Save the Century Building

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The citizens in the neighborhoods surrounding the 27,500 sf, 60-year-old Century Building at 3294 Poplar Ave. are extremely concerned and do not want the beautiful landmark building to be torn down and replaced with a noisy, garish, high-intensity mega car wash.

The proposal is an assault on the investments made by every homeowner in the neighborhood. The current tenants in the building don't want to leave, but will be forced to if this out-of-town business proceeds with the demolition. Sadly, most tenants were not informed what was going on and wondered why their yearly lease became a month to month contract). They were later to find out it was because the landlord, Charlie Ryan (aka Memphis Enterprises) was already negotiating the sale to the Florida-based Blue Waterwash, LLC car wash company. Over the past several years, the owners did minimal updates and improvements to the building which in return affected its occupancy.

Brenda Solomito Basar (responsible for filing car wash application) has certainly misrepresented the homeowners and businesses of the area and doesn’t care about the effects this will have on our lives. Hundreds of people in this area and the surrounding area have been vocalizing on social media and in news publications, and bottom line is: NOBOODYWANTSACARWASHTHERE!!!!!

With the Memphis 3.0 proposal/plan in our immediate future, it’s certainly time to change the zoning laws that will help keep our city unique, beautiful, resourceful, and desirable. “It could be worse” quoted from the city council is not acceptable and downright insulting.

Furthermore, the Century Building's lot cannot accommodate what the car wash company is proposing. After looking closely at the revised site plan, it is obvious that they are trying to cram as many vacuums, bushes, hoses and parking spaces in this small lot as possible. Also, the entrance and exit to the car wash will be at the prominent Poplar/Holmes intersection, which is already a highly congested area that is prone to accidents consistently.

The hours of operation for the car wash will extend well beyond the normal business hours associated with an office building and the noise/light generated is substantially greater. No amount of landscaping /fencing will be enough to mitigate the negative impact. Residents of Chickasaw Gardens, Joffre, Red Acres, Green Meadows, The Village, Galloway Golf Course, Belle Meade, High Point Terrace, and other neighborhoods will be affected too. The historic East High School (which is in the process of being revitalized and turned into a full time 9th-12th grade T-STEM school, will also be impacted. The high school is located one block west and students need to be able to cross the street safely and not have to walk in front of a high-impact unwarranted car wash. Memphis is already ranked 11th worst cities for pedestrian deaths. Let's keep out children safe!

Extra traffic, unwanted crime, trash, bright lights, water/noise pollution, and blight are the only things associated with car washes and it will be a terrible decision to tear down an iconic historical building for this purpose. Taking into account the additional burden on the current sewer system which was not designed to accommodate the increased amount of water, and considering the potential damage to homes when the sewer is overloaded, this is all-around a bad idea. Consider the decreased property values, and the City of Memphis only stands to lose from this poor decision.

Our families and kids in this community and on Century Street deserve better. Preserving/revitalizing such a unique structure and updating the inside would add value to our well-established family friendly area and improve our beloved city.

Suggestions include: youth services, after school tutoring/mentoring, yoga studio, bookstore, health and nutrition counseling, student anthropology department, art gallery, art studios, law firm, architect firm, design/marketing firm, smoothie bar, and upper level apartments with cool roof top, to name a few. 

(read more articles from the Daily Memphian)

https://www.dailymemphian.com/article/1454/Century-Building-would-be-razed-for-car-wash

https://www.dailymemphian.com/article/1797/Plan-to-replace-office-building-with-car-wash-delayed-as-opposition-mounts

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Below is a letter from the publisher of StoryBoard Memphis, Mark Fleischer 1/24/19

I am the publisher of the StoryBoard Memphis, and as part of our editorial stance, we support good planning and development, and are opposed to developments such as the one on the table today that calls for the demolition of the Century Building and the building of a car wash (proposing a dog park does not sweeten the deal).

The new Memphis 3.0 plan is going to be voted on in February and is very likely to pass the first steps to becoming an ordinance later this year that helps guide good development for years to come. On the plan's Land Use map and corresponding charts, the area around Poplar and Century is designated as "Anchor Neighborhood- Mix of Building Types; Walkable neighborhoods within a 5-10 minute walk of a Community Anchor. These neighborhoods are made up of a mix of single-unit and multi-unit housing" (Think in terms of walking across the street to the shopping area, down to Starbucks, or west to the library.)

The plan also identifies the area's general goals and objectives as follows: "Preservation, stabilization, and/or intensification of neighborhoods, focusing investment towards areas that support plan goals and objectives, locating housing near services, jobs, transit, growing up not out."

A car wash here would be completely and grossly counter to the "walkable, preservation, and stabilization" goals of the immediate area. It would be a deterrent to healthy growth in an area that could prime for healthy growth and investment. A car wash here is inconsistent with the 3.0 plan and kills such future investments."

Again, please sign, share, and help #SAVE THE CENTURY BUILDING! #NO CAR WASH IN MY BEAUTIFUL NEIGHBORHOOD!