The Shelby County land bank has over 4,500 properties available.

by Williams D. Brack
Special to

When I arrived back in Memphis after living in Atlanta for eight years, I was happy to be home. Atlanta is booming: cranes seemingly everywhere; people relocating to the city from all over the country and terrible, awful, no-good traffic. While driving around and exploring Memphis for what felt like the first time, I began to get excited about the possibilities of the city.

Williams D. Brack

If you focus on real estate, the Shelby County land bank has available over 4,509 properties of which 462 have residential or commercial structures.  What most people see when they look at these properties is mostly blight. However, if you step back and focus a bit, you will begin to see opportunity.

The price of the lots range from as low as $50 to as much as $8,000 if a structure is on the property. Many of these properties are located less than five miles from the downtown area.  Real estate isn’t just for rich developers.

Last year, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative hosted an Emerging Developers boot camp. The goal of this boot camp was to build the capacity for Memphians to invest in their own neighborhoods, and to help institutions encourage small scale development. One idea from the boot camp is that using a normal mortgage, you can buy a duplex, triplex, or quadplex in addition to a single family home or condo.

This all costs money. Fortunately for Memphians, there are options here as well. The Tennessee Housing Development Agency offers up to $15,000, City of Memphis offers up to $10,000 and Shelby County offers up $3,500. United Housing has loans for homes under $60,000 and NACA has a program to get you into a home as well.

If credit is an issue you have the Rise Foundation and Operation Hope to help, FOR FREE. In addition, there are some banks around town to help you build credit.

Memphis is a city of opportunity and resources. It’s our responsibility to utilize all of the resources our great city has to offer. There are many more resources available for entrepreneurship, entertainment and the arts. Explore our city, take advantages of all Memphis has to offer and let’s seize the opportunities that exist to uplift ourselves and each other.

(A business development officer, Williams D. Brack is passionate about small businesses, financial literacy, economic development and neighborhood reinvigoration. Email him at [email protected])