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VOL. 11 | NO. 10 | Saturday, March 10, 2018

Coming Full Square

One of the most iconic intersections in Memphis still has room to grow

By Patrick Lantrip

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For the first time in a while, Overton Square isn’t 100 percent leased. And while no one really expects that to be the case for very long, these rare vacancies provide a good chance to stop and examine what the popular entertainment destination has going on.

In terms of current construction, one has to look no further than the southeast corner of Overton Square to see the changes Austin, Texas-based burger chain Hopdoddy is making to one of Memphis’ more recognizable intersections.

But when it comes to potential impact, the square’s most ambitious project has yet to break ground.

(From left) Todarius Morris, Camille Morris, Caylah Morris, and Daviesha Carter enjoy an afternoon at Sweet Noshings in Overton Square. (Memphis News/Houston Cofield)

“We … had more than 1.2 million visitors last year, which makes us one of the most visited entertainment destinations in Memphis,” said Ciara Neill, director of marketing for Overton Square landlord Loeb Properties. “Once the hotel comes on line, we are really looking at attracting regional visitors at a much higher rate.”

Neill was referring to a new $24 million boutique hotel Loeb Properties is partnering with developer LRC2 Properties and hospitality management company MMI Hotel Group to bring to the southwest corner of Cooper Street and Trimble Place.

“Not only will it be wonderful for Overton Square, it’s really going to be the heart of the theater district that will allow people to come from all over the Mid-South to enjoy our incredible live entertainment,” she said.

While all the details have not been finalized yet, Neill said progress on the city’s only hotel between the Medical District and University of Memphis is moving forward.

To the west of the hotel, another project is hoping to keep people in the square even longer.

Though it won’t be the only multifamily complex in the vicinity, The Flats at Overton Square will be the first one to legally license the Overton Square brand.

“This is the first time we’ve done anything like this, where we’ve allowed a company that is not a Loeb Properties company to use the Overton Square brand,” Neill said.

Overton Square currently has three vacancies that aren't expected to be empty for long. (Memphis News/Houston Cofield)

The agreement was reached in part because Aaron Petree, Loeb Properties’ vice president of brokerage, is also a partner with PMT Investments, the firm developing the flats.

"We're a block from the parking garage, so it only seemed natural to incorporate such a well-known name into our development,” Petree said. “We view Overton Square as an ideal amenity to both our live/work and apartment residents; it's special to be within walking distance of so many retail, restaurant and entertainment options."

The 11,000-square-foot Flats at Overton Square, which carries a $1.9 million price tag, will have four “live/work” units on the bottom floor and 12 traditional apartments upstairs ranging from 500 to 915 square feet.

As for the possibility of any future licensing agreements to use the Overton Square brand, Neill said the company would be open to the idea.

“We haven’t ruled it out, but it’s not something we’re currently actively pursuing,” she said.

In the more immediate future, Overton Square currently has three vacancies they don’t expect to be empty for long.

The most notable of the three is the 5,982-square-foot former Bar Louie space at 2125 Madison, across the street from Hopdoddy.

“What we’re really looking for is a wonderful tenant to act as the gateway to Overton Square,” she said. “That is a very busy corner with a lot of foot traffic and visibility. It would be great to have a high-energy tenant in that space that really activates the patio.”

The most recently vacated of the trio is 2110 Madison Ave., which was the former home of Stanley Bar-B-Que.

“It’s really a location that is at the heart of all the energy and excitement,” she said of the 3,790-square-foot building. “It has great parking adjacent to the building, a ton of character and wonderful architectural details.”

The smallest of the three, the former Square Olive space at 2094 Trimble Place, is only 1,038 square feet but offers prime frontage along the Overton Square courtyard.

“What we really see for that is a high-energy, family-friendly user who will activate the courtyard and engage with people who are hanging out in the courtyard,” she said. “We want someone who is absolutely able to engage with that foot traffic and add to the energy and excitement of the courtyard.”

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