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Memphis 2020


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The 15-year build-outs for the big Tunica projects got me thinking about Memphis' future in the next decade and a half. Skyscrapers aside, what improvements would you like to see in Memphis (and/or the metro area) by the year 2020? A similar but more realistic question would be what do you expect? 2020 is not too far off (I'll be 35!). I understand that the real arguments concern how the city can meet the expectations that most of us at UP can agree on...just wanted to get a thread going dedicated to those expectations.

Here are some of my general expectations in order of importance:

1) Keep crime down! By 2020, annual homicides in the triple digits should be a thing of the past. Memphis gets such a bad rap for crime, and sensational headlines in the CA like "Number 88 slain last night" do not help. Operation Safe Community...good start. Their first summit will be in November.

2) New Urbanism! This has also been addressed in other threads. Nice to have big names in city design like Hnedak Bobo and LRK promoting this concept. In a nutshell: density, walkability, fewer parking lots, more mixed-use...sustainability. We are already ahead of the game when it comes to comparably-sized Southern metros.

3) Light Rail! Rail transit servicing DT, Midtown, Airport, East Memphis/Germantown, Tunica/Desoto Co.'s. Very much related to #2. Is MATA up to the challenge?

4) Sterick! 'nuff said.

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I am just going to go of the top of my head. Constructive criticism is welcomed but just keep in mind, I haven't done any research on the following mentioned:

1) Graceland is hot and Memphis should keep building around this. I would like to see investors create a major theme park (Elvis' Backyard, Presley Park, The King Lives, etc). This would be a major boost for the city and will most definitely make Memphis the hottest spot in Tennessee. This would compliment the Memphis Zoo, Pink Palace, Botanic Gardens, Civil Rights Museum, etc the list goes on.

2) I still would have hoped to see the Pyramid transformed into an aquarium. I may be mistakened, but I don't remember hearing anything about a major aquarium in West Tennessee. Another compliment to the Elvis Themepark.

3) This should be either no. 1 or 2 due to the fact that Memphis INternational is one of Memphis' top money-makers. In regards to the light rail transit mentioned previously, I think this would be perfect for MEM. (I don't know much about how the proposed transit plans are)I think the service should connect to the terminal for departing passengers and for the arriving passengers it should connect to a tunnel out of the baggage claim area. The tunnel will be state-of-the-art with tons of Memphis memorabilia decorating the tunnel with blues (mainly hits that were created in Memphis, Sun Studio etc) playing over the speakers. One song that jumps into mind is the "Thrill is Gone by B.B. King, etc.

4) I would love to see NWA still in Memphis but with more transcontinental flights to Europe and Asia. Around this time, Memphis will be rank no.2 in Carribbean flights; no.1 will be of course Miami. This brings me back to the transit at MEM. Arriving passengers will enter the tunnel and be "wowed" by the vibe of Memphis.

5) Crime must decrease. Although crime is inevitable, it is essential for the city to crack down on this. This is causing some retail businesses to move.

6) Infill development. IMO, density speaks more than height. I wouldn't mind seeing more towers in East Memphis around Clark Tower, Hilton, etc.. That area has a downtown vibe to it..

Good thread!

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My list:

1) I-69/I-269/I-22 are complete or close to finishing up construction.

2) The city realizes that adding lanes aren't the answer to traffic in Memphis, and construction is continuing on light rail out to Collierville with a line running up Germantown Road that will connect to Millington, Lakeland, and Arlington getting underway.

3) NWA has switched from a bank operation at MEM to a continuous flow operation after reconfiguration of terminals. Most operations take place in "C" after it has been greatly expanded and given a modern facelift. "B" is for international flights to the Carribean and Europe and the daily flight to Tokyo...hehe. JetBlue has experienced tremendous success after commencing service in 2007.

4) Downtown has become an upscale residential area. South Main is the shopping mecca for the area after Publix enters the area (ok...fantasy) with an urban market and many other stores soon follow. After quickly selling out, One Beale is expanded to include a second tower of similar design...only this time it is a 60-story building (fantasy ;P )

5) The financial core is essentially based in East Memphis now apart from First Tennessee and Sun Trust. This spurs growth that quickly adds density to the second skyline of Memphis. Several 20-30 story buildings are built around Clark Tower and White Station Tower. More are in the direction of the Hilton and International Paper Towers.

6) With the success of the Myriad in Tunica, Steve Wynn announces he will contribute to Tunica's amazing success with his $1.9 billion Wynn Tunica. Tunica has quickly clipped Atlantic City as the nation's second-largest gaming destination, and the airport has grown to include Southwest and Delta.

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