Cooper-Young residents riled after apartments get OK from board

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Some Cooper-Young residents feel like the developers working on a project to bring studio-style apartments to the community skipped a step in the process of moving things forward.

“If you want the respect of the community and not just buying in to our property value right now, you need to include the community,” said Cooper-Young resident Aaron James.

These residents say they wish Focal Point Investments ran its vision by them first.

“I think it’s very disrespectful. It is an attractive design, but if you look at the rendering, it doesn’t show the neighborhood in context, it doesn’t show the church next door or the family restaurant next door,” added James.

On Wednesday the developers got approval from the board of adjustment to continue. The project that calls for 25 studio-style apartments, designed to attract millennials to the historic neighborhood.

“Yesterday afternoon was the first time it was presented to the public,” said Patrick Surratt.

Surratt says he likes the idea but has concerns and was certainly shocked during Wednesday’s meeting.

“They now have approval for a four-story building and Midtown only allows for a three-story,” added Surratt.

Now he’s afraid the exception could start a trend.

“We have just allowed a 48-foot tall building to come in, and what’s next?” said Surratt.

Sharon Johnson says the design is new and modern, but the building will beat her current view from her restaurant, Stone Soup Café, which sits next to the now vacant lot.

“Right now you can come by here any given night and there are people living back there,” said Johnson.

WREG reached out to Focal Point, which told us it followed the proper procedures to get the approval it needed to move forward.

The developers say while they would have liked to get the opinion of residents, schedules just didn’t line up. In their application, designers said they have studied the Cooper-Young area and they feel the building would fit to its surroundings.