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Iconic Building for the downtown Memphis Skyline?

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I was wondering if anyone else might like to discuss this topic. How do you feel about a truely iconic skyscraper 30-40+ stories for the downtown Memphis skyline that would be the highest building in Memphis and in the state of Tennessee? I know these discussion boards talk a lot about some of our potential upcoming buildings like One Beale. But do you think we can have something much more than that?

I realize Memphis will never be a Manhattan. But NYC has buildings like Citibank and the Chrysler Building. In fact the Chrysler Building is known throughout the world. NYC also has the GE Building at 30 Rockefeeler Center. Chicago has the Sears Tower as well as the John Hancock Building. Do you think Memphis could ever have something like that? I know AutoZone is downtown and I applaud them. But they are far from a tower on the Memphis skyline. I guess I'm wondering why our city's and in fact the state's biggest employer does not have its signature building downtown. Do you think we could ever have the FedEx Tower or the FedEx Center in downtowm Memphis? Or will FedExForum be their only signature in downtown? I realize FedEx has a lot of facilitites in the metro area like the headquarters on Hacks Cross and Winchester, FedEx Freight at Forrest Hill and Winchester, and the FedEx World Tech Center in Collierville. And they have move a group to the Emerge building in South Main. But it seems that most of FedEx is campus style in the suburbs. Can you imagine the impact on downtown and in on the city if FedEx had a big footprint in downtown? The amount of retail, restaurants, housing, and money into the Memphis economy would be incredible. It could really spur mass transit via light rail and imagine all the places for afterhours gatherings for all those office workers. What about the hotel rooms needed for the companies who are partners with FedEx who send workers to meet with FedEx employees? Any thoughts on this?

I know FedEx as well as a lot of companies in the area try to recruit people to the Memphis area to retain intellectual talent and all. Do you not think such a presence in downtown would help college recruiting and attracting young professionals? Imagine a landmark building recognized throughout the world as the building for a global company. Has this ever been thought about by the company, talked about in the political circles, or among those in urban planning and economic development? FedEx doesn't even need to occupy the entire building. I don't believe Sears is in the Sears Tower anymore. Neither is Chrysler in the Chrysler building in Manhtttan. Yet those buildings retain the name going forward and will always be know as the name of those companies. What better way to advertise or keep a name in the public's mind?

I don't know who reads these forums and boards but I'm just hoping that I can begin the discussion spark the imagination and maybe the discussion becomes big enough it moves outside these boards to the bigger public realm and in the media so that maybe people who can do something about it can give it some thought and explore the possibilitites.

I realize a FedEx Skyscraper might be dreaming. But I'd like to focus this discussion to What are the chances, where would it go, what would it look like, what would the economic impact be, what ares of the econimy would be impacted. THoughts?

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I was wondering if anyone else might like to discuss this topic. How do you feel about a truely iconic skyscraper 30-40+ stories for the downtown Memphis skyline that would be the highest building in Memphis and in the state of Tennessee? I know these discussion boards talk a lot about some of our potential upcoming buildings like One Beale. But do you think we can have something much more than that?

I realize Memphis will never be a Manhattan. But NYC has buildings like Citibank and the Chrysler Building. In fact the Chrysler Building is known throughout the world. NYC also has the GE Building at 30 Rockefeeler Center. Chicago has the Sears Tower as well as the John Hancock Building. Do you think Memphis could ever have something like that? I know AutoZone is downtown and I applaud them. But they are far from a tower on the Memphis skyline. I guess I'm wondering why our city's and in fact the state's biggest employer does not have its signature building downtown. Do you think we could ever have the FedEx Tower or the FedEx Center in downtowm Memphis? Or will FedExForum be their only signature in downtown? I realize FedEx has a lot of facilitites in the metro area like the headquarters on Hacks Cross and Winchester, FedEx Freight at Forrest Hill and Winchester, and the FedEx World Tech Center in Collierville. And they have move a group to the Emerge building in South Main. But it seems that most of FedEx is campus style in the suburbs. Can you imagine the impact on downtown and in on the city if FedEx had a big footprint in downtown? The amount of retail, restaurants, housing, and money into the Memphis economy would be incredible. It could really spur mass transit via light rail and imagine all the places for afterhours gatherings for all those office workers. What about the hotel rooms needed for the companies who are partners with FedEx who send workers to meet with FedEx employees? Any thoughts on this?

