Bar Louie, an Addison, Texas-based neighborhood restaurant and bar franchise, is the latest retail tenant that has signed on for Overton Square.
Bar Louie will occupy 5,650 square feet of the curved building at 2125 Madison Ave., on the southwest corner of Madison and Cooper Street. The store will be Bar Louie’s 11th franchised location and will be operated by Tony De Salvo and partners.
The space originally housed Playhouse on the Square in the 1970s. It has since included several incarnations of a comedy club and a dance club called Vortex.
Construction on the Overton Square location should start in August with a goal to be open by Jan. 1.
Aaron Petree, Loeb Properties Inc. vice president of leasing, represented Loeb in lease negotiations. Co-representing Bar Louie was Shawn Massey, principal with the Shopping Center Group LLC, and Mathew Focht, president of Chicago-based Emerging Concepts.
Signing a lease with Bar Louie marks another significant milestone in the redevelopment of Memphis’ historic Overton Square entertainment district, Petree said.
“We were attracted to Bar Louie because their corporate culture encourages franchisees to develop each location around the local culture instead of implementing a national one-size-fits-all model,” Petree said.
Originally founded in Chicago in 1991, the company has 36 corporate and 10 franchise locations throughout the U.S. Other Tennessee locations include Nashville, Chattanooga and Murfreesboro.
Bar Louie is known for casual dining, specialty handcrafted martinis, an extensive beer and wine selection and creating an atmosphere at each location reflective of the local culture. The menu features a selection of American comfort food, including small plates, burgers and sandwiches with prices averaging $3.99 to $12.99.
“Bar Louie’s existing locations have a great, sophisticated look as will this new location,” said Tom Hayes, Loeb vice president of construction management. “For the outside – look for awnings, an iconic sign with exposed neon, a large patio that blends into the restaurant via numerous openings, some of which may be created by the use of garage-type doors. The interiors will feature an open ceiling, ample bar and seating space, and many large televisions.”
Loeb Properties plans to invest about $20 million to revive the storied arts and entertainment district and expand Overton Square’s footprint to about 115,000 square feet, including the redesign of existing buildings and construction of new buildings. The overall project – which features a proposed three-level, 450-space parking municipal garage with water detention facility underneath – is a public/private partnership.
The signing marks the second significant restaurant leasing this year for the Overton Square project, following the April announcement that Memphis-based Local Gastropub was opening a second Memphis location at the northwest corner of Madison and Cooper in the old Yosemite Sam’s space.
Loeb Properties projects that Overton Square will be fully open for business by late third quarter 2013.