News New Markets Tax Credit

Celebrating the Rebirth of Sears Crosstown

Written By: NTCIC

NTCIC is pleased to announce the most recent grand opening of one of our impactful NMTC investments, revitalizing a vacant historic building into a multitude of new community-serving uses.

The building has a rich history. On August 8, 1927, Memphis Mayor Rowlett Paine snipped a red ribbon to officially open the brand-new Sears, Roebuck Catalog Order Plant and Retail Store on North Watkins. This 14-story behemoth embraced more than 650,000 square feet when it opened and was the largest building in Memphis, Tennessee. Later growing to 1.5 million square feet of retail, warehouse and distribution operations, the Sears Crosstown facility employed over 2,000 at its peak and then later fell prey to changes in the retail landscape that resulted in permanent closure of the building in 1993.

Vacant for over 20 years, the building has been revitalized and adapted to meet the needs of a new generation. Now called Crosstown Concourse, the $200 million rehabilitation now represents the largest historic adaptive reuse in Tennessee’s history. With over $34 million in federal Historic Tax Credit equity and over $56 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocation, including $5 million provided by NTCIC, this rehabilitative project filled a tremendous financing gap with the support of multiple community development entities and financial institutions, including SunTrust, who served as the NMTC investor and largest commercial lender. Crosstown Concourse now serves as an anchor and catalyst for revitalization and economic development in Memphis as well as the surrounding communities.


NTCIC President Merrill Hoopengardner joined thousands of Memphis community members to celebrate at the Grand Opening Celebration of Crosstown Concourse on August 18, 2017 where this “vertical urban village” was reopened as a place for purposeful uses and collaborative partnerships. The community’s strongest assets – arts, education, and healthcare – were represented by the various tenants present. With over 35 tenants already identified and in place and residential units now in service, the surrounding low-income community now has ready access to healthy foods, health care services, education services, and housing.

Attendees heard celebratory speeches from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, leaders of the development team, SunTrust Memphis President, Johnny Moore, and members of the surrounding community. They all highlighted the theme of community and economic growth by being “better together.” Mr. Moore additionally highlighted the use of the New Markets Tax Credit as a critical component of the financing and how the project could not have been complete without this important federal tax credit.

An exterior feature of the Crosstown Concourse is a vertical sign that spells out “YOURS” where the “Y” flickers off and on, emphasizing the inclusive purpose of the building and what it has to offer. NTCIC is honored to have played a part in bringing this redevelopment to fruition.

For more about Crosstown Concourse, check out NTCIC’s full profile at:

For more about how to advocate for the New Markets Tax Credit, visit:

For more about how to advocate for the federal and state Historic Tax Credit, visit:

Photos by Merrill Hoopengardner of NTCIC & Chris Sears of SunTrust; Vimeo produced by Forever Ready Productions