Reports are starting to come out about what’s being discussed in the BuildDowntown Design Studio planning sessions, tasked with creating a master plan for Downtown through 2030. There was a session on parking.
There’s plenty of parking Downtown, the survey found, but it’s not necessarily concentrated in the right places. There are 70,000 spaces in the Central Business District, which includes the core, the Pinch and Uptown, South Main and South End, The Edge and the Medical District. However, it was noted that people aren’t going to park at Jefferson and Manassas to come see a Redbirds game. They’re not going to park on a surface lot at N. Second and Overton and walk to a Grizzlies game. While parking is not scarce in the core, when big events are happening it’s scarce enough to produce significant upcharges and long lines getting out of parking garages. A good point was made that people often sneak out of Grizzlies games and other FedExForum events early to beat the long line getting out of the garage and out of Downtown. If they didn’t have to deal with that hassle they might stay Downtown longer and spend money on a post-game drink or a late dinner.
The loss of the garage at 66 S. Front, to make room for the Brooks Museum relocation, was also discussed. While a museum is certainly a higher use for that real estate than a parking garage, the loss of those spaces is going to hurt. A local business I frequent regularly, Bardog Tavern, is steps away from that garage, and I know for a fact that some of its patrons park there. I hope the loss of the garage doesn’t cost them business.
Another interesting fact that came out of the planning session is what Downtowners see as top priorities for their neighborhood to grow and evolve. By a 2-to-1 margin attracting a grocery store was the top desire, but that will require a lot of people living in a concentrated area. Downtown is on the way to getting there but not quite at a tipping point yet. Number 6 on their top 10 list, build more workforce and affordable housing, would be number 1 on my list. I am excited about the Brooks moving down here, improvements to the riverfront, and the new soccer team, but I also worry that increasing amenities Downtown will lead to apartment rents that approach those of Downtown Nashville. I want people from all walks of life – teachers, artists, musicians – to be able to afford to live here.
The Daily Memphian has a report on the restaurant and bar that is planned to go into the corner space at Central Station at South Main and G.E Patterson. The project will also contain 200 apartments, 124 hotel rooms, and a renovated Amtrak train station. As of yet the new restaurant and bar does not have a name. The main entrance will be from the Main Street sidewalk.
Yet another microbrewery is on the way to Memphis. Belz has filed a permit to convert a building it owns at 845 N. Main, in Uptown, to a microbrewery called Soul & Spirits Brewery, according to submitted renderings. According to Google Maps, that would be almost all the way to the end of North Main Street at Henry Avenue. Chelsea ends at Second but if it extended to Main, the new brewery would be north of Chelsea. This could be promising – I’ve seen in my hometown of Little Rock how breweries can thrive and be catalysts for change in neighborhoods a mile or so away from a city’s downtown. The new brewery would be a half mile away from one being constructed even farther north, Grind City Brewery at 83 Waterworks near Second Street.
Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick is back in its original location and will be open to the public Monday, March 4.
Tonight at 6 PM is the presentation of the VanWyngarden Cup to the brewery that won the 2019 Memphis Flyer Beer Bracket. Actually, we already know the brewery – Meddlesome. It’s just a matter of finding out whether 201 Hoplar became a repeat champion, or whether Broad Hammer claimed the trophy this year. They’ll be live on Memphis Flyer Facebook to announce the winner.
Tonight is DNA Night at the Earnest Withers Collection & Gallery at 333 Beale at 5:45 PM. Tour the museum and learn about history through the photos of Dr. Withers. Free for DNA members, $10 for guests. Food and libations will be provided.
Tonight at 7:30 at River Inn of Harbor Town, there will be a Music Is in the Air concert featuring soprano Marie-Stephane Bernard and pianist Angelo Rapan.
Don’t forget that the South Main Mardi Gras Bar Crawl happens this Saturday from 2 to 11 PM. Memphis Orleans Street Symphony 2-4, live DJ at Carolina Watershed all day, South Main Bar Olympics at Carolina Watershed as well. Mighty Souls Brass Band at Loflin Yard at 8 PM with a second line parade to Carolina Watershed. Dirty Crow Inn will have food & drink specials all day.
That’s all for now. Debating whether Court Square’s Thursday food truck rodeo or Bardog should be my plan for lunch. Back tomorrow with more news.