Our Insights Hero

Transforming Commercial Development into Community Development

In true Three(i) Memphis spirit, September 1st, 2021 marked more than #901day, it was the first anniversary of Ignite More, our virtual panel series that started mid-pandemic in 2020 as a way to keep “do-gooder” discussions going. Even though we hope to make these events in-person soon, the virtual format has allowed us to include voices beyond Memphis, and we’ll keep it up until we can all get together again, safely! 

Every Ignite More topic is a little different, but the overarching theme is increasing positive community engagement with and for organizations. Our 901 Day panel focused on commercial development... How does community engagement play a role, and how can it be improved? 


As we see a rise in development, we understand that the community’s level of awareness and involvement can play a huge part in success or failure (locally and nationwide).

Ignite More: Transforming Commercial Development into Community Development

A virtual discussion to explore ways to improve community engagement in commercial development (locally and nationwide).

Four of our favorite real estate and community development experts gathered to discuss the issues. Check out the full video to hear what they have to say.


CeCe Baker - Commercial Broker, Crye-Leike Commercial


Austin Rowe - Board Director, LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance

Paul Young - President & CEO, Downtown Memphis Commission

Jackson Loeb - Associate, LPI Memphis, Inc.

Some Highlights:

“The Downtown Memphis Commission still has emergency loans and grants available for small businesses and developers. downtownmemphis.com has all the details.” - Paul Young

“Memphis is a big small town. It's important to connect developers with local project managers, architects, vendors and RESIDENTS. Keep it local and sustainable. develop901.com is a good resource.” -  Austin Rowe

“Open communication and transparency between developers and community goes a long way to building trust and making real progress.” - Jackson Loeb

“Connecting national developers with local and minority architects and project managers in Memphis is one key way I make sure we keep it local.” - Rowe

Here's a free directory to find Memphis local businesses to work with buy901.memphistn.gov - small and minority included.

“Sustainability is an important factor in getting support for Memphis development among the community, and its necessary for long-term real estate growth and success, obviously.” - Rowe

“Memphis is 70% black. We need generational wealth and minority developers to keep it local and representative.” - Young

“Memphis is growing up and that growth is at a sustainable rate, but we’re not Nashville. Our peer markets are cities like Birmingham and Louisville. Right now, Memphis isn’t on the radar for corporate relocations (like Nashville or bigger metropolitans), but we can get there if we focus on realistic peers as a model.” - Loeb 

Questions Addressed:

  • In a response to the current pandemics that have hit our communities and have been felt across the globe, how has your organization stepped up to the plate?
  • What have been your biggest hurdles or roadblocks when engaging the local community, and how have you looked to improve them?
  • What is one of the most innovative development PR campaigns that your organization has championed or you’ve seen implemented by a different organization?
  • Thinking about corporate/community partnerships, what has been your strategy in bringing development firms closer to local community leaders and micro-influencers?
  • How can companies truly differentiate themselves in how they communicate their development goals and results?
  • What advice will you give to other firms or investors that are thinking about effectively engaging the community as they start new development projects?

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