Midtown Development: Optimism for Overton Square

Midtown Development: Optimism for Overton Square

Midtowners are excited new plans can breath new life into the empty parts of Overton Square, especially because, this time, developers are doing things differently.
MEMPHIS, TN – There’s mixed news for preservationists in Midtown Memphis. One landmark is on its way up, another in the process of being torn down.

Midtowners are excited new plans can breath new life into the empty parts of Overton Square, especially because, this time, developers are doing things differently.

“We're excited, we're all for it,” said Sue Jordan who manages Maggie’s Pharm gift shop on the square. “Anything that brings this area back is great.”

Local businesses like Maggie's Pharm are excited about Loeb Properties’ big plans for development here. Before it submits anything to the city, Loeb wants people to have a say. It's holding a public meeting next week to talk about plans.

“I think it's great,” said Jordan. “I think it shows they want everyone in this area to be involved and to give input, and, believe me, we will.”

Last time around, preservation groups put up a fight against an out-of-town investor, and it worked. The Mayor says they've been working on this deal for nearly a year.

“When you stop and look at that area, you're talking about a real walkable, big city community,” said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. “It is a real treasure, and we're going to bring it back.”

While preservationists are excited about what could be saved here in Overton Square, across Union, it's a totally different story.

Despite the protests and lawsuits, CVS wrapped up the deal to buy the Union Avenue Methodist Church, and, already, a fence is up around it, preparing it for demolition.

“Everything has to change, but there are some things you'd like to stay the same,” said Jordan. “Especially something like that, so it is what it is. There's only so much we can do.”

The public can hear about the new plans for Overton Square at the meeting at Memphis Heritage at 2282 Madison Ave. March 1st at 5:30 pm.

Memphis Heritage President June West says the fight for the Union Avenue church isn't over. She says a lawsuit is still in court, and she's not sure how CVS was legally able to close on the deal to purchase the property.

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