Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Progress on Union

Word from June West of Memphis Heritage:
We wanted to update everyone on the recent developments concerning the Cumberland Presbyterian Archives Building on Union Avenue and Chick-fil-A's plans.

Memphis Heritage has had two successful meetings with representatives from Chick-fil-A over the past several weeks to discuss plans for the Union Ave. site. As many of you know, Memphis Heritage was allowed to visit the entire building with 4 local architects to review the possibility of CFA adaptively reusing the building as their restaurant.

After the visit our architects realized this would not be possible based on the construction of the building; so we have been looking at ways to save the components of the building. A plan has been suggested to save the tower and the façade along Union Ave. with the restaurant behind this area. While this plan does not save the entire building, we feel this is the best alternative to losing the entire structure. Representatives from Cumberland Presbyterian told Memphis Heritage they would demolish the building if the CFA deal fell through so they would no longer have to deal with the preservation issue. They would then be selling just the land parcel.

CFA went to work to develop new drawings with this concept in mind. As of last Friday, June 6, we have had meetings with CFA and the Office of Planning and Development and have great hopes that this new plan will move forward. CFA would have an outside eating area behind the façade with plans for the new structure to be compatible with the existing building. Their plan would be to use salvaged bricks from the back part of the building to use in retaining walls, etc. The willingness of CFA to come up with an alternative for this site shows their interest in working with the local community and developing a compromise that will work. After finally getting to work with the CFA staff we have found them to be tremendously supportive of our preservation and community interests.

We will keep you posted on any new information when it is available.

Once again thank you all for your tremendous support. Without your emails and phone calls none of this would have been possible.

"Thanks for helping us give our past a future!"

June West
Executive Director
Memphis Heritage

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