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Bluff City Biz: Downtown investment, Mid-South innovation with Greater Memphis Chamber CMO

Welcome back to Bluff City Biz, where every Monday we speak with someone in the know about our top stories from the previous week. Follow along for insight into key developments and analysis of all things Memphis business.

This week, we’re talking building Downtown density and Mid-South innovation with Apryl Childs-Potter, executive director of the Center for Economic Competitiveness with the Greater Memphis Chamber. She is also the Chamber’s chief marketing officer. 

New mixed-use development planned for South Main


If approved, Butler Row would deliver around 285 new residential units and 10,000 square feet of ground floor and commercial amenity space. It would also provide for 300 structured parking spaces. (Courtesy of cnct. design)


A proposed mixed-use, urban development project planned for South Main would offer 10,000 square feet of ground floor and commercial amenity space, around 285 new residential units and a 300-space structured parking garage. 

The project, tentatively named “Butler Row,” would span more than two acres, including the intersection at East Butler Avenue and B.B. King Boulevard.

The development team behind the project wants to anchor the southeastern end of the Historic South Main District by providing residential density. 


The project, tentatively named “Butler Row,” would span more than two acres, including the intersection at East Butler Avenue and B.B. King Boulevard.(Courtesy of cnct. design)

“The reality is Downtown density is critical when you’re looking from an economic development perspective,” Childs-Potter said. “We want to see a dense market of vibrant, walkable neighborhoods, particularly in our central business district.” 


The total development cost is expected to be more than $65 million, according to a Downtown Memphis Commission staff report attached to a PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of-taxes) request, filed by Scott Kern of KRN Development. 

If a PILOT is approved for the project, construction could begin by the fourth quarter of 2022 with a completion date in the second quarter of 2025. 

“We have several big projects like this underway in the Downtown campus that are connecting critical corridors,” Childs-Potter said. “2021 was such a big year for announcements on investment in Memphis, and now we’re seeing continued investment for Downtown. There’s demand, and we couldn’t have a stronger signal for investors that this is the place to invest.”

FedEx to add to its all-electric delivery fleet 


In December 2021, FedEx received BrightDrop’s first shipments of the EV600, the new business’ electric Light Commercial Vehicles (eLCVs). (Courtesy BrightDrop)

FedEx Corp. has an ambitious, green goal: carbon neutral operations by 2040. 


To get there, the company is investing $2 billion toward initiatives like electrifying its delivery fleets, starting with orders of the EV600 from BrightDrop, the new electric delivery and logistics business from General Motors.

“Memphis has always been a place for innovative brands doing game-changing things,” Childs-Potter said. “Announcements on this scale from companies like Ford and companies like FedEx are moving the whole logistics and supply chain industry forward in a new era of innovation.” 

The announcement from FedEx that it plans to order 2,000 more all-electric vehicles, up from its initial order of 500 last year, comes the same week that Ford Motor Co. announced its plans to nearly double production of its all-electric F-150 Lightning, trucks that will be produced at the Megasite of West Tennessee by 2025. 

“The fact that these investments are coming from companies tied to Memphis just means we have another feather in our cap to show how innovative our region really is and what types of companies invest here,” Childs-Potter said. 

More Bluff City Biz


The application to convert the Red Roof Inn on Elvis Presley Boulevard in Whitehaven into low-income housing was originally presented in December of 2021. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian file)

Application for affordable housing project in Whitehaven pulled

A statement announcing the withdrawal of the application, sent by councilman JB Smiley, came Thursday, Jan. 6, just one week before it was to be presented to the Land Use Control Board. The applicant, One Stop Housing LLC of Florida, originally said in its proposal that the 137-unit complex would be “harmonious with the character of the neighborhood.” 

BankTennessee names new president 

Lifelong Collierville resident Wright Cox has become the new president and chief executive officer of BankTennessee replacing Jim Rout.

Ford to nearly double production of F-150 Lightning 


Ford is planning to nearly double production capacity of the all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup to 150,000 vehicles per year. (Courtesy Ford Motor Co.)

To meet the growing demand for its first all-electric pickup truck, Ford Motor Co. announced Tuesday, Jan. 4, its plans to nearly double production of the much anticipated F-150 Lightning. Demand for the F-150 Lightning will be crucial to Ford’s planned automotive campus at the Megasite of West Tennessee, where production of the trucks will begin by 2025.

Mid-South industrial market saw a record-breaking year

The Memphis industrial market had a record-breaking year in 2021, according to a market report released Wednesday, Jan. 5, by Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors. Last year, the market recorded an annual absorption of 16.2 million square feet, double the previous record of 8.1 million square feet set in 2020.

Inked: More Medical District development; A gym activates a blighted corner 

A new multifamily building planned for 220 S. Claybrook St. could offer more housing options for a growing Medical District. 

Collierville planners move mixed-use proposal forward

The Collierville Planning Commission endorsed an outline plan for The Parke at Houston Levee Thursday. In addition to residential space, two hotels, about 39 acres of retail and 78,500 square feet of medical professional office are planned.

High school wing of Lakeland Prep highlights coming year’s projects in suburb 


Construction continues on the new Lakeland high school buildings on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian file)

The high school wing of Lakeland Prep will open this August, the final step in students graduating from the suburban school district in four years.

Design Review Board to consider colorful Downtown mural 

The design of the Hyatt Centric at 33 Beale St. is set to go before the Downtown Memphis Commission’s affiliate Design Review Board during a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 5. 

Megasite infrastructure budget is holding, leaders say

Infrastructure construction at the Megasite of West Tennessee is holding to budget despite big cost increases over the past six years, state officials say.

Former Marine Corps training center will provide housing to veterans in need


PZ Horton III, Alpha Omega chairman, shows off blueprints for the planned renovations of the former Marine Corps Reserve Center at 3114 Jackson Ave. (Brad Vest/Special to The Daily Memphian)

A 6.4-acre campus that was once used as a training and recruitment facility for the U.S. Marine Corps will soon have a second life as a transitional housing and support center for homeless and disabled veterans. 

Movers & Shakers 
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The Memphis Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) recently announced its new president Jennifer Sharp.

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