The city of Memphis wants to get into the mall building business. It unveiled plans three-and-a-half years in the making that could mean a big boost for Raleigh's economy.
The city wants to demolish the current Raleigh Springs Mall and turn it into an open-air mall featuring retail stores, a farmers market, skate park, walking trail and a possible bowling alley. A new library and Memphis police precinct are also being incorporated with this project.
The price tag: $30 million. City Councilman Bill Morrison says they already have the money in the Capital Improvement Fund.
He adds they also already have retailers in the bank, saying, "This plan wouldn't be coming to feasibly unless we knew they were coming. We have worked on this, they have seen the demographics, they've seen the money, retail goes where money is, and when you have 61 percent home ownership you have a stabilized neighborhood."
Morrison says they won't get back stores like Macy's, but for the last year other retailers - which they are not naming yet - have committed to coming back to the new open-air facility.
"I think the fact that its not an inside mall anymore because that's a thing of the past. An inside mall in Raleigh is a thing of the past - they JUST won't go in there," says Imogene Tisdale, President of the Raleigh Community Council.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton says the project will cost a lot of money but it is worth it as an investment to revitalize Raleigh as a part of revitalizing Memphis.
Tom Marshall with the City of Memphis helped design the project and says, in the long run, building new facilities will cost less than maintaining the dilapidated buildings that currently exist.