Beale Street Landing
Rendering Courtesy Riverfront Development Corporation
Why It Matters:
“We’ve almost forgotten how nice it is to be level with the river, to play beside the river, to dine beside the river, and to have memorable experiences on the river. Beale Street Landing returns that freedom to us.” — Dorchelle Spence, director of communications, Riverfront Development Corporation
Riverfront Development Corporation, Memphis City Council, Friends of Our Riverfront, Memphis in May, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, American Steamboat Company, Beale Street, Front Street, and other downtown-area businesses
Leaders and Consultants:
Riverfront Development Corporation’s officers and board, including president Benny Lendermon and former and current chairs John Stokes, Kristi Jernigan, Rick Masson, and Greg Duckett
Mississippi River, Riverside Dr., Tom Lee Park, and the Cobblestone Landing near the foot of Beale Street
Downtown Memphis commerce and the Mississippi River were tied together for more than a century via cotton and other goods. Beginning in the mid-20th century, the cotton business decentralized away from downtown proper, and the city began to emphasize the river less. In 2002, Memphis City Council approved the Memphis Riverfront Master Plan, of which Beale Street Landing is part, to return the link of city and waterway and capitalize on natural advantages.
Although construction is under way on the grassy terraces and islands closest to the cobblestones, the helical ramp and floating dock have already hosted the American Queen, and a green roof and building will soon be finished and available for special event rentals.
Safe, easy access to the water’s edge is the primary benefit of the $43 million Beale Street Landing. When the six-acre project is fully operational, it is expected to feature a riverfront restaurant, terminal operations for daily excursions, a gift shop, embarkation for touring riverboats, special event rental space, a play area for young children, programming for families, and water taxi rides to Mud Island River Park, the Mississippi River Museum, Harbor Town, Bass Pro Shops, and other points within the Wolf River Harbor.
How to Get to the Ideal:
To bring all of these components together seamlessly will continue to take a dedicated staff, partners working in concert, community support, and sponsorships for the family-friendly programming.
Current Funding Situation:
Federal, state, and city grants have been secured to the tune of $43 million. Included in that amount is the $9.75 million the city has budgeted for the last portion of the work.
If the development costs more than has been allocated, the developers will look to raise funds from the private sector. The RDC also hopes to secure community donations, philanthropic support, and corporate sponsorships to provide regularly scheduled programming and events at Beale Street Landing that are free and open to the public. The landing also will provide docking for daily excursion riverboats and overnight cruise steamboats including the American Queen, Queen of the Mississippi, the Grand Caribe, and others.
Bounds & Gillespie Architects, RTN Architects, SSR Ellers, OGCB, DePouw Engineering, Consulmar Engineers, HBG Inc., Continental Construction, Webb building, LCI Inc., and Zellner Construction are among the companies utilized for planning, design, architecture, engineering, and construction work. Beale and Second Inc., a group headed by Bud Chittom, will install a restaurant.
Dorchelle T. Spence, director of communications, Riverfront Development Corporation, at 312-9190