There are more than 100 vacant, blighted homes in the area bordered by North Watkins, Benjestown, Robertson, and East Circle in Northaven, a community in north Shelby County.
But two of those homes have just received a facelift, and two families will be handed keys to the properties at 5171 Broken Oak Drive and 5036 Blacksmith Drive at a ceremony on Monday, July 29th.
The homes were renovated through a partnership between Shelby County government and the Northaven Community Development Corporation. For the past several years, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell's office has been very involved in the revitalization of the Northaven neighborhood.
“Our partnership with the Northaven CDC is a major step towards revitalizing this area of north Shelby County. This time a year ago, these two homes were abandoned and vandalized. Now, they’re remodeled and they give a new look to the Northaven neighborhood,” said Luttrell.
The Northaven CDC, which is run out of Impact Baptist Church, plans to renovate two more houses at 5158 Corkwood Drive and 5306 Braden Drive soon.
The recent renovations and the planned ones are funded through a $36,000 donation to the Northaven CDC from Shelby County government. That money was part of a $600,000 agreement with Wells Fargo after allegations the company gave home loans to people that could not afford them. The money was earmarked specifically to be used for new home loans through Wells Fargo, repairing homes for the elderly and disabled, and for anti-blight initiatives in unincorporated areas of Shelby County.
To read more about the problems faced by residents of Northaven and their efforts to fight back, read this Flyer cover story.
Judge Larry Potter said he had little choice today but to allow the new owners of the former Nineteenth Century Club headquarters at 1433 Union to do what they wanted with their property. The owners have expressed plans to demolish the property, but Potter said they must show him proof that they've pulled the proper permits by August 26th before the demolition can begin.
"I do not like the fact that your client wants to demolish the building, but they have met all the requirements under the law," Potter said, addressing Linda Mathis, an attorney with Union Group LLC who represents the new owners, Liang Lin and Xiao Dan Chen.
The case had been reset to today because preservationists were attempting to salvage the hundred-plus-year-old home by asking an attorney to look into possible illegalities around the sale of the building. The Lins won the property at auction in January, but there was some belief that the Nineteenth Century Club may have violated its by-laws with the decision to sell because the sale may not have been properly authorized by all of the club's membership.
Attorney Webb Brewer told Potter today that the Tennessee Attorney General's office had said they'd evaluate the complaint, but they gave him no guarantee they'd take on the case. No action had been filed in chancery court, the court that would have jurisdiction to look into such a case. Potter's Environmental Court would not have jurisdiction over the possible illegality of the sale of property.
Potter told the courtroom that, although he wasn't happy about his decision, he had little choice but to let the new owners move forward with plans to demolish the historic home. Since the attorney general's office had not promised to take up the case or provide a timeline of when they may, Potter said the court must move forward.
Click here for more on this story.
The Attic, a locally-owned boutique selling women's and men's clothing and accessories, will open in the 1,300 square foot space next to Bar Louie in Overton Square this September.
Alexandra Rushing, owner of the Ivory Closet in Harbortown and Adel Amor Cosmetics (and a 2013 Memphis Flyer hottie!), is opening the store with her business partner Ben Scharff, owner of IronJaw Labs and creator of IronJaw custom mouth guards.
The shop will carry clothing and accessories by brands such as Library of Flowers, Yosi Samra, Lucky Feather, Coobie and Chilly Jilly.
The concept: "New York chic without New York prices."
“Glamorous treasures and timeless pieces are found in everyone’s attic,” said Rushing. “Our attic is no different.”
Memphis-based duck, Buttercup, has become an internet sensation and has made national headlines, thanks to a prosthetic foot developed for him by a local rescue group, Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary. Today, Buttercup was named "Honorary Duck" in the Peabody's Hotel's daily duck march.
Born with an inverted foot, a painful deformity that prevented him from walking, Buttercup's adopters Mike and Jennifer Garey invented a prosthetic foot with the help of the local 3D printers at NovaCopy. See next week's print version of the Memphis Flyer for a Q&A with Mike Garey.
Here's his shining moment on the red carpet. And yes, he has a little trouble getting up the stairs.
Fire Station Number 6 in North Memphis is no longer on the chopping block — at least for now. The Memphis City Council's public safety committee voted to delay its closure, which would have occurred August 1st as a result of citywide budget cuts, until September 1st.
