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VOL. 129 | NO. 19 | Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Germantown Board OKs Whole Foods Zoning

By Amos Maki

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Two major retail projects in Germantown have received a green light to move forward.

The Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen has approved zoning exemptions for a proposed Whole Foods store.

(AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

The Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday, Jan. 27, approved several zoning exemptions for a proposed Whole Foods store – important votes that moved the project closer to completion – as well as a redevelopment plan for the Shops at Saddle Creek.

City Administrator Patrick Lawton said the new Whole Foods store will help satisfy longstanding desires for more shopping choices.

“Whole Foods really addresses that,” said Lawton.

Aldermen agreed and approved zoning exemptions, called warrants, allowing the store’s main entrance to be located off of Poplar Avenue and for additional parking, among other issues.

Whole Foods and local development firm Cypress Realty Holdings Co., in conjunction with Ford Jarratt Realty & Development Co., in October submitted plans to the city of Germantown to develop a 41,000-square-foot, freestanding Whole Foods store at Poplar Avenue and Pete Mitchell Road.

The development team revised its site plan after neighbors, especially those in the neighboring Dogwood subdivision, voiced concerns about traffic to include the proposed closure of Pete Mitchell Road to restrict through traffic. The proposed closure of Pete Mitchell Road was approved on the first of three readings Monday and a public hearing on the matter is set for Feb. 24.

“I think this site has been a hard one to develop, and that’s another reason why I’m accepting these warrants or exceptions,” said Alderman Mike Palazzolo, who had also criticized the development team’s efforts to work with neighbors.

Cindy Reeves of SR Consulting LLC described the development process as “very emotional and time-consuming.”

The board also approved redevelopment plans for The Shops at Saddle Creek.

Texas-based Trademark Property Co. will expand the portion of the 148,000-square-foot lifestyle center on the southwest side of Poplar Avenue and West Street in Germantown.

Trademark will demolish 20,000 square feet of existing space before building 40,000 square feet of new development.

The project also includes remodeled building exteriors for Saddle Creek South and West.

The plan approved Monday allows for the demolition of the dental office building at the southwest corner of Poplar Avenue and West Street. Final approval of the redevelopment plan is contingent on the city allowing a portion of McVay Road to be closed.

The board also approved on first reading proposed guidelines for governing development along the city’s western edge.

Germantown hired the Lawrence Group, a North Carolina-based town planning and architectural firm, to develop guidelines for the redevelopment of its western gateway.

The Lawrence Group plan focuses on a 58-acre tract bounded by Poplar Avenue on the north, Poplar Pike on the south, the city’s border on the west and the Nottaway subdivision on the east.

The western gateway plan is an outgrowth of Germantown’s Economic Development Strategic Plan, which identified five strategic areas in the city that could be redeveloped, including the western gateway.

Several developments that could come to fruition in the 58-acre gateway area spurred the western gateway plan. City officials and property owners worked in conjunction to develop the plan.

The plan focuses heavily on a mix of uses that would create more density.

The Lawrence Group said incremental, status quo development of the 58 acres on the western edge of the city could result in 45,600 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 174,000 square feet of office space. That would bring an appraised value of $62.8 million and $327,465 in city tax revenue.

A more mixed development with 447 residential units mixed with 124,000 square feet of retail space, 625,000 square feet of office space and 96 hotel rooms would bring an appraised value of $174.5 million and $972,801 in city tax revenue.

An even denser plan with 2,181 residential units, 104,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 859,900 square feet of office space would bring an appraised value of $467.5 million and generate $2 million in city tax revenue.

A public hearing on the proposed zoning regulations is slated for Feb. 24.

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