For Immediate Release


Contact:         Katie Wassmer                                                Andrew J. Groveman 

                        Thompson & Berry PR                                   Belz

                        (901) 251-5103                                               (901) 260-7278


Nationally Known Factory Stores Could be Next for Booming Downtown Memphis

Downtown Continues to Attract Businesses, Residents and Visitors


MEMPHIS, Tennessee, September 30, 2006 – Memphis may be known for the blues, but for the nearly 70,000 employees and 28,000 residents that live and work in Downtown Memphis, Memphis is rapidly evolving into something to sing about.

            The culturally rich city, sprawled among the bluffs of the Mississippi River, has become an economic heavyweight in the growing Midsouth and the entire Delta region. With 9.9 million square feet of office space, a workforce with an average household income of $60,000 and more than $2.5 billion in public and private development projects recently completed or underway, Downtown Memphis continues to make a name for itself as a vibrant urban business center.

The Next Retail Opportunity…Factory Stores

The most exciting news on the Downtown retail scene is the courting of a group of nationally known factory stores by Peabody Place Retail and Entertainment Center, the 300,000 square foot lifestyle center that anchors the Peabody Place district of Downtown Memphis.

“We are pursuing these well-known stores because we know how attractive Peabody Place and the downtown area as a whole is to retail,” said Andrew J. Groveman, senior vice president of Belz. “The residents, workers and tourists that stream through Peabody Place are always eager to welcome more brand-name shopping to the area.”

Peabody Place Retail and Entertainment Center, anchored by the world famous Peabody Hotel, houses a unique mix of shopping, eating and fun in an environment other lifestyles centers could only wish for. The center is surrounded by world-renowned hotels and tourist attractions, including the state’s biggest draw, Beale Street, one block away. The center sees 3.7 million visitors a year, in addition to daily traffic from Downtown residents and employees. It is surrounded by 3,000 adjacent structured parking spaces, connected to the center by three sky bridges. To top it off, Peabody Place Retail and Entertainment Center is within walking distance to some of the best entertainment Memphis has to offer, including the FedExForum, home to the NBA Grizzlies, Autozone Park, Memphis Cook Convention Center and The Orpheum Theater.  In addition, several Class A office buildings are within two blocks of Peabody Place, including the world-wide headquarters of AutoZone, one of the world’s largest distributors of auto parts and accessories.

A Retailer’s Dream

            To coincide with the growth in its residential and workforce populations, the retail scene in Downtown Memphis is booming. More than 450 retail stores flourish among the traffic from residents, workers and tourists.

            With the pursuit of high-end factory stores for the Peabody Place Retail and Entertainment Center, Downtown has the potential to become even more of a destination for shoppers. From trendy clothing boutiques, to unique art and gift shops, to stop-and-grab convenience stores, Downtown has every type of retail meant to reach every level of consumer. The South Main Arts District is gaining a special reputation for its designer women’s fashions, with one boutique gaining recognition from Vogue magazine.

In addition to fashion, the South Main Arts District adds to the list of places to see and be seen Downtown. All along Main Street, throughout Peabody Place and into the South Main Arts District,  clusters of trendy bars, restaurants, stylish gift shops, open-air lofts and one-of-a-kind art galleries invite residents and tourists alike to experience all that Downtown has to offer.

Downtown is also home to The Memphis Farmers’ Market, a weekly gathering of Midsouth farmers and crafts people selling their goods. Crowds flock from all over to buy fresh-from-the-farm produce, take in cooking and craft demonstrations, or simply enjoy a morning stroll while listening to performances by Memphis musicians. South Main’s Art Trolley Tour, a monthly ride along Downtown’s historic Main Street trolley line, showcases Downtown after-dark. Boutiques, restaurants and galleries along Main Street stay open late to welcome the art lovers and social butterflies alike for this festive and fun Friday night Downtown.

            The Downtown-area has averaged 7.9 percent sales growth since 1999, compared with a county-wide annual sales growth of only 2.1 percent.

A Strong Workforce

Downtown is the region’s center for employment and business. The area is home to more than 1,600 businesses, anchored by nationally recognized companies such as AutoZone, Belz Enterprises, First Tennessee Bank, SunTrust Bank, Morgan Keegan and SunTrust Bank. The city is also becoming known as a center for creative professionals, with several advertising agencies, architecture firms and interior design offices making a name for themselves here. Small businesses and entrepreneurs also thrive in Downtown’s unique office spaces with the help of several business organizations and networking opportunities.

Downtown’s 9.9 million square feet of office space, accounts for 16 percent of Memphis’ total office space.

The downtown workforce is young and educated, with 66 percent of workers falling between 25 and 44 years old. An estimated 58 percent of downtown employees have at least a college degree.

“Downtown Memphis is attracting young professionals from across the country and around the world, ensuring that the city will continue to shine into the future,” said Groveman.

Moreover, Memphis is quickly becoming known as a world leader in biotechnology. Its growing medical district employs 30,000 people and construction has begun on a state-of-the-art $40 million biotechnology campus. In addition, the world famous St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is also growing with a $1 billion campus expansion.

A Blossoming Community

            Downtown residents are a growing and assorted group. Currently, more than 28,000 people call Downtown home. This number is expected to grow to 31,000 by 2009 and 38,000 by 2014.

            The area has been recognized nationally as a model for “new urbanism” with several award-winning neighborhoods. Downtown is also the safest precinct in the city of Memphis and boasts some of the highest housing rental rates and sale averages per square foot in the county.

            The 30 daycare and early education facilities, more than 30 churches, 20 public parks and historic areas make Downtown Memphis a convenient and culturally rich place to live.

A Tourist Destination

            Every year, more than nine million tourists descend on Memphis. But, it’s not just Graceland that’s bringing in the crowds. The world-famous Beale Street is the number one tourist destination in the state, attracting an estimated 4.2 million visitors a year. Downtown Memphis ranks sixth in the country in number of historic districts. Eighteen museums, including nationally acclaimed museums like the National Civil Rights Museum, Rock n’ Soul Museum, Sun Studio, the Peabody Place Museum and the Stax Museum of American Music, bring in crowds throughout the year.

More tourists choose to stay Downtown than any other part of the region, and it’s easy to see why. The area boasts 3,130 hotel rooms, representing 15.3 percent of the Memphis market’s total inventory. The historic Peabody Hotel, the modern Madison Hotel and the Hampton Inn and Suites, voted number one in its chain, make sure guests’ stays are as comfortable as possible.

 “Memphis has retained its historic integrity while moving full-speed ahead into the future,” said Groveman. “It’s a city shaped by its history, but not confined by it, and no where is that more evident than in the dramatic rebirth of Downtown Memphis.”


About Belz

            Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Belz is a leading innovator in real estate development with interests throughout the Southern United States. Belz develops, owns and/or manages more than 30 million square feet of industrial/warehouse/distribution centers, shopping centers, office buildings, mixed-use centers and corporate campuses. The company also owns a group of premier hotels, including The Peabody Hotels in Memphis, Orlando and Little Rock. Additional information about Belz is available at