I know FedEx as well as a lot of companies in the area try to recruit people to the Memphis area to retain intellectual talent and all. Do you not think such a presence in downtown would help college recruiting and attracting young professionals? Imagine a landmark building recognized throughout the world as the building for a global company. Has this ever been thought about by the company, talked about in the political circles, or among those in urban planning and economic development? FedEx doesn't even need to occupy the entire building. I don't believe Sears is in the Sears Tower anymore. Neither is Chrysler in the Chrysler building in Manhtttan. Yet those buildings retain the name going forward and will always be know as the name of those companies. What better way to advertise or keep a name in the public's mind?

I don't know who reads these forums and boards but I'm just hoping that I can begin the discussion spark the imagination and maybe the discussion becomes big enough it moves outside these boards to the bigger public realm and in the media so that maybe people who can do something about it can give it some thought and explore the possibilitites.

I realize a FedEx Skyscraper might be dreaming. But I'd like to focus this discussion to What are the chances, where would it go, what would it look like, what would the economic impact be, what ares of the econimy would be impacted. THoughts?

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The tallest building planned for Tennessee is in Nashville - Signature Tower. 70 stories 1047 feet tall - a few feet taller than the Chrysler building. It looks fantastic too = www.signaturetowernashville.com

You mentioned 1Beale. It is 37 stories as I recall and is planned for Memphis. www.1beale.com rendering can be found on this forum.

Memphis certainly needs 1beale in my opinion. It has been too long since a skyscraper has been added to the skyline. And it does say something about the city and progress. I'm glad to see all of the improvements and renovation work, but a new skyscraper is a welcomed addition.

Hopefully it will come in time. Hopefully the other development is just the start. Downtown Memphis has come a long way since when I first moved here in 1988. It is going to take more pioneers.

I think 1beale will spawn other development.

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I was wondering if anyone else might like to discuss this topic. How do you feel about a truely iconic skyscraper 30-40+ stories for the downtown Memphis skyline that would be the highest building in Memphis and in the state of Tennessee? I know these discussion boards talk a lot about some of our potential upcoming buildings like One Beale. But do you think we can have something much more than that?

I realize Memphis will never be a Manhattan. But NYC has buildings like Citibank and the Chrysler Building. In fact the Chrysler Building is known throughout the world. NYC also has the GE Building at 30 Rockefeeler Center. Chicago has the Sears Tower as well as the John Hancock Building. Do you think Memphis could ever have something like that? I know AutoZone is downtown and I applaud them. But they are far from a tower on the Memphis skyline. I guess I'm wondering why our city's and in fact the state's biggest employer does not have its signature building downtown. Do you think we could ever have the FedEx Tower or the FedEx Center in downtowm Memphis? Or will FedExForum be their only signature in downtown? I realize FedEx has a lot of facilitites in the metro area like the headquarters on Hacks Cross and Winchester, FedEx Freight at Forrest Hill and Winchester, and the FedEx World Tech Center in Collierville. And they have move a group to the Emerge building in South Main. But it seems that most of FedEx is campus style in the suburbs. Can you imagine the impact on downtown and in on the city if FedEx had a big footprint in downtown? The amount of retail, restaurants, housing, and money into the Memphis economy would be incredible. It could really spur mass transit via light rail and imagine all the places for afterhours gatherings for all those office workers. What about the hotel rooms needed for the companies who are partners with FedEx who send workers to meet with FedEx employees? Any thoughts on this?

I know FedEx as well as a lot of companies in the area try to recruit people to the Memphis area to retain intellectual talent and all. Do you not think such a presence in downtown would help college recruiting and attracting young professionals? Imagine a landmark building recognized throughout the world as the building for a global company. Has this ever been thought about by the company, talked about in the political circles, or among those in urban planning and economic development? FedEx doesn't even need to occupy the entire building. I don't believe Sears is in the Sears Tower anymore. Neither is Chrysler in the Chrysler building in Manhtttan. Yet those buildings retain the name going forward and will always be know as the name of those companies. What better way to advertise or keep a name in the public's mind?

I don't know who reads these forums and boards but I'm just hoping that I can begin the discussion spark the imagination and maybe the discussion becomes big enough it moves outside these boards to the bigger public realm and in the media so that maybe people who can do something about it can give it some thought and explore the possibilitites.

I realize a FedEx Skyscraper might be dreaming. But I'd like to focus this discussion to What are the chances, where would it go, what would it look like, what would the economic impact be, what ares of the econimy would be impacted. THoughts?

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What would it look like? We have to change our mindsets on the expectations of our bldgs, shift them away from the flattop look, and turn them toward the crown/spire designs. St. Mary's tower is nice, albeit a little short. But that's a turn in the right direction. The city, the powers that be, must have a higher level of expectation when it comes to design.

