VOL. 130 | NO. 241 | Friday, December 11, 2015
Bar, Event Space, Bocce Court Planned for South Main Block
By Kate Simone
A local developer has plans to transform a city block in Downtown Memphis’ south end into an “entertainment destination” modeled after a popular New Orleans establishment.
Loflin Safe & Lock Co. building, 7 W. Carolina Ave. (Center City Development Corp.)
Brad Barnett wants to turn the former Loflin Safe & Lock Co. building at 7 W. Carolina Ave. into a bar/restaurant with private residence on top. He also plans to redevelop a carriage house at 721 Florida St. into a 5,000-square-foot rentable event space.
A 10,000-square-foot outdoor yard between the two structures would be used for games such as bocce ball and croquet as well as concerts.
Barnett, who owns the property, is the owner and operator of Collierville-based Landscape Services Group LLC. He has applied for a $47,000 development loan from the Downtown Memphis Commission Center City Development Corp. to go toward the project, while related entity Loflin LLC is seeking an $18,425 storefront improvement grant, according to separate CCDC staff reports.
Plans for the Loflin Safe building’s ground floor, known as the Key Shop, call for 1,500 square feet of commercial space, to be used for the bar and restaurant, plus a 1,000-square-foot outdoor deck area. Barnett is part of the entity that would lease the site and operate the business, according to a CCDC report.
CCDC staff report for Loflin Corner development loan (PDF, 104 KB)
“We are a bar patterned after a gathering place called Bacchanal in the back water of the lower ninth ward in New Orleans,” states the storefront improvement grant application. The bar would “sell old and new world wines, offer a well-stocked liquor cabinet and domestic and craft beers.”
CCDC staff report for Loflin Corner storefront improvement grant (PDF, 104 KB)
The restaurant would serve “cookout food … from catfish and salmon to hickory smoked ribs and shoulders, steaks, chicken, sausages, burgers and hot dogs.”
Overall, Loflin Corner would create at least 10 permanent jobs and $2 million in annual revenue, according to the development loan application.
The CCDC board of directors will vote on both loan requests at their Wednesday, Dec. 16, meeting. The staff reports recommend both loans be approved.
“The property sits directly on the Main Street to Main Street Multi-Modal Connector route, which is expected to attract a significant number of pedestrians and cyclists,” one report states. “Moreover, the site is adjacent to South Junction Apartments, a key development project supported by the DMC and the Center City Revenue Finance Corporation (CCRFC).
“Improving the appearance of the subject property and raising commercial property values in the area will only further stabilize the CCRFC’s investment in the neighborhood.”
Under the timeframe proposed in the application, construction would begin Jan. 4 with an anticipated completion date of March 1. However, the staff reports note that Design Review Board review and approval is required for the project as well as for all exterior work and signage proposed in the storefront improvement grant application.