Studio apartments slated for Cooper-Young targeting millennials, some residents concerned

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- More residential development could soon be coming to the Cooper-Young district.

The project calls for 25 studio-style apartments, designed to attract millennials to the historic neighborhood.

It’s the latest proposal in a series of various apartment high rises approved for the greater Midtown area that hasn’t seen apartment-style growth for years.

However, some residents in the area are skeptical of the plan.

The Cooper-Young neighborhood is known for great restaurants, bars and quaint historic homes.

“Cooper-Young is fun, it’s funky, it’s hip, you’re able to do kinda your own thing in a way," said Patrick Durkin, co-founder of Preserve Cooper-Young.

If Focal Point Investments has its way, the complex would be nestled between a historic church and a family-owned restaurant.

It will occupy the small, vacant green space in the 900 block of South Cooper.

The building will have 25 studio-style apartments, targeting a millennial crowd.

Durkin co-founded the group Preserve Cooper-Young. He says he’s not necessarily against the apartment complex.

"I think it needs to be done right.”

However, he is concerned about other aspects.

"Needs to be done in a way that’s affordable. I question the affordability of this, you know they’re targeting millennials and school teachers.”

The market director for Focal Point Investments said they would have to get back to WREG on the price points for the units and said they’re planning to apply for an EDGE grant for some tax credits.

Not far away, EDGE gave the green light for breaks on a much larger residential complex at Madison and McLean. In that case 22 of the units must be reserved for low- to moderate-income residents.

Besides affordability, there’s concern with how tall the complex is slated to be, three stories and in some parts four.

"We want to keep it like I said, single-dwelling homes not getting so commercial," said Cooper-Young resident Darla Linerode-Henson.

The market director said if the structure is built, all parts would be level.

Overall, Durkin is worried the complex could take away the unique feel of his neighborhood.

"Make sure that they’re not just tearing down trees and that the designs match the fun and the feel of Cooper-Young.”

In their application, designers said they have studied the area and the building would fit to its surroundings.

For the plan to move forward there needs to be some exceptions to zoning rules, like that fourth floor.

The plan goes before the board of adjustment on August 23.

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