Back in the summer of 2017 I came across a redevelopment project called Memphis 3.0. This redevelopment project was created to operate around connectivity, livability, sustainability, and opportunity within the 14 districts that Memphis is divided into. The project is a two year plan that started it’s initial 5 phase process on November 30, 2017. The plan consist of each district going through the 4 different phases and phase 5 being put into action in January of 2019.
Phase I begins with the Planning Process. During these sessions there will be research of existing conditions and public meetings used to ask residents what they value about Memphis and what should be improved. There will be technical committees formed to prioritize research in specific fields and planning areas. Phase II focuses on developing future goals that have been set. Phase III will consist of four public meetings used to determine a path that continues to drive forward the city's population and development. This phase asks questions such as "What are the trade-offs for different population, employment, and housing increases, and what are the trade-offs associated with different growth strategies?” according to the project's website. Phase IV will last approximately 9 months and will involve members of the 3.0 team to spend 10 weeks in each of the 14 districts. During these 10 weeks a series of workshops, neighborhood tours and presentations will occur at various community spaces. By the end of the District Planning phase, there will be 14 Community Character plans that will form the Comprehensive Plan, with designated areas for projects and initiatives assigned. The hope is that by 2019 our city will have a plan for the neighborhoods, opportunity for all, special quality of life, walkable/bikable communities connected by effective transportation options, smart use of our land, strong connections between places and people, and more.
For more information or ways to get involved please visit the Memphis 3.0 website.
I know there is a lot of talk of gentrification and some dislike for Mayor Strickland however, all of the moves that I have seen made have been public knowledge. We have been given the opportunity to be involved in the decisions being made within the city. I encourage you all to sign up for the Mayor's weekly e-mail list, follow City officials on social media, follow these city and state pages, send messages to them, write letters, attend these public meetings, ask questions, and hold these people accountable. If there is a change to be made we have to demand that they make it, even if that means electing new officials. If you're not sure how to find these events or meetings please let me know. Facebook has an event section that will allow you to express interest in all types of events going on within the city and it keeps a calendar with all of your interest posted. Also, there is a School Board Business Meeting today at 160 S. Hollywood St. Memphis, TN 38112 @ 5:30 pm! Let's make Memphis the city we need and want it to be!
Hey Loves!! I hope all is well!
I know It's usually a top 5 but I've seen a lot of things happening that I felt I needed to share so, here they are!
Rock Climbing Gym
A Chattanooga based company is planning to build a 9 million, 32,000 square foot rock climbing facility behind Christian Brothers High School. There will be a 52 foot indoor wall, 40 feet tall outdoor wall, and a kids climbing area. The facility will include a cardio room, weight room, yoga, and a spin class.
The Cook Convention Center
The City of Memphis has officially filed a construction permit for redevelopment of the Cook Convention Center that is set to start Quarter 1 of 2018 and wrap up Quarter 4 2019. Mayor Strickland announced the plans for this project but the final say comes from the approval of Memphis City Council. The 175 million dollar expansion and renovation is said not include any City of Memphis general funds or capital improvement program funds.
The southwest corner of Union and McLean is getting a new tenant. 1835-1837 Union Avenue will soon become home to "The Citizen" and some new retail shopping. The four level design will have 175 apartments, about 26,500 square feet of retail space, and 363 parking spaces. The ground breaking ceremony for the structure happened on Thursday January 4, 2018.
Memphis International Airport
Let the renovations begin! Concourse B is scheduled for complete shut down by March for a three year renovation project, leaving Delta and southwest operating out Concourse A, and Allegiant, American, & United operating out of concourse C. The 214 million dollar modernization of the 55 year old concourse is said to produce higher ceilings, more natural lighting, wider corridors, new concessions, additional moving walkways, new baggage carousels, and other amenities. The modernization of concourse B will move all airline operations to gate B, have gates A and C closed, but retained for future growth. Check out Flymemphis.com for the complete break down of the reconstruction and it's timeline.
