Long-vacant Burger King to be demolished, replaced with small park

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A vacant building on Madison Avenue is about to be demolished and replaced with a small grassy park.

The building used to be a Burger King restaurant, but has been boarded up for years.

The plan is for a wrecking ball to turn the blight into green space as part of a vision by merchants and community supporters as a way to improve the area.

The idea of a park, where a run-down building now stands, has folks downtown excited about what the change could mean.

Inside Hines Reweaving and Alterations on Madison, Glenda Moore’s sewing machine was humming away. Moore said she’s excited the old Burger King restaurant is going to be torn down.

“It’s great. Because the building has been vacant for so long. The mold…sometimes we walk past and we can smell the mold coming out of the building. So it’s a health hazard,” said Moore.

The building has been closed for years, but now people who work in this part of downtown are finally going “have it their way.”

A 6,900 square foot park will soon take the place of the vacant Burger King, something that will eliminate blight and be open to the public.

Tracie Newsome works at First Tennessee, right next to the building.

He takes a walk every day during lunch and would enjoy a local park.

“I think it would be a good thing for us to have something around here. To just sit down and enjoy the lunch and enjoy the breeze,” said Newsome.

A small green space could be a big boost to businesses along Madison, like The Cake Gallery and Baketique.

The shop, which just opened in February,  specializes in all things sweet.

“Cakes, we have birthday cakes, cookies, pies,” said co-owner Sammy Yates.

Yates and his wife Nicole can’t help but notice the rundown building. They can see it from the front window of their shop.

“Well, it’s sort of an eyesore. You would like to see something going on over there that’s productive,” said Yates.

It might be hard to envision lush green grass growing on the spot where a 120-year-old building is sitting now, but Moore is sure “if they build it…people will come.”

“They might just want to come and sit and enjoy their lunch. Just a leisure day, in the park, on Madison Avenue,” said Moore.

The Center City Development Corporation, an arm of the Downtown Memphis Commission, bought the building in February for $175,000.

The money was donated by merchants, neighborhood stakeholders and non-profit organizations.

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