Lamar Terrace was described at its opening as “a small city within a city.” It had its own park, clinic, civic and resident organizations, softball and basketball teams, and Scout troops. However, Lamar Terrace, like Memphis’ other public housing projects, severely deteriorated over the years. By the time of its demolition in 2005, the neighborhood had become an extreme example of physical distress, isolation from the community, and dismal living conditions for its residents and the surrounding neighborhood.
In 2004, the Memphis Housing Authority was awarded $22.5 million in federal HOPE VI funding to demolish the existing structures and rebuild a sustainable, mixed-income community.
The new community, University Place, includes senior housing and multi-family apartments with one, two or three bedrooms, all first-class and state-of-the-art in design, construction and amenities. The first phase provided 118 new affordable senior apartments for 82 former public housing residents and 36 additional units for other moderate income residents age 62 and older. The second phase provided 151 mixed-income apartments for families and the third phase included 136 mixed-income apartments for families.
Homes in the second phase of development have been certified to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) for Homes Program and the entire development is certified Silver in the LEED for Neighborhood Development Pilot Program.
The $71 million public/private University Place partnership also benefits from a Community and Supportive Services Program implemented by Urban Strategies Memphis HOPE, in connection with Memphis Housing Authority, The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis and the philanthropic community of the City of Memphis.