Officials consider adding grocery store to downtown development

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Union Row development could change downtown Memphis as it's currently known.

Crews started demolishing older buildings in the space Monday, giving a clearer idea of what the new construction will look like.

Officials voted on a few proposed changes to the massive plans for Union Row, which already included apartments, offices and a park.

Jennifer Oswalt with the Downtown Memphis Commission said for several reasons, phase one of the project "got a little bigger."

The developers are now projecting they’ll increase their spending from $500 million to $750 million, which will pay to build more apartments, a second hotel and a brand new innovation center. Officials confirmed the University of Memphis is a tenant.

“We’ll have somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000 foot innovation space, in other words that’s made for public meetings and things like what you have at U of M and Technology Center," said Kevin Adams of Big River Partners.

As the crews began demolition, developers also changed their plans when it came to a grocery store, something long missing from the downtown area.

“They’re committed to finding a solution to give us a bigger one to service a greater number of people," Oswalt said.

To do that, developers say they have to acquire more land. If that does happen, they could also add in a second grocery store, probably with higher price tags.

"The opportunity would exist for a more mass market-type store and a more boutique, like Miss Cordelia’s-type, grocery store," Oswalt said.

But when asked which stores specifically have shown interest in the property, Oswalt wouldn’t comment, only saying news should be released by March 2020.

The Memphis City Council approved this change in the plans at their meeting Tuesday evening.

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