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VOL. 127 | NO. 85 | Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Local Gastropub Picks Overton Square for 2nd Locale

By Sarah Baker

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After having a popular Downtown presence for more than two years, Local Gastropub has inked its second location in Overton Square.

Local Gastropub will open in the former Yosemite Sam’s at 2126 Madison Ave., at the northwest corner of Madison and Cooper. The 100-year-old, 5,826-square-foot, two-story building housed Yosemite’s Sam’s for 39 years before Loeb Properties Inc. acquired the property from Faye Pannell in August for $350,000.

Yosemite Sam’s was the longest-running existing business in the entertainment district before closing its doors. Overton Square opened in late 1970, following the passage of liquor by the drink in a November 1969 referendum vote and the opening of the T.G.I. Friday’s bar and restaurant as the cornerstone of the business enterprise.

“It’s always been one of the gateways to Overton Square and that will continue with Local,” Aaron Petree, Loeb vice president of leasing, said in a statement. Petree represented Loeb in the lease negotiations.

Local will open in the Square on Sept. 1. Now located at 91 S. Main St., the restaurant and bar will be replicated in Overton Square, featuring upscale food in a casual, pub-like setting, said Jeff Johnson, owner of Local Gastropub.

“We are excited to be part of this exciting vision for Overton Square,” Johnson said. “Downtown is a destination and Overton Square will be, too. I’m glad to be there from the beginning.”

The Overton Square site for Local Gastropub has undergone “significant renovation,” said Tom Hayes, vice president of construction for Loeb Properties.

“The building had major structural problems when we purchased it, and we knew going in that the rehab would cost as much as the purchase price,” Hayes said. “My working concept has been a ‘rebirth’ because the building was at the end of its functional life, but it had good bones, and given its history, it was worth saving.”

Matt Prince, senior vice president of Loeb Properties, said the contract with Local Gastropub is the “first step in an effort that will not only revive Overton Square but surpass our memories of it.”

Loeb Properties will invest about $20 million to revive the arts and entertainment district and Overton Square’s footprint to about 115,000 square feet, including the redesign of existing buildings and construction of new buildings.

Overton Square will be the first development in Shelby County that will conform to the city-county Unified Developed Code, which is designed to create more walkable, bikeable, pedestrian-friendly, multiuse neighborhoods.

Prince said Local is an important and symbolic tenant for Overton Square because “it’s a local company with local ownership and that was, and will continue to be, an important part of the district’s personality and vibe.”

Prince said Loeb Properties is encouraged by the enthusiasm and the interest of retailers and restaurateurs in leasing opportunities in Overton Square.

“We see Overton Square as the linchpin between Overton Park and Midtown, capitalizing on the hundreds of thousands of people drawn there by Playhouse on the Square,” Prince said. “With the relocation of Hattiloo Theatre (from Marshall Avenue) to the Overton Square arts and entertainment district, the number of theater-goers will only grow.”

Smith said Loeb is talking with prospects for the former Paulette’s space at 2110 Madison Ave.

Local’s lease isn’t the only one in recent weeks to take place in or near Overton Square. Taylor Berger, partner in YoLo Frozen Yogurt & Gelato, along with six partners recently signed a lease at the old Chicago Pizza Factory for Chiwawa – a new gourmet hotdog and Mexican eatery concept.

The other partners are J.D. Sledd, Frank Adcock, Daniel Flanagan, his sister Katherine Flanagan, and Michael Hasselle and Rachel Hasselle.

Chicago Pizza Factory closed its doors in the late 1980s and has been vacant since. The restaurant is 3,000 square feet, and the adjoining patio is 1,800 square feet.

Chiwawa’s partners are shooting for a late summer/early fall opening.

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173