City demolishes apartments on Tillman for new development

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Binghampton apartment complex designated as a slum was demolished Tuesday, and city leaders say it will be replaced with something better.

The blighted Tillman Cove apartments have sat vacant for years since the property owner had people leave back in 2016. In 2018 the city of Memphis acquired the property and now they’re doing to build quality and affordable housing in the spot.

Felicia Hawkins, a former resident, watched the former Tillman Cove apartments crumble under heavy equipment Tuesday.

“I been here all my life. I used to stay right up there, 3041 number 5,” she said.

Tuesday, she looked to the future with great hope.

“I be telling everyone check around, look around. They straightening up around here and it’s gonna be good,” she said.

The city, through the division of Housing and Community Development acquired the land. Demolition was supported through the city’s catalyst fund, a newly created fund dedicated to improvements in anchor neighborhoods identified in the Memphis 3.0 plan.

Paul Young, director of the city’s housing and community development branch says the goal is to create high quality, affordable housing.

“We also have an opportunity for Memphis to change the national narrative that gentrification and displacement is a necessary evil in order to have community revitalization,” Young said. “We believe that you can do both. You can take the blighted spaces in the community, you can build something nice and new and you can also take the opportunity to improve the housing for the residents that live in that community as well.”

Developers are also seeking public input.

Robert Pratcher, who lives in Binghampton, said he wants to see “a good safe, secure place to stay. Maybe a little area for kids to play and have fun.”

As for Hawkins, she might not live at the complex anymore, but she’s still around the corner, doing her best to maintain a strong neighborhood leaders say needs the attention it deserves.

“As long I’m around it’s gonna be kept good,” she said.

Below are two options for the site, plus renderings of what the development may look like.

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