Cooper-Young parking garage plans to be presented April 9
Cooper-Young business owners plan to ask the City of Memphis to build a three-level parking deck and retail space planned for a strip of land along Young Avenue between Meda and Blythe streets.
Parking on the proposed deck would be free, said Tamara Cook, executive director with the Cooper-Young Business Association, and would help alleviate congestion around the neighborhood’s popular commercial strip. The deck would be maintained by a parking authority and funded by a retail space on the ground floor of the structure, Cook said.
Charlie Ryan, a Cooper-Young property owner and head of the business association, is spearheading the project, Cook said. While the cost estimate for construction has not been finalized, Cook said the structure would cost between $3 million and $4 million. No private money would be used.
A vacant commercial building on the west side of the site and an adjacent house would be removed for the project. Cook said her group has been negotiating with adjacent property owners.
Cook said the restaurants and shops in Cooper-Young attract between 40,000 and 50,000 visitors per week, plus 1,154 employees, but the commercial core around Cooper Street between Elzey Street and Walker Avenue only has 483 parking spaces in a mixture of on-street parking and private lots.
“Obviously, with 483 spaces, that doesn’t even take care of our employees, much less people coming in,” she said. “We’re having a big crunch, especially the restaurants.”
The plans will be presented at the April 9 general meeting of the Cooper-Young Community Association, which is set for 6:30 p.m. at their offices at 2298 Young Ave. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting and offer feedback. Executive Director Kristan Huntley said developers are interested in getting support from Cooper-Young neighbors.
The Cooper-Young Business Association has advocated recently for more parking in the neighborhood. Another parking garage had been proposed near The Beauty Shop restaurant last year, but that plan met with resistance and has been retooled for the new parcel.
Cook said while Cooper-Young has received federal grants in the past, it has not received money for the city to fund improvements.
– David Royer