Lafayette's expanding in Overton Square

Lafayette's Music Room is expanding to create 60 to 80 more seats, a new space for the stage and a green room for performers, landlord Loeb Properties announced Wednesday.

Construction has begun to enlarge the music and bar venue into the 1,300 square feet next door at 2121 Madison that had been occupied by The Attic. The clothing store closed Dec. 31, but the owner still operates another Overton Square business, The Ivory Closet.

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Loeb: Tax incentive would make Overton Square hotel 'feasible'

A new, boutique hotel of 100 rooms and parking structure of an estimated 235 spaces will rise in Overton Square, but only if the project is made feasible with a tax incentive.

That's part of the message Overton Square owner Loeb Properties will take to the Economic Development Growth Engine ) board on Wednesday in seeking a "Community Builder" payment in lieu of taxes. The 15 years of tax breaks would cut the project cost by $6.1 million.

The idea is to round out Overton Square's position as an entertainment and theater district, providing a convenient place to stay for out-of-towners who come for a weekend of dining and performances at Playhouse on the Square, Hattiloo Theatre and the new Ballet Memphis headquarters.

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Local Gastropub Comes to Overton Square

"Local Gastropub, a popular downtown restaurant and bar, will open its second location in Overton Square. Following the recent Chiwawa lease at the old Chicago Pizza Factory, Local is the next to lease a spot in the commercial redevelopment of Midtown’s historic arts and entertainment district.

Local Gastropub will open in the former Yosemite Sam’s at 2126 Madison Ave., at the northwest corner of Madison and Cooper.   The 100-year-old, 5,826 square foot, two-story building housed Yosemite’s Sam’s for 39 years.  “It’s always been one of the gateways to Overton Square and that will continue with Local,” said Aaron Petree, vice president of leasing for Loeb Properties. Petree represented Loeb in the lease negotiations.

“We are excited to be part of this exciting vision for Overton Square,’’ Local Gastropub owner Jeff Johnson said. “Downtown is a destination and Overton Square will be, too.  I’m glad to be there from the beginning.”  Local Gastropub, now located at 91 South Main Street, will be replicated in Overton Square, featuring upscale food in a casual, pub-like setting. 

The Overton Square site for Local Gastropub has undergone “significant renovation,” according to Tom Hayes, vice-president of construction for Loeb Properties. “The building had major structural problems when we purchased it, and we knew going in that the rehab would cost as much as the purchase price.  My working concept has been a ‘rebirth’ because the building was at the end of its functional life, but it had good bones and given its history, it was worth saving,” he said.

Matt Prince, senior vice-president of Loeb Properties, said the contract with Local Gastropub is the “first step in an effort that will not only revive Overton Square but surpass our memories of it.”   Loeb Properties will invest about $20 million to revive the arts & entertainment district and Overton Square’s footprint to about 115,000 square feet, including the redesign of existing buildings and construction of new buildings. 

Local is an important and symbolic tenant for Overton Square, said Prince, because “it’s a local company with local ownership and that was, and will continue to be, an important part of the district’s personality and vibe.”  He said Loeb Properties is encouraged by the enthusiasm and the interest of retailers and restaurateurs in leasing opportunities in Overton Square.

“We see Overton Square as the linchpin between Overton Park and Midtown, capitalizing on the hundreds of thousands of people drawn there by Playhouse on the Square,’’ said Prince. “With the relocation of Hattiloo Theater to the Overton Square arts & entertainment district, the number of theater-goers will only grow,” said Prince.

Loeb Properties owns and manages a portfolio of more than two million square feet of retail, office, multifamily and industrial properties in Tennessee and Mississippi, and is the largest developer in the Midtown area."

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