VOL. 114 | NO. 149 | Tuesday, August 1, 2000
U.S. 64 reclaims rural roots east of interstate
By KATHLEEN BURT
The Daily News
Turning right off the exit ramp of Interstate 40 at U.S. Highway 64 is similar to turning to a different world.
The bright lights, big city feel growing to the west a few hundred feet away is replaced by a rural, mostly agrarian scene of trees, pasture land, small mom-and-pop-type shops and residences.
A lot of residences.
In 1999, Lakeland approved 1,400 lots for residential development, said Mo Khelif, Lakeland director of planning.
"Thats 1,400 houses that demand service, grocery stores, cleaners, banks, he said.
In addition, Makowsky and Ringel finished the second phase of its gated Champion Hills at Stonebridge, bringing a total of 432 units on line along U.S. 64.
And, while those residents may make the trek to Wolfchase Galleria, Target or Macaroni Grille once a month, most likely they will need to stop at the dry cleaners, Back Yard Burgers or the auto parts store more frequently.
"The congestion between 64 and the interstate on Germantown Road or by the same token between Germantown Road and the interstate on 64 is obviously a feverish pitch," said Michael Greenberg, chief financial officer for Makowsky and Ringel. "Once you come past the interstate it dies down dramatically, its easier to get in, get out."
While regional retail traffic draws customers once a month, convenience or service traffic draws from a three-mile radius.
That typifies the commercial growth pattern east of I-40 to the Fayette County line, Greenberg said.
``Were seeing demand for restaurants, convenience retail, service retail. Theres a great deal of residential development that has occurred or is occurring east of the I-40, whether its in Arlington, whether its in Lakeland or Memphis/Cordova.
"What were seeing is a demand for convenience or service retail."
Makowsky & Ringel has a small strip center in the area, as well as large tracts of undeveloped land.
``The people who are locating their businesses out that way are doing so because they want to be closer to where the people live," Greenberg said.
To foster service development, Lakeland narrows the scope of how buildings are designed to offer a more "neighborhood" feel, Khelif said.
"In Lakeland, most of the proposals weve been getting are service-type restaurants, tire stores and auto parts. We have not had any major retailers like Kmart. Theyve been talking about it, but we havent seen anything," he said.
Lakeland planners have building standards stricter than Germantown, Khelif said, requiring aesthetically blended buildings with natural colors and building materials that enhance the surrounding residential areas.
With average house prices in the $250,000 to $300,000 range on a minimum lot size of 17,500 square feet, residential is the thrust of development, so service and convenience stores are approved to support that residential growth.
Land prices have jumped 30 to 40 percent in the past four years, Khelif said. But, he said, there still is plenty of land left for development.
``Were not even near through. I think 80 to 85 percent of the city is not developed yet," he said.
With its place in the eastern corridor and future interstate development, the area east of I-40 is not going to be overlooked for growth any time soon.
"For the near future, the development pace should be rapid and for the longer term, I think Lakeland is very well positioned in the Memphis growth corridor. I think the growth is going to continue out to the Fayette County line and beyond," Greenberg said.
"Its clearly the path."