Overton Square's rebirth in Midtown Memphis continues this week with the opening of another restaurant called "Chiwawa."
The new eclectic Mexican restaurant has moved into the old Chicago Pizza Factory building at 2059 Madison Ave., and it's only the beginning of what is to come.
Drive by Overton Square during the day and it is alive with workers bringing the old Overton Square at Madison and Cooper back to life. Workers can be seen constructing a 400-car parking garage behind the square.
The man who is largely behind the revitalization of the square it is Bob Loeb of Loeb Properties. Although he is quick to say it is a team effort, it is widely acknowledged that without Loeb and his well respected real estate management and development company, it might still be just a hope and a dream of all those who miss what Overton Square was at one time.
"The out of town people get the picture of the history of the square and its relevance in the community and they see the energy," he said. "They'd want to be a part of it so our job as a landlord is to select the right mix of tenants. What we want to do is bring some daytime activity.
What might be is one thing. What is working now is what counts and the very good news is the businesses that are up and running are getting the benefit of all the activity now taking place at the square - from the soon-to-open Chiwawa to the already up and running Local Gastropub, which is off to a great start.
"I heard that Bosco's had the best December ever so they have been a long time operator here and the new activity next door just helps their business," Loeb said. "So there are local chain operators here. Memphis Pizza has five stores and this is their best store. Bosco's has four stores - two in Nashville, one in Little Rock - and this is their best store."
That success has been instrumental is selling other operators.
"Bar Louie's here," Loeb added. "We got a letter of intent with a sushi-hibachi-oyster bar here. Bar Louie is building this huge patio out there right now. This space has a two-story space. The faux balcony will punch out ... and become a real balcony where you can put people out on the street. Friday we got a letter of intent with a tapas-taco operation. It's an out of towner from a good restaurant operator."
If Loeb sounds excited, he is, and so too are a lot of other people. Overton Square's rebirth has been a long time coming, but it looks like it is finally, really happening.