Memphis residential real estate has been showing strength for several years and although retail has lagged behind, it is now also showing strength. Two good examples are Overton Square that is now a 100 percent full of tenants and new design plans for more retail space at Saddle Creek South.
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In 2009, the mostly empty and historic Overton Square was being considered to be torn down and rebuild as a big box grocery with big parking lots instead of multiuse retail space. Today, after $15 million in renovation, the walking friendly entertainment/retail space represents what the millennium generation wants in retail. A walking friendly area offering a variety of restaurants, entertainment, and retail. Now, Overton Square is fully occupied and has a waiting list of tenants wanting to move in.
Instead of tearing down the old buildings, Memphis-based Loeb Properties is planning to build new buildings on the last remaining parking surfaces that line Cooper and Madison. What is currently being considered are multistory buildings with commercial space at ground level with office and apartments on upper levels. This is exactly what appeals to the millennium generation.
New tenants are commenting that the constant foot traffic is something they never had at old strip mall locations. Others state that they offer unique retail experiences such as upscale clothing that they don't want confused with big box discount stores found in the malls. The walking public enjoys being able to spend an afternoon at Overton Square where they can have lunch in one restaurant, shop at several stores, and end the afternoon with dessert at another restaurant.
What's happening at Saddle Creek South is a different story. Instead of renovating old historic buildings, stunning new architecture is being planned for new retail space. The planned occupant is being kept secret but it is heavily speculated to be a new Apple Computer store with a completely new design.
As design sketches show, the design has a total glass front to the extend that no way of supporting the glass wall is visible. What is speculated to be happening is that Apple is keeping everything secret, as it does with new products, until it has all of the details worked out and can announce major changes all at one time. If this is true, the Germantown location will be among the first in the country to see the new design.
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