2022 marks the anticipated completion year for the 227,000-square-foot Memphis Sports & Events Center (MSEC) in Liberty Park and the start of construction on a series of mixed-use destinations, all spearheaded by the City of Memphis.
“We’ve entered a year of active progress for our City and for Liberty Park,” said City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen. “As the foundation is laid and the beams are raised for our Memphis Sports & Events Center, our vision for a 365-day-a-year tourism destination is in motion, both on time and on budget.”
Project contractor Turner Construction Company is currently overseeing the installation of the anchoring facility’s 290-foot trusses—each of which weighs 70 tons—as the MSEC rises in the heart of Liberty Park.
“The sheer size and weight of this structure is unlike anything Memphis has seen; and while that can be labeled as a challenge for some, the attitude and mindset of this project team has allowed us to progress at a fantastic pace, solve problems strategically, and be nimble and adaptable from a building standpoint,” said Andy Davis, Vice President of Turner’s Memphis office. “Despite COVID-19 and other barriers, the City of Memphis has recognized the significance of this project to the community and has been full speed ahead. They’ve been incredible partners.”
The MSEC will house two multi-purpose venues with the ability to host multiple major tournaments simultaneously. The facility will include a hardcourt pavilion with permanent hardwood courts for basketball and volleyball and a 75,000-square-foot column-free events pavilion designed to host sporting events, trade shows, graduations and more. It will also house a large café with indoor and outdoor seating and provide space for community tenants. Construction of the MSEC is expected to be completed in October.
The MSEC is managed by Virginia-based Eastern Sports Management (ESM), a regional leader in indoor sports facility management for all-ages athletic competition and recreation.
“There is truly no facility like this in the country,” said John Wack, President of ESM. “The amenities and architecture of the space are one thing, but to be walking distance from activities like the Children’s Museum of Memphis or High 5’s future miniature golf course—and to be just blocks from Overton Square and Cooper Young districts—makes Liberty Park a prime destination for competing youth and their families.”
The Liberty Park campus today includes iconic, active destinations such as the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and Tiger Lane—which will host 2022 events including Memphis in May International Festival—the Children’s Museum of Memphis, and the Kroc Center; and it will also grow to include a future 18-acre mixed-use private development, which will house public plazas, hotels, retail and dining spaces, and residential apartments.
Capstone Development Co. will develop two hotels at Liberty Park, and Austin-based High 5 Entertainment will develop a 40,000-square-foot indoor arcade—complete with a bowling alley, bars and restaurant—and a 25,000-square-foot outdoor miniature golf course.
In addition, Liberty Park’s plans include improved public rights of way, new public pavilions, renovations of existing historic buildings, outdoor playing fields next to the MSEC, and a new track and football field at Tobey Park. The total budget for the City’s redevelopment of Liberty Park is $126 million; $70.6 million will come from TDZ Bonds. When coupled with private development plans, Liberty Park’s project budget exceeds $200 million.