A 90-year-old building is radically transformed into a vertical village
Sears built a massive distribution centre in Memphis in 1927, providing jobs and a thriving industry to the community. Over time, shifting demographics and population depletion in Memphis’ urban core led to its closure. Architects, planners and urban designers transformed the space into a vertical village, bringing new life, light and vibrancy to the 10-storey building. Crosstown Concourse opened in 2017, and is now home to a high school; a YMCA fitness center; a theater; a free art gallery; a radio station; and the nation’s largest private dental clinic. There are also nearly 300 apartment units in the building for participants in arts programs. Today, Crosstown Concourse welcomes 2,500 visitors per day.
- Memphis, TN
- 1,500,000 sq ft
- Crosstown Arts
- Sustainability LEED® Platinum certified
All World Project Management
Doug Carpenter & Associates
Grinder, Taber & Grinder
Looney Ricks Kiss
Universal Commercial Real Estate
- DIALOG Services
Planning & Urban Design
This massive distribution centre sat empty for nearly 30 years before anyone saw the potential.
The building’s regeneration into an active community hub integrates a diverse range of programs.
Crosstown is an example of regenerative development, the emerging idea that true sustainability comes from the symbiotic relationship between people and organizations, form and function.
Anchored in the arts, education, healthcare, and commerce, the project extends out from its Art Deco shell to represent a purposeful collective o
300 private residences are connected to the multi-storey community through a series of open-air plazas and gardens.
Universities, healthcare facilities, eateries, community gardens, a hotel and a 500-seat performance theatre attract 2,500 visitors per day.
The connecting corridors and atria inspire movement and exploration through the expansive space.
This thoughtful spacial planning, paired with building relics and natural finishes, enhance the entire environment – especially for the community within.
In spite of the enormity of this space, Crosstown is still a village. It is a product of a community’s ability to achieve what many believed was impossible.
Mayer A .C Wharton Jr. - Memphis, TN
The building is the emblem. But there is something greater than the emblem itself. It’s the members, it’s the love, it’s the respect Memphians hold for the character of our city.
Cross-community collisions were a deliberate idea from the get-go to create an urban magnet of economical mixed-use and exhibition spaces that elevated human relationships.
Stairs featured throughout the design pay homage to the conveyer belts of the distribution centre’s past.
Each one standing in memory of a function of the building’s economic past…
… a gesture that moves people as the conveyers once moved parcels for distribution.
Crosstown was left in a state of ruin. Abandoned and in need of love, its transformation is nothing short of a marvel.
Memories of Crosstown’s heyday saddened the community. The revival has reignited the spirit of the neighbourhood.
Crosstown’s success is an example for the many iconic, yet empty, structures peppered throughout America. It reminds that a new life is possible.