Letter From the Editor 

If Midtown has a heart, it's the Overton Square area — home to the thriving Studio on the Square movie theater; several restaurants, including Boscos, Paulette's, Memphis Pizza Cafe, Bari, Restaurant Iris, Sidestreet, La Chardonnay, Bayou Bar & Grill, and others; and the new Playhouse on the Square complex.

At its center is a vast asphalt parking lot that is buffered from Madison Avenue by several funky 1930s-era buildings that a developer wants to demolish as part of a plan to build a large grocery store on the aforementioned parking lot.

click to enlarge os_detail.jpg

Memphis Heritage maintains that the buildings are architecturally and historically significant and should be refurbished and incorporated into the square's redevelopment — or at least undergo an evaluation to determine if they can be adaptively reused. The group, and other Midtowners opposing the demolition, fear the developer will build a "suburban-like" complex that is out of character for the area.

The City Council is holding a meeting this week to discuss the demolition request and is supposed to vote on whether or not to issue a permit on December 15th.

The situation is complicated in that there are several major players, including an Oklahoma developer (Sooner), a Colorado property owner (Fisher Capital of Denver), and a national grocery supplier, AWG, which will lease the new store and provide food service to the tenant.

With so many players involved, the situation is complicated, to say the least. Assurances have been made by the developer that they are willing to build structures that would be in keeping with the character of Midtown. AWG, in turn, says it intends to lease the property to an "upscale" grocer. But promises aren't worth much in a court of law.

Memphis Heritage and local residents want some solid assurances before the deal is allowed to proceed. And in my opinion, their concerns should be strongly considered, indeed should be foremost in the minds of the City Council. They live here, after all, and it's their neighborhood and property values that will impacted. A guarantee of a high-quality grocery store and a surrounding shopping area using the original re-adapted Overton Square buildings is what they want. What they'll get is still to be determined. It should be an interesting week.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

TVA Says It's 'Committed' to Not Use Aquifer Wells

News Blog

State Liquor Laws On Trial at U.S. Supreme Court

We Saw You

Stumbling Santa, Crosstown Concourse, Red Boa Ball and more!

Intermission Impossible

Family Business: A Capote Christmas From Voices of the South

Hungry Memphis

PETA At It Again

News Blog

Report: Memphis Internet Slowest in the Country

Beyond the Arc

Bah Humbug! Memphis Should Have Seen Joakim Noah Coming

Hungry Memphis

The Vault Unlocks New Menu

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation