Deep into Soulsville: Development pros dive 12 hours into historic neighborhood 

A panel of development experts took a 12-hour dive into Soulsville, the South Memphis neighborhood so thick with musical and cultural history and so thin on supermarkets,  restaurants and other services.

The "technical assistance panel'' assembled by the Urban Land Institute surfaced Tuesday evening before a standing room crowd in the Stax Music Academy with recommendations for how to leverage Soulsville's strengths to rebuild a more vibrant neighborhood. 

To continue reading, visit The Commercial Appeal

ULI Panel Tackles Soulsville's Dilemma as Shadyac Reveals Concept 

As featured in Memphis Daily News 

Local shareholders and national development leaders got deep in the heart of Soulsville USA this week with an all-day deliberation on how to bring placemaking to one of Memphis’ struggling historical areas.

The “technical advisory panel,” assembled by the Memphis chapter of the Urban Land Institute, culminated in a town hall meeting Tuesday, Sept. 15, at the Stax Music Academy. Nearby on McLemore Avenue loomed the New Towne Center, the bankrupt community anchor that sold at auction last month.

Filmmaker Tom Shadyac bought the 77,000-square-foot center for $1.85 million. At the meeting, he presented his concept for a “St. Jude-like” community center with space for counseling, classes, a rock-climbing wall and rental bikes, coffee shop with a sliding-pay scale restaurant, and – of course – a movie theater.

To continue reading, visit Memphis Daily News. 

Tom Shadyac discusses Soulsville vision 

As featured in the Memphis Business Journal 

Sept.15, the Memphis Chapter of the Urban Land Institute brought together a panel to discuss a long-term visioning process for the Soulsville neighborhood.

The Soulsville USA strip is the stretch of McLemore Avenue between Mississippi Boulevard and College Street — home to the historic Stax Museum of American Soul Music as well as Soulsville Charter School and Stax Music Academy.

The panel spent the day meeting with stakeholders, before taking four hours to identify the best anchor strategy for the neighborhood — a combination of education, music and tourism.

To continue reading, visit Memphis Business Journal

Soulsville Recommendaitons from ULI (and Tom Shadyac)

As featured in the Memphis Flyer: 

Soulsville needs more organic development, a reinforced neighborhood identity, better wayfinding signs, and maybe a coffee shop, according to members of an Urban Land Institute (ULI) technical advisory panel.
Members of the panel — a mix of architects, artists, development professionals, and Soulsville residents — discussed these recommendations and others at a public meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Stax Academy.

To continue reading, visit The Memphis Flyer. 

Spearheading the war against blight in Shelby County

As featured in the Commercial Appeal: 

In desecrated neighborhoods, the sociological ills attached to vacant houses, boarded up windows and weed-choked empty lots is sometimes where the conversation on blight begins and ends.

They are problems that don’t escape Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir.

But they are not the only ones.

For Lenoir and his staff, blighted properties represent money lost in unpaid taxes, the drag that pulls down the value of healthy properties in those communities and the additional money all county taxpayers fork over to offset the resources blighted properties eat up.

Blight should be a concern for everyone.

“You should care because we all collectively pay a higher property tax rate across the county, because the blight in Frasyer has to be subsidized by healthy properties in some other community,” he said.

Lenoir now regularly tours blighted neighborhoods, as his office contributes to fighting blight by putting more pressure on tax-delinquent owners to pay, sending more properties into the tax sale, then on to the land bank and hopefully into the hands a new responsible owner.

He is using a “laser” approach, already successful in other cities, that targets blight islands or areas that are surrounded by robust communities.

To continue reading, visit: The Commercial Appeal.


Memphis Slim House Bridging history and the "now."

As featured in Memphis Magazine:

Back in the 1960s, the Stax recording studio and in-house Satellite Record Shop were gathering spaces for musicians — black and white — to exchange ideas and collaborate on songs. The music that came from that time and that place would be heard around the world and become the soundtrack for change during the civil rights movement. 

With the downfall of Stax and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the area would see a sharp decline and blight would fill in the gaps left by an exodus of residents and businesses. But the Memphis Music Magnet is looking to turn that around. Led by organizations such as the LeMoyne-Owen CDC, Community LIFT (Leveraging Investments for Transformation), and the Soulsville Foundation, a new twist is being put on the idea of a gathering place as impetus for revitalization.

To continue reading: Memphis Magazine.

River City Capital gives loan to South Memphis business

As featured in the Memphis Business Journal:

A local organization with a focus on revitalizing communities recently aided a Soulsville area business. 

River City Capital Investment Corp. the non-traditional bank for Community LIFT, which is focused on improving distressed neighborhoods, building human capacity, improving economic conditions and improving quality of life, invested $15,000 to help Lois Lee, owner of Quality Qwick Cleaners in South Memphis.

To continue reading: Memphis Business Journal

River City Capital Invests in Distressed Neighborhood

Local Investment Corporation Strengthens Small Business

MEMPHIS, Tennessee, June 24, 2015– River City Capital Investment invested $15,000 for local business in South Memphis to make necessary improvements.  

Owned and operated by Lois Lee, Quality Qwick Cleaners has been a staple in the Soulsville/South Memphis community for over a decade.  Throughout the years the attached parking lot was worsening and improvements were a necessity.  Ms. Lee was able to leverage the $15,000 invested by RCC to be matched 2 to 1 through the City of Memphis Inner City Economic Development (ICED) program.  With both of these funding sources, Ms. Lee was able to update their parking lot and completely improve their façade.  In addition, they added stucco to the exterior of the building, new signage and painted.



The ICED Loan program is a three-year forgivable loan for up to $25,000. The loan is available to targeted neighborhoods within Memphis and can be used to make interior, facade and streetscape improvements.  The loans are approved by Memphis and Shelby County’s Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) finance committee.  Since inception, 9 businesses with have taken advantage of this incentive with a total of $225,000 being deployed.  

“Edge's ICED facade grant and the loan from RCC helped us make huge improvements to the facade of the building.  Since then we have seen a significant influx of customers. Everyone that comes in compliments the new look of the building and newly paved parking lot. And, business has picked up so much that I hired another employee,” said Ms. Lee.

River City Capital, an affiliate of Community LIFT, mission is to increase economic development in underserved neighborhoods by attracting and leveraging investment capital for community revitalization.  River City Capital strategically provides loans to community development organizations, and for-profit businesses that operate within its targeted neighborhoods of Greater Binghampton, Frayser and Upper South Memphis.  River City Capital currently provides the following services: small business recruitment and retention, neighborhood-level economic development, and mentoring available for start-ups and existing businesses through SCORE.  



For more information:

Tracy Buckley, Business Development Officer                                                          

901-521-4232 ext. 5                        




"An agency best known for delivering tax breaks in Memphis and Shelby County on Wednesday approved loans for a grocery/deli and a planned restaurant in a South Memphis neighborhood that includes LeMoyne-Owen College."

Check out the article here: www.commercialappeal.com  

Or click here for more information on the loans: www.growth-engine.org 



With the Stax Rock N Soul Museum and the newly revitalized Memphis Slim Music Collaboratory. This area is ready to regain its status as a source for emerging Memphis music, commerce and entertainment. 

A part of the revitalization of Upper South Memphis, in the heart of Soulsville USA, is the proposed landscape at the corner of Mississippi and Walker.

Corner of Mississippi & Walker

Interested in learning more about the Upper South Memphis area? Contact Tracy Buckley at (901) 521-4232.