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The Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County (EDGE) Board met on December 13 and approved $4.2 million for the acquisition and refurbishment of the parking garage and service areas located at 22 North B.B. King Boulevard in support of the redevelopment of the Sterick Building. EDGE will refurbish the space and then lease it to Constellation Properties LLC.

This purchase facilitates the necessary parking needed to proceed with development of the Sterick Building. Built in 1929, the building was once one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. It has sat empty since 1986. The EDGE Board believes that this redevelopment is vital to the continued economic development and viability of downtown Memphis. Commercial activity in the area will create and support jobs in the city.

“The Memphis economy has momentum, and I like the way we are developing our city,” said City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “As much as possible, we are redeveloping existing buildings and maintaining the character of Memphis. The Sterick Building is another example and an important project for city government and EDGE to support.”

“EDGE is committed to finding innovative ways to leverage the public resources and tools we have to spur economic growth and opportunities for all citizens.” said, Dr. Joann Massey, EDGE Vice President of Operations “The creative support of this project is one of those ways we are helping move Memphis Forward.”

Additionally, the Economic Development Finance Committee met and approved three Inner City Economic Development (ICED) Loans. These are small, forgivable loans built to spark revitalization in distressed neighborhoods.

Terrence Banks, owner of The Grille at Hickory Hill, a local restaurant operating in an area that is underserved by healthier dining options, received a $25,000 ICED Loan to help with exterior lighting and building interior improvements at 3200 Hickory Hill Road. Tabitha Cole received a $25,000 ICED Loan to assist with renovations at Hillboyz, a family-run restaurant catering to a diverse clientele of all ages, located at 3711 Lamar Avenue. Planned interior improvements will facilitate five to 10 new employees in the coming months. Damion Lumsden, owner of Jamaican restaurant JamRack at 150 North Avalon Street, received a $25,000 ICED Loan for improvements to the kitchen space, including a vent hood, gas line relocation, plumbing, and paint.

“By supporting small, locally owned restaurants, we not only celebrate the diversity of cuisines available in Memphis, but also invest back into our own communities,” said Dr. Joann Massey, EDGE Vice President of Operations. “The ICED Loans program is a testament to our shared commitment to preserving and promoting the distinctive character of Memphis neighborhoods.”