Facing Possible Demolition, Mid-South Coliseum Supporters Rally for Alternate Plan
A group that has been trying for years to revitalize the Mid-South Coliseum is still pushing to repurpose the once thriving Midtown arena. Their latest effort is in response to Mayor Jim Strickland’s proposal to turn the space into a new soccer stadium for the 901 Memphis FC team.
The city began soliciting information from designers last month about tearing down the coliseum and replacing it with a multi-purpose stadium that could seat 6,500 to 8,000 people. Construction could begin as early as next year and cost more than $52 million, although funding is still not secure.
But, coliseum defenders, like Leah Fox-Greenberg with the preservation organization Memphis Heritage say there are other places a soccer stadium could be built.
“There is a perception that this cannot be saved, and there is a perception that we as preservationists or as advocates, the last thing we would want to do is see soccer, and folks, we’re just better with both,” she said Wednesday at a press event organized by the group the Coliseum Coalition. ” We are better with a coliseum and a facility for 901 soccer.
Advocates with the Coliseum Coalition are asking the City Council to form a committee to study other ways to redevelop the venue.
Coalition cofounder Marvin Stockwell pointed to the successful Crosstown Concourse project in Midtown, which remade a former Sears warehouse into a community hub with apartments, restaurants and retail.
“But it took sustained creativity and belief and that is what is necessary with the coliseum,” he said.
After decades of hosting iconic musical acts such as the Beatles and professional wrestling, the coliseum shuttered in 2006.
Mayor Strickland’s office did not immediately respond to questions seeking comment.