass towers surrounded by empty store fronts and abandoned high-rises? I think the lack of new construction has allowed buildings to be rehabbed across the CBD at a much faster rate than otherwise would have been the case. At the moment all but the big buidlings but Sterick, and maybe to some extent 100 North Main, are in progress to finding a new use. I think once the city has all the old towers and low rises rehabbed and in good use, we can fret over the lack of new towers, but even then, so what...if downtown is booming and doing well thats what matters. It definately will be nice, and it should be expected and sought out, that new infill and office towers should be built, but IMO it has been better to use and save what the city has then to build new at the cost of all the great progress that Memphis has seen with revitalizing its core with its existing base of structures, which makes it a unique city compared to most others.

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Regarding Memphis' skyline...personally, I love it. It's unique. It's historic. Who needs tall shiny glass when you have majestic historic grace? Why so many people feel the need to be so conformist is beyond me. Besides...a skyline means crap. Most of the world's best cities have very little to offer in terms of a picturesque skyline.

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Regarding Memphis' skyline...personally, I love it. It's unique. It's historic. Who needs tall shiny glass when you have majestic historic grace? Why so many people feel the need to be so conformist is beyond me. Besides...a skyline means crap. Most of the world's best cities have very little to offer in terms of a picturesque skyline.

I completely agree...look at paris. it hardly has any towers or high rises, yet it happens to be one of the most urban cities in the world. Personally, I would give up any of nashville's skyscrapers for the downtown feel and look of memphisl. i think your city is great and really want to visit soon!

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I completely agree...look at paris. it hardly has any towers or high rises, yet it happens to be one of the most urban cities in the world. Personally, I would give up any of nashville's skyscrapers for the downtown feel and look of memphisl. i think your city is great and really want to visit soon!

wellllllll, i'd have a hard time parting with the towers, but how about combining the two cities. Now that would be AWESOME!!! LOL!!!!

Memphis is great with what it has. The development will happen in due time. But the city does a good job of embracing what it has, which is a whole lot! The old buildings and the urban flavor is uniue to the city. Something Nashville lacks in areas.

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wellllllll, i'd have a hard time parting with the towers, but how about combining the two cities. Now that would be AWESOME!!! LOL!!!!

Well, I guess then Tennessee would have its very own . . . . . . Kansas City?? lol

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Glass was part of the post modern fad of the 80's. Most likely, all glass is a thing of the past. A lot of new towers combine classical, modern, and post modern. Glass is now very expensive, and combining glass with steel, concrete or marble seems to be more cost effective. Personally, I would love to have a Sterick Building in Nashville. I love 20's and 30's art deco. I wish however, that Clark Tower had been built downtown rather than out on Poplar Avenue. Maybe they can move it downtown? ;)

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Glass was part of the post modern fad of the 80's. Most likely, all glass is a thing of the past. A lot of new towers combine classical, modern, and post modern. Glass is now very expensive, and combining glass with steel, concrete or marble seems to be more cost effective. Personally, I would love to have a Sterick Building in Nashville. I love 20's and 30's art deco. I wish however, that Clark Tower had been built downtown rather than out on Poplar Avenue. Maybe they can move it downtown? ;)

I wish the they re-use sterrick and i really wish they paint it back to its original colours. its so much more classy with its old colours.

As for Clark tower.. personally i hate that building. i dont know... to me its rather unnatractive.

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I wish the they re-use sterrick and i really wish they paint it back to its original colours. its so much more classy with its old colours.

As for Clark tower.. personally i hate that building. i dont know... to me its rather unnatractive.

I think that everyone likes the Sterick Building and much prefers it prior to being painted yellow and brown. But everything that I have read says that it could be a long time before someone thinks that it would be ecconomically feasible to reuse the Sterick Building.

I'm not crazy about the Clark Tower either, but compared to White Station Tower it is a gem. Clark Tower looks very 70's. Who knows there may be a 70's architecture revival.

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Has anyone heard anything more about a department store taking up the bottom floors of the Sterick and then condos/hotel taking up the rest of the building? I know Memphismike said something about it and then I remember reading an article about it a few months ago. I still think it would be amazing to have a Saks, Parisian, or something in it with either condos or a Hilton, Sheraton, or something take up the rest of the building. There was an article in the CA about how Hilton wanted to saturate the downtown market...here's their chance!

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Has anyone heard anything more about a department store taking up the bottom floors of the Sterick and then condos/hotel taking up the rest of the building? I know Memphismike said something about it and then I remember reading an article about it a few months ago. I still think it would be amazing to have a Saks, Parisian, or something in it with either condos or a Hilton, Sheraton, or something take up the rest of the building. There was an article in the CA about how Hilton wanted to saturate the downtown market...here's their chance!