Slice of Soul
New Restaurant Alert! Slice of Soul is the Medical District's latest addition featuring pizza, wings, and sandwiches. The restaurant is located at 1299 Madison Ave in the Madison Heights neighborhood. The lounge style restaurant will have live music four evenings each week with karaoke on Wednesday nights. Owners Anthony Latiker and Howard Bell grew up in Memphis' Westwood neighborhood and were graduates of TSU. They have come back home with great expectations for the growth in the City and to invest in the Memphis community. The grand opening for the restaurant was Thursday, January 11, 2018. I have already seen some themed events at Slice of Soul that I will be attending!
The Madison Hotel
Owners are planning a new restaurant, barbershop, and speakeasy for the building and a three story building adjacent to the hotel. Recently, The Madison Hotel announced it would be closing down it's restaurant, Eighty3, for renovations. Eighty3 is Connected directly to the hotel and was an intimate fine dining restaurant with modern art and great food. A 100,000 grant was filed with Downtown officials as a part of the 250,745 rehabilitation for the building. The application is scheduled to be put into action on January 17, 2018. Total reconstruction is said to start next month and be finished in May of 2018. The Madison is located at 79 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38103.
Guess who is a part of The United Soccer League!! Memphis is now one of three teams to join the USL for the 2019 season. The announcement was made on Monday, January 8, 2018. Memphis is now the second city in Tennessee to become home of the USL club in the past three years, continuing the leagues growth in the Southeast.
Raleigh Springs Mall (Update)
Demolition started in March of last year and the completed project has a projected completion date of September of 2018. As stated in a previous blog the 31 million project "The Raleigh Town Center" will include a community center, police precinct, library, and potential retail. According to an article by Shay Arthur of News Chanel 3, members of the Raleigh area seem to be hopeful that the project will bring great new energy to the area.
There is a four acre piece of vacant property on Germantown Parkway that may be receiving 5 new restaurants. According to the Memphis Business Journal, Southern Properties' Bob Turner is developing the property into a 23,000 square foot of all things edible. Located just south of Walnut Grove at 200 South Germantown Parkway, across the street from the Agriculture International Center may soon be five new eateries for you to add to your list..
National Black Theater Museum
The executive producer of Hattiloo Theatre, Ekundayo Bandele, wants to invest 50 to 100 million into creating a National Black Theater Museum. The preferred home of the potential National Black Museum is in Overton Park where the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is located.. The Brooks Museum is likely to relocate to the Downtown area so, there will definitely be a need to fill that space. The museum would be interactive, utilize touchscreen technology, and take visitors from the 1400s where in Africa music, costumes, and dance were used to tell stories to today. In efforts to make things fair there was a 90 day proposal submission started so, that other entities could possible acquire the space. The Museum has gained support from local and non local parties and will continuing its pursuit.
Oak Court and Wolfchase Mall
It has been reported that H&M will be opening up two more stores in Memphis, giving us a total of 4 Mid-South Location (Current locations are Collierville and Tanger). One of the locations will be Oak Mall (set to open this summer) and the other being Wolfchase Mall (TBA). Last year when it was announced that Oak Court had new owners it was also announced that a significant new business would be coming to Oak Court. The new business was never mentioned. so, I am wondering if this was the mentioned addition. Maybe there is hope for our struggling Malls. I still have hopes for a Mall of Memphis remake!
Well, Overton Square is saying Goodbye to Bar Louie BUT saying (soon) hello to a Hopdoddy Burger Bar (to open within 90 days), Chipotle (to open within 90 days), an expanded LaFayette Music Room, and possibly a 100 room boutique hotel (construction set to start this fall). Apparently the owner's of the property at 2125 Madison Ave bought Bar Louie out of their 10 year lease. The owner's of the property (Loeb Properties) are hoping to fill the spot that once held Bar Louie with a fine dining restaurant. According to the owners the spot is in high demand and they are excited about what will possibly occupy the space.
Finally, Finally, FINALLYYYYYYY(In my Jess Hilarious voice) there are signs of Trader Joe's coming to Memphis. For more than two years Memphians have been waiting for the arrival of Trader Joe's. I personally had begun to think it would never make it's debut BUT to my surprise a building permit was submitted this week to start the construction of the anticipated American grocery store. 2130 Exeter will be a $750,000 project and if everything goes well the store will open in 2018. They haven't gotten a confirmed yes but we're hoping that since Germantown's alderman approved a development contract that referenced Trader Joe's we'll be seeing it soon..