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I agree in general, but I don't think the city powers can really influence good design. It is going to have to come from the developer. Tony Giarratana in Nashville is pushing Signature's design, not the city. Same with 1beale - Gene Carlisle and family is pushing the design.

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I realize a FedEx Skyscraper might be dreaming. But I'd like to focus this discussion to What are the chances, where would it go, what would it look like, what would the economic impact be, what ares of the econimy would be impacted. THoughts?

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IMO skylines are overrated. Street level is much, much more important to me, and I'd rather see improvements at the street level DT. Iconic at the streetscapes, not a crown 600 feet in the air that no one can see except from a distance.

At the same time, it does seem like One Beale will become Memphis' iconic building, and that's great. I really like One Beale.

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IMO skylines are overrated. Street level is much, much more important to me, and I'd rather see improvements at the street level DT. Iconic at the streetscapes, not a crown 600 feet in the air that no one can see except from a distance.

At the same time, it does seem like One Beale will become Memphis' iconic building, and that's great. I really like One Beale.

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I also think that One Beale is going to be an icon. The way it will look at sunset coming across the river and then a reflection of the sun will bounce off the prism and hit you in your face and blind you as you hit the person in front of you. Yes that will be what makes people believe in our city again and turn away from their crime infested lives of the past. After that the city will be called the Dubai of the South and even the Western Hemisphere as our city explodes with new development.

Most of that was that was a joke, besides the Dubai of the south and all.

Hey Gaushell, When did OneBeale become 37st? I always thought it was 30.

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Fed Ex is happy in their sterile suburban campus, and I doubt that they are going anywhere for some time.

On a related note, I've never understood why people think their current HQ is such an architectural achievement, the place seems very "Generic PoMo Office Park" to me.

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Actually, I saw a quote from the building manager who stated that they should have never built out there. It is going to be surrounded by ghetto on three sides in 10 years. Crime around it is already horrible. In 10 years, downtown will be an even better place to live and work than it is today.

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Exactly.

Memphis, along with virtually every other major U.S. city is creating disposable neighborhoods that come with an expiration date. When one neighborhood declines, another is built a little further out with the exact same methodology as the community that was just abandoned by a majority of the residents.

The same mistakes are being made again and again, and instead of people standing up and saying "No more!" they just move a little bit more until the process repeats itself. Every time people think that maybe...just maybe their new area won't go downhill...but it does.

The area around FedEx HQ was considered a great new place to live and work as late as two years ago - even though the cracks were already beginning to appear. In ten years I can virtually assure you it will be spoken of in the same breath as Hickory Hill.

The private developers don't care, they get their money before anything turns to crap. The taxpayers on the other hand continually pay to replicate infrastructure that isn't going to be really utilized for very long, before building it yet again - all the while maintaining the entire network of utilities, roads and schools.

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International Paper just moved their worldwide headquarters from Stamford, CT last year to Memphis. Where is their office located in Memphis? As for downtown Memphis getting a tall tower--yes, I think Memphis is overdue. The height of buildings is really meek for such a large city. In 10 years, the metro population of Memphis should be around 1.4 million, with the city population most likely around 700,000 +. A couple of towers 600-700 feet are definitely appropriate for a city this size.

On a side note, what's with that beautiful, old vacant sterick building downtown? Why not convert to condos? Is the owner just a rich ass who doesn't give a crap?

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International Paper just moved their worldwide headquarters from Stamford, CT last year to Memphis. Where is their office located in Memphis? As for downtown Memphis getting a tall tower--yes, I think Memphis is overdue. The height of buildings is really meek for such a large city. In 10 years, the metro population of Memphis should be around 1.4 million, with the city population most likely around 700,000 +. A couple of towers 600-700 feet are definitely appropriate for a city this size.

On a side note, what's with that beautiful, old vacant sterick building downtown? Why not convert to condos? Is the owner just a rich ass who doesn't give a crap?

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Welcome to the Memphis forum!

IP is on Poplar in East Memphis. Looking at a map, it is on the north side of Poplar at Massey, or about a mile east of I-240.

We shoooould be knocking around those populations figures you quoted shortly - definitely by 2010 IMO.

Isn't the problem with the Sterick asbestos? I would be in heaven if someone would convert it. Memphis doesn't have height DT, but it does have street level appeal. Those rarely coexist in the South.

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Its only a matter of time before someone with money remembers the sterick. At least they should light it up on the outside.

