One of the reasons I started this blog was because I was tired of hearing people say that there was nothing to do in Memphis, adding to the negative publicity. I wanted to create an outlet that would help display the real Memphis, the Memphis that my friends and I get to experience. I’m so proud of where I’m from and take every chance I get to showcase my city and its people. That’s why when a friend mentioned to me that he and some other friends were starting a movement that would be working toward accomplishing a similar goal I had to know more. They too had grown tired of people complaining about the lack of entertainment and networking opportunities in our city and decided to do something about it. Instead of just sitting back and waiting for someone else to fix what they felt Memphis needed they created “The Urban Elite”, bringing the city a new premier entertainment and networking option to add to its list. Justin Boddie, Kenneth Fleming, Mario Pendarvis, Ruffin Smith, Rashod Traylor, and Tim Jordan II created The Urban Elite "to provide Memphis' urban young professionals with unique and alternative forms of entertainment and networking that intentionally focuses on their cultural experiences. Providing a platform for our demographic to create, promote, and participate in entertainment opportunities for the culture... by the culture..... created to unite the culture.” Explained by Urban Elite Co-founder Tim Jordan.
The group held their first successful event on April 21, 2018, with the kickoff event being a summer brunch series. Indulge, But First, Brunch! Is a day party brunch experience designed to give you good food, drinks, day party vibes, and music wrapped all in one. I had the pleasure of attending their first event and as a brunch connoisseur I recommend and approve of this brunch. Being able to brunch and hit a day party on the same day without traveling to a different venue warms my heart. I was able to hang with some of my friends from college that I don’t get to see often as well as meet some new people. There is a picture below depicting the time I had at the brunch, Issa mood. The location was downtown which makes it extremely easy to find your next spot if you want to continue to kick it. OH! There is a price option for you to have your own bottle of champagne. YAAAA OWNNNN BOTTLEEEE!! (Drink responsibly, always) Fellas you may even find yourself a summer bae because you know brunching brings the women out!
These men have taken on the challenge of being the change they want to see but still making sure to support those who have already made the same effort.
“We only want to provide choices, not competition! We aren't here to chase after what others are doing, we are focused on staying in our lane and providing opportunities that others aren't at this point. We are eager to be a force of positive energy and support for others in the city to ensure everyone understands that success is attainable for all and Memphis will be a better place for us all as a result.” says Tim Jordan.
It is so encouraging to see so many people contributing to changing the culture of a stagnant Memphis. Whether it is with programs for the kids, community projects, or evolving the arts Memphis millennial have committed to Memphis and making it a better city for all. We have realized that the city’s issues cannot be handled alone, and it is up to the residents to change the direction of where things are headed. It is so easy for one to just pick up and move on with their life, so I applaud everyone who is taking the effort to make Memphis a better place. I know fighting for change can be a little tough but nothing worth having has ever come easily. Let’s make sure we take the mindset of the founders of Urban Elite by creating choices, not competition and finding solutions to our problems. Let’s also be sure to support each other, keep each other safe, and show that Memphis is not to be counted out! We are more than violence, poverty, or whatever other labels people have given us. Take pride in where you are from and give back to your communities!!
The Urban Elite has their second installment of Indulge..... But First, Brunch coming up soon. Saturday, June 30, 2018, at BrickWood Hall, 391 S Front St. The Urban Elite will be giving you the opportunity to let your guards down, be yourself, have a good time enjoying the culture with like-minded individuals, all in a safe environment. Tickets are currently on sale to purchase! Pricing descriptions and links are below.
The different entry options include either 2 complimentary mimosas or YOUR OWN bottle of champagne and shared carafes of juice.
To purchase your Tickets & V.I.P Booth Reservations visit: indulgebutfirstbrunch.eventbrite.com
Can't wait to see your faces!
