Sears Crosstown being brought back to life - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Sears Crosstown being brought back to life

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After nearly 20 years, Sears Crosstown is being brought back to life with a development plan that builds UP. After nearly 20 years, Sears Crosstown is being brought back to life with a development plan that builds UP.
Memorandums of understanding have been signed with 9 organizations to occupy 600-thousand square feet of the historic building. Memorandums of understanding have been signed with 9 organizations to occupy 600-thousand square feet of the historic building.
Todd Richardson says Sears Crosstown is "a vertical urban village that's grounded in arts, education, health, and wellness". Todd Richardson says Sears Crosstown is "a vertical urban village that's grounded in arts, education, health, and wellness".
Dr. Scott Morris says the Church Health Center plans to re-locate its entire operation to Sears Crosstown. Dr. Scott Morris says the Church Health Center plans to re-locate its entire operation to Sears Crosstown.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - In 1993, the Sears Crosstown distribution center shut down.

Now after nearly 20 years, the idle building is being brought back to life, with a unique development plan, that builds up.

Action News was the only television news station to go inside the old Sears building, and to find out who's moving in.

When Todd Richardson walks through the Crosstown Sears Building, he doesn't see 1.5 million square feet of moth-balled space from Memphis' past…he sees the future.

"It's a vertical urban village that's grounded in arts, education, health, and wellness," said Richardson.

Richardson is part of the Sears Crosstown Development Team.

The group has signed memorandums of understanding with 9 organizations, Founding Partners, that have agreed to occupy 600-thousand square feet of the historic building to help build that vertical urban village.

The Church Health Center is all in.

The health care provider for the under-insured and working poor plans to re-locate its entire operation to Sears Crosstown, including the clinic and health and wellness center.

"Something wonderful is happening in Memphis, right now," said Dr. Scott Morris with CHC.  "We are putting everything into this building because of the value of being under one roof.  So we will have to have a capital campaign--we're in the midst right now of raising money--30 million dollars, we have a 10 million dollar challenge gift.  If anyone wants to support us that would be great," he added.

Other founding partners include:

  • ALSAC--the fundraising arm for St. Jude.
  • Crosstown Arts, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting and show-casing local talent.
  • Gestalt Community Schools, a K-12 college prep charter school.
  • Memphis Teacher Residency, a non-profit that recruits teachers to serve in urban areas.
  • Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
  • Rhodes College
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • The West Clinic, the Mid-South's premier cancer care provider.

"They're taking their own time and their own money and investing in this long process," stated Todd.

An investment that extends to how the space is re-designed for each partner, and how they will work together.

"So they're committing to not only space in the building, but they're committing to each other, because now they're working with LRK to figure out how their programs can be integrated together.  It's not just about co-locating," Todd said.

"It's about creating an amazing community in Memphis," said Scott.  "It's about the future of Memphis."

The future of Memphis, and the promise held in an iconic building.

There is no firm date as to when the space will be renovated, and begin leasing the property, but all parties involved are confident the plan will move forward.

For more information on the Crosstown Development Project, click here.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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