20 Big Memphis Moves Coming in 2020

2019 was a pretty big year for Memphis.

We celebrated our Bicentennial and 200 years of Memphis history. We won our first AAC Football Championship — Go Tigers!! We also had construction projects popping up on every corner of the city.

Now with 2019 in our rearview, 2020 is on the horizon and it’s looking mighty bright. We rounded up some of the biggest Memphis Moves to watch out for in the new year. Here’s a look at twenty that have us hyped!

1. Beale Street Music Fest

Photo by Mike Kerr

Memphis in May just announced part of the 2020 lineup and it includes hitmakers like The Lumineers, Lil Wayne, Portugal.The Man and The Avett Brothers. A limited number of tickets are available for the lowest price point — so get your tickets fast. This Fest is shaping up to be a good one!

2. One Beale Street

Phase One of this $225 million dollar development project will be completed in 2020. With multiple buildings that will be home to a hotel, parking garage, retail offices, and apartments, One Beale will dramatically alter the Memphis skyline in the heart of downtown. 

3. Coach Silverfield & The Memphis Tigers

You have to be ride-or-die if you’re a Memphis Tiger Fan because every year is a roller coaster of emotion. 2020 will be an interesting year for Tigers football as they usher in a new coach, Ryan Silverfield, and seek to win their second AAC championship. Hey, we’re claiming it!

4. St. Jude Ironman @ Shelby Farms Park

Shelby Farms Park will host the first-ever St. Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis triathlon. This inaugural event will draw more than 2,500 athletes from across the world to the Mid-South for an epic competition of running, swimming and cycling. 

5. Renasant Convention Center 

Rendering courtesy of memphistn.gov

The Renasant Convention Center is on track to open in the fall of 2020, with a new name and a new look. We can’t say that we’ll be sad to see the mammoth cement structure go. It’s about time the Convention Center had a sleek, modern makeover. 

6. 20 Miles of New Bike Facilities 

Photo: Luke Pruett

Expect to see more folks zipping along on scooters and bikes as the city adds about 20 miles of new bike facilities next year. This includes bike lanes, bike paths, and greenways to ensure our roadways are safe and connected for riders on two or four wheels. 

7. South City 

The $250 million South City revitalization projects will still be worth watching in 2020. Phase One has already wrapped and Phase 2 and 3 should be in the works. What’s next for the complex? Planners hope to bring a grocery store, green space and senior living by 2022.

8. Slim & Husky’s & Slim Chickens Franchise

The Memphis Food Scene has been poppin’ with restaurant openings and new food festivals. In 2020, we can’t wait to combine hip hop, pizza and cinnamon rolls at Nashville-based Slim & Husky’s Beeria. The black-owned pizza shop is set to open at 634 Union Ave in the Edge District. This year, you can also add one more chicken joint to the flock. The  Slim Chickens Franchise, based out of Arkansas, will descend on the Mid-South this year with stores in Southaven, Collierville, Germantown and Olive Branch.

9. 2020 Elections

2020 is going to be another big election year, especially with the presidential election. But there are also some local elections we’ll want to watch. The race between Congressman Steve Cohen and Corey Strong, the former Shelby County Democratic chairman, will be an interesting one to follow. As will the race between challenger Torrey Harris and longtime state Representative John DeBerry in District 90. Harris pulled 40% of the primary vote against Deberry in 2018 and is coming back to take another shot. Learn more about upcoming elections via the Shelby County Election Commission

10. Twin Peaks Convention at Graceland

Next Spring, fans of the 90s cult-classic, Twin Peaks, will celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary at Elvis Presley’s Graceland. The celebration includes an entire themed weekend with parties, screenings, exhibits, and appearances by the show’s stars. 

11. Union Row 


Hammers will be swinging over at Union Row by the summer of 2020. Topping nearly $1 billion dollars, Union Row is the largest redevelopment project in Memphis history. But besides all that, the project is bringing a grocery store to the downtown area! Now, that is something to celebrate!

12. A Bass Pro Pedestrian Bridge & The Pinch District 

The city hopes to build a pedestrian bridge connecting Front Street to Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Slated to kick-off in Spring 2020, the project will make it easier for visitors to get from the new Renasant Convention Center to Bass Pro and comes with a $3.8 million price tag. 

Plus, if Phase One of the tentative Pinch District project also kicks-off in 2020, the two projects will serve as a bookend of downtown, along with the multi-million dollar Union Row.

13. 2020 Census

The Census only comes around every 10 years. So, we’ll need to make it count next year — literally. More than 300 programs rely on over $800 billion dollars in public funding across the country. Simply put: if we undercount, we can lose out on thousands of dollars worth of resources and services for communities in need. 

14. The Fairgrounds

Photo: Daily Memphian

Now, y’all know the fairgrounds just haven’t been the same since we lost Liberty Land. But the city has plans to convert 18 acres along Central Avenue into a new sports complex for indoor sporting activities like track, cheerleading, and basketball. Construction crews could start breaking ground as early as January of 2020. 

15. Methodist Le Bonheur and Saint Francis Deal

This year, Methodist Le Bonheur announced plans to purchase St. Francis Hospitals in Bartlett and Memphis. The $350 million dollar purchase is slated to be completed in 2020 and could totally shake up the city’s healthcare scene. 

16. Overton Square Hotel 

Renaissance Group rendering via The Daily Memphian
Renaissance Group rendering via The Daily Memphian

The Memphian, a boutique hotel in Overton Square, is set to open by the end of 2020. The planned hotel has its fair share of fans and critics because of its prized location in the middle of Midtown. Still, the seven-story structure will definitely change the face of the city’s center. 

17. First-Ever County Investment in MATA

In 2020, the Memphis Area Transit Authority will finally get an upgrade. Earlier this year, the commissioners approved $2.5 million for MATA. This was the first investment in public transit by the county. THE. FIRST. EVER. In February of 2020, the county commission will vote on Mayor Lee Harris’s plan to allocate an additional $10 million in funding for public transit.

18. Memphis Tigers’ Basketball’

It may be too soon to even mention Memphis Tigers’ Basketball after James Wiseman just broke our hearts, but 2020 is still going to be a pretty amazing year for Tigers basketball. They are currently 12-1, even without Wiseman, and just broke into the top ten of the Associated Press Top 25. Everybody will want to see how this season plays out in the spring and if Wiseman goes #1 in the NBA draft. 

19. MEMShop comes to Frayser and Whitehaven

Communities Unlimited’s MEMShop program will be expanding to Frayser and Whitehaven with the launch of six new stores in early 2020. The program helps entrepreneurs, like MEMShop veterans Makeda’s Cookies, locate a vacant space, negotiate the lease, and grow their business through mentorship and consulting.

20. Stax Music Academy Celebrates 20 Years in 2020

The Stax Music Academy will celebrate 20 years of bringing high-quality music instruction to Memphis youth in 2020. The celebration will span several months and include everything from a live-streamed music marathon to a Summer Music Experience Grand Finale. 

Honorable Mention:

First 8 Memphis

Shelby County is making sure our smallest Memphians are ready for kindergarten in 2020. First 8, a new non-profit, is overseeing millions of dollars in both public and private funding to provide pre-kindergarten services. Both charter and traditional schools across the city will run 70 pre-kindergarten classrooms for about 1,400 four-year-olds. 

What are you looking forward to in Memphis this year? Let us know in the comments.

Guest post by Ashley Davis Executive Director of Kifani Press 

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