Memphis is home to countless one-of-a-kind places, 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.

The History of Crosstown Concourse

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. 

Crosstown 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 its 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 Crosstown Concourse to spend the day eating, looking around and shopping. Parking in the garage is always free, and it’s a short, easy drive from downtown Memphis: you'll reach Crosstown Concourse just 10 minutes (three miles) from Beale Street. 

Crosstown Dining & Entertainment


The Concourse features Global Café, an international food hall dedicated to supporting immigrants and refugees. Different cultures are deliciously represented by a handful of food stalls, and locals frequent the full bar for colorful, artisanal drinks. In need of a pick-me-up? Sample small-batch roasts from French Truck Coffee.

Farm Burger satisfies all your burger cravings with 100 percent grass-fed, locally sourced beef and local brews at lunch and dinner. Get your chicken fix at Abner's Famous Chicken in the West Atrium, where you can devour everything from their tender plates to tender tacos.  Wolf River Brisket opened a new location in the Central Atrium. Dine on house-smoked meats, including brisket, burnt ends, salmon, sausage and chicken, and sip craft concoctions from the bar.

If you're looking for a dessert to cap off your visit, Lucy J’s Bakery offers delicious cupcakes, cookies, pastries and other sweet treats. MEMPops is perfect on a hot day for popsicles with creative ingredients. Or if gelato is more your style, visit Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co. which makes gourmet gelatos and sorbets in unique flavor combinations featuring local and regional ingredients.

The onsite brewery, Crosstown Brewing, is a must for craft beer lovers. Take your pick of over a dozen beers on tap, including IPAs, sours, stouts and even hard seltzers. If you prefer spirits, stop by the hidden Art Bar in the East Atrium for craft cocktails and a curated beer and wine list.  

To find more dining options at Crosstown Concourse, click here.

Things To Do

Get pampered at the Gloss Nail Bar’s well-appointed salon inside Crosstown Concourse. Looking to feel inspired? Crosstown Arts hosts free, rotating, contemporary art exhibitions and weekly art events on Level 2, Suite 280.

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 the Crosstown website for a list of upcoming events. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Take in a show at Crosstown Theater, a state-of-the-art 417-seat black box theater that can showcase film, performing arts and live music, including upcoming performances by Grammy-nominated singer Garrison Starr and G. Love.

Want a place that feels like your living room but the acoustics bring in anything from big band and hip-hop to spoken word and singer-songwriters? Grab a ticket for an intimate and artistic performance at the Green Room where even the musicians go to relax. 

Music lovers should also check out the Memphis Listening Lab. Visitors can browse and listen to a curated library of thousands of songs and albums on a state-of-the-art speaker system from EgglestonWorks Audio. Craving more music? Peer in and watch the spinnings of Memphis' WYXR radio station.

Don’t underestimate the experience of just strolling through and exploring the exciting architecture of the public spaces inside the Crosstown Concourse. And in warmer weather, the kids will love dipping their toes — or whole bodies — in the fountains on the plaza.

While You're in the Crosstown Area

While you're visiting Crosstown Concourse, make sure to also stop by neighboring businesses. For live music of all genres almost every night of the week, just head over to the Hi-Tone. Black Lodge Video is one of the last video rental stores in the nation. Check out a library of over 30,000 DVDs and Blu-rays, or schedule your visit around an upcoming showing or event. Up for some pinball and a pint? Take it old school and head to Memphis’ only pinball pub, Flip Side Memphis. If you’re hungry, fuel up at locally-owned restaurants such Phuong Long for pho or homemade pasta at Ecco.  

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