VOL. 114 | NO. 153 | Monday, August 7, 2000
By SUZANNE THOMPSON
Nonconnah Parkway corridor set to explode
By SUZANNE THOMPSON
The Daily News
Nonconnah Parkway is now open from Ridgeway Road to Byhalia Road. Ongoing construction of the parkway the outer loop of the expressway that will one day connect with the Paul Barrett Parkway has drawn businesses to the corridor like moths to a flame.
Lightman Realty owns 125 acres along the Nonconnah Parkway in Collierville that is currently under development.
"I foresee more office park, campus-like development. Its going to be a very active corridor," said Michael Lightman Sr., president of the firm. "Thats where the action is."
Anything the area may lack, he said, is on the way.
"Restaurants are coming, hotels, shopping. If done properly, it could resemble the Poplar Ave./240 interchange."
One difference in the Nonconnah Parkway/Hacks Cross Road areas favor is that it has better access to various parts of the city, Lightman said.
With Central Church relocating to Winchester and Houston Levee roads and the new Baptist Hospital location in Collierville, all the elements are present for the area to explode, he said.
"Thats where everybody is going to want to be in the next 10 years," Lightman said.
Scott Andrews, director of development and construction services for the Memphis office of Trammell Crow Co., agreed.
"We see Nonconnah Parkway as the leading growth vector for the next 10 years plus," Andrews said. "Simply because with the presence of FedEx World Headquarters and the technology campus as bookends out there, a great deal of high quality development should continue to take place in that corridor for quite some time."
Trammell Crow is building a 75,000-square-foot office building on Forest Hill-Irene Road in Germantown, Andrews said.
eOn Communications has leased 50,000-square feet of the building, which falls within the proposed high technology corridor.
Trammell Crow also developed the building once used by Celcore that now serves as the headquarters for SCB Computer Technology Co.
"I think long-term property values are going to trend upward significantly. Just about anybody who wants a corporate business in that neighborhood would be well served from an investment standpoint," Andrews said.
"I would throw the caveat that there is a lot of raw land inventory out there, but clearly the adjacency to the primary bedroom communities in thus market and the white-collar employment base that affords are going to be attractive trends."
When deciding on a new location for his business, Darren Metz, president of Freeliant.com, a Memphis-based technology company, said only a few buildings in the city offered the infrastructure he needed to keep his business running efficiently.
"We couldnt guarantee 100 percent uptime with it," he said.
The building Metz will relocate his business into Sept. 1 is wired to handle about 10 times the amount of electrical amperage in most office buildings, he said.
Technology companies are among businesses targeted to locate in that area, said Russ Westlake, senior vice president of Weston Co.
"Thats kind of where I see things headed. Youve got the opportunity for fiber optics there and the focus of the technology corridor I think will lend itself to some of that use," he said. "Then youve got access to Nonconnah Parkway, which allows companies access all over the city in a real convenient manner."
Weston has a 360-acre mixed-use master plan in the area, Forest Hill Heights.
"It can accommodate office, commercial and retail development," Westlake said. "For our retail, were targeting more of an upscale retail center."
The majority of the activity in the area has been from office users, but that is changing.
The countrys largest Chevrolet dealership, Bill Heard, purchased about 20 acres at Bailey Station Road and Nonconnah Parkway about three years ago after company officials researched growth projections for the area, said Terry Hatfield, general manager of the Airport and Collierville locations.
Bill Heard Chevrolet opened its Collierville location in March, and Hatfield said company executives have been very pleased with their decision to locate beside Nonconnah Parkway.
The easy access to expressway traffic is one of the biggest pulls for the area.
"Forest Hill Heights is in a good situation in that we are right at the intersection of Forest Hill Irene and Winchester, so youve got two major corridors and both being served by exits off Nonconnah, so the access is very favorable for this site," Westlake said.
Experts agree completion of the parkway will connect the city in a way that is almost certain to keep development booming.
"The completion of Houston-Levee/Canada Road over the next five years should end up feeding a lot of traffic from the northern part of the county," Andrews said. "Allowing those north-south corridors to feed into the county should impact the development of that area significantly."