“Treeform Memphis” art installation will soon be in a vacant Memphis lot near you. Making its U.S. debut in Memphis, the art installation is Designed by Parisian architectural firm Atelier YokYok. Installed at A.W. Willis Avenue Medical district, the art will mimic a forest and tree canopy, according to the Memphis Business Journal. This installation will also include original work by a local artist Cat Pena. There is a Facebook page dedicated to the installation (@TreedomMemphis) and there will be a discussion on the installation at Crosstown Concourse on June 3, 2018, from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. More information and pictures may be found on the firm’s webpage. Please click the link provided. www.atelieryokyok.comLink for the Crosstown Concourse event http://crosstownarts.org/calendar/yokyok-from-france-to-memphis/
In addition to the TDZ expansion, the City filed for a $1.4 million building permit for renovations to the Mississippi River Park, located near the entrance of Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. The plan includes building open-air dining pavilions out of deconstructed shipping containers and elevated tree houses similar to a bird’s nest, turning Beale Street Landing into a community hub, turning Mud Island into an eco-hub, adding a skate park, playground, and rock climbing wall. President and CEO of the River Park Partnership, Carol Coletta, was quoted stating that work should begin the first week of June and be completed after Labor Day. The hope is for the park to host the 2018 RiverArtsFest.
The old central train station will soon have 124 hotel rooms, a 3,500 square foot restaurant, a 6,700 square foot ballroom and an 8,000 square foot retail space along with the Amtrak Station. Under construction, next door is the seven-screen Malco movie theater which will have balcony seating, electric recliners, a restaurant and bar, and an eight outdoor screen and lounge rooftop. The theater is set to open near Thanksgiving.
Sooooo The University of Memphis (really the University District) has decided to just fill the area with restaurants, apartments, and bars long after I graduated. New to Highland Strip is The Bluff, Insomnia Cookie, Petra Café, Burgerim, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, and Maciel’s Taco Shop. I’m salty but happy for the current and future Tigers. Now, the FedEx Institute of Technology is working on creating self-driving shuttles buses and small robotic deliveries. As stated by Memphis Business Journal reporter, Michelle Corbet, “The DRONES Innovation Research Cluster is looking for a proposal that will introduce these autonomous systems to explore the social, psychological and practical challenges of those interacting within the City.” There was also a mention of expanding the route of the school’s campus shuttle, The Blue Line.
Whitehaven Entertainment Center
According to the Memphis Business Journal, there is a plan being submitted to bring a 74,000 square foot retail and entertainment center with a trampoline park to the Whitehaven community. The trampoline park would be located next to the Kroger on Shelby Drive and Elvis Presley. The renovated center is expected to create roughly 109 jobs. The wages for the jobs will average $9.70 per hour but hopefully, they will end up being a little more.
Raiford's Hollywood Disco
We may have a new patio to add to the city’s list. Raiford’s Hollywood Disco on 115 Vance Ave will soon be home to a new restaurant and bar. Owners of the WKDN Hang Suite Bar and Lounge in Nashville are expanding outside of Nashville for the first time. No projected date for an opening but the owners hope to take over the space by late summer or early fall.
Collierville will soon have a new subdivision aimed towards retirees. Named “Quinn Ridge”, the subdivision will be located to the south of Collierville. Quinn Ridge will be developed as a 543 residential lot, built in 14 phases over 10 years. The homes will be no smaller than 2,500 square feet with the average price being 500,000 as told by The Memphis Business Journal. The proposal won’t be considered until June 14, 2018.
We all know how amazing St. Jude is but it seems that they have decided to take things a little further. In addition to their 2015 expansion plan and $412 million research center that is set to open in 2021, St. Jude just announced a $100 million-plus initiative to expand access of care to children in low and middle incomes countries. (See full article written by the Commercial Appeal) This initiative will help St. Jude help children in places like Nicaragua, Jordan, and Philippines.
27 W. Carolina Ave could soon be an apartment complex with 57 units and 8,000 square feet of the ground floor being retail space. This complex would be just south of Loflin Yard. According to the Memphis Business Journal, the project’s desired completion date would be the middle of 2019.
Regional One (often referred to as the Med) is seeking a 5-6-year $300 million redevelopment plan for the facility. The plan would include demolishing and rebuilding some of the 6 buildings on the hospital’s main campus as published by the Commercial Appeal. With most of the buildings being 45 to 50 years old the trauma center is well overdue for redevelopments. I personally hope they get the funds that they need! The Med has been saving lives since before I could remember, one special life being my oldest sister who was in a car accident in the mid-90s that could have been fatal. This place will always have my respect, support, and love.
Hey y'all! So, there is so much going in Memphis that I had to break it up into two separate blogs. We have redevelopments, new restaurants, and initiatives contributing to the growth and potential of Memphis. I encourage you all to stay informed and get involved so that we can continue to show the world the real Memphis.
