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A performing arts training center, multi-use space, and entrepreneur business development center were all green-lighted after receiving Inner City Economic Development (ICED) loan approval.

Fine arts instructor Venise Settles has launched a non-profit training center for visual and performing arts called Venture South Productions. Settles was approved for a $20,000 ICED loan to complete roof and exterior repairs, interior upgrades, and HVAC installation to the 90-year-old building at 2622 Poplar Avenue. Total project costs are  $41,100.

Adult art, dance, and poetry classes are scheduled to begin in January, while an arts program for children 6 to 17 is planned for summer. Additional workshops will be scheduled throughout the year.

Settles has a Master of Fine Arts in Acting and Performing Arts from the New School of Drama in New York. She has worked as a communications and acting instructor with the University of Memphis and Shelby County Schools in addition to sharing her talents with Hattiloo Theatre and Playhouse on the Square.

A sentimental space for a Memphis entrepreneur will soon be transformed into Springdale Salon. Rochelle Bowen is an entrepreneur. Her grandfather once owned the building located at 1149 Springdale Street on the northern border of the Vollintine Evergreen Community. Bowen received approval for a $20,000 ICED loan that will assist in bringing two new businesses to the space.

Bowen will operate the Springdale Salon from the southern retail bay. She will rent the northern retail bay to a store operator that sells fresh fruit and vegetables. The loan will help Bowen renovate the 1,320 square foot building constructed in 1930 by repairing interior walls, floors, and ceilings, replacing exterior wood around windows, and installing new plumbing. Total project costs are $73,000. Bowen is a graduate of Tennessee State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration and Planning. She is a Dangerous Goods Administrator with FedEx.

The final project to receive approval at today’s Economic Development Finance Committee Meeting was the Heights Community Development Corporation. The Heights CDC was approved for a $25,000 ICED Loan to help renovate 3386 Bowen Street. The space will be used to create a business development center for neighborhood entrepreneurs. Total project costs are $47,300.

The Heights CDC has worked to improve housing, public spaces, and the economy of the Highland Heights neighborhood since 2016. The Cochran Building on Bowen Street was originally a grocery store with apartments above. This vacant, deteriorating two-story building is one of the most visible properties in the area. The Heights CDC, working with the current property owner, will restore the 2,650-square-foot building and create space for four new businesses. The first tenant will be Cxffeeblack, a business that has outgrown another Highland Heights storefront.

The Cochran Building was constructed in 1925. The loan will help the Heights CDC renovate the structure, repair exterior walls, replace windows and doors, upgrade the awning, and repair the roof.