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About Town: Film lot, new Y could create economic spark in Whitehaven
Georgette (left) and Cato Johnson stand in front of the new early childhood learning center as part of the forthcoming Whitehaven YMCA. (Omer Yusuf/Daily Memphian)

Georgette (left) and Cato Johnson stand in front of the new early childhood learning center as part of the forthcoming Whitehaven YMCA. (Omer Yusuf/Daily Memphian)

Welcome to About Town, where we take a deeper dive into one neighborhood each week while also highlighting the latest news, developments and back stories from Memphis’ neighborhoods. This week’s focus: Whitehaven.

What does a proposed 85-acre filmmaking studio lot that could rival any in Hollywood and a new $11.5 million YMCA facility have in common?

Both are ongoing projects in Whitehaven — though each are on significantly different timelines.


Last week, Jason Farmer of BLP Film Studios filed an application with the Land Use Control Board for a planned development near the southwest corner of Elvis Presley Boulevard and Holmes Road.

The proposed film studio would be the first of its kind in the Memphis area, according to Daily Memphian reporter Tom Bailey. That could mean commercials, full-length films, episodic series and video filmed in Whitehaven.

Check out the full story: Hollywood-scale film lot planned for Memphis

No cost or timeline is currently known for the film lot. The YMCA project is much further along, with a tentative opening date of fall 2022.

Discussions regarding the Georgette and Cato Johnson YMCA began six years ago, according to YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South CEO Jerry Martin. The new facility will replace the Thomas B. Davis YMCA, at the same location, that’s called Whitehaven home since 1959.

Whitehaven residents and business owners hope the new YMCA will benefit the community through recreational and early childhood education programming, plus contribute to an economic spark.


Ultimately, both projects have the potential to accelerate Whitehaven’s trajectory to one residents envision for their neighborhood. If anything, the pieces seem to be falling in place for that to occur.

More About Town 


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Richard Myers plants a tree at White Station High School as part of a new courtyard project. (Brad Vest/Special to The Daily Memphian)


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