VOL. 115 | NO. 33 | Monday, February 19, 2001
Commuter airline appeals zoning change to City Council
Panattoni asks council to rezone 200-acre tract
By MARY DANDO
The Daily News
Cosair Mitchell & Andrews Investments is asking for 202 acres it owns in Southeast Memphis to be rezoned in order to develop it as speculative warehouse space.
Developers are asking for the land at the northeast corner of Getwell and Holmes roads to be rezoned from agricultural to light industrial (I-L). The Memphis City Council will hear the case at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Although the Memphis and Shelby County Land Use Control Board recommended approval, the Office of Planning and Development recommended rejection.
Don Jones, OPD senior planner, said although much of the surrounding area is zoned light industrial, his office is asking the applicant go through a planned development rather than a straight rezoning.
"This is catty-cornered to the IRS center, which is a really nice development with a lot of landscaping with good deep setbacks from the road. It is consistent with other recommendations weve made along Getwell Road," Jones said.
A planned development would involve improving the aesthetics of the property, which is important because Getwell Road is a major corridor for the city and the county, Jones said.
"Thats basically where it lies right now. Weve actually rejected the request in favor of a planned development," he said.
Cosair Mitchell & Andrews Investments consists of local Panattoni Development Co. partners Al Andrews of Andrews Investments LLC and Dudley Mitchell of Dudley Mitchell Investments LLC.
Panattoni is one of the largest developers of industrial build-to-suit projects in the nation.
Ron Harkavy, attorney for the applicant, said Panattoni would develop the project as they have developed other Panattoni project in Memphis in a very aesthetically pleasing way.
"OPDs concern, Im sure, is if they dont develop it somebody else might not do it in such a pleasing way. These are major players and they dont spend this much time, effort and energy to walk away. Panattoni is a warehouse developer. They are developing across the street from this property. Its a big piece of land one of the last really major pieces of land left on Holmes Road which is becoming the real dynamic warehouse corridor of Shelby County," Harkavy said.
Last year, Panattoni purchased the old Memphis Oaks Golf Course at Holmes and Malone across the street from the 202-acre site.
Andrews said he believes his company is being penalized by OPD despite its track record of building in Memphis.
"In Memphis, we have developed over the last six years over 9 million square feet of industrial space. Were one of the largest developers of industrial buildings in Memphis. We have developed a project at Shelby Drive and Pleasant Hill Road, which is Southpoint Distribution Park. That park is 400 acres with 6 million square feet of building. Some of our tenants in that park are General Motors, Williams Sonoma, Disney, Honeywell class A corporate users," he said.
"The reason we want I-L zoning is the building permitting process is much more nimble and faster under I-L and is real slow under planned development," he said.
The reason OPD staff wants a planned development, Andrews said, is so they can enforce government regulations, particularly concerning road improvements.
"We have clearly agreed with the county on sharing in the cost of road improvements for all of our projects," he said.
"Our nimbleness in order to compete in this business requires us to have the ability to get building permits quickly thats why we have to have I-L. We have a lot stronger interest in creating an environment that is attractive for our users or we cant make deals. We do things way above and beyond basic code in order to have a quality environment and be competitive in attracting these national blue-chip tenants," Andrews said.