There are mixed-use projects sprouting up all over the country, but so far at least, there is nothing quite like Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, Tenn. It is designed to be a self-contained community — “a vertical urban village” — in a single high-rise building a few blocks north of downtown.
Within the 14 stories of an old Sears warehouse, it is possible — or soon will be possible — for a resident to see a doctor, fill a prescription, buy groceries, go to the bank, obtain child care, visit an art exhibition, go to the theater, sample a craft beer, practice woodworking or exercise at a YMCA. If you have children, they can attend a charter school without going outside. All of this in a project that, in addition to private money, has received substantial funding from both the city of Memphis and surrounding Shelby County.
The developers of Crosstown Concourse love to talk about its self-sufficiency. “You don’t have to leave the building if you don’t want to,” one of them said recently. It sounds like hyperbole, but some of the residents say the same thing. “I have to make myself go out sometimes,” one of them told my Governingcolleague Scott Beyer, whose excellent blog post on Crosstown Concourse led me to look into the subject.