Now when you go rent a movie you may now be able to grab a book as well! Memphis Public Libraries has gifted the city with “ReadBox”, a brilliant play on the popular movie and game rental the Redbox. The Readbox has already been spotted at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, Crosstown Concourse, and in front of the Walgreens on Getwell. Follow them on Facebook @Memphispubliclibraries and I have provided the link to the web page. www.memphislibraries.org/
Okay, don’t judge me but I LOVE Piccadilly! (If you know me you know that though) I used to eat it so much while in college. I still have moments where I buy it a couple of times in one week so when I heard a new one was opening I had to let the people know. The new location will be in Cordova on Germantown Pkwy and will be only for to-go orders. This will be the companies first-to-go location. The new location is set to open in June of this year.
The airport has a new Italian-Themed restaurant called Torn Basil. Torn Basil is located near gate A27 offering pizza, meatballs, salads, sandwiches, and a breakfast menu.
South Main Grocery Store
Although there is a huge Kroger on Union Avenue near S. Mclean Blvd residents who live further Downtown feel that they are at a disadvantage when it comes to grocery shopping. For years they have desired a grocery store that they could possibly walk to or is a short drive away. It took some time, but this May it was announced that a 25, 0000 square foot grocery is being developed for South Main Street. 136 Webster Ave. will hopefully be a full-service grocery store by the end of 2018. The owner of the location is looking for a tenant but will start small and open the grocery store on his own if no companies are interested.
If you have ever been to Crosstown Concourse, then you know that there are a million things in that building. If you live there you basically wouldn’t have to leave your apartment for much except new scenery and soon there will be even more. A new plant-based café will be opening soon located on the second floor and 425- seat black box theater will be opening this fall. “The café will provide free meals to the arts organization’s residents, cater the organization’s events, and be open to the public for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar will be open nightly for residents and the public” as written by Memphis Business Journal Reporter, Jacob Steimer. You can follow Crosstown Concourse on Instagram (@crosstownconcourse) to see the progress of the theater.
A Soulsville retail building will soon be redeveloped and include a restaurant. Memphian Derrick Craig has hopes of opening “Johnnie Mae’s Soul Cafe” in honor of his mother as well as opening other options that would attract the attention of the students of Lemoyne- Owen College. Johnnie Mae’s menu will include soul food, healthy options, and a bar. This project would bring much-needed life to the area and maybe even help draw attention to Memphis’ Historically Black College.
100 N. Main
The tallest building in Memphis (34 stories) will hopefully become home to a 550 room Hotel with 220 apartments according to the Memphis Business Journal. With the city’s blessing a New York-based townhouse management company will be turning 100 N. Main into a large convention center hotel. If approved and finalized the project will also include the redevelopment of the 103,000-square-foot building at 147 Jefferson Ave.
Memphis is set to get a pro football team. Earlier this month I read in the Commercial Appeal that Memphis would be apart of The Alliance of American Football League in 2019. A press conference was held and named Mike Singletary as the head coach. It appears that Memphis previously had franchises in the World Football League, Arena Football, USFL, Canadian Football League and the XFL. I also had no idea that we temporarily housed the Tennessee Titans back in 1997. Who knew!
If you frequent down Poplar Ave near Poplar Commons Shopping Center (Poplar and Perkins Extd) you have noticed that the area has been under heavy redevelopment. Recently, May 23, 2018, a restaurant called Chicken Salad Chick opened making it the newest restaurant to the area. Chicken Salad Chick, referred to on their website as “The Best Chicken Salad in the South”, has a variety of chicken salad, soups, sides, and more. I even read that soon a Smoothie King and a HopDoddy Burger will join the area. Apparently, a building permit was filed in May of 2017 for the Hopdoddy Burger Bar but I guess I was so hype about the Overton Square location that I missed that information. No set date for the opening of Smoothie King or Hopdoddy but I imagine they will both be open before or by the end of this year.
Riverfront and Mud Island
When I moved back to Memphis in 2016 there was a proposal to add the Riverfront and Mud Island River Park to the TDZ (Tourism Development Zone) redevelopment plan. The TDZ already included projects for the Pinch District, Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid, and the renovation of the Cook Convention Center. On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, it was confirmed on the City’s website that the addition was approved by the State. The approval means that the Brooks Museum will more than likely be moving Downtown with Front and Union possibly being its new home, $125 million aquarium for Mud Island, and a pedestrian bridge connecting riverfront to the rest of downtown. The next move for the city will be to conduct feasibility studies for the new projects according to the Memphis Business Journal. Check out the City's website for more information and sign up for e-mil updates.