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Third Phase of South City Redevelopment Gets Underway in Memphis

June 1, 2020 | McCormack Baron Salazar

During this pandemic, in which millions of Americans are facing rents and mortgages that they now cannot afford, McCormack Baron Salazar, the Memphis Housing Authority, the City of Memphis and other partners are proud to announce that the third phase of the South City housing redevelopment effort is underway. Located just south of downtown Memphis, phase three of Foote Park at South City will add 126 units of affordable, mixed-income housing to the former Foote Homes site. Many of the new units will be earmarked for residents who were relocated when Foote Homes was demolished.

McCormack Baron Salazar celebrated the grand opening of the $17.6 million first phase of this multi-phase Choice Neighborhoods transformation plan in September 2019. Originally funded by a $30 million Choice grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the complete plan is expected to include up to 712 new apartment homes. Half of the homes in the current phases of the program have been set aside for public housing residents, including residents of the former Foote Homes.

“This historic neighborhood is known for its musical and cultural contributions, as well as playing a major role in the civil rights movement,” said Marcia E. Lewis, CEO of the Memphis Housing Authority. “With its prime location just south of historic Beale Street and the National Civil Rights Museum and east of South Main Historic District, this neighborhood appeals to a wide variety of people – and is a wonderful place to which our Foote Homes residents can come back.”

The South City neighborhood redevelopment includes mixed-income rental in a sustainable, multi-generational community. It is being completed in six phases, divided into east side and west side developments. Phases One and Two are located in the east side of the development site and include 248 townhomes and apartments. Phase Three will be located in the west side of the development and also will include townhomes and garden apartments.

“This next phase on the west side, with its location near Vance Avenue, allows for a denser and more contemporary design than on the east side,” said Paul A. Young, Director of Housing and Community Development for the City of Memphis. “Residents also will have access to nearby retail businesses and to infrastructure improvements connecting to new developments to the west and north – making a connected, livable community.”

“The redeveloped South City is a wonderful example of the positive things that can be achieved when groups come together to change a community for the better,” said Richard D. Baron, Chairman, McCormack Baron Salazar. “From increased green space to improved pedestrian options to brand new, bright and cheerful homes, this project will improve quality of life for this neighborhood, while maintaining its culturally rich history, its affordability and its community feel.”

While the exteriors of the new homes will align with historic neighborhood characteristics, the interiors will have contemporary finishes, open floor plans, Energy Star appliances, ample storage space and off-street parking.  The homes are located near the FedEx Forum and the Booker T. Washington Resource Center, as well as a nearly-complete Community Building and neighborhood swimming pool, and a future Early Childhood Education Center. 

“I’m thrilled we’re able to take the next step in the revitalization of this great neighborhood,” said Archie Willis III, Founder and President, ComCap Partners.  “We’re proud to help South City regain its vibrancy, with access to schools, resources and amenities that can help make its success sustainable.”

Included in the Choice Neighborhood effort are neighborhood projects in the works to compliment the affordable housing being built.  These projects include the now-completed improvements to L.E. Brown Park, a grant program for neighborhood home owners to make exterior repairs, and a commercial business façade improvement program.

“The vision for the redevelopment of South City includes public and private investment, resulting in attractive traditional neighborhood amenities such as quality housing, good schools, and accessible healthcare services,” said Ralph Perrey, Executive Director of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, who provided Low-Income Housing Tax Credits for the effort. “THDA is proud to be able to invest in this type of large, transformative project.”

Urban Strategies, Inc. serves as the human capital partner for South City, providing service coordination and case management to residents, with support from the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. ComCap Partners, a long time development partner, is again working with MBS on South City.  LRK is the architect and Capstone Building Corporation is the general contractor. Orix is the lender and RBC Capital Markets is the equity investor with low income housing tax credits provided by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.  Additional partners on the project include the Memphis Housing Authority, the City of Memphis, Shelby County Schools, the Downtown Memphis Commission, MATA, and others.  Total development costs for Phase III are $25,382,623.