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.