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VOL. 132 | NO. 53 | Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Loflin Yard Developer Working on New Restaurant Concept Downtown

By Patrick Lantrip

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Two of the developers of Loflin Yard are planning to restore another vacant lot in the South Main Arts District into an indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant using repurposed metal grain silos.

The developers of Loflin Yard unveiled their plans for a new restaurant concept to the Center City Development Corporation Wednesday. 

(Downtown Memphis Commission)

Owner Brad Barnett and developer Mac Hopper took their plans to repurpose a vacant, overgrown 15,000-square-foot lot at 141 E. Carolina Ave. and an existing building across the street at 134 E. Carolina Ave. to the Center City Development Corp. Wednesday where they were granted a $57,550 Exterior Improvement Grant to assist with outdoor renovations.

Construction is scheduled to begin this spring and will likely be finished by the summer, according to their application.

“We think the rural look and agricultural themes that go along with the railroad will fit the property,” Hopper, a principal with DesignBoard Development Group, said. “I think it will be good for the neighborhood.”

The grain silo-infused design would be unique to the Memphis area, according to Hopper, but added that the Watkins School of Design in Nashville has utilized a similar look.

When asked if the noise levels would mirror the other nearby project they are involved with, Loflin Yard, Hopper said there will be no outside music, only the ambient music one would expect to find at any venue.

“We’re mainly going to focus on the commercial kitchen,” he said. “I think there is a lack of delivery Downtown.”

Hopper likened the project to the Young Avenue Deli in Midtown, where patrons can dine on reasonably priced deli sandwiches for pickup, delivery or on-site consumption.

Most of the property will be an open-air patio – the main building will only be approximately 36 feet in diameter with a 21-foot kitchen annex and dry storage facility. Additionally there will be twin, circular 15-foot grain silo-style restrooms on site.

“We’re trying to make a pedestrian-friendly little neighborhood,” he said. “We think there needs to be some added hospitality density in that area.”

As for the vacant building across the street, Hopper said they plan on converting it into a mixed-use event center.

“We’re working on some conceptual stuff called Carolina Hall,” Hopper said.

Due to its location, the project was eligible for a maximum EIG of $60,000, of which $57,550 was recommended by the staff.

“This is a vacant property just east of Main Street,” Brett Roler, vice president of planning and development with the Downtown Memphis Commission said. “We’re going to add new lighting and new activation to really help transform what is a dark and desolate section of Downtown in the evening. We believe that adding a new activation and a new business at this location only strengthens the connection of South Main and South City, because Carolina is an important corridor linking the two.”

The project will still need to get approval from the Design Review Board before breaking ground.

PROPERTY SALES 98 172 17,556
MORTGAGES 101 194 20,229
BUILDING PERMITS 223 349 36,295
BANKRUPTCIES 52 115 11,279