A person is standing at the corner of Florence Street and Madison Avenue — where are they? An answer of “Overton Square” may or may not be correct — depending on what side of the street the person is standing.
Are they in front of Memphis Pizza Cafe, at 2087 MadisonAve.? “Overton Square” is the right answer. Standing in front of Maggie’s Pharm, at 13 Florence St.,just a few yards away from Memphis Pizza Cafe? “Not Overton Square.”
But, if the person crosses Madison Avenue to the parking lotnext to Bayou Bar & Grill, they’re back in “Overton Square.”
The Square got its start when a group of young developers brought it to life after liquor-by-the-drink was legalized in 1969. The entertainment district boasted the first franchised location of T.G.I. Friday’s and was renowned for special attractions such as an ice skating rink and performances of “A Dickens Christmas.”
However, after a few changes in ownership, the Square began to decline in the 1980s, and in the following decades was all but abandoned by many businesses — the nadir might have been the closing of Friday’s in 2003 — until brothers Robert and Louis Loeb of Memphis-based Loeb Properties Inc. purchased the development in 2012. Overton Square has since gotten its second wind.