Overton Square revitalization gets kick started

(WMC-TV) - Friday night signified a new stage in the Overton Square revitalization project. The planning is over. It's now time to break ground and start filling buildings.  To celebrate, the neighborhood threw a block party, Friday evening.

Inside the leasing office are drawings of how Overton Square will look come 2013.

"This is the fun part," said Bob Loeb of Loeb Properties.

With the mixture of private public funding finalized, Bob Loeb says the fun part is giving the buildings life. We already know Local Gastropub is opening a restaurant in the old Yosemite Sam's building.

Beyond that Loeb says he's close to signing a lease with a coffee shop and bakery for the north side of the square. Interest he says is strong, with one store operator even coming for the block party to check everything out.

"We've got another chain operator that just opened in the gulch in Nashville three weeks ago that is determined to see if he can open up here by January," said Loeb.

Loeb isn't giving out any other details about the businesses but wants Memphians to know this really is happening.

"We always hear stories about how awesome it used to be and I come through here a lot," said Shiloh Gustafson of Mr. Lincoln's Costume Shop. "It's just such a beautiful place.

On the south side of the square, which is now a large parking lot, will be the parking garage and water detention along with Hatiloo theater moving near Playhouse on the square.

What will happen to the old French Quarter Hotel is still up in the air, with Loeb currently working with the operator of the Madison Hotel on a feasibility study in hopes the two men enter into a contract on the property.

In total Loeb Properties will redesign seven buildings on the north and south sides of Madison Avenue. Nearly all of them will have patios as Loeb says the goal is for the area to feel alive and vibrant.

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