Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Demolition of Cumberland Presbyterian Planned

I recently got word from Memphis Heritage that Chik-Fil-A plans to demolish the Cumberland Presbyterian building on Union and replace it with one of its restaurants.

Judging by the standard Chik-Fil-A restaurants along strip corridors,

it would be a major architectural step down from the present building.

They would probably have to grade the site, destroying the hillock that the present building sits on.

It would be right in front of a crosswalk for schoolchildren attending Idlewild Elementary.

People speeding in and out of the drive-thru, cellphones in one hand, tasty chicken biscuits in the other, will be zipping through that crosswalk. (disclosure: I have relatives who attend Idlewild. They don't use that crosswalk but I know many kids and families that do).

The site has a couple of neighboring high-quality buildings that have been constructed or renovated in the past year.

One of them, the Memphis Area Teachers Credit Union,

was built on the site of a recently demolished Midtown bungalow. However, its own visual personality is at least the equal of the departed. Will the Chik-Fil-A restaurant do the same? Will it honor the investments its neighbors have made by, at the very least, not subtracting value?

I want to make it clear that I have no problem with Chik-Fil-A as a business. Judging by the comments I got in my earlier post, their food creates loyal customers.

Bring good food to a good building, the Cumberland Presbyterian building.

Details very soon on how we might make this happen.

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Blogger Chris and Kate Lareau said...

I will participate wholeheartedly in something organized by someone who knows what might be effective. Which is much more likely to be you, than me.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

thanks for tracking this. let us know how we can take action.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I'll be interested to hear what you come up with.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

I sure do like their lemonade, but don't really think losing a building like that is a good trade-off for a yummy beverage and fried chicken. Maybe a Presbyterian Chick-fil-a?

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think June West of Memphis Heritage was supposed to be talking with them about this new plan to add another much needed fast food chain restaurant on Union (please note: sarcasm). Might see if she has any word on their plans.

12:31 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

Thanks very much for the comments.

Memphis Heritage is working on a plan to protest demolition. I should hear something in the next few days and will post it.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous MATAlac said...

Thanks for this info. See it fitting that Memphis hold up small business in existing buildings (like the new cafe across from Snowden) rather than national franchises in cookie cutter new trash.

(Thanks for the shot of the MATCU, it didn't turn out too bad, but it really dosent reflect its surroundings as an urban building and looks like 3 other banks on the same side of Union)

10:20 AM  
Blogger Renee said...

sigh...Memphis. I think there's room within that building for a supercool Chick Fil A. Tidbit...I quicksearched Wikipedia []and and found that there is a connection between Cumberland Presbyterian and the Memphis Theological Seminary (Union at East Parkway) which also has a sign out front "Planned Redevelopment"

3:03 PM  
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