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VOL. 130 | NO. 1 | Thursday, January 1, 2015

Loeb Acquires Newby’s Restaurant Space

By Amos Maki

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Memphis-based Loeb Properties has acquired one of the most venerable locations on the Highland strip.

Loeb purchased the long-time home of club and restaurant Newby’s at 535 and 539 Highland St. from Paragon Bank. A purchase price was not disclosed Friday, Jan. 2.

The two properties are adjacent to each other on the west side of the Highland Strip near the University of Memphis, an area booming with development.

Memphis-based Loeb Properties has acquired the property that was home to Highland strip staple Newby’s.

(Daily News File Photo)

Bob Loeb, president of Loeb Properties, said cleanup and maintenance of the properties were the company’s first priority and that would begin early this year.

“These are the items we have years of experience dealing with,” said Loeb.

“Our objective is to upgrade the character of the Strip and make the old new again. The revitalization of Newby’s will add to the momentum of the University District.”

Former Newby’s owner Todd Adams began a private fundraising campaign in the fall in the hopes of raising enough money to buy the property back from Paragon Bank. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s combined 2014 appraisal for the two buildings is $467,800.

Loeb Properties is coming off the successful rejuvenation of Overton Square. After pumping millions of dollars into the once-struggling area, Loeb has made the Square a thriving retail, dining and entertainment district.

The Highland Strip has been an on-again, off-again retail and entertainment area since the original Normal-Buntyn Shopping Center emerged in the 1960s. But investment in the area is on the upswing thanks to key stakeholders.

The University of Memphis updated its campus master plan in 2014. Seven neighborhood associations from around the U of M are members of the nonprofit University District Inc. Businesses in the area are represented by the University District Business Alliance and the nonprofit University Neighborhood Development Corp. Formed by a mix of neighborhood activists, business leaders and university officials, it is pursuing a neighborhood development plan.

Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the state, Walker Avenue – home to University District institutions like Brother Juniper’s Restaurant, Garibaldi’s and RP Tracks Restaurant and Bar – will be remade into a much more appealing, pedestrian-friendly environment featuring bicycle lanes, new street lighting and a community plaza or courtyard.

The university also is in the midst of replacing the aging Richardson Towers residence halls, the twin 10-story buildings that have served as the main on-campus student housing buildings. A new $53 million, five-story dormitory at Patterson Street and Norriswood Avenue will replace the existing 40-year-old towers.

On its Park Avenue campus, the university is building a four-story, 177,000-square-foot Community Health Facility that will house the Loewenberg School of Nursing and School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

On Highland, Indianapolis-based Milhaus Ventures has revived the long-stalled Highland Row project.

The mixed-use Highland Row development will include 354 apartments, 35 townhomes, a parking garage and 26,000 square feet of retail space. Memphis-based Poag Shopping Centers, then operating as Poag & McEwen Lifestyle Centers, originally planned to develop Highland Row, but those plans were shelved following the recession.

“There is a record amount of public and private investment within the University District, which encompasses seven neighborhoods,” said Loeb. “The recently updated master plan by the University of Memphis, Walker Avenue streetscapes by the UNDC, and the Highland Row development are all proof. We are excited to be a part of the community effort to enhance the University District.”

PROPERTY SALES 40 220 16,417
MORTGAGES 28 85 10,172
BUILDING PERMITS 161 826 39,370
BANKRUPTCIES 29 136 7,733