The Tennessee Brewery project is a story of resolve, rebirth, and the Memphis spirit. The Brewery was built in 1890 and became the largest brewery in the south by 1903. Abandoned in the mid 1950’s, the building was largely neglected. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. A few efforts to revive the space since then were unsuccessful and in the 2010’s, demolition began to be discussed.
However, in 2014 a grassroots “previtalization” effort was organized by Memphians who did not want to lose this historic building and “Tennessee Brewery Untapped” was born. The event turned the courtyard in the building into a temporary beer garden and music space featuring local breweries and artists. It was wildly popular and expanded from an original 1 weekend event to span almost the entire summer.
Because of Untapped’s
success, the building was purchased by Billy Orgel and team in November of
2014. The following year, “Untapped Revival”, a similar event as Untapped was
successfully executed. Those two events demonstrated the public demand and
interest in the space. Plans for renovation quickly followed, and that leads to
the Brewery’s second life as a residential space.
The Brewery houses 43 residential units and office space. It is part of a four phase development including the Bottle Shop, a combination of units, restaurant, and parking structure, the Wash House, an 87 unit residential building with a second internal courtyard and the Tap Room, a 130 unit residential space currently under construction.
Phases 1-3 are complete. BPD has been the landscape architect on the project for the duration of the development. BPD designed the hardscape and softscape for the Tennessee Street streetscape improvements, alley, Butler Park Riverwalk connection and all three internal courtyards.
The Brewery adaptive reuse portion of the project recently won “Best Renovation (over $10 million)” and “Project of the Year” in the Memphis Business Journal’s Building Memphis 2019 awards. Congratulations to the Orgel development group entire design team on a job well done!