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I agree that chances are not good FedEx would locate downtown. But isn't it a tragedy that our most gloabl and visible company has so little precence in what is the heart of the city? It would have been nice if IP and ServiceMaster were located downtown too. Why is it these companies stay away? I can't imagine a company with a better ability to have the premininent skyscraper in TN then FedEx. Imagine what it would do for downtown if FedEx had 15,000 employees in the downtown area. It would be opportunities for so many new restaurant and entertainment as well as living venues. I think it would really solidify downtown as the urban heart of the city and give it the big city feel that is lacking. People talk about sports teams. Does anyone feel Memphis feels any bigger since the Grizzlies came? If FedEx was to locate a significant workforce downtown it would have a ripple effect. Companies that deal with FedEx would have to move there to be closer too. They would not stay out in Southwind and the like. A significant population of young professionals would probably choose to live in downtown, This helps the real estate market. It helps apartment and condo sales. It would also drive retail. Store would cater to those employess who shop at lunch or after work. I think Downtown would get that department store, a grocery store, and maybe a mall like in Herald Square. Also, imagine what it would do for things like aftrnoon Redbirds games in the summer - or how many would stick around after work to catch the Grizzlies since they were already downtown. It certainly wouln't hurt. I think it would also drive the push for light rail transport so those that don't relocate could commute into the city. So many more things in downtown would open up to cater to an increase in the population of the workforce. Instead of Fortune 500s increasing urban sprawl, shouldn't the Memphis community do what it takes through incentives and such to make this happen. Don't these companies see that by investing in Memphis and making it a better place to live, they in turn increase the opportunity to increase the quality of their workforce and retain talent? IP, AutoZone, Service Master, FedEx would all benefit if they located a significant portion of their workforce to downtown becasue that synergy would propel Memphis to be one of the cities to be. Does anyone agree? What part of the governent is responsible for helping to push reloaction of companies to downtown? What needs to be done long term if this vision is accurate? I'd love to hear more discussion. Can you imagine a skyscraper for FedEx? Maybe IP and Service Master as well? I know it is not likely since these companies have already invested in their suburban campuses. But maybe in the future. Or another company that might come to town. Or maybe they can relocate parts of their companies or subsidiaries. FedEx is of course made of different divisions. Why not move Ground or Kinkos?

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good point i could see fedex in the future move the kinkos hq downtown

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This is a more theoretical piece, but Peter Buchanan of Harvard Design Magazine wrote an article recently about the high-rise and its potential to be viable again based on the future economics of sustainable design. Nothing Memphis-specific here, but given the unsustainable future of sprawl and the ever-increasing cost of energy, it's possible height could be a future consideration in local designs.

http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/research/public...6_Buchanan.html

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good point i could see fedex in the future move the kinkos hq downtown

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Just an FYI:

"600 employees will relocate to new HQ for FedEx Express"

http://memphis.bizjournals.com/memphis/sto...4558400^1490230

All the things that can happen: Lunch spots, hotel rooms, entertainment, shops, other companies catering to FedEx - they are happening to some extent . . . on Winchester and Hacks. But anyone else think the true potential of that is unrealized? This is what could have driven growth in downtown that has been dicussed earleir but FedEx decided to build in the suburban site instead of being a part of the Memphis downtown and spur the economy that will build a sense of community. That in turn hinders FedEx's (and other companies') ability to recruit and retain talent from the creative class of young professionals and people who would move here to grow the intellectual capital of the metro area. Another oppertunity is passed by.

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... employees (think mid-level management, not entry level) want to be near good housing stock, with a short commute, and with good schools in the area.

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Everybody wants that, and it exists in Memphis. We live in neither skyscrapers nor huts and our kids learn like the best in Collierville. Plus, I think it's at least arguable that Midtown is the most convenient place in the Memphis area for commuting. Unless you live along Bill Morris Parkway corridor, it's probably no easier to get to FedEx than it is from Midtown.

Unless there's something particularly suburban about FedEx and its business model, I don't understand how their employees are any different than AutoZone's employees or St. Jude's employees or First Horizon's employees.

FedEx can move anywhere it wants. But it's decision did not move it closer to the center -- it has pushed the center farther out. And I think that's bad for the entire Memphis area. And forget downtown for a second -- its movement away from the airport has made the aerotropolis idea a much more iffy proposition, as it has left the airport area a more iffy area.

I think these are personal decisions, probably related to proximity to executive homes rather than something specially available along Winchester and Hacks Cross that isn't available anywhere else in Memphis. Again, the successes of AutoZone and St. Jude and First Horizon put a big question mark to the idea that business demands a suburban location.

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