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Overton Square Meeting at Howard Hall

More tenants moved out to make way for Proposed Demolition at Overton Square

Memphis Heritage is continuing its coverage of the proposed plans for the south side of Overton Square. We have recently been told that Fantastic Sam's lease was not renewed by the owners of the property. This raises suspicion that the owners are clearing out the tenants of the first two structures on the south side in order to move forward with the plan for demolishing the historic buildings that face Madison and Cooper..

On Wednesday May 20 from 4pm til 6pm Memphis Heritage will be presenting an overview of the history of the Overton Square Area starting with what the area was like in the 1880's up to present day.

Neely Woodson Powell (daughter of Ben Woodson who reestablished the district as a booming business area in the 70's), Jeanne Arthur (who handled operation and events for the Square during it's hey day), local architects Cristina Ross and Sarah Hadsky will present the program.

This presentation is open to the public. Representatives from the surrounding neighborhoods, local businesses and stakeholders will be invited to give their comments on the revitalization of the area that has been called the "jewel of midtown".

Preliminary plans released by the local media have said that the historic buildings along Cooper and Madison would be demolished and a box type grocery store would be developed in the southwest corner of the large parking lot area. MHI held an earlier meeting several months ago that brought local architects, planners and community representatives together to discuss alternative types of development that might better suit the neighborhood. If you are interested in participating in this ongoing discussion please email and asked to be put on our MHI email list.

May 13 , 2009
Here's where we are:

Memphis Heritage spoke with James Raspberry (Rental agent for the property) on Friday, May 1, and asked that we set up a conference call with some of the Overton Square area stakeholders, i.e. neighborhood groups, property owners in the area, Fisher Capital and the developer AWG (if they , Fisher) wanted to include them).

On Tuesday May 5th Mr. Raspberry called us back and said that he had spoken to Blake Fisher (one of the owners) and that Memphis Heritage should call Mr. Fisher direct. We spoke to Blake Fisher for about 30 minutes on , May 7th. We had a good conversation however he (Blake Fisher) feels we should take our concerns to the City Planning Department not to his group or to the developer (AWG). He says that is how they do it in most of the places he holds property.
He spoke the same words we have heard before about not being able to rent the space out.....that it was costing them a large amount to maintain the buildings and that the buildings are not worth saving. The buildings are obsolete, etc.

We have contacted AWG and ask them for a face to face meeting to discuss their plans. As of this email they have not returned our calls. We hope that they will be willing to meet with Memphis Heritage and other groups that are concerned about the plan they are proposing. We will keep everyone in the loop about whatever we hear. We do not want to spread rumors or untruths. This is one of the reasons we want to have a meeting with AWG as soon as possible to defuse
any issues.
More to come...



June Waddell West
Executive Director
Memphis Heritage, Inc.