1545 Overton Park Avenue will be getting an island themed bar with tropical drinks and food to match. Located less than a mile from Crosstown this bar will contribute to the areas redevelopment and give crosstown residents a bar that is in walking distance. The grand opening for the Tiki Bar is set for tomorrow, Friday January 26th. I'm interested to see the layout of the bar and explore the creativity of owners Brian McCabe and Jeff Johnson so, I may attend the opening. It would be nice to have a peace of paradise in the land of the Muddy Mississippi.
Dwell at Shelby Farms
According to the Memphis Business Journal Memphis City Council approved a plan for "mixed-use" neighborhood at Raleigh LaGrange Road. The neighborhood would be developed in phases. Built during phase one would be 250 apartment units within four buildings. After the completion of phase one more three to four story apartments should follow. Also, named in the plan are town houses, single family homes and a senior living facility with assisted living and memory care units. By the time the project comes to an end the neighborhood should consist of a 100 units for a senior living space, 530 apartment units (250 of 530 in phase 1), 140 town homes, 160 Single family-homes. Phase 1 is scheduled to start in 2019 if things continue to go as planned.
It's a New Year, New Blessings, New Opportunities!!
So, I wanted my first blog of the year to highlight some of the incredible people that I know personally and to remind people just how deep those music roots run in Memphis. Below you'll find 4 familiar or new faces that you must add to your playlist, 4 artist that are creating their own sound within two of my favorite genres of music, R&B, and Hip-Hop. The two genres that are responsible for starting movements and making babies, or at least that's what I heard! My mommy may be reading!
Song Bird, Keri Lee
First up, meet 27-year-old Memphis native Keri Lee! At the young age of nine, Keri discovered her musical gift and so did her family.
"As soon as my family discovered I could sing, I was singing all the time at church. It wasn't always fun singing at every church function, but it definitely made me comfortable with performing. I figured I was pretty good at it since they never wanted me to stop."
My first opportunity to hang out with Keri and get to know her was by invading her NYC apartment back in 2015. We have a close mutual friend and I was visiting from Baltimore for the weekend. I can tell you first hand that the beautiful voice has a beautiful spirit to match. Oh, and if you're looking for your best match for karaoke, Keri Lee is your girl!
Keri, who as of last year started singing background for the extraordinary John Legend and has recently started a showcase called Solo Sessions with her fellow (also extremely talented) background sisters. Solo sessions were created to give other background singers a platform to step into the spotlight and showcase their talents, giving the public the opportunity to know them individually. Dope, right?? If you're in New York or the surrounding area please check out the next Solo Sessions performances on January 27, 2018, located at Rockwood Music Hall 196 Allen Street New York, NY at 10:00 pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $ 15 at the door! Check Keri's Instagram page for any updates or changes.
In between traveling all over the world sharing her gift Keri also started a Vlog to share her tour experience. I have watched them, and I must say they are inspirational and entertaining. You have to make sure you subscribe to her channel. Here is the link to the latest Vlog youtu.be/ui96JMii-5o so, go ahead and click it! As far as new music, Keri informed me that there is no new music as of right now but be sure to follow her on all social media outlets so, that when the music is released you will know.
When I asked Keri what advice she would give to someone pursuing their dream(s) she told me this.
"Go for it! You have to believe in yourself and trust God. Trust the gifts inside you."
Follow Keri on Instagram at Kerilee, Facebook at Keri Lee Music, and YouTube at Keri Lee.
Soulful Songstress, Zy Year
Next, allow me to introduce you to my old middle school homie, Miss Zaire love! It's no surprise that Zaire has taken the artist route. When we attended Hickory Ridge Middle together she was the charismatic friend with a huge personality and always entertaining. Zaire recently decided to accept that music and creating were her gifts to the world in 2017.
"Something clicked in 2017. I got this confidence. I was like...my voice, my vibe and my vision are pretty dope. Let the world know about these thangs!"
Identifying herself as a Southern Soul artist, Zaire is currently working on videos for her first project, "Beta Test", that was released in August of 2017.
"Nobody knew that I sang or wrote so, I called it Beta Test to see if folks would like it. I've gotten nothing but love on it and that makes my heart smile ya know."
