Richardson (Central) Towers
University of Memphis
University of Memphis has announced the forthcoming demise of the
Richardson Towers student housing complex located at Central
Avenue and Norriswood Street. Opened in 1967 and originally named
Central Towers, the twin 10-story tower building is the largest
dormitory on campus. In fact, the north tower which houses 500 women
and the south tower which houses 526 men are independently the largest
dorms on campus for each gender.
In the late summer of 2013 the University broke ground to the south of Richardson Towers to build a new $53-million 780-bed residence hall. The new dorm was inteneded to open for the fall semester 2015, but that was delayed several months. After the new residence hall did open, Richardson towers was vacated and will was demolished in 2017, creating additional green space between the front of the new dorm and Central Avenue.
In the late 1960s, Allen and O'Hara built and owned both Highland Towers and Central Towers at about the same time, but many students of that era did not wish to live on campus. According to a source who worked in the dorm, about 1974, the University took over the entire operation of Central Towers. If memory serves correctly, Highland Towers was occupied first but then within a year Central Towers opened and Highland Towers became vacant and was never again used for student housing. It remained vacant for the most part until the University sold it for private development in 1972 for $3.75-million. It became Westley Highland Towers, a residence for older Memphians.
Richardson (Central) Towers always segregated the men and women residents, each gender occupying one of the two towers. In the late 1960s, the girls were in the south tower and boys in the north. In later decades, the assignements had swapped.
Another view of Richardson (Central) Towers
Artist's rendering of appearance of new dorm
|Photos above taken September 13, 2013
Photo below, demolition underway, July, 2016.