January 01, 2024

Poplar Corridor Business District Starts Its First Project

The Daily Memphian

By Sophia Surrett

Five years after receiving a tax increment financing incentive, the project to upgrade the Poplar Avenue corridor is being launched.

The first phase of the project is a facelift along Ridgeway Road and Shady Grove Road between Park Place Centre and Briarcrest.

The project is being directed by the not-for-profit Poplar Corridor Business District Association of Owners using tax increment financing the group was awarded in 2018 from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County.

“The association is really excited about kicking off the first project and the TIF and the impact it is going to have on the neighborhood,” said Les Binkley, president of the association and a senior vice president at Boyle Investment Co.

The TIF, which takes future property taxes to finance and build infrastructure, will finance the project to enhance and continue to develop the Poplar Corridor Business District.

The five-year gap between the TIF’s approval and the project’s start was due to the association wanting the TIF to accrue money before starting construction.

“We are doing more of a pay-as-you-go model instead of an upfront financing event that then uses all the future TIF revenues,” Binkley said. “Waiting a period allowed us to see what was actually being produced so we could better plan.”

The TIF district encompasses the Poplar corridor from I-240 to Kirby Parkway. The association has several projects they want to see developed in the area over the course of the TIF:

  • A mixed-use development consisting of office, retail and hotel on Briarcrest Avenue;
  • An office development on International Place;
  • An office development at 860 Ridge Lake Blvd;
  • A senior living apartment development at 6300 Briarcrest Ave.;
  • And a mixed-use development consisting of office, retail and hotel space at 5900 Poplar Ave.

EDGE vice president of operations Joann Massey said the TIF is one example of how EDGE supports “a solutions-oriented strategy” for economic development.

“EDGE’s use of this type of financing tool not only will result in infrastructure improvements within the 400-parcel TIF area but an increase in tax revenue that will ultimately flow back into our community’s general fund to help create a stronger Memphis,” Massey said.

Binkley said the association decided to do a streetscape for the first project because “the Shady Grove enhancement was an impetus for creating the whole TIF.”

“We had some concreted over medians, so we’re tearing those up and adding landscaping and aeration and doing some pedestrian crosswalks to really enhance that corridor around a lot of nice office buildings in our district,” Binkley said.

Once the streetscape enhancement project is completed in about 10 months, Binkley said the second phase will begin, depending on the cash available, interest rates and the city and county’s reappraisal of properties.

The association was formed in 2018 as an association of property owners of about 400 parcels in the Poplar Corridor Business District.