Date: August 10, 2018

Concourse’s underground economy (part 2)

An estimated 3,000 people visit Crosstown Concourse each day, most of them working for or a customer, client or patient of one of the building’s tenants. There are also more than 260 apartments on the property as well as a high school that just opened its doors for its first class of 125 freshmen.

In addition to all the people who visit Crosstown daily since it opened in August 2017, there is also a steady stream of people showing up to do freelance assignments or to work remotely from their employer’s or home office.

Crosstown Concourse managing director Todd Richardson has seen people working in common areas, the atria and the seventh-floor work station as well as the places where people can buy coffee or beer.

“I think the reason people may be attracted to the space is because it is a virtual village,” Richardson said. “You see all walks of life. To me, it reminds me of a dense city block.”

Once Crosstown Arts opens its shared media lab on the first floor, Richardson expects to see even more people working in the building.

“[Freelancers using the space was] definitely something we were hopeful about” when Crosstown Concourse first began, Richardson said.

So, who are the people self-locating their business and work — however temporarily — at Crosstown? MBJ sat down with five of them. (Click here to read part one of this story, with the rest of the profiles.)

They call themselves creatives and hustlers and say that Crosstown is the perfect place for the dream-chasers and the risk-takers.

Shannon Little 

Public relations and social media

What do you do? I [work] for Memphis’ small businesses and non-profit organizations. In my informal lingo, I say, “I rep Memphis and the people who make it great.”

How long have you been working out of Crosstown? I started working from Crosstown soon after their grand opening. I pop in frequently to utilize their various spaces.

Why? First, it helps get the creative juices flowing. You can feel the energy of the space just by walking into it.

Getting outside of my office and somewhere different, filled with a diverse group of people from all backgrounds and walks of life, helps me see projects in a new light.

If I ever need a break from the computer, I can easily take a walk around the complex to see and experience something different.

Crosstown is inspirational to my work. I focus on working with clients who are making a positive impact in our Memphis community. What space in our city has more of this under one roof?

There are tons of people and organizations working hard every day to better our community at Crosstown Concourse, and seeing their work keeps me focused on the bigger picture of promoting the good in our city as a whole.

Third, Crosstown has so much to offer remote workers.

French Truck coffee keeps my energy going. The restaurant scene keeps me fed. Services like FedEx Office are efficient to have nearby. Church Health and YMCA inspire me to move.

Where else do you work remotely? I love working at places that have positive energy similar to that of Crosstown Concourse.

You’ll find me frequently at Muddy’s Bake Shop in Midtown or at Overton Square. I also host meetings at Belltower Artisans on the Highland Strip and City Silo Table + Pantry in East Memphis.

I like spending my time and money at local businesses who support other Memphians and Memphis businesses. It comes full circle. We have to support each other.

Do you ever work collaboratively at Crosstown? Absolutely! I have conducted interviews with journalists at Crosstown. I have filmed Facebook Live videos with clients all around the space. I have held several brainstorming sessions with colleagues and industry partners there, as well.

What would you tell other people about Crosstown? Don’t always stick with the same spot. There are so many spaces at Crosstown Concourse with different views, atmospheres and amenities. Mix it up and make sure you experience everything [the building] has to offer. If you’re in need of some inspiration, just wander and get lost. You might happen upon an art gallery, a pop-up music session or a new treat to try.

Michael Butler 

Biomedical engineer/blogger

What do you do? I have this Bruce Wayne/Batman life. By day, I work as a biomedical engineer; by night, I’m a writer/blogger/photographer/podcaster/urban exploring brunchaholic. I’m kind of everywhere.

How long have you been working out of Crosstown? To be totally honest, I was working in Crosstown before it became Crosstown. It was still the old Sears building, and I would go inside for photos. I also got to go inside during construction and photograph some of the progress.

Why? I’m a huge fan of natural light photography, and Crosstown provides some of the best natural lighting you can find while staying out of the elements. There’s also so much space to roam and create.

Where else do you work remotely? Literally all of Memphis. I’ve explored almost every nook and cranny in the city. There are a few places left on my bucket list.

What would you tell other people about Crosstown? Please respect it and the others who use it. Consider what you’re doing and, if it’s something that would potentially prevent others from using it, just stop. It’s an amazing place with lots of free access, and that’s a privilege, not a right. Enjoy, and happy exploring.

Kerry Hillis Goff

Freelance marketing/content strategist

What do you do? I [work] for various industries in several states [from] my home base in Memphis. Recent clients include DaVita, Lokion, ServiceMaster, Hubble and Viasat. I am also a part-time instructor of literature at the University of Memphis.

How long have you been working out of Crosstown? Since the doors opened to the public in August 2017.

Why? Concourse is two blocks from where I live, so [I don’t have] to drive. It can be hard to work from home because there are too many distractions. The process of packing my bag, walking to Crosstown, getting a coffee or juice from French Truck or Juice Bar, then setting up a small workstation on the fifth or sixth floor — where there is plenty of room to spread out — creates a routine that helps me stay on task.

If I meet my deadlines, I reward myself with a happy hour drink from Next Door. Crosstown has everything.

Second, there is a certain energy that I enjoy. Being self-employed, I sometimes ask myself if I am making the right decision about my work life. Coming to the Concourse regularly reminds me that if I want something bad enough, it can happen. I mean, this place was considered an impossibility, and now look at it.

Do you ever work collaboratively while at Crosstown? If I have a meeting with clients and coworkers, I most definitely take the opportunity to meet at the Concourse rather than their respective offices. I find people are more relaxed when they leave the office, and it makes for a more pleasant gathering.

What would you tell other people about Crosstown? The higher up [in the building] you can go, the quieter the crowd noise — and the bigger the view. The main building Wi-Fi is exceptional, though if you are in certain businesses (like Next Door), switching to the guest Wi-Fi they provide may be more effective.

1350 CONCOURSE AVE • MEMPHIS, TN • 38104 • 901.203.8300