Loeb Properties Inc. announced Monday, April 30 its recent lease signing with Local Gastropub in the old Yosemite Sam’s space in Overton Square.
This will be the casual, upscale pub’s second location, behind its presence on the pedestrian Main Street mall for the past two years. Local will occupy the entire 5,826-square-foot, two-story building at the Cooper and Madison intersection. Its Downtown location is also two stories – a basement it uses for parties and overflow and its main level upstairs with a patio that only nasty weather conditions can keep from filling up.
“Downtown is a destination and Overton Square will be, too,” said owner of Local Gastropub Jeff Johnson. “I’m glad to be there from the beginning.”
In the coming months and years, Loeb Properties will invest about $20 million to revive the arts and entertainment district and Overton Square’s footprint to about 115,000 square feet. The plan entails 10 buildings in total on the North and South sides of Madison, including the redesign of seven existing buildings – the new Local, Bosco’s, “the gingerbread house” next to the old Paulette’s, the old Paulette’s, Le Chardonnay, Malco Studio on the Square and United Housing – and construction of three new buildings, not including a space for Hattiloo Theatre, which the city will build.
But at the present, Loeb is focusing its efforts on leasing the Square’s existing buildings up to full occupancy. And considering the entertainment district will be the first development in Shelby County that will conform to the city-county Unified Developed Code that enforces more walkable, bikeable, pedestrian-friendly, multiuse neighborhoods, it seems the signing on of Local is an appropriate first deal to close.
President of the Downtown Memphis Commission Paul Morris recently addressed a group of the city’s top commercial real estate brokers, citing Local’s ability to attract patrons to its South Main site, remote from surface parking options in the area, as evidence of walkable, dense vibrancy within the city’s core.
He said over the past year and a half, because of the new student population and increasing apartment options, Main Street has become “the hip place to be without car.” Local’s patio is constantly filled with “knowledge workers” – the kind of people that Memphis needs to attract and retain. Not only in order to be poised for population growth moving forward, but perhaps more importantly, to be competitive.
Here’s to Local’s second lease in a walkable Memphis neighborhood, and kicking off the Square’s soon-to-be refound vibrancy.