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City leaders hope new apartments spur development in South City

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A once-crime ridden neighborhood is getting a fresh start.

"It'll be a significant redevelopment of this area," said Paul young, the director of Housing and Community Development in Memphis. "This is a project that started with a $30 million HUD grant matched with $30 million from the city of Memphis."

It's where the former Foote Homes public housing complex used to sit near Danny Thomas and Vance. It's between downtown and South Memphis.

We used to tell you about Foote Homes time and time again as police were called there for countless murders, shootings and other violent crimes.

Young says they tore the units down to build better housing and give the area a fresh start. It's now called South City.

"We've been working on this project since 2015, so now you're starting to see these projects units come online," he told WREG.

The first 114 units are expected to be ready in July. Some will be at market-rate and others set aside for the people used to live at Foote Homes.

"Obviously the people that moved away from Foote Homes will have the right to move back in first," said Young.

Young said he believes the new housing will spur development in the surrounding downtown and South Memphis neighborhoods.

He said the city is working to get an early childhood center and grocery store in the area as well as revitalize the old MLK Prep Academy building.

Young also told WREG the Downtown Memphis Commission partnered with the housing authority and the city to put forth a low-interest loan program for business owners.

"Our goal was to off-set gentrification by ensuring there's affordable housing and market grade housing. So as this community grows, we put those affordability restrictions. It means those units are going to be held for 20 years," said Young.

Young said the next round of units will be available next year.

He said the HUD grant runs out in 2021, so the entire project needs to be completed by then.

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