Mayor AC Wharton: 5 Reasons Overton Square is Important to Memphis

Continuing with our “5 Things” series regarding Overton Square’s revival and redevelopment, we approached Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. and asked for his thoughts on “5 Reasons Overton Square is Important to Memphis.”

  1. Overton Square is the literal and figurative heart of our city, where so many great Memphis neighborhoods intersect.  Its rebirth will have a tremendously positive impact on Tucker-Jefferson, East End, Evergreen, Central Gardens, Idlewild, Lenox, Cooper-Young, and all of Midtown.
  2. Mention “Overton Square” to pretty much any Memphian of any age, and they will have a memory or a story for you: seeing Billy Joel at Lafayette’s Music Room, enjoying a cup of coffee at Burkle’s Bakery, celebrating an anniversary at Paulette’s, spending a long summer evening on the patio at Boscos Squared, or being one of the first people in Memphis to see a new independent film at Studio on the Square.  The future of Overton Square is now brighter than ever, with new businesses and organizations getting ready to create indelible memories for a new generation of Memphis families.
  3. The developments that will be taking place on what is now a parking lot give us the opportunity to do something truly exceptional in the way of creating a dense, vibrant, walkable district.  We’re presented with a fabulous opportunity to set a new standard of excellence for urban design in our community, and Memphians have every reason to be excited about what will be coming.
  4. Overton Square’s resurgence reflects the hard work, faith, excitement, and participation of so many terrific people and institutions coming together.  Playhouse on the Square’s new performing arts complex is outstanding.  Boscos Squared, Studio on the Square, YoLo and the many other businesses in the district are booming.  Great new developments are happening on Broad Avenue to the east and all the way down the rest of Madison Avenue.  With every passing week, more people are investing their time, talents, and resources in our city’s vibrant core, rediscovering the many opportunities and experiences that await them.  The new phase of Overton Square is living proof of that momentum.
  5. The strategic decision to make the arts such a prominent part of Overton Square’s identity is so fitting, not only because of the proximity of the theatres, but because individuality and self-expression are what Memphis is all about.  Overton Square will be an area overflowing with live performances, music, and murals, constantly bubbling with the kind of creative energy that the arts produce.  It will be a district of singular significance in a city that is directly responsible for so much of America’s culture. 

I can’t wait to see what comes next for Overton Square, for Midtown, and for all of Memphis.