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About Town: From a rebrand to a building’s rebirth in Orange Mound
 
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Unapologetic and Tone are teaming up to redevelop the former United Equipment Building and its surrounding site into Orange Mound Tower. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)
 

Unapologetic and Tone are teaming up to redevelop the former United Equipment Building and its surrounding site into Orange Mound Tower. (Mark Weber/The 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: Orange Mound

Two weeks ago in this space, we highlighted Tone, an Orange Mound-based Black arts organization, and the significance behind its rebranding.

What better way to solidify those efforts than taking part in a potentially transformative collaboration that could benefit Orange Mound for decades to come.

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Tone and Unapologetic, a record label and artist collective, are new owners of the former United Equipment Building (and adjacent property) with plans to convert the space into Orange Mound Tower.

Check out the full story: Orange Mound’s United Equipment landmark bought for mixed-use development

Daily Memphian Digital Desk Manager Elle Perry reports in her story that current redevelopment plans include up to 120 apartments or condos surrounding a parking structure and commercial space.

“The project developers have emphasized that the Orange Mound community is at the center of the Orange Mound Tower project and what is being built is not to bring in another group of people to replace the existing residents in the community,” Perry said.

The former United Equipment Building was vacant for about 20 years despite its prominent location in the neighborhood. The structure is a rather iconic landmark because of the traffic in the area on Park Avenue, Lamar Avenue and Airways Boulevard, but also the building’s towering 200-foot presence visible for all those commuters to see.

Perry also goes into much more detail about how those behind the project hope this is not a one-off – but something that can be passed down to future generations.

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“You can see the tower from miles away, but if you just drive down Lamar Avenue — and you’ve probably driven past it numerous times — the site is larger than it appears from the street,” Perry said. “You don’t necessarily see the scale of the acreage. I haven’t seen full renderings, but if buildings are added — specifically the residential portion — I think it will ‘pop out’ more from the nearby streetscape.”


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