A partnership consisting of Henry Turley and Community Capital is the only entity so far to express interest in the management and development of Central Station.
(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)
Memphis Area Transit Authority sought proposals for an ownership and management partnership along with a development proposal for additions to the 17-acre facility that anchors the southern side of the bustling South Main Historic Arts District.
MATA would like to see development of the roughly five acres on the east side of Front Street between G.E. Patterson and Georgia avenues, a prime piece of Downtown real estate.
“Their preliminary concept is to develop apartments on the vacant property,” said Tom Fox, MATA deputy general manager. “We will work with them over the next few months as they refine their concept.”
Central Station for decades served as the centerpiece of the South Main district after it was built in 1914, supplying the neighborhood and the businesses there with a steady stream of travelers and commerce.
The building fell into disrepair by the early 1990s and there were fears that it could be razed like Union Station, but MATA stepped in to guide the restoration and adaptive reuse of the historic buildings and surrounding property.
The Central Station redevelopment project, completed in 1999, included 63 apartments and 35,000 square feet of commercial space. Central Station hosts the Memphis Farmers Market and houses the Amtrak station serviced by the City of New Orleans train, meeting space, law offices, a police precinct and MATA operations.
The Central Station project helped spark the rebirth of South Main into the thriving residential, arts and entertainment district that it is today, with 34 local retailers, 25 locally owned restaurants and more than $100 million in development projects underway or about to start.
In other news, two more tenants have inked leases to be part of Overton Square.
Eat Here Brands signed a lease for roughly 5,000 square feet of restaurant space in Overton Square to open Babalu Tacos & Tapas.
Construction on the space will begin this fall and the restaurant should open early next year.
The restaurant will be located in the old TGI Friday’s spot at 2113 Madison Ave.
The new Overton Square Babalu will be the second one opened by Bill Latham and Al Roberts.
Latham and Roberts have an impressive restaurant background.
They opened Amperages, the American-Italian restaurant and CHAR, a Chicago-style steakhouse. They sold both restaurants in 2006 to open Interim, the original Babalu in Jackson, Miss., and Table 100 in Flowood, Miss.
In early 2012, they teamed with chain restaurant executives Mike Stack and Ned Lidvall to form the restaurant holding company Eat Here Brands. Stack is the former chairman and CEO of McAlister’s Deli restaurants and former chairman of Quaker Steak & Lube. Lidvall is the former president and chief operating officer of On the Border Cafes and former president and CEO of Rock Bottom Restaurants.
“The atmosphere of the area complements what you can expect when dining with us – a fun experience with a variety of cool and unique menu options,” said Latham.
Babalu is known for its guacamole, which is made fresh at the table and has been voted Mississippi Magazine’s Best Appetizer the last three years.
Also, Philip and David Gould have leased 2,045 square feet at 2093 Madison for Gould’s on the Square. The salon/spa will join 11 existing Gould’s locations when it opens later this year.
“Gould’s is a well-known local brand that will drive the expected daytime salon and spa traffic to Overton Square,” said Aaron Petree, vice president of brokerage for Loeb Properties.
Gould’s on the Square will incorporate the distinct architectural elements of the buildings.