EDGE Approves TDZ Bond Inducement Agreement for City of Memphis' Fairgrounds Redevelopment
Memphis, Tenn. (February 17, 2021) – The City’s redevelopment of the Memphis Fairgrounds, now known as Liberty Park is underway. As part of that redevelopment, the City will make infrastructure improvements to the Park; design and construct the Memphis Sports and Events Complex (MSEC), a 230,000 square foot building for indoor sports and events; and prepare the area along Central Avenue for mixed-use private development.
Today, EDGE provided assistance in this transformational project by approving an Inducement Resolution for Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) Bonds for the City of Memphis to help pay for the complex. The first step in a bond transaction is an inducement resolution. This is essentially an agreement by EDGE to issue Bonds for the project.
The Park will be anchored by the MSEC, a state-of-the-art facility housing two multi-purpose venues with the ability to host two major tournaments simultaneously. The facility will include a Hardcourt Pavilion with permanent hardwood courts for basketball and volleyball; and an Events Pavilion, a 75,000 square foot column-free space designed to host sporting events, trade shows, graduations and more. It will also house a large café with indoor and outdoor seating and provide space for other tenants.
The City is also looking to make additional improvements to public rights of way, build a new public playground and pavilion, renovate the Pipkin Building, construct outdoor playing fields at the MSEC, and construct a new track and football field at Tobey Park. The total budget for the redevelopment is $125 million; $67.1 million will come from the TDZ Bonds, according to the City.
Once site work is completed, the City plans to attract private development to the Park including hotels, office space, retail, dining and apartments.
Liberty Park’s phased openings are expected to start in early 2022.
The city's Division of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has been acting as the master developer of the project. The City will be back in front of the EDGE Board next month regarding Bond Authorization. The TDZ Statute requires that the City also obtain approval from the State Funding Board.