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City makes plans to revive South City building
City makes plans to revive vacant South City building
Posted on 03/08/2019
After careful review, the City’s Division of Housing and Community Development has made a decision on redevelopment plans for MLK Student Transition Academy (620 South Lauderdale Street) and Georgia Avenue Elementary (690 Mississippi Boulevard).

MLK Academy rendering “Our goal is to activate these vacant buildings and replace blighted structures in the community,” Housing and Community Development Director Paul Young said. “By activating vacant structures, it can have a positive effect on the entire neighborhood.”   

The City, in partnership with Memphis Housing Authority, has options to acquire both buildings from Shelby County Schools as part of the South City redevelopment project, which helps address blight in the area. Combined, the schools consist of more than 228,500 square feet of space and more than three acres of vacant land. In the letters of interest, prospective tenants were asked whether they had adequate resources to support their proposal, how their services could compliment the vision of South City, and how they could serve the community economically. 

After reviewing eight letters of interest, the City determined that there was not sufficient demand for the space in Georgia Avenue to support a financially feasible redevelopment effort. Therefore, it made more sense to focus on the MLK Student Transition Academy and develop a fully occupied development at that location.

There are two neighborhood initiatives that were identified in the South City Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant application that the City anticipated would be part of the Georgia Avenue development: an early childhood education center and a Girls Inc. center. In order to honor the City’s commitment to HUD, these components are priorities for the development. Therefore, it is being contemplated, in addition to other options, that Girls Inc. and the early childhood education center will be housed in MLK Student Transition Academy, along with various community spaces that can be used for board meetings, non-profits and community events. 
MLK Student Transition Academy consists of a three-story primary building and a two-story secondary building as well as two gymnasiums, making it an ideal fit for a multi-use property. 

The Shelby County School Board will determine the next steps for Georgia Avenue Elementary. 
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