Memphis Medical District Collaborative

The Memphis Medical District Collaborative Anchor Strategy shows the potential of what is possible when multiple anchor institutions work together to develop a shared vision for their district.

U3 Advisors was engaged by the Hyde Family Foundations beginning in 2014 to understand the economic and physical impact of eight major anchor institutions in the Memphis Medical District including Baptist College of Health Sciences, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, Methodist/LeBonheur, Regional One Health, Southern College of Optometry, Southwest Tennessee Community College, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/ALSAC, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Together, these anchors employ 16,000 people, educate 8,000 students, have $1.2 billion in collective purchasing, and control 250 acres of property. U3 Advisors found that despite the significant size of these anchors, their potential impact within the Medical District has not been fully realized.

The analysis found that less than 3% of institutional employees and 6% of institutional students lived within the boundaries of the Memphis Medical District while only $50M of institutional procurement spend was captured in Memphis. The district is also dominated by surface parking lots and auto oriented uses with roughly 270 acres dedicated to parking. The analysis proposed that by working together, these 8 anchor institutions have the potential to significantly increase their economic impact within the medical district, attract more residents, increase local spending, and optimize land use to develop a dense, vibrant, walk-able neighborhood.

U3 Advisors proposed a three-pronged strategic Anchor Strategy to revitalizing the Memphis Medical Center:

• Improving Infrastructure: launching a new non-profit community development organization to focus on the redevelopment of the Memphis Medical District and coordinate development activity

• Live Local, Buy Local, and Hire Local Anchor Programs: leveraging anchor demand to capture more of the institutions’ economic impact in the Medical District

• District Planning for growth: identifying nodes for the development of walkable mixed-use neighborhoods

Since completing this analysis, U3 Advisors, working with local partners, has lead the implementation of the Anchor Strategy.

In January 2016, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative a new non-profit community development organization was launched. In addition to coordinating many of the redevelopment efforts, the MMDC focuses on four key program areas: maintaining and improving the public realm, coordinating and improving safety and security, coordinating and implementing programming and marketing of the district, and facilitating community development. The $3.0M annual organizational budget is funded through institutional and foundation support.

U3 Advisors is working with MMDC to design and implement strategies that leverage the demand of the institutions through Live Local, Buy Local, and Hire Local programs. The Live Local 901 program was launched in October of 2016 and is aimed at attracting more institutional employees to move to the Medical District. To date, the program has received over 200 applications for home purchase and rental housing incentives. A coordinated Buy Local program with the procurement chiefs of the institutions, focuses on directing the purchasing power of the anchors to support local women-owned and minority-owned businesses. Since this effort was launched in 2016, nearly $1M of additional spend has been captured locally. In addition, the program launched the Operation Opportunity Challenge – a business plan competition for local entrepreneurs and small businesses aimed at addressing “pain points” identified by the anchor institutions. A Hire Local program will be launched in 2017 with the goal of connecting neighborhood residents to the more than 3,200 positions that the institutions will need to fill over the next 5 years.

U3 Advisors is also working closely with MMDC to advance several real estate development projects aimed at increasing the supply of residential, retail, and office space in the Memphis Medical District.