Monday, July 14, 2008

Midtown Redevelopment News

A couple of Midtown blogs have some welcome news about redevelopment in Midtown.

First, Fertile Ground has news and photos about renovations being done to the Chicago Pizza Factory building on Madison:
Jerry Carruthers decided he was sick of the Chicago Pizza Factory building sitting empty. He's got two guys gutting the inside and fixing up the outside. "We're even gonna fix the lights on the sign," the guy in the shirt told me.

Once they get a renter, they're going to fix the inside up to suit them.

Good to hear, as the area around Overton Square has been in a long, slow decline as its owner and managers have been trying to ready the site for a hoped-to-come big retailer. In the meantime, we all suffer, as does every business and residence nearby.

I'm like most Midtowners who are baffled why this has been happening for so long. Overton Square is ideally located and past history has shown that it can be a people-magnet when it's full of businesses. With the rise of Cooper-Young and the renewed business atmosphere along Madison (heck, Midtown in general), for Overton Square to languish is nearly criminal. Business after business is being slowly strangled by one company's desire for the Big Score.

As, for example, the French Quarter Suites:
I'd like to say something here. Everyone in midtown knows that we desperately need a new grocery store. Even though we have 3 in a 4 mile radius, we all know that they are pathetic. Everyone has their horror stories and their opinions on the matter but when it comes right down to it, they are all far below par compared to ones in the rest of the city. So people like Rasberry know they can dangle that lovely carrot in front of the midtown community and lots of people will get their hopes up and shut up about the fact that Overton Square is quickly becoming a ghost town without any reason to hope for the betterment of the situation. Maybe I'm wrong or maybe I'm just jaded from hearing this spiel for the 234 time but I don't trust any development promise in midtown until I actually see dirt being dug up. And even then I'm still slightly wary.

Via My Midtown Memphis, who also reports on the planned development at Poplar and Cleveland.

It's complex and ambitious, no doubt. But notice that it won't touch any of the current strip shopping centers and house-based and other small businesses along Poplar, Cleveland and Madison! That's welcome news. There's a lot of nice diversity in those businesses.

You can study a plan of the redevelopment here. One big negative that I spotted was the addition of another stop light just east of Cleveland on Poplar, at Watkins. (Madison, too.) It's necessary, traffic-wise, but a pain in the bazoo nonetheless.

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