Memphis Heritage is holding a meeting tomorrow, Thursday, May 27th, at 6 p.m. at their headquarters at 2282 Madison, to discuss the possible sale and demolition of the Union Avenue Methodist Church by pharmacy chain CVS. The church, built in 1923 and listed on the National Register, anchors the southwest corner of Cooper and Union, diagonally across from Playhouse on the Square's beautiful new theater.
- There's precedent for CVS to preserve a historic building due to public outcry -- the Scherer Building in Chicago. In fact, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has a complete initiative dedicated to the issue of chain drug stores destroying historic buildings.
- If you don't think the church is that great, worth preserving, then advocate for a quality new urban design that complements Playhouse, rather than ignores it. CVS also has precedents for that.
Just saying "tear it down!" is to cede to the default -- anturban blight. Progress in Memphis' built environment is to be fought for, never assumed.
- We need to stop bashing Germantown Parkway to make points about Union Avenue. Let's stick closer to home and talk about the Medical Center from I-240 west to Dunlap. Devastated by hordes of parking lots built as enticement to commuters who didn't want to be there, and eventually weren't, the result is arguably the worst commercial strip in all of Memphis
- Crappy development threatens Playhouse on the Square's investment of money and vision in that spot of Memphis. Especially a crappy development in the literal center of their vision.
See: A 270 degree panorama I took from the front steps of Playhouse on the Square.
The threat to this vision should be enough to stop a bad outcome, except it's not.
- Preservationists and urbanists could combine forces with CVS to cajole or force Ike's/Walgreen's to sell CVS the soon to be vacant Ike's store on the southeast corner.
- Join the cause via the Save Union Avenue Methodist Church Facebook page.