I read an article somewhere that talked about the costs of renovating older buildings that had fire escapes and the Sterick building was mentioned. It would cost a LOT of money to add an enclosed stairwell to the building. I don't know why the fire escapes can't be used, but it does seem like it would take a lot to do something like that. The Peabody still has them, so I assume that they aren't going against modern building codes.

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^Its urban discussion, but your right it could go either place. If bluff wants it moved I'll move it.

I think Memphis's lack of towers has been in many ways a good thing. Would we prefer the city to have some new shiney glass towers surrounded by empty store fronts and abandoned high-rises? I think the lack of new construction has allowed buildings to be rehabbed across the CBD at a much faster rate than otherwise would have been the case. At the moment all but the big buidlings but Sterick, and maybe to some extent 100 North Main, are in progress to finding a new use. I think once the city has all the old towers and low rises rehabbed and in good use, we can fret over the lack of new towers, but even then, so what...if downtown is booming and doing well thats what matters. It definately will be nice, and it should be expected and sought out, that new infill and office towers should be built, but IMO it has been better to use and save what the city has then to build new at the cost of all the great progress that Memphis has seen with revitalizing its core with its existing base of structures, which makes it a unique city compared to most others.

I agree with you completely RK...new shiny glass towers would be out of place in Memphis. New towers should take historical cues from the older buildings that are all over downtown--buildings that really add to the already well-established "feel" of downtown Memphis. The exchange building, madison hotel, shrine building, 10 main, etc...these are all buildings that contribute to the unique appeal of our city-- not the clark tower or First Tennessee buildings that you can find in any American city. And don't get me wrong, Memphis will always be my favorite city and if a 500 footer isn't built until next century I won't really care. All I really care about is the continuation of the progress Memphis has really shown in making the inner city, esp. downtown, a more welcoming and livable urban community.

I said in the original post that our sub-par skyline overshadowed the accomplishments we have made in recent years. I meant this only in terms of the urban planet forum. I was curious as to when Memphis might get a new tower only because news like that is often the noisemaker on THIS forum. For the other 99.9% of America that is not as concerned with a city's highest occupied floor, Memphis' skyline is a non-issue. Every city represented in the southern forum has a lot to offer, but while many cities seem to be vying for the ATL, Jr. title, Memphis has taken a slightly different direction and I think there will be many dividends as a result. Memphis' compelling history and prime location on the Mississippi River make it such an intriguing place to be, and because Memphis has only recently begun to take advantage of this, I think the future holds GREAT things for the city, whether or not a new "shiny glass tower" is built.

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^ When talking aobut the ATL Jr. profile. I think that the growth in Atlanta is outstanding and any city should strive for it. BUT. I think it should be more urban in its growth styles. Its then that you will see that type of growth transmit into a benefit for the public and those that invest in it. The problem with what is going on in ATL is not the growth, but the type of growth patterns that are developing around it. Call it the "Cool Springs" effect. Every major city is suffereing to some degree from this right now.

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^ When talking aobut the ATL Jr. profile. I think that the growth in Atlanta is outstanding and any city should strive for it. BUT. I think it should be more urban in its growth styles. Its then that you will see that type of growth transmit into a benefit for the public and those that invest in it. The problem with what is going on in ATL is not the growth, but the type of growth patterns that are developing around it. Call it the "Cool Springs" effect. Every major city is suffereing to some degree from this right now.

I'm not really sure that growth itself means much at all. I think a city can have a healthy economy, yet grow very little.

I do agree with you though that Atlanta's growth ought to be "smarter".

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I agree with you completely RK...new shiny glass towers would be out of place in Memphis. New towers should take historical cues from the older buildings that are all over downtown--buildings that really add to the already well-established "feel" of downtown Memphis. The exchange building, madison hotel, shrine building, 10 main, etc...these are all buildings that contribute to the unique appeal of our city-- not the clark tower or First Tennessee buildings that you can find in any American city. And don't get me wrong, Memphis will always be my favorite city and if a 500 footer isn't built until next century I won't really care. All I really care about is the continuation of the progress Memphis has really shown in making the inner city, esp. downtown, a more welcoming and livable urban community.

I said in the original post that our sub-par skyline overshadowed the accomplishments we have made in recent years. I meant this only in terms of the urban planet forum. I was curious as to when Memphis might get a new tower only because news like that is often the noisemaker on THIS forum. For the other 99.9% of America that is not as concerned with a city's highest occupied floor, Memphis' skyline is a non-issue. Every city represented in the southern forum has a lot to offer, but while many cities seem to be vying for the ATL, Jr. title, Memphis has taken a slightly different direction and I think there will be many dividends as a result. Memphis' compelling history and prime location on the Mississippi River make it such an intriguing place to be, and because Memphis has only recently begun to take advantage of this, I think the future holds GREAT things for the city, whether or not a new "shiny glass tower" is built.

