MBJ: Cafe Cossitt concept — a coffee shop in the historic riverfront library — could be coming soon

MBJ: Cafe Cossitt concept — a coffee shop in the historic riverfront library — could be coming soon

In the next 12 months, Downtown’s underutilized public library is expected to be transformed into a new community hub.

Thursday, July 20, the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) board received an update on the Fourth Bluff revitalization project from Carol Coletta, a senior fellow with the Kresge Foundation’s American Cities Practice.

As Downtown has expanded, more neighborhoods have emerged, including the Edge, the Pinch and South City, but a number of public assets — the Cossitt Library, Memphis Park and Mississippi River Park — have gone underutilized and underinvested, Coletta said.

In October 2016, a group of Memphians applied and received a $5 million grant to participate in “Reimagining the Civic Commons,” a three-year demonstration project to help the city and greater community reconnect to the thing Memphis was built on: the Mississippi River.

“Everything up to this point has been teasers of what’s possible,” Coletta said, referencing the RiverPlay pop-up park that temporarily closed Riverside Drive, the LED lights added to the Cossitt Library and various public events held in the parks.

In October, work is expected to begin to turn the historic Cossitt Library into the ” Soho House for the rest of us,” Coletta said, with the addition of an outdoor patio, ground floor coffee shop and art and music.

While the Cossitt will be the most dramatic transformation, the “Reimagining the Civic Commons” group also hopes to build on the Memphis Riverfront concepts presented by Studio Gang.

“Studio Gang looked at Fourth Bluff as a hinge that could connect Downtown and the riverfront, Coletta said. “The opportunity here is to redefine the core of Downtown.”

MBJ: Cafe Cossitt concept — a coffee shop in the historic riverfront library — could be coming soon

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