Thursday, October 22, 2009

Buildings to Cherish: the Memphis Police Station at Second and Adams

I've driven past the old Memphis Police Station a thousand times, but walks past it this fall have really opened my eyes to its beauty and power. It's a special Memphis building, a beautiful Beaux Arts corner companion to the 100 year old Shelby County Courthouse.

Memphis Police Headquarters Retired

Unlike the Courthouse, it's empty. And since Memphis has preferred bland empty void over beautiful empty space for 50 years, we have to be vigilant.

A good use would be as hotel since the building abuts the Civic Plaza. Guests could move to and from the convention center through the Plaza, giving that public space much needed life.

A visualization of the hotel/plaza connection.

I also think, no matter the use, its front steps and wall-defined lawn could be a special mini-public space of their own.

Memphis Police Headquarters Retired

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Blogger jccvi said...

I think we've talked at one time or another about the potential vitality of the City Hall Plaza. There definitely needs to be some sort of commercial element. I think the hotel is a good idea, especially that close to the convention center. It wouldn't be a bad place to put up visiting dignitaries either.

I still hold on to the idea of a high school football stadium on Mud Island, with the crowd gathering at the plaza beforehand for "tailgating" then marching over the monorail with the bands playing.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Marian said...

Right now this building is being used by vagrants - they are sleeping on the porch on the Adams Avenue side and in the window wells along the Second Street side....

9:54 AM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

The problem with a football stadium, imho, is it takes up a lot of space and sits empty most of the year. It would be lively on game day but a dead spot the rest of the time unless you can repurpose an already existing place as needed for football games, or a football stadium for other regular uses.

Marian, so a hotel would be a step forward.

12:13 AM  
Blogger jccvi said...

It could be used for soccer games, practice for football and soccer year round, track meets, running, stair running, and more! You could have soccer and football intramurals between different Downtown businesses.

I've thought this through GOM.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MPD has been trying for over a decade to get back in that building. Budget issues and council battles over free parking have been some of the biggest hold-ups. The MPD already has an architectural plan ready to go - and has for several years. The police museum was also slated to go into the first floor on the Adams side. If it ever happens it will be a great building for the MPD. As it stands now the City is paying the county millions to house the MPD at 201 Poplar. And the jail is not the only thing that fills up fast at that location.

12:42 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

It is a great building and a home of the MPD. I hope they can make it back in.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

In Boston, the former Charles Street Jail, built in 1851, was converted to the Liberty Hotel a couple of years ago

It's a beautiful conversion, and much of the character of the building remains.

History here:

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Joseph A said...

You should also take a look at a former DC post office, which is now a Hotel Monaco. I think it is more significant architecturally, but its conversion seems somewhat similar to what you mention here. It seems to have worked well there.

10:13 PM  

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