MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The Shelby County Board of Adjustments voted against ALSAC St. Jude’s proposal to build a parking garage at A.W. Willis and Third Street.
After months of back and forth, St. Jude and those in opposition of a proposed parking garage appeared before Shelby County Board of Adjustments to plead their cases ahead of Wednesday’s vote.
The initial plan for the garage included a seven-story, above-ground parking garage with spaces for more than 1,600 vehicles. After meeting with residents in recent months, St. Jude agreed on a five-story above-ground and two-story below ground garage with retail at the bottom.
The land for the garage is partially labeled for mixed use with the other half for residential.
Uptown residents biggest concerns were about the increased traffic near a park and a community center, pedestrian safety, and housing.
St. Jude maintained that the space is needed for future growth.
The board recognized the needs of St. Jude but sided with residents and expressed concerns about the size of the structure.
Jerred Price is president of the downtown neighborhood association and helped organize a grassroots movement against the project.
“I hope this is an encouraging moment for all communities to show that when you organize and you rally together, the power of the people is what really drives you know results,” he said.
ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital addressed Wednesday’s vote, saying in part:
We appreciate the Board of Adjustment evaluating our proposal today, though we are disappointed with the result as this could adversely impact our planned missional expansion. We will continue to explore our options to expand our campus, including returning to the Board of Adjustment at the appropriate time, since we have significant new construction planned on the western side of campus and the Pinch District and need additional parking to accommodate our growing workforce. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, have added more than 1,200 jobs over the past six years, and likely will add approximately 1,800 more jobs over the next six years. This growth will allow us to advance research and lifesaving treatment for children worldwide and continue to create new local opportunities for investment and employment.
St Jude will have the opportunity to appeal the decision if they decide to do so.