Overton Square’s New Era

Posted on January 23, 2014


By Whitney Baskin

Before Beale Street was one of the most famous party streets in the country or even in Memphis, Overton Square was the quintessential Memphis party place. In its hay day, it was home to several restaurants, music clubs, theaters, and even an ice skating rink. But with the rise of downtown and the Beale Street scene, Overton Square fell into a slump.

Recently, however, Loeb Properties and the City of Memphis have joined forces for a massive, 40 million dollar revitalization of the Square, and the results of this investment are already hugely apparent. In the four years I’ve lived in Memphis, Overton Square has inarguably become a hotspot once again. Before the parking garage opened this past summer, it was nearly impossible to find a parking spot anywhere near the movie theater, Local, or YoLo on a Saturday night. The revitalization effort has already been a major success. Loeb Properties reports that 85% of the business space in Overton Square is currently spoken for, and many of these properties have been rented by companies that are brand new to the Memphis area.

Another interesting piece of the equation is the long closed French Quarter Inn. Earlier this month, a real estate development company purchased the Inn for $1.9 million. As of now, it is unclear exactly what the future holds in regards to the former boutique hotel, but there is much speculation that the California based developers plan to restore it in the upcoming future. Today, Overton Square is home to a huge variety of businesses. As a remedy for all of the indulgent culinary options, there has been a recent boom in fitness-oriented businesses on the Square including Delta Groove Yoga, Cardio Barre, and the relocation of longtime Memphis favorite Breakaway Running. The diverse range of businesses that have made their home in Overton Square make it a Memphis hotspot specifically for Memphians- an oasis of originality kept safe from the influence of tourist traps.

Whitney Baskin is a senior English major at Rhodes College.

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