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2019 Best of the South Award

Established in 2006, the annual Best of the South: Preserving Southern Architecture Award honors a project that preserves, restores, or educate the public about a historic building, or complex of buildings, in an outstanding manner and that demonstrates excellence in research, technique, and documentation.

The Best of the South Award recipient for 2019 is the Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, TN.

Constructed in phases between 1927 and 1967 and containing as many square feet as the Chrysler Building, this former Sears distribution center once served as a major economic engine for the surrounding community. However, by 1983 it sat abandoned, indicative of the modern trend of disposability and urban disinvestment. Giving new life to the 1.3-million-square-foot structure required adapting it to a new use, an ambitious project that took almost a decade. Design and financing for the $200-million project occurred in tandem between 2011 and early 2015. Financing was achieved through 30 sources, a blend of private equity and bank loans, historic and new market tax credits, and local government funds for infrastructure and streetscape improvements.
Crosstown Concourse celebrated its grand opening in August of 2017. Centered on a large atrium, this vertical urban village includes:
  • 400-student charter high school
  • 20,000-square-foot YMCA fitness center (currently in design)
  • 450-seat black box theater under construction
  • Refurbished free-of-charge public parking garage
  • Radio station
  • Farm-to-table, organic grocery store
  • Eight restaurants
  • Public art gallery
  • Artist studios
  • Maker lab
  • Pharmacy
  • Nation’s largest private dental clinic
  • Teaching kitchen
  • Civic/ event spaces capable of serving up to 1000 guests
  • 40 medical, office, and retail tenants
  • 265 apartments
Historic tax credits helped save an otherwise unviable parking garage from demolition. Constructed in 1965, the garage’s diamond-shaped and rectilinear-shaped façade panels reflect the modern aesthetic of the mid-1960s. The project is an outstanding example of organizations and individuals coming together in a preservation project that will have a lasting impact on the city of Memphis.
Crosstown LLC (Todd Richardson
Project Team
Architect: Looney Ricks Kiss in association with DIALOG and Spatial Affairs Bureau
Interior Designer: Looney Ricks Kiss in association with DIALOG
Structural Engineer: Structural Design Group
MEPF Engineer: OGCB, Inc.
Civil Engineer: SR Consulting Engineers
General Contractor: Grinder, Taber & Grinder, Inc.
Additional Project Team Members
Landscape Architect – Hood Design Studio
Smoke Evac Consultant – Newcomb & Boyd
Consultant (lighting, sustainable site/civil concepts, acoustics, daylight modeling) – ARUP
Code Consultant – Code Solutions Group
Signage/Branding – Loaded for Bear
Exterior Envelope Restoration Consultant – Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates,Inc. (WJE)
Geotechnical Consultant – Professional Service Industries, Inc. (PSI)
Surveyor – Pickering Firm Inc.
Furnishings/Furniture – Carkuff Interior Design
Historic Preservation Tax Credit Consultant – Looney Ricks Kiss
Residential Architect – Looney Ricks Kiss
Sustainability Consultant – Looney Ricks Kiss

Past Best of the South Awards