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Southern Revival

In the heart of Memphis, Tennessee, in an historic yet seemingly forgotten downtown building, a city sets on regenerating an entire community.

Memphis, Tennessee

Crosstown history

A massive art deco high-rise located in Memphis, Tennessee, the Sears Crosstown building was originally designed by Nimmons & Co. and its first phase completed in 1927. The Crosstown Building was a premiere Sears retail store for over 60 years and at its height, 1,500 people worked there. However, it fell into vacancy in the early 1990s and until recently, it has stood as a ghostly, depressed sign of the times. Now, as a result of the commitment of a dedicated group of partners, it’s growing into a beacon of hope and renewal.

Founding partners

Brought together by the vision and dedication of Memphis’s Todd Richardson and Christopher Miner, the Crosstown Collaborative, which includes DIALOG, is resurrecting the building as a mixed-used vertical urban village. Guided by a regenerative design framework, all proponents have come together around a shared core vision of health, well-being and creative exchange. Commitments from nine founding partners are already set to occupy over 600,000 sq. ft. of the building. These partners range from major healthcare providers, to educational institutions, and non-profit arts organizations including: ALSAC,
Church Health Center,
Crosstown Arts,
Gestalt Community Schools,
Memphis Teacher Residency,
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare,
Rhodes College,
and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Creative regeneration

From Elvis Presley to B.B. King, Justin Timberlake to Otis Redding, Memphis is among the most important and defining sites in the history of American art. The Crosstown community is filled with that historic sense of creative pride and a commitment to the arts is one of the project’s defining elements. The Crosstown Arts project (LINK) 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.

Community energy

From coarse-grained calculations, a Biomass plant within Crosstown is feasible, both for internal use and as part of a community energy scheme. An internal thermal plant saves in energy costs per year, while a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant saves even more. A district 3.5 MW, 9.6 Million Btu/hour CHP option provides thermal and electricity needs for the entire project plus services a mix of other neighbouring users including health care, educational and residential, for a total of 2.5 million square feet, with a combined potential energy savings of millions of dollars per year, meaning the the plant could pay for itself in short order.

Urban magnets

Organized around the key principles of Urban Magnets (unique built form, production, education, local commerce, events programming) the project extends out from its Art Deco shell and represents a purposeful collective of mixed uses. It integrates programs as diverse as cancer treatment, recreation facilities, community gardens, a 500-seat performance theatre, a gallery, a high school, a teachers’ residency, office space, and residential units. It is a remarkable concept that has as much, and likely more potential to influence and regenerate the surrounding community as mixed-use projects such as Granville Island.

Project facts

Size: 1.5 Million Sq. ft.
Cost: $180 Million (approximately)
Collaborators: 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

Memphis Business Quarterly-Innovation Awards


Watch "CROSSTOWN CONCOURSE: CONSTRUCTION UPDATE" on @Vimeo #dialog #crosstown #memphis

1 year ago

RT @choose901: Here's the complete info on what's going down at #Crosstown w/ photos from today's event -> http://t.…

2 years ago

Southern Revival: Couldn't be more proud of our Canadian contribution to #crosstown. Congrats To all of #Memphis

2 years ago

Historic Pictures, Renderings of #Crosstown Project #memphis #dialog

2 years ago

Crosstown Building Project Kicks Off with Block Party #crosstown

2 years ago