I think that Memphians are unique. If a skyline made a city great, Memphis could easily throw a few up. The glass buildings should stay in east Memphis where they are and keep downtown just the way it is, rich in architecture and history. My uncle from Houston recently visited the Clinton Museum in Little Rock, so he made a stop in town. He said that Little Rock has some nice towers with nothing in between but asphault. While here, he said that Memphis feels like a city is supposed to feel. He couldn't elaborate, but I know exactly what he was trying to say. Thats how most visitors feel. So I think we need to stick with our gameplan and continue to be a leader in the many aspects of city living! City life is real here, not created. I love Nashville, Charlotte, Atlanta, etc. but I wouldn't give up the urban and cultural feel of Memphis for a few towers.

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I wouldn't give up the urban and cultural feel of Memphis for a few towers.

My feelings exactly. I'm also very glad that the towers that are being built in Memphis are not "new tallests"--instead, they are filling in discrepancies in the skyline between the tall towers and the midrises. The result, in my opinion, is a better and fuller skyline than a skyline with 2 or 3 towers hundreds of feet above the next tallest buildings. It flows much more naturally with its surroundings yet has more of an urban feel to it. Skylines get a lot of emphasis on Urban Planet, but give me street-level design and activity over awkwardly tall buildings anyday.

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My feelings exactly. I'm also very glad that the towers that are being built in Memphis are not "new tallests"--instead, they are filling in discrepancies in the skyline between the tall towers and the midrises. The result, in my opinion, is a better and fuller skyline than a skyline with 2 or 3 towers hundreds of feet above the next tallest buildings. It flows much more naturally with its surroundings yet has more of an urban feel to it. Skylines get a lot of emphasis on Urban Planet, but give me street-level design and activity over awkwardly tall buildings anyday.

Speaking of mid-rise towers blending right in, I think the new Westin across from FedEx Forum is going to be a perfect fit. It looks like it might be covered in a modern material that resembles brick, just like the Forum. I would have preferred less glass, but I think the designers did a marvelous job integrating the building in with its surroundings. It looks to be around 11 or 12 floors tall with a 7 or 8 floor garage. They could have put it on top of the garage to make about a 19 story tower, but I think a shorter structure will fit better given the area that its in.

http://www.downtownmemphis.com/domain/deve...arprojectid=235

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My feelings exactly. I'm also very glad that the towers that are being built in Memphis are not "new tallests"--instead, they are filling in discrepancies in the skyline between the tall towers and the midrises. The result, in my opinion, is a better and fuller skyline than a skyline with 2 or 3 towers hundreds of feet above the next tallest buildings. It flows much more naturally with its surroundings yet has more of an urban feel to it. Skylines get a lot of emphasis on Urban Planet, but give me street-level design and activity over awkwardly tall buildings anyday.

If you look at the pictures of downtown Memphis from the 30's - 50's (before the Urban Renewal bulldozers moved in), you will see exactly what you're talking about. From Poplar all the way down to Beale or Vance, and back to 4th Street, was a mass of mid-rise buildings. It formed almost a symmetrical skyline that crested with the Sterick Building. That symmetry wasn't really broken until 1965 when 100 North Main went up, and frankly I think it's the only thing in the Memphis skyline that just doesn't work.

Fortunately, Urban Renewal didn't take away any of the old highrises in the CBD core. They only demolition was the King Cotton Hotel, but at least it was replaced by Morgan Keegan which I think fits in nicely. In fact, Memphis probably has the best collection of early 20th century highrises of any mid-sized city. I was just in downtown Chicago this weekend, and in many ways downtown Memphis has the feel of a scaled-down Chicago.

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Do you have any pictures of the King Cotton hotel? I can't find any on the net. What about the Falls building thats adjacent to Morgan Keegan? It looks old from afar, but looks rather new upclose and on the inside. Anyone know around when the building was constructed?

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Has anyone heard anything more about a department store taking up the bottom floors of the Sterick and then condos/hotel taking up the rest of the building? I know Memphismike said something about it and then I remember reading an article about it a few months ago. I still think it would be amazing to have a Saks, Parisian, or something in it with either condos or a Hilton, Sheraton, or something take up the rest of the building. There was an article in the CA about how Hilton wanted to saturate the downtown market...here's their chance!

I would love to read those articles if you could find them!

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