The Dixie Homes public housing project was one of Memphis’ first public housing projects. Completed in 1938, the 600-unit Dixie Homes became a place of choice for many aspiring African-American families seeking a stepping stone to success.
As the years passed, many of the most successful residents left the community. Federal funds to maintain the complex were insufficient and poorly allocated. By 2005, the site was only 80% occupied and the property was severely distressed. Attempting to address these problems along with the problems caused by concentrated poverty and lack of self-sufficiency, the Memphis Housing Authority partnered with development team McCormack Baron Salazar and Community Capital to submit an application for a HUD HOPE VI grant for the site in 2005.
The receipt of the HOPE VI grant resulted in the demolition of the entire Dixie Homes site and the implementation of the Master Plan to rebuild the community as a mixed-use, economically-integrated, multi-family, and intergenerational neighborhood. The five phase development includes two phases of family housing, a senior building, homeownership opportunities and a mixed-use building with management and commercial space.
The two family phases include 234 garden and townhouse-style apartments in sizes ranging from one to five bedrooms. Available to a spectrum of incomes, from very-low to unrestricted, the apartments are also designed to be environmentally sustainable, to reduce impact on the environment and increase residents’ discretionary income.
The mixed-use phase, Quimby Plaza, includes a 5,500 square foot community center and management space for Legends Park, 24 units of market-rate rental housing, and 9,000 square feet of medical office space. Through a partnership with Methodist Healthcare, the main tenant of the office space is the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital Pediatric Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinic. The site also offers a wellness center, an outdoor swimming pool, additional community spaces, including a business and computer center, and a children’s play area for Legends Park residents.
The senior building, Senior Living at Legends Park, has 81 one-and two-bedroom low-income apartment homes in an elevator-accessible, 3-story building. The universally-designed building has 100% visitability for disabled people and 5% of the apartments are fully accessible.
In addition to the 339 rental apartments, the Legends Park HOPE VI includes 30 for-sale houses in a new community named McKinley Park. The three- and four-bedroom houses are available to buyers with low and moderate incomes.