Highland Strip looks to 2017 as Renaissance year

Inside The Bluff (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Inside The Bluff (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - 2017 is shaping up to be a big year for Highland Strip, near the University of Memphis.

Millions of dollars in investments are revolutionizing the area and bringing in new businesses and excitement.

One of the newest additions to the strip is not open yet, but owners said it should be open in the next few weeks.

The Bluff, a Cajun restaurant, sports bar, and live music spot will soon be open at 535 South Highland.

"We kind of go for a more industrial, rustic feel," general manager Jamie Irby said.

Gone are the dirt floors and baby blue walls that used to occupy the space.

"We want to make this more of a destination for people--give them other options besides going downtown, besides going to Overton Square," Irby said.

Highland Strip is undergoing its own renaissance. Loeb properties, also behind Overton Square's rebirth, purchased two-thirds of the strip in 2014—a $5 million investment.

Out of 12 spaces, only four are vacant. Developers hope to fill those spots in the next six months.

Insomnia Cookies, The Bluff, and two other restaurants are under construction. They'll all complement Newby's, which has been a mainstay for decades.

"It'll bring new energy and positive energy hopefully," Ablu Sow said.

Owners of The Bluff and others are banking on the strip's rebirth.

"We are excited to be here and hope we can be here for a while," Irby said.

Bluff owners said they hope to have a private event for friends and family on New Year's Eve, and then they think they will be open to the public next Friday.

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