CRE Consulting Corps: Making a Difference in Memphis

“The CRE team was incredible to work with.  They brought with them a wealth of knowledge around the potential development and growth of our Innovation District.”

John Butler
President, Agricenter International


Agricenter International, an 1,100-acre urban farm in Memphis, Tennessee, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of agriculture through education and research.  It’s a “living laboratory” for companies to evaluate new and innovative agricultural products and services.


While it had a high-level strategic business and conceptual master plan, Agricenter requested the CRE Consulting Corps help it identify tangible action steps to implement one component of that plan—the Innovation District, a 40-acre development site that is the centerpiece of the campus’s research effort. Agricenter officials expressed the need to create synergies and catalysts for additional community involvement and economic development on the property.


In September 2019 five members of the six-person CRE Consulting Corps team assembled in Memphis. In addition to examining the area’s demographic and employment data, the CRE Consulting Corps interviewed government officials, community leaders, agricultural experts, and existing Agricenter tenants to understand the community’s desires and industry needs.


The team presented a set of recommendations for the highest and best use of the Innovation District’s vacant land consistent with Agricenter’s mission and goals, as well as provided input on likely tenants and the type of space those tenants would need. It outlined development options and offered suggestions on accessibility, infrastructure improvements, landscaping, and signage. The CRE team also noted trends in the marketplace that could enhance success.

“Not-for-profit organizations face particular challenges and really benefit from the assistance of the CRE Consulting Corps team.”

David McCoy, CRE
CRE Consulting Corps Team Leader


The team was led by David McCoy, CRE, Kamuela, Hawaii. Panelists were Garner Chandler, CRE, CCIM, 30A Local Properties, Grayton Beach, Fla; Brian Dolehide, CRE, IPA Marcus & Millichap, Chicago, Ill.; George Grace, JD, CRE, New York, NY; Hugh Kelly, PhD., CRE, Fordham University, New York, NY; and Brent Palmer, CRE, NewTower Trust, Chelan, Wash.