Two Memphis businesses are expanding, attracting major development in the city. The EDGE Board approved a $220 million PILOT (Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes) for Richardson Oilseed to improve and enlarge its 1351 Williams Ave facility. This 15-year Expansion PILOT will retain 105 jobs with an average salary of $76,000.
“Bringing family sustainable jobs to Super District 8 has always been a priority during my time with City Council. Richardson Oilseed paying the wages of $76,000 is more of what we want to see,” said Memphis City Council Chairman Martavius Jones.
The investment includes $100 million in new construction and site improvements and $120 million in new personal property.
Shelby County Commission Chairman Mickell Lowery sees Richardson Oilseed’s expansion as a win for Memphis. “I am happy to see the $220 million in investment in the Richardson Oilseed facility and especially over 100 quality jobs for our community,” he said. “I hope others will see that District 8 is investable.”
Formerly Conagra Foods, Richardson Oilseed acquired its current location, along with the Wesson brand, in 2019 to expand their refining, processing, and packaging operations in the United States. The company considered locations in Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri. Encouraged by EDGE incentives, the company chose Memphis. EDGE’s PILOT will allow Richardson to upgrade and replace the old oil refinery and processing equipment and remain in Memphis.
“We were excited when Richardson Oil contacted our office to discuss their expansion,” said Trey McKnight, EDGE Senior Economic Development Specialist. “Our next step was to include our partners, like the Greater Memphis Chamber and others, to bring everyone to the table, working together.”
The property to be occupied currently produces $89,203 in City of Memphis and Shelby County property taxes a year. Estimated annual property taxes will increase to an average of $718,814 during the PILOT term and $2,876,254 after PILOT termination. Staff projects $27 million in total local tax revenues to be received during the PILOT term. Richardson Oilseed is required to spend $42 million with City of Memphis and Shelby County certified minority and women business enterprises (MWBEs).
The EDGE board approved an additional expansion project—the Link on Broad Avenue apartments will gain additional buildings to support redevelopment of a blighted property. Grubb Management, LLC, a North Carolina corporation, and LPI Memphis, a Tennessee corporation, received a 15-year Residential PILOT to construct approximately 200 apartment units and ancillary commercial space at the intersection of Broad Avenue and Bingham Street. The mix of uses is projected to be 53 studio apartments, 114 one-bedroom units, 33 two-bedroom units, along with 13,750 square feet of retail or other active uses facing Broad Avenue, and 63,000 square feet of self-storage in the rear of the remaining warehouse.
Projects like Link on Broad Avenue have transformed the area, adding value and density to the once empty lots.
“It’s hard to believe the Broad Avenue MemFix event was 13 years ago, with demonstration bike lanes and pop-up shops in buildings with dirt floors across from 15 acres of old, obsolete warehouses,” said John Lawrence, Vice President of Economic Development at EDGE. “Today there’s barely a vacancy anywhere on the historic south side of the street. Thanks to a creative development team, the north side will soon be a complete mixed-use community of homes and commercial space.”
This nearly $68 million project is supported by the Historic Broad Avenue Arts Alliance and complies with the City’s comprehensive plan, the Memphis 3.0 Anchor Strategy, to build population density. Staff projects almost $16 million in total local tax revenues to be received during the PILOT term and requires $14 million spending with City of Memphis or Shelby County certified minority and women owned businesses (MWBEs).
The Economic Development Finance Committee also met and approved three Inner City Economic Development (ICED) Loans, small forgivable loans to spark revitalization in distressed neighborhoods. Glennell Smith, owner of A Taste of Glenny in Whitehaven, received a $25,000 ICED Loan for building improvements to her restaurant on 972 East Brooks Road. Total project costs qualified for the ICED program are $62,501 and is supported by Greater Whitehaven Economic Redevelopment Corporation.
Whendy Merryman and Lori Brown of Summer Ave. Art & Clay received a $25,000 Inner City Economic Development (ICED) Loan to help renovate 3221 Summer, replace the building’s roof, and expand studio space in the facility. Total project costs qualified for the ICED program are $47,350. Bianca Price, owner of natural hair salon The Locing Barber on 6050 Knight Arnold, received a $15,714 ICED Loan for building renovations. Total project costs qualified for the ICED program are $23,572 and is supported by Power Center Community Development Corporation.
“Today’s meetings were a good example of EDGE’s toolkit that our team uses to spur economic growth from neighborhood businesses to large corporate expansions across Memphis/Shelby County,” said EDGE Vice President of Operations Joann Massey. “Our strategic plan going forward includes raising visibility of our activity and the data-based outcomes.”