Arcade, other S. Main businesses plan upgrades, expansions

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Major changes are in store for the South Main area of Downtown Memphis.

New and old businesses alike are building and expanding--including the iconic Arcade Restaurant.

"We want to get a little bit more into baking--get a little bit more deserts and pies going on," Arcade Restaurant co-owner Jeffery Zepatos said.

Arcade owners said the restaurant will expand the back area of the building. That new space will include a bar that serves desserts, drinks, and high-end coffee.

The expansion is expected to be finished by the time the restaurant celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019.

Blue Monkey is another business planning to expand.

"We knew that it was burgeoning; we knew that it was going to be happening," Blue Monkey co-owner Michael Johnson said.

Johnson is helping to lead a project that will bring a three-story, 8,100 square foot mix-used building in a lot near the restaurant. The building will include a deli and several apartments.

"We'll do breakfast and lunch out of it. You'll be able to get sandwiches," Johnson said.

Across the street from the Blue Monkey, construction continues on a Malco Movie Theatre and redevelopment of Memphis Central Station.

Down the street work continues on a boutique hotel.

On the Downtown Commission Website, there are 24 active projects planned which total $590 million in investments that are planned, in progress or recently completed in this neighborhood.

"I think all of us are really excited about it right now," Zepatos said.

"I think every square inch is about to be developed," Johnson said.

Local business owners said the changes to South Main are happening quickly and will greatly improve the area.

"South Main is about to be the hub of Downtown," Zepatos said.

Johnson said many of the projects, including his deli and apartments are being made possible by the PILOT tax incentive program.

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