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VOL. 119 | NO. 74 | Friday, April 29, 2005

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Office, Retail Development On Tap for Southwind

More Office, Retail Comes to Hacks Cross

Work begins on 26-building development near Southwind


The Daily News

Commercial developments tend to follow in the path of residential neighborhoods. So it only makes sense that a massive new office/retail project is slated for one of Memphis prime spots for new residential development.

Large-scale project. Players Crossing, an office development planned for Hacks Cross Road just north of Winchester Road near the Tournament Players Club at Southwind, will include a total of 23 office buildings in a gated setting surrounded by three retail structures. Construction began earlier this month on the first phase of the retail center.

The 15,000-square-foot building should be ready in August.

They didnt want it to look like a stamped retail center that you typically see, said Chris McDermott, project manager with contractor Grinder Haizlip Construction Co. It has a high slope on the roof with nice shingles, and the cupolas and the dormers give it the look of a French countryside inn, with the stone and the arches that theyve put in. Its not your plain box that you see. Its not your mom and dads retail center.

Developer of the project is Mark Johnson of Johnson Commercial Realty. Architect is Brian Bullard of UrbanArch Associates.

The total development will encompass eight and a half acres. