Beale Street Landing architect discusses high cost and delays

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It took longer than expected and cost $42 million, but Beale Street Landing is finally celebrating its official opening with ribbon cuttings after more than a decade of construction.

Beale Street Landings architects Javier Rivarola and Ricardo Orton are from Argentina.

Their plans won a contest to be selected as the official design for the project back in 2003.

“For us it’s a dream becoming a reality,” said Rivrola.

Beale Street Landing serves as a docking site for river boats and will have a grill for small meals.

The duo intended the design to incorporate the river views and the blues.

The blues, however, is all some people got out of the project. The glassy and grassy hill cost more than $40 million dollars, which is $10 million over budget.

Most of that money came from taxpayers.

It also took a decade to complete, which was longer than expected.

Rivarola says that happens from time to time.

“We had to deal with the weather. We had Katrina that impacted the project a lot and you have to deal with the tides and flows of the river and that also impacted construction.”

The architects are proud of how the project turned out, even though it was a bigger undertaking than expected.

“We tried to use simple materials and simple shapes to be more powerful,” said Orton.

It’s that simplicity that draws so much criticism from some.

“This type of project is very difficult before you begin to have an accurate budget and follow the cost 100%. You always have to deal with new things and unexpected events,” said Rivarola.

Friday’s ribbon cutting opened the children playground area and is called a safe opportunity to place close to the river.

Despite the rough water, it’s full steam ahead for Beale Street Landing.

There will be a grand opening for the rest of Beale Street Landing Saturday from noon until 6.

6 comments

  • atjohnson

    Outstanding! Memphis needs more cool destinations for tourists and locals. The city has been “missing the boat’ by not leveraging its riverfront.

  • Doctor

    Despite the rough water, it’s full steam ahead …. That is about the same thing the Captain of the TITANIC said. LOL about Katrina and high water causing problems. They milked as much as they could out of the taxpayers. PS It may be a safe place, but getting to and from it isn’t safe…… unless you have a police escort or body guards.

    • atjohnson

      @Doctor, I live in a suburb and work downtown every day. I have enjoyed a safe commute for years and feel safe downtown.

      • Doctor

        AT, have a short article written about yourself so your family can give it to the press. We will be reading about you soon. Remember the nurse on Main Street,

  • ATJOHNSON

    Doc, I do remember the nurse on Beale street. I was just speaking of my experience since I’ve lived in the area the past 10 years. I’m not blind to the city’s crime problem. I just choose to not participate in all the negative comments. I do all I can in my circle of influence to be positive. I feel more than anything else Memphis needs more positive people.

  • Peter

    I just took a trip to Memphis (from Dallas TX). I was much impressed by Beal Street Landing. It is a good step in the right direction for Memphis…

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