Crosstown

French Truck Coffee / Alex Shansky

Memphis is home to countless one-of-a-kind place, and our city’s reinvention of a former Sears distribution center is another example of this creativity and uniqueness. After sitting empty for more than 20 years, this towering historic building - now called Crosstown Concourse - reopened in August 2017. There’s plenty of history and architecture, and lots to eat, drink, and see within its walls.

History

In 1927, the building opened as the Sears Crosstown, one of several such enormous facilities built around the country. Inside was not only a Sears department store, but a sophisticated distribution center for fulfilling catalog orders, plus employee spaces including a soda fountain, cafeteria, and even a hospital. 

Thousands of Memphians from all backgrounds worked at the Sears Crosstown building, and it became a landmark not only for its impressive art deco architecture but also as a hub of business and social activity. The building’s heyday lasted for decades until the early 1990s, when Sears closed the center. For the next few years, the Crosstown building - like many Sears distribution centers around the country - sat vacant and in disrepair. 

Revival

In 2010, a non-profit organization called Crosstown Arts was created with the purpose of redeveloping the building and preserving the history of this Memphis landmark. In 2012, the vision of a “vertical urban village” with a focus on arts, healthcare, and education came together as founding tenants committed to funding the space’s complete overhaul and renovation.

On a rainy day in February 2015, the new name for the 1.1 million square foot behemoth was revealed and ground broken on Crosstown Concourse’s transformation. After years of work and careful renovation and restoration, the building celebrated it's grand opening celebration on August 19, 2017. You can view a documentary about the process of Crosstown Concourse’s rebirth here.

In late 2017, Architectural Review selected the Crosstown Concourse as one of 15 outstanding adaptive reuse projects from around the world in their “New Into Old” awards. It’s truly a world-class place!

What To Do At Crosstown Concourse

The vision for Crosstown Concourse as a “vertical urban village” has truly come to fruition and you can see it for yourself when you visit Memphis. Locals live and work inside the building, but there are plenty of fun things for visitors to do (and eat!) inside the space once you’re done marveling at the incredible architecture. You’re invited to stop by the Crosstown Concourse to spend a hour or two eating, looking around, and shopping. Parking in the lots or garage is always free, and it’s an short, easy drive from downtown proper. 

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Events at Crosstown

Food & Drink

Start off your time in the Crosstown Concourse enjoying a cup of small-batch roasted coffee from French Truck Coffee and taking in the view in the Central Atrium. The Curb Market is an upscale market that serves hot prepared foods for lunch and dinner; it’s also a great place to find BBQ rubs, sauces, and treats to take a taste of Memphis home. And I Love Juice Bar is a local option for the health-minded visitor looking for fresh-pressed juices and smoothies. 

Farm Burger satisfies all your burger cravings with 100 percent grass-fed, locally sourced beef and local brews at lunch and dinner. Next Door (not to be confused with Sweet Grass Next Door in Cooper-Young) in the Central Atrium is a part of Kimbal Musk's farm-to-table restaurant family; they have shareable appetizers, bowls, and burgers in addition to daily plate specials and a full bar with craft cocktail menu.

If you're looking for a dessert to cap off your visit, Area 51 Ice Cream offers scoops of gourmet ice cream in unique flavors made from fresh Southern fruit and baked goods. MEMPops is perfect on a hot day for popsicles with creative ingredients. 

Crosstown Brewing, just west of the main Crosstown Concourse, is Memphis newest brewery with 5+ beers on tap and non-alcoholic craft soda.  The Concourse is Global Café, an international food hall dedicated to supporting immigrants and refugees, found next to Curb Market in the Central Atrium, and a Cafe inside Crosstown Arts serving innovative plant-based cafe, health-conscious and affordable meals.

Things To Do

Get pampered at the Gloss Nail Bar’s well-appointed salon inside the Crosstown Concourse. Cheryl Pesce: The Lifestyle Store is a must-stop for shoppers interested in handcrafted jewelry and home goods in a modern, luxury style. Crosstown Arts hosts free, rotating, contemporary art exhibitions and weekly art events on Level 2, Suite 280. Check out their calendar of events

There are tons of free events held throughout the building including a regular rotation of live music performances, art displays, talks, classes, and other events that are open to the general public. Visit their website for a list of upcoming events.

Crosstown GetDown is a free one hour dance class, followed by a dance party on the Plaza, Central, or West Atrium held on the second Thursday of each month. Or find your zen with Yoga in the Plaza hosted by Crosstown Dental Group every Thursday from 5:45pm to 6:45pm.

Don’t underestimate the experience of just strolling through and exploring the exciting architecture of the public spaces inside the Crosstown Concourse. 

In the area

While you're visiting Crosstown Concourse, make sure to also stop by neighboring businesses. For live music of all genres and almost every night of the week, just head over to the Hi-Tone. Grab a bite at locally owned restaurants such as Mardi Gras for New Orleans style fare, the brunch pizza at Midtown Crossing, a delicious bowl of steaming hot Pho at Phuong Long or homemade pasta at Ecco.