1. “Sun Records” premieres: What could be the most significant made-in-Memphis television series, about the rise of Sam Phillips’ Sun Records and the Memphis portion of the birth of rock 'n' roll story, premieres on CMT on Feb. 23. It will be followed by a couple of notable Memphis music anniversaries: the 60th birthday for Stax Records and the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death.
2. Crosstown Concourse opening: In a period of big projects from Bass Pro Pyramid out to Shelby Farms Heart of the Park, I’m not sure anything is as interesting, unlikely or potentially impactful as Crosstown Concourse, the “vertical urban village” at the former Sears building on Cleveland. It throws out the welcome mat on May 13. Some, though, are already moving in.
3. ServiceMaster moves Downtown: When ServiceMaster announced early last year that it would relocate its corporate headquarters to the empty former Peabody Place mall in Downtown Memphis, work began at the site pretty much immediately. Though no exact date has been set, they’re expected to move in this year, and bring more than 1,000 new employees into the Downtown core.
4. Highland Strip reborn: There was a lot of construction and activity on Highland in 2016, but 2017 looks to be when the redevelopment University of Memphis district main drag is ready for its close-up, with new businesses (bar/music venue The Bluff, Insomnia Cookies, a new location of local restaurant Petra Cafe), more apartments and streetscaping in concert with ongoing development around the university.
5. The North, the South and the West: ServiceMaster is a big deal at the heart of Downtown, but 2017 is shaping up to be a potentially transformative year for wider Memphis Downtown, with the beginnings of a mammoth and long overdue redevelopment of the Pinch to the north, the continuation of a recent surge of activity around the South Main Arts District and the Civic Commons project transforming Downtown’s “Fourth Bluff” to the west.