The EDGE Board and Economic Development Finance Committee convened today to approve three new projects. The EDGE Board approved one PILOT, while the Committee approved Inner City Economic Development Loans for two businesses.

Exciting plans are in the works for the building that once housed Northside High School. It will become a multi-use space for education, housing and other projects after a revitalization group known as the Works, Inc. was approved for a 20-year Community Builder PILOT to redevelop the former school.

Northside High’s building is 270,000 square feet and sits on almost 11 acres. The building has been vacant since 2016 when it was closed by Shelby County Schools. The Works’ vision is to create a neighborhood hub, filled with non-profit, commercial and residential uses, to be the focal point for other plans in the North Memphis area.

Once renovated, the building will have four floors. The first floor will house a community health clinic, retail, and food service along with the Northside High School Hall of Fame. Forty-one affordable apartments will fill one floor. A technical training program for trades, including HVAC and welding, will occupy another. The building will also be home to athletics, recreation, and performing arts programs.

City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris designated the site as eligible for the Community Builder Program and recognized that exceptional circumstances exist warranting an extended PILOT Term. EDGE, with the authority to approve PILOTs for a term of up to 15-years, followed with approval today. The project now moves to the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission for consideration of the extended 20-year PILOT term.

The Economic Development Finance Committee approved plans for a new selfie gallery. Terran Gary of Subroy Movement Foundation, Inc., doing business as Tasche Social Gallery, will receive a $15,000 Inner City Economic Development (ICED) Loan to help renovate 1730 Lamar Avenue.

Gary launched the Subroy Movement Foundation to focus on arts development and infrastructure. As part of this endeavor, she plans to open a 10-scene selfie gallery and event space. Total project costs are $22,500.

Gary graduated from the University of Memphis and works for the Memphis Grizzlies as the Dance Team Manager.

The final project approved today will be located on the corner of Jackson and Dunlap Avenues. Ephraim Urevbu of E.U. Enterprises LLC was approved for a $25,000 ICED Loan to help restore 825 Jackson Avenue and make the space ready for an artist incubator. Urevbu envisions a building with multiple bays and spaces for production-quality artists to establish Memphis as home for their art and manufacturing of related products. Total project costs are estimated to exceed $350,000 excluding the purchase price of the building.

Urevbu came to the United States from Nigeria in 1979 to attend the Memphis College of Art. He was a pioneer of the South Main Arts district, establishing Art Village Gallery in an abandoned 15,000 square foot space more than 20 years ago. Thousands have seen his work in Wolfchase Galleria, where he was commissioned to create a 60 x 18-foot piece for the mall. Urevbu is now a touring artist and visits college campuses around the world.

The two forgivable loans approved by the Economic Development Finance Committee today total $40,000.  This will be used to leverage more than $372,500 of investment touching multiple neighborhoods. Since the inception of the ICED program, the Committee has approved 77 projects totaling $1.7 million in loans.  These loans have supported almost $8.6 million in investment and 474 net new jobs in distressed communities.

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