Peter Culley, Stacey Farinholt, Andrew Montgomery, Amrit Singh, James Hill
Client: Sears Crosstown
Area: 1.1 million sq ft
Built in 1927 as one of nine distribution centers in the United States, and one of seven that survive, Sears Crosstown is a monolithic relic of America’s early 20th c. industrial economy. In Memphis, everyone knows someone who once worked or shopped there. As part of a renovation and adaptation strategy, Sears is being investigated as an integral part of a new urban district, with the potential for streets and public life of Crosstown flowing through the structure itself. The Spatial Affairs Study considers a ‘micro-city’ approach with a mesh of uses from open air markets, housing, health & wellness and a boutique hotel to offices, a museum and a performing arts center. Approaches to highlight the nationally important physical artifact of a mechanized retrieval and distribution system are important in the solution. The massive block that currently divides the neighborhood is re-imagined as connector and positive landmark to tie it back together.