MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The American Queen Steamboat Company has moved its headquarters from Memphis to Indiana, a company spokesperson told FOX13 in a statement.
The announcement comes the same week FOX13 confirmed the restaurant at Beale Street Landing is closed.
Instead, the city is renting the space out for private parties like weddings and corporate events. In some cases, the city is letting community groups use the space for free.
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“The American Queen Steamboat Company remains committed to the Memphis community with the flagship American Queen and new American Duchess having 67 sailings that either begin or end in Memphis for 2018,” the spokesperson said n the statement. “This brings close to 20,000 affluent guests into Memphis annually.”
The city spent $43.6 million building Beale Street Landing to give the American Queen Steamboat a place to stop along the Mississippi River.
In 2016, Benny Lendermon, the president of the Riverfront Development Corporation, told FOX13 the taxpayer money paid off.
“At the time we built this there were no boats traveling up and down the river and a lot of people screamed and yelled that we were wasting money,” Lendermon said. “It looks like, certainly in my opinion, that’s not the case now.”
In the same 2016 interview, Lendermon said tourism from Beale Street Landing had an economic impact of $36 million in one year.
“The American Queen Steamboat Company has repaid the 2012 loan with interest,” Ursula Madden, a spokesperson for the City of Memphis, said in an email to FOX13 Tuesday.
“It’s a shame the company is relocating its headquarters, but we feel good about the boat stopping more often in Memphis — which will bring even more visitors to our city,” Madden added.
Memphis River Parks says its testing a new model for using the event space, which housed a restaurant from the time it opened in 2012 until last year.
“We’re offering the space for free to community groups who need event space to host their meetings lectures, and performance,” George Abbott, a spokesperson for Memphis River Parks, said.
Abbott said the city has seen recent interest in the space from various community groups, including the South Main Association, Groundswell Design Group, and public libraries.
“At the same, the facility is available for rentals for private parties, family reunions, weddings, and corporate events,” Abbott said.
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