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Southern Revival

In the heart of Memphis, Tennessee, is the awakened community of Crosstown. The genesis of this urban revival dates back to 1927, where a premier Sears retail store animated the community. At its height, this Art Deco building housed 1,500 employees. Over time, shifting demographics and population depletion in Memphis’ urban core led to the store’s closure. As time passed, the building’s 1.5 million sq ft fell into disrepair. Some thought the building and community unsalvageable. Those some thought wrong. This is a story of the regeneration of an entire community-lost.

Memphis, Tennessee

An American Legacy

Today, through a radical and successful transformation, this 90-year-old building is on the precipice of its new life. Renamed Crosstown Concourse, its rebirth is a celebration of community, history, inclusivity and possibility. Crosstown is a product of a new kind of American dream. Not for ‘Me’, but for ‘We’. Implicit to its success is the comradery and ambitions of its current community who view Crosstown as an opportunity to elevate the quality of life in the neighbourhood, and beyond. Brought together by the vision and dedication of Memphis’s Todd Richardson, Christopher Miner, McLean Wilson, and the architecture firm, Looney Ricks Kiss in association with DIALOG, a mixed-used vertical urban village now buzzes with life.

A Vertical Village

Anchored in arts, education, healthcare and commerce, the project extends out from its Art Deco shell to represent a purposeful collective of mixed uses. It integrates a diverse range of programs, including a cancer treatment centre, community gardens, a 500-seat performance theatre, the local high school and office space. There are also some 270 private residences, which are all connected to the surrounding community through a series of open-air plazas and gardens.


Inside, the connecting corridors and atria have been designed as dynamic architectural environments, inspiring movement and exploration through the space. Brick walls, exposed structure, concrete floors, and natural light are intrinsic to Parcels – Concourse’s residences. These characteristics, paired with found building relics, natural finishes, creative use of building materials, and thoughtful space planning, further enhance the entire environment and ensure a uniquely textured lifestyle.

Clean Living

Crosstown is an example of regenerative development – the emerging idea that true sustainability comes from the symbiotic relationship between people, organizations, form and function. Not only does the building meet strict environmental requireemnts, but it also promotes a sustainable lifestyle which enhances the overall community experience. Specific sustainability features include a district 3.5 MW, 9.6 Million Btu/hour CHP which provides thermal and electricital needs for the entire project, plus neighbouring health care, educational and residential facilities. This represents potential energy savings in the millions of dollars per year.

Creative Regeneration

From Elvis Presley to B.B. King, Justin Timberlake to Otis Redding, Memphis is among the most important and defining places in the history of American art. The Crosstown community is proud of its creative roots, and a commitment to the arts is one of the project’s defining elements. The Crosstown Arts project is generating important dialogue around community building through ventures like film screenings, urban ballets, public art exhibitions, lectures and food festivals. It is a central site for discussion about city building and sustainability, health and economic prosperity. Overall, Crosstown is demonstrating the potential of regenerative design not just through the building and its immediate site, but to the broader communities of Memphis.

Project facts

Size: 1.5 Million Sq. ft.
Cost: $200 Million
Completed: 2017
In association with : Looney Ricks Kiss; and Todd Richardson, McLean Wilson, Gayla Burks, Bologna Consultants, Crosstown Arts, All World Project Management, Community Capital, Doug Carpenter & Associates, Grinder, Taber & Grinder, Universal Commercial Real Estate

Achievements & Awards

AIA 2019 Award for Architecture

Congress of New Urbanism – Grand Prize

AIA Memphis – Honor Award of Excellence

Thomas W Briggs Foundation – Community Impact Award

Memphis Area Association of Realtors – Community Impact Awards

Memphis Business Quarterly – Innovation Awards