Wednesday update: Downtown is booming!

I hope you’re having as happy a Wednesday as the GEICO camel is! Buckle yourselves in, we have a lot of news to cover today, and it’s good stuff.

It’s official: FedEx Logistics is coming Downtown, to relocate in what has been the Gibson Guitar factory. The move will bring nearly 200 jobs to Downtown Memphis (I’ve read 662, 680, and 689 from various sources). No matter which number it is, a lot more people will be working Downtown, enjoying its amenities during their lunch break and after work. That will be great for the Downtown economy. If I have any FedEx Logistics employees who read this blog, welcome, you’re going to love it down here!

That in itself is huge news for Downtown. However, it was not even the last piece of news about a major development on South B.B. King Blvd. yesterday. The Clipper, a modern 8-story office building and hotel, will be constructed across Dr. MLK Jr. Ave. from FedExForum and the new FedEx Logistics building. The office building part will include 250,000 square feet of Class-A office space, with retail on the ground floor as well as multi-level parking.The hotel portion of The Clipper will contain 250 rooms and a rooftop deck.

Downtown is booming! This is all fantastic news.

Make a furry friend your Valentine this year. Memphis Animal Services has a deal called Valentine’s Day Sleepovers. Participants take a shelter dog home on Valentine’s Day (pick up from the shelter between noon and 7) and take him back Saturday, February 16 between 1 and 4 PM. It’s win for everybody – you get a Valentine’s date who appreciates you, the dog gets a couple of days of love and attention, and MAS gains valuable information on how the dog is in a home, which can help get the dog adopted. Dog food will be provided and they have a limited number of kennels for those who need them. If you decide the dog you take home is The One, MAS will have a special adoption fee of only $20 for you on Saturday.

I want to give a shout-out to Commissioner Tami Sawyer on the outstanding monthly email newsletter she sends out to constituents. It keeps them informed of opportunities to get involved in their community, and spotlights people in the community making good things happen. She also provides news on critical votes, and announces an upcoming town hall. I wish every elected official went this far to inform the people whom they serve. Great job, Commissioner!

The Downtown Memphis Commission has announced a BuildDowntown Master Plan Design Studio for the week of February 25-March 1. This will be a planning and visioning session for Downtown to grow and evolve over the next 10 years, and anyone who has a stake in Downtown – business owners, residents, employees of Downtown businesses, those who like to come Downtown because of all its amenities – is invited to participate. It will be held in 100 Peabody Place, in the former Life Is Good location on Main Street next to the post office. There will be daily pin-up sessions and project updates, with a different theme each day:

  • Monday, February 25: How will Downtown Memphis grow by 2030? Housing strategies, retail strategies, office space.
  • Tuesday, February 26: How do we improve the Downtown Memphis experience? Topics such as walkability, amenities, and reducing blight will be among those discussed.
  • Wednesday, February 27: How will Downtown Memphis evolve by 2030? Mobility, utilities, and infrastructure will be some of the topics.
  • Thursday, February 28 – Redraw, Refine, Test using feedback they have received the previous three days.
  • Friday, March 1 – Redraw, Refine, Test Again with open office 8 to 11:30 for a last call for the public to provide feedback.

Monday evening, February 25 from 5:00 to 7:30 there will be a BuildDowntown Kickoff Party across the street from the design studio, at the Center for Southern Folklore’s Folklore Hall. This is open house format, so stop by when you can.

There will be a first look at the master plan that results from this week of brainstorming in April, likely on a Tuesday.

Big opportunity for girls in 6th through 12th grades this Saturday:

Memphis Made has announced the 2019 Music Fest lineup. Dave Matthews Band, The Killers, Cardi B, and Khalid are among those headlining.

Community Alliance for the Homeless has several jobs open.

Nike also has several positions open, in the field of human resources.

I noticed that City Market has dropped their price of 16 oz. beers on draft to $2.99. That’s a really good deal on some beers that might cost $5-6 at a bar or brewery taproom. They have a seating area where you can look out onto Main as you drink your beer.

The Memphis Medical District Collective needs volunteers for Lights On! on Thursday, February 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Volunteers will travel by car on designated routes and report any street lights that are out. Refreshments will be provided.

Action News 5 reports that MLGW has rolled out a new mobile-friendly website. This was badly needed! Many Memphians own a smartphone but not a personal computer. The website redesign ensures that MLGW’s customers will have a good experience regardless of the device they use.

I ate at sushi/noodle restaurant Fam again last night and noticed they have a family dinner pack special available Monday-Saturday 3 to 6 PM: Take home three rice bowls for $20. That’s a good deal if you don’t feel like cooking after work.

City Hall is pushing for the coexistence of redevelopment of Tom Lee Park and the continued success of the Memphis in May festivals. Apparently there was a perception that because the city supported the redo of Tom Lee Park, that the city is anti-Memphis in May. That’s not true.

Again, it’s reported that the festivals will have to move for one year, in 2020. I wonder where they’re going to put Music Fest and BBQ Fest, if the intention is to keep them Downtown? Maybe Mississippi River Park, along with blocking off Riverside down to Union as they did for RiverArtsFest, and adding in Memphis Park for additional space? Maybe, but that doesn’t seem big enough and would be a mess. Court Square? Definitely not big enough and you lose your river view. The park on Mud Island? Could work but would river flooding be a concern, and how would Island residents feel about having their park all torn up? Not to mention thousands of drunks making noise right outside their front doors. MLK Riverside Park? Technically not Downtown and really inconvenient for those living/staying Downtown to get to.

The Daily Memphian has a good article about Ben Johnson, the new Memphis Redbirds manager. Johnson’s local roots mean a lot. He played for the Memphis Chicks at Tim McCarver Stadium, and eventually he made it as an outfielder in the big leagues with the Padres and Mets, where he once hit two home runs in the same game. His most exciting moment did not happen on the field, but instead was the time he got to meet legendary baseball announcer Harry Caray.

Here’s a tip from Food and Wine for those willing to road trip for good food: Some of Mississippi’s best BBQ is inside a bait and tackle shop. It’s called Clay’s House of Pig and is about an hour and a half away in Tupelo, birthplace of The King.

Whew! Productive morning so far. I was feeling energetic and hopped out of bed at 4 AM. Since then I’ve written about some upcoming events in the personal journal I keep, took care of some to-dos, made a Walgreens run, knocked out a couple of BBQ team-related items, and written this very long and newsy post. The Army says, “We get more done by 9 AM than most people do all day.” Maybe I should join the Army – well, except that I’m too old, they wouldn’t like my hair, and I have a rebellious nature to authority figures. Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow with more news.