ANF Architects worked closely with the Levitt Foundation to renovate, preserve, and restore the 1930's era outdoor concert shell after it had fallen into a state of disrepair and was shut down by the city. The orchestra shell reopened in 2008 and was rebranded as the Levitt Shell. The project was an immediate success that was embraced by the Memphis Community. The audience and community support for the venue exceeded all expectations and provided a significant civic asset.
The 2008 restoration of The Shell was a tremendous success, so much so that in 2015 the Levitt Board was able to move forward with a $4 million renovation that was funded by private donations.
The goal of the phase 2 renovation was to improve the user experience for both concert-goers & musicians alike by expanding existing amenities and adding new ones. The site was reworked to provide musicians better access (and a more efficient unloading/loading process) with the addition of a full-scale loading dock & storage building. The parking lot, previously reserved for artist-loading, has been transformed into a "Community Garden Area," complete with vendor space for three food trucks, a re-purposed Memphis trolley (used for retail and beverage sales), and added green space which expands the lawn to create an area for picnic tables.
At the top on the hill, three new wood-decked sponsor areas with ADA-accessible ramps, lighting, and new toilets for sponsors and their guests have been added.
A brand-new directional sound system and a top-of-the-line lighting system, which includes new poles with directional stage lighting, will allow a wider variety of musicians to play and eliminate the Shell's need to rent expensive A/V equipment. New, larger LED video screens, designed for outdoor use with enhanced nighttime visibility, will provide stronger images for donor and sponsor recognition.
The work for this renovation started in October 2015 and was completed at the end of May, just in time for the 2016 summer concert series.
This project received the Memphis Business Journal's 2017 Building Memphis Award for Renovations/Conversions-Medium Category.
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