Financial gain and new jobs are on the horizon in the city of Memphis thanks to the proposal of Project Iris, which details a new warehouse to be built near the Nike distribution center in North Memphis.

Development company Seefried Industrial Properties filed an application with the Memphis and Shelby County Board of Adjustment to follow through on “Project Iris.” In the application, Seefried requested permission to build part of the warehouse campus, which would consist of a parking lot, a driveway and a guard stand in a residential area. 

Seefried has developed facilities for business powerhouses Amazon, Best Buy, Mercedes-Benz and Mygrant Grass. For the project to take place in accordance with Seefried’s plans, an exception must be made to the area’s zoning ordinances. The current zoning ordinances limit the building heights to 60 feet. Seefried is hoping to be granted an exception to the ordinances and build a five-story structure up to 95 feet.

“At the first of the year when I gave my State of the City Address, I said we were going to accelerate our momentum and make sure it reaches the parts of our city that need it most,” Mayor Jim Strickland said in a statement. “This proposed project will do exactly that by bringing in new jobs, new development and new life to a strong Frayser community. I mean it when I say ‘Memphis – all of Memphis – has momentum!’”

The project’s exact location is on New Allen Road and South of Hawkins Mill Road in Raleigh. Seefried representatives estimate that the distribution center will be over 4.2 million square feet and provide approximately 1,000 jobs that would pay at least $15 an hour.

Dr. John Gnuschke, director of Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research and co-director of the Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Memphis, said Project Iris can provide a symbol of unity for a city in need of a positive spark. 

“Project Iris is a very important addition to the Raleigh area and the city in general,” Gnuschke said. “It generates jobs during the construction phase and during the operational phase. Jobs and income are essential drivers of the economy of the area.”

Gnuschke also discussed the limitless benefits of “Project Iris” and the amount of people who would be uplifted by the job opportunities.

“Not only does the project generate employment and income opportunities but it also generates tax revenues for every level of government,” Gnuschke said. “Those tax revenues offset the tax incentives provided to the developer.”

The Raleigh area itself will be a huge winner from the project, as it will shine positivity on an area that many feel has been left for dead. 

“This is a first step in the right direction for Raleigh,” Gnuschke said. “The area has often been left out to dry and neglected, but it is no longer forgotten.”

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