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Community development corporation The Works Inc. owns several vacant lots around its South Memphis office in ZIP code 38106.

Because market dynamics there make it infeasible to build new homes on the properties, the nonprofit plans to bring a unifying presence to the neighborhood on four contiguous lots – a park.

“Because you’ll spend far more money to build that house – if you’re going to build anything halfway decent – then you’ll see the appraisal after it’s constructed,” Eric Story Neimeyer, the organization’s community development specialist, said of the housing market in the area.

The median list price per square foot for a home in 38106 is $25, significantly lower than the Memphis average of $69, according to online real estate and rental marketplace Zillow.

So, The Works maintains the lots and keeps them mowed. Next year, it will begin converting the four contiguous lots it owns at the corner of Mississippi Boulevard and Gaither Street into a new park it will call Renaissance Park.

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