Overtown set for delicious makeover

Town receive bids for site of the historic former Clyde Killen’s Pool Hall

Historic Overtown can expect more tasty delights in the future, as exciting bids have been flooding in, in response to the Southeast/Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment Agency’s (CRA) call for developers interested in leasing the former site of the historic former Clyde Killen’s Pool Hall.

Among the proposals a big international names such as the Marcus Samuelson Development Group, as well as local institutions such as Overtown Lounge, Privacy, Taste of Soul, A Game, Crescendo Jazz & Blues Lounge, and Morgan’s.  The bids will be presented at an upcoming board meeting for approval.

The Marcus Samuelson Development Group is founded by award-winning chef and popular cookbook author Marcus Samuelsson, whose repertoire ranges from high-end restaurants to fast-casual cafes. The Red Rooster – the most popular of the Marcus Samuelson Development Group’s restaurants – is one of New York’s iconic destinations, which has hosted heads of states including President Barack Obama. Their proposal includes establishing a premier dining and entertainment destination, inspired by the history of Historic Overtown.

Crescendo Jazz and Blues Restaurant and Lounge, previously operated from 2010 to 2013 on Biscayne Blvd in Miami, FL, offered American and Caribbean-inspired Soul Food with the sounds of funk and blues. Their proposal seeks to establish the same jazz and blues restaurant and lounge in Historic Overtown, with an attached local flavored gift shop.

The selected restaurant will transform the former pool hall, which was once owned and operated by the legendary Clyde Killen. The famed promoter brought legendary entertainers such as Count Basie, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Patti Labelle and Ella Fitzgerald into Historic Overtown during the 1950’s and 60’s.  In an effort to highlight and preserve the historical significance of the building, the CRA has invested $850,000 into putting the vacant building back into adaptive reuse. The renovations are just part of the CRA’s plans to re-establish Historic Overtown as a desirable entertainment district for residents and visitors to enjoy.

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