If you're looking to see Zaire live she informed me that some Atlanta(Her current residence) shows are on the docket right now. Since she's just starting out she is focusing on getting on bigger platforms. She wants to be in the lineup for Memphis' Lyfe is Dope showcase this year so, we are going to aid her in speaking that into existence.
Be sure to download and listen to her first project "Beta Test", I have included the link below.
www.zyyear.com/BetaTest Also, show love on Facebook by liking Zaire's page, ZY YEAR, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @zy_year.
Zy's advice to the people:
"Do it, mane! You deserve to at least try. There's no room for regret when It comes to something you're hella passionate about."
Poetic Lyricist, Franceschi
Then, we have my annoying brother from another mother, Christopher Franceschi! The first time I heard Chris rap in front of a crowd was during a listening party that a close friend and I planned for Chris. I joked with him afterward and told him he was J.Cole's older brother, Jerry Cole, the Memphis in me can never just give loving compliments, but it was definitely a compliment. Listening to him rap reminded me of one of the most influential rappers of our time. Through his music Chris has decided to tell stories about the many realities of the black community, he has decided to tell his truth and the truth of others.
"I realized that I had the ability to capture thoughts, emotions, feelings, and transpose them into timeless music that people could vibe to."
He is currently working on an EP entitled Chixionary. This is a project that will take a deeper dive into relationships, identifying what women want vs what men think they want. He stated that the release of the EP will be slightly different than most as he will release a series of songs and visuals every other month starting February 14, 2018. February 14th will also be the debut of his first single from the EP. No other music out right now for Chris but be sure to check back in February for the EP and keep up with him on social media to see the dates for upcoming shows. Be sure to follow Chris on Instagram Twitter, and Facebook by searching Imfranceschi.
When I asked Chris what he would tell an aspiring dreamer.
"My advice would be to simply do it! Don't second guess yourself or don't be afraid.. Just Do it! Do it unapologetically!"
Lyrical Mastermind, Heavy Hustla
Last but certainly not least, Justin Pierre Reynoso! Justin and I go all the way back to da green Box (Green electrical boxes found in your local neighborhoods), firecracker wars, and e-mails before text messages were unlimited. Justin, who goes by the rap name of Heavy Hustla, is not only my friend but family and we argued as such as teenagers. I can remember being in his mother's home while beats were made, or sitting in the car with our other friends listening to CDs with burned tracks on them. Fast Forward to now and Justin is more involved in his music than ever before.
Justin just released a new project called, "Hieroglyphs". It was released on Monday, January 15, 2018 on all streaming platforms.
"I realized younger in my life around 11 or 12 years old that music was a passion of mine, but I truly realized this was my gift to the world during my first and only year in college. I released a song called, "Stay Fresh" which gathered the attention of a lot of people and shined a little light on me. To have people outside of my immediate circle recognize and relate to my music, it was instant motivation to continue to provide that experience and gift."
Although Justin no longer lives in Memphis he is still very aware of the issues the city faces and brings attention to them within his music. His second most recent release from his label, Black Roses Music Group, "Color of the Night" is a politically charged single that takes a stance on the war against the black race and the war the black race has against each other. Videos have been filmed for that single and another entitled "Too Involved" which are available on his Youtube Channel @HustlazPOV (https://www.youtube.com/user/HustlazPOV). Too Involved is also available on all streaming outlets for purchase. No upcoming shows, but after the release of his latest project on 1/15/18 he will be performing at every open mic available between Memphis and Atlanta. Follow Justin on Instagram, Facebook, & Snap Chat @HeavyHustla901. YouTube @HustlazPOV and Contact him at: MyBlackRosesMG@gmail.com
Justin's words of wisdom:
"Fearlessly chase your dream now! Wasted time shortens your clock for success"
Keri Lee, Zaire Love, Christopher Franceschi, and Justin Reynoso are four of the dopest and most hardworking artist to come out of Memphis, TN. I believe that soon their names will be mentioned all throughout the Hip Hop and R&B industry adding them to list of legends to be birthed here. These beautiful, black, socially conscious kings and queens are the definitions of using your platform effectively. They aren't just making music but are involved in their communities, understand the power of music, and the importance of following your dreams. Thank you for being a positive and inspirational representation of Memphis!
And thank you all for reading.Many Blessings, love, peace, and prosperity to you and yours!