Shawn Massey, CCIM, SCLS

Shawn’s Viewpoint: Sears Crosstown, Squared Off and Startup Memphis

I have done my best to come up with some original thoughts for my blog over past few months but every now and then I think it is important that I provide some commentary on what’s happening in our area in regards to the local CRE scene.  I spent most of this past weekend laid up with a bad head cold which allowed me to sleep and catch up on some reading.

Please see below a great article by Tom Bailey on what is happening with the Sear’s Crosstown Building.

‘Founding partners’ commit to lease most of Memphis’ Sears Crosstown Building


I am big believer that real estate projects should stand on their own economic merits first and foremost.  It is the key teaching principle in my real estate development class at The University of Memphis graduate real estate program.  Although, every now and then a unique building comes along that despite the fact that it probably does not make economic sense in the micro view to re-develop the building versus razing it that the community should step forward and preserve a treasure.  I truly think that the Sears Crosstown Building meets the criteria of a treasure worth saving.  I have looked and reviewed this property for many years thinking the best use would be a community wide collaborative such as was unveiled in Sunday’s Commercial Appeal.  I was skeptical months before when the developers proposed an arts project for the building.  Due to its size the project seemed unfeasible.    I opened the paper to read that the Church Health Center and several other community wide organizations have committed to the project including Methodist Le Bonheur, St. Jude, ALSAC and The West Clinic.   In addition, it will become home to a charter school through Gestalt Community Schools and Memphis Teacher Residency Program.    A unique mixture of faith based organizations and community organizations looking for a home.  With over 1.1 million square feet of space the density will create not only retail opportunities in the building itself, but opportunities for the whole Crosstown area in retail and housing to support the development.  The economic impact of this redevelopment will trickle throughout the community and in a macro sense makes this project very worthwhile and economically justified.    Many of these organizations biggest challenges is their space needs and this iconic building will solve those needs and bring together a community.  My hat’s off to Dr. and Rev. Scott Morris who I have come to know personally over the past two and half years for having the vision of the Church’s Health Centers needs in the future.  Scott has been a long time friend of my wife’s family and who married my wife and I in 2010.  I hope that I can bring some of my retail clients to the area as I think that a great opportunity will exist!  The developers who I have come to know in the past two years should be applauded for their vision and commitment not only to the Sear Crosstown Building, The Cross Neighborhood but to the City of Memphis for preserving an architecture treasure.

Squaring Off

Two restaurants – one local, one chain – set to open in Overton Square

by Hannah Sayle | August 16, 2012

My wife always beats me to reading the Memphis Flyer as she reads it online and I wait to hold the hard copy in my hands.  She forwarded me the above link and I was about to be upset prior to reading the article that another writer was sounding off about restaurants not being local.  If you read my previous commentaries you will know that I am upset with people including misguided columnists who think national and regional retailers or restaurants who set up shop in our City our not local and do not contribute to our local economy.  They hire local people and create local jobs beyond just their storefront.  This article was more of a comparison and contrast than dogging another national restaurant entering the market.  I firmly believe that Overton Square not only has enough room and business for both Bar Louie and Local, but for many other restaurants that the great leasing team at Loeb will include in their final redevelopment plan.  The goal is to create an entertainment area for Memphians and others to enjoy no matter what their taste may be.  Nobody wants the same food all the time!  What makes our country, midtown Memphis and when completed Overton Square great is the diversity of dining and retail options available.  The best retail streets in the world are a combination of local, regional and national options.  I assure you the inclusion of Bar Louie in Overton Square was not taken lightly by Loeb and they wanted to ensure that Bar Louie was not your cookie cutter national concept when a final decision was made.  Their research indicated that Bar Louie was that type of national concept that will only enhance the Overton Square experience.

Startup Memphis: Local entrepreneurial ecosystem sprouting shoots and branches

In today’s Commercial Appeal I was excited to read that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the Memphis area.  James Dowd did a great job of letting readers know what opportunities for assistance are available to local entrepreneurs and how Launch Memphis is helping spawn new organizations that will assist is growing our local businesses.  Check out a website created by the Commercial Appeal devoted to small businesses and entrepreneurship in Memphis.

I hope you will check out future weekly commentary at   If you enjoy the commentary please subscribe online.



Shawn Massey, CCIM, SCLS is a partner with The Shopping Center Group a 3rd party retail real estate advisory firm in their Memphis office, an adjunct professor in the graduate real estate program at The University of Memphis, in 2013 Shawn will join the faculty of the Homburg Academy teaching on-line real estate classes world-wide and is also co-founder &Chairman of the Board for the Memphis Business Academy charter schools (K-12th grade) in the Frayser area of Memphis.  

For all your retail real estate needs (tenant representation, landlord representation and property, investment & land sales) I hope that you will choose The Shopping Center Group and me to represent you and your business.  We understand that representation is a privilege and that you have a choice!

The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.  They should not be considered the opinion of The Shopping Center Group, LLC in which I am associated.

468 ad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *