Overton Square Behind the Scenes: the Griffin House

In Wednesday’s paper, I recapped some of the improvements – both short and long-term – being made to Midtown’s Overton Square.

One of those enhancements has been made to what landlord/developer Loeb Properties Inc. is now calling, “the Griffin House.” The 1,500-square-foot property at 2116 Madison Ave. is named after Leighnora Elizabeth Griffin, who moved into the house in 1919.

“During the mid-70s heyday of Overton Square entertainment district, she and her husband, John, continued to live in the house and turned down many offers to purchase this home,” said Tom Hayes, vice president of construction for Loeb Properties.

Leighnora Griffin lived here until her death at age 89 in 1991. The cottage was then combined with the Paulette’s restaurant by two breezeways – a front breezeway and main connector that included seating, as well as a rear connector that was used as a service hallway, private courtyard and outdoor seating.

But Loeb’s marketing research for its revival of Overton Square showed that the conjoined building was not a viable option leasing purposes, Hayes said.

“We then demolished the connectors to separate the structures once again,” Hayes said. “Because we had just completed major structural repairs at the old Yosemite Sam building with great success, we made the decision to keep the cottage despite the structural repairs that needed to be made.”

The Griffin House has seen a major face-lift since August. Click here to see before and after pictures on Overton Square’s Facebook page.

“The yellow cottage with a white picket fence is the geographic center of Overton Square and will be distinctive,” Hayes said. “We can’t wait for it to be a new retailer or restaurant and for the Garden to be a meeting spot.”

In addition to the Griffin House, Loeb is developing a walkway to be called the Griffin Walkway that goes between the two structures from Madison to LaSalle. At the rear of the cottage, Loeb is developing Griffin Garden, a small public park under the two large Oak trees in the rear.

What’s more, a small security office is also being built there, and Loeb is planning two art projects and a bicycle parking area. Loeb has spent about $50,000 on the exterior of the cottage and adjoining area, and will spend another $50,000 on patios, walkways and other exterior items in the immediate area.

Hayes said the overall plan to have a walkway that traverses the entire Square. It will start on the south where the new garage empties into the old Friday’s alley, then cross Madison, then down the new Griffin Walkway, through the Griffin Garden, to the north parking lots.

Dansette

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