Councilmen Joe Brown and Lee Harris plan to introduce a proposal in two weeks to provide the Memphis Fire Department with $1.1 million from the city's reserves to prevent the station's closing for at least one year.
Fire chief Alvin Benson told the council that Number 6 was selected for closure after the council passed budget cuts last month. He said the neighborhood serviced by Number 6 has three more stations located within 1.5 miles. But Benson did admit that closing the station would impact response times, even though they would still fall under the nationally recommended times for fire response.
Councilman Shea Flinn asked both Benson and Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong, who is facing precinct closures due to the council's budget cuts, if the cuts would actually lead to a reduction in service or if the cuts would simply force the departments to re-think how they're using resources.
"If it's just going to change the way we deliver public safety, that's not necessarily a bad thing," Flinn said.
Armstrong told the council that required staff cuts through attrition will make it "extremely difficult to adequately staff nine precincts with no additional officers walking in the door." He said, if the budget situation doesn't improve, that he'd have to close three precincts by next year. Those precincts would include Raines, Mt. Moriah, and Old Allen.
Buttercup, the Pekin duck who made national headlines for his prosthetic foot, will join the Peabody Hotel ducks for a waddle down the hotel's red carpet on Wednesday. There, in front of some of the most famous fowl in the world, Buttercup will be named "Honorary Duck."
Born with an inverted foot, a painful deformity that prevented him from walking, Buttercup was adopted by a Memphis-based rescue group, Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary. With the help of the local 3D printers at NovaCopy, Feathered Angels was able to customize and print (!) a prosthetic foot for Buttercup.
Watch Buttercup's first steps on his new foot, and then join the Peabody Duckmaster in honoring Buttercup this Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Peabody Hotel.
The Peabody Hotel, 149 Union Ave., 529-4000, peabodymemphis.com
The ban on nudity, alcohol, and physical contact between dancers and customers at Shelby County strip clubs was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati on Tuesday.
The ban, which was approved by the Shelby County Commission in 2007, has been appealed by club owners several times. It went into effect in January of last year.
But the ruling likely won't make much difference in the way most former strip clubs now operate. After the new rules went into effect last year, many clubs took on a bikini bar format so they could continue to sell beer. Dancers at the bikini bars wear two-piece bathing suits or Hooters-style crop tops and extremely short shorts.
Click here to read the Flyer's coverage of how the rules affected business at the once-thriving clubs.
Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter has reset the case for the Nineteenth Century Club house at 1433 Union to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10th.
The case, at which the building's new owners are ordered to present a plan for the building's demolition, was originally set to be heard this morning.
Last week, Potter told the new owners that they couldn't move forward with any demolition plans until he'd approved them.
Potter made clear in court last week that he opposes the idea of demolition but that he has no legal means to stop the owners from tearing down the building.
"We are losing something we will never re-gain. I do not think it’s a wise decision to demolish this building,” Potter told the courtroom. “But frankly, that doesn’t matter. If there were legal means for me to stop this, I would.”
Memphis Heritage and the Midtown Action Coalition have been vocal opponents of the planned demolition.
Attorney Linda Mathis with Union Group LLC confirmed in Environmental Court this morning what preservationists had been suspecting about the fate of the former Nineteenth Century Club — it will be demolished.
Judge Larry Potter ordered Mathis to present the new owners' plan for demolition of the property by July 9th.
“We are losing something we will never re-gain. I do not think it’s a wise decision to demolish this building,” Potter told the courtroom. “But frankly, that doesn’t matter. If there were legal means for me to stop this, I would.”
In January, Liang Lin and wife Xiao Dan Chen won the bid on the stately Rowland Darnell house at 1433 Union, which had been home to the Nineteenth Century Club philanthropic women’s group for years.
Preservationists believe the couple will build a shopping center with an Asian restaurant on the Nineteenth Century Club property. Attempts to reach the couple were unsuccessful. The couple owns New Hunan Restaurant on Park, Kublai Khan Crazy Mongolian Stir Fry on Airways, and Red Fish Sushi Asian Bistro in Lakeland.
The Midtown Action Coalition is planning protests in front of the property at 1433 Union on Tuesday, July
2nd and Wednesday, July 3rd at 5:30 p.m.
“Now we have no choice but to get out there and let people know what they’re trying to do. Hopefully, we can make them reconsider and sell the property back to another bidder” said Gordon Alexander of the Midtown Action Coalition.
Check out this week's coming edition of The Memphis Flyer for further coverage.