By Kate Stukenborg and Phoebe Lusk-Hussong
Bella Vista, St. Marys’ film publication, and Tatler spent a day exploring Memphis’ newest addition: Crosstown Concourse. Read and watch to discover what we saw, where we ate, and what we think about our Crosstown experience - and why you should go create your own.
9:00 a.m. - Welcome to Crosstown
Upon entering the main doors, we found almost no one in the surprisingly quiet Central Atrium. Compared to the usual late afternoon foot traffic, we discovered that a morning spent at Crosstown is a peaceful, quiet time to have breakfast and do homework. The friendly workers and mellow music at French Truck Coffee created a welcoming atmosphere where we enjoyed lattes, pastries, and free stickers in bright yellow chairs. Despite the quietness of the rest of the Atrium, we could comfortably talk, laugh, and tell stories to start our morning. As the day went on, we noticed more couples walking dogs, children scootering around, and visitors and residents alike enjoying the space.
11:00 a.m. - Interview Cru von Holtzendorff-Fehling, co-owner of Mama Gaia.
After our calm morning introduction to the Concourse building, we met with Cru von Holtzendorff-Fehling, co-founder and co-owner of the healthy and fast-paced eatery Mama Gaia. Mr. and Mrs. von Holtzendorff-Fehling moved from Germany to the United States in 2010 and opened their first location at Crosstown Concourse because they were inspired by the renewal of an old space and its European feel.
Cru said, “To keep the old alive and turn it into something new: it’s a transformative process, and we really like that. We also liked the mission of Crosstown: to be transparent and to be green and conscious.”
Mama Gaia is both health and environmentally conscious, offering unprocessed vegetarian food served fast. Chu is a vegetarian due to her diagnosis of Lyme disease and she says she struggles to cook quick and inexpensive meals that her kids will eat, but that also fit her own dietary restrictions. Because of this, her ultimate goal is to open Mama Gaia’s with drive through windows all over the U.S. to give parents like her access to fast, healthy food for their families.
12:00 p.m. - Curb Market
We enjoyed a quick lunch at Curb Market, a frequent grocery stop for Crosstown residents.Though it offers a good variety of local and healthy foods, Curb Market prices resemble the prices of Whole Foods, rather than those of Kroger or Target. Some of us made a salad while others chose from a selection of pre-made pasta salad and sandwiches. We also bought snack items such as chips and granola bars to accompany our meals. Checking out was fast and efficient, and there were tables right outside the Market where we ate and observed the buzzing main lobby of the concourse.
1:00 p.m. - Looking at Life in a Crosstown Apartment
Housing is a paramount aspect of life at Crosstown, so we spoke with Mackenzie Barnes (12) about her experience living in an apartment at Crosstown. The apartment is designed to spaciously accommodate two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen area, and two bathrooms.
When asked about what she thinks of the experience so far, Mackenzie described it as a big adjustment to move from a large Midtown home to a small, urban space.
Mackenzie says, “It’s very real city living. When you think ‘oh she lives in an apartment!’ you kind of have this glamorous view of my life but that’s just not how it’s been. Obviously it’s very, very cool but we don’t have that much space. So if I want to be alone in my house, I would have to be in my room, and even then I can hear everything that’s going on outside my room in my apartment. There’s not a lot of space for me to just be.”
Speaking to the benefits of life in a Crosstown apartment, Mackenzie says, “You’d think that life here would feel frenzied. But to live in Crosstown is to live in a surprisingly, pleasantly, albeit exciting, place.”
Following our apartment expedition, Milton Lovell, the CFO of nexAir, an industrial gas systems and equipment company as well as the only large for-profit business in the Crosstown Concourse space, gave us a tour of their new office space and the art inside it.
When asked about the impact of the move to Crosstown, Milton says, “We’ve already seen an impact on our business, not from a business standpoint, but from a morale standpoint, from an employee engagement standpoint. People are excited to get to work and [we’ve noticed changes] as simple as people dressing better to come to work and getting to work early.”
NexAir says they are committed to the Memphis community and wanted to prove their loyalty by establishing themselves a part of a new and innovative project. For this reason, the company made an effort to showcase only local businesses and local artists in the construction of their space. Local art by artists such as Maysey Craddock, St. Mary’s alumna (‘89) and aunt of Merriwether Mclean (9), is featured in the nexAir collection.
We hope that in following us as we wandered around you gained a better understanding of this new facet of Memphis, and maybe even feel encouraged to create your own Crosstown experience.