Beale Street
« Back to Projects

In the 27th year of its rebirth, historic Beale Street is the entertainment epicenter of downtown Memphis, drawing residents, tourists and conventioneers alike. Beale’s success under Elkington Group's management provides a template for urban entertainment districts throughout the country. Pulsing with the blues, rock and rockabilly that Memphis made famous, lined with distinctive restaurants, thronged with crowds enjoying food and drink, Beale Street lives again.

Features
• 100,000 sf of restaurants, clubs and shops
• national tenants such as Hard Rock Cafe, B. B. King’s Blues Club, and Coyote Ugly
• five million visitors a year
• open-air theater in W. C. Handy  Park can accommodate 2,000 fans for music performances by well known acts

History
Under the management of John Elkington, Beale Street emerged from an urban wasteland with vacant, decaying storefronts to become one of the top tourist attractions in Tennessee and one of the leading entertainment districts in the country. The revitalization of the blocks between Second Street and Fourth Street was a major catalyst in the rebirth of Downtown Memphis.

In the late 1970s, the City of Memphis acquired most of the properties along the street and formed the Beale Street Development  Corporation, which brought John Elkington on board in 1982 to oversee the creation of an entertainment district. Starting with the opening of the first club in 1983, John Elkington brought new businesses, one by one, into renovated spaces. After some lean early years, a critical mass of excitement and entertainment was reached and the crowds started coming. They haven’t stopped.

On its 27th anniversary, the reborn Beale Street is the center of an ever-expanding entertainment mecca that includes the adjacent AutoZone Park and South Main Arts District. The street serves as the “front door” to the FedEx Forum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies, which opened in 2002.