The Magnolia District will feature 71,000 square feet of luxury retail, fine dining and professional office space in central downtown Madison in a walkable atmosphere inspired by the architecture of famous Southern cities such as Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C.

Wow! What a win for Madison! 

Madison attorney, developer and contractor Greg Johnston is behind the Magnolia District. 

Johnston grew up on Magnolia Street at his grandparents’ antiques shop located at 732 Magnolia Street from 1972 until 2002. In 2004, he located his office there. 

“My office window overlooks this property and I always envisioned developing it,” he said. 

Over the years, Johnston and his parents, Brent and Cynthia Johnston of Madison, bought more property and restored five historic buildings in old central Madison. 

“I have a lifelong connection to this property and I am passionate about developing this area in a historically accurate way,” Johnston said.

Fast forward to November 2018, and Johnston and his development partner Chuck Bell, a Madison pharmaceutical executive and entrepreneur, purchased six acres of land adjacent to his office to turn his dream into reality.

“We really want to create a destination where people want to come, eat and shop,” Johnston said. “It will be so aesthetically pleasing people will want to come just to look at the buildings. It will draw people in by virtue of the architecture.”

Johnston’s attention to such detail is a perfect fit for Madison and what Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler has long envisioned for a city center and the Madison Square project on the old school property site.

“I am so excited about the Magnolia District,” she said. “I know it will be a beautiful addition to downtown Madison and will be a great complement to our Madison Square project.”

Just north of the Magnolia District on Main Street, Bridgeforth Rutledge has been renovating and refurbishing the historical buildings west of the railroad tracks. And down Main Street, just a few yards will be a new development, The Village. 

All of these developments will make Madison a destination even more than it is now.

The fine dining will be on the corner of Madison Avenue and Magnolia. “We think that corner will be a great place for fine dining,” Johnston said. “We’ll relocate Rock’s [Barber Shop] to another location. We love the idea of having a small-town barbershop since it’s an integral part of small-town living.” 

In an era when younger people are drawn to super authenticity, a retro Madison downtown is an exciting notion!