ULI to Offer Redevelopment Recommendations for Mid-South Coliseum and Fairgrounds Site in Memphis


Nationally Renowned Panel of Land Use and Urban Planning Experts to Visit the City June 7-12

WASHINGTON (June 3, 2015) — A panel of nationally renowned land use and urban planning experts has been convened by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to make recommendations to the City of Memphis regarding the redevelopment and reuse of the Mid-South Coliseum and Fairgrounds site in the center of the city. ULI is a global, multidisciplinary research and education institute whose 35,000-plus members are dedicated to responsible land use and creating thriving communities around the world.

Conducted through ULI’s advisory services program, the panel, comprised of members representing different aspects of the real estate and urban development industry, will be visiting the city June 7-12. The panel’s assignment involves:

Reviewing the most recent Fairgrounds redevelopment market studies against ULI’s experience with other similar redevelopments to determine the current accuracy of the data, and what adjustments, if any, the city should consider in determining future uses;
Determining whether a sports tourism destination facility would succeed at the Fairgrounds, and if so, which elements and venues it would likely comprise; and if not, which destination use alternatives might succeed in drawing national and regional tourism to the Fairgrounds site;
Exploring whether a self-supporting, financeable, and profitable use exists for the Coliseum, and if so, which uses might be the most successful;
Recommending an appropriate self-supporting, financeable, and profitable mix of retail, hospitality, office, and residential uses that could occupy the northern portion of the Fairgrounds site;
Suggesting ways the development could best benefit the surrounding neighborhoods and link the neighborhoods to the Fairgrounds; and
Reviewing the city’s existing suite of redevelopment tools and recommending additional implementation measures.
Panelists will spend the first part of the visit evaluating the site and meeting with numerous stakeholders and other members of the community before preparing their initial recommendations, which will be delivered at the conclusion of the week.

Now in its 68th year, the ULI advisory services panel program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panels have developed more than 600 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from the redevelopment of waterfront properties to sports stadiums; most recently, a ULI panel made recommendations on reuses for the Houston Astrodome.

The advisory panel is being chaired by longtime ULI leader Leigh Ferguson, director of economic development for the Downtown Development District for the city of New Orleans. Ferguson, a developer with more than 35 years of experience in the industry, is a widely renowned expert on downtown revitalization, affordable housing, mixed-use development and partnerships with public and non-profit entities. “ULI looks forward to bringing the expertise of its members to Memphis,” said Ferguson, who has chaired numerous ULI advisory service panels. “We hope to demonstrate how the Memphis Fairgrounds and Coliseum might best be repurposed as a destination that adds to the economic, environmental and social well-being of the entire community, recognizing the site’s history and the vision of the folks in Memphis.”

In addition to Ferguson, other panelists are: Stanley Lowe, president and chief executive officer, Pittsburgh Neighborhood Preservation Services, Pittsburgh; Nathan Watson, president, Tradition Properties, Inc., Biloxi, Mississippi; Ellen Mendelsohn, director of leadership, ULI, Washington, D.C.; Michael Medick, architect and town planner, BSB Design, Inc.; Alexandria, Virginia; Tom Murphy, senior resident fellow, ULI/Klingbeil Family Chair for Urban Development, ULI, Washington, D.C.; Alysia Osborne, planning coordinator – long range planning services, Charlotte – Mecklenburg Planning Department, Charlotte, North Carolina; and Stephen Whitehouse, partner, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners PLLC, New York City.

According to Thomas Eitler, vice president of ULI’s advisory services program, the strength of the program lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the substantial knowledge of its members, including land developers, engineers, public officials, academics, lenders, architects, planners and urban designers. “The independent views of the panelists bring a fresh perspective to the land use challenge,” Eitler said. “The advisory services program is about offering creative, innovative approaches to community building.”

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: The ULI panel’s recommendations will be presented at 10 a.m. Central Time on Friday, June 12, at the Peabody Memphis in the Venetian Ballroom. The event is open to the public.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org) is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 35,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

For more information, contact: Trisha Riggs at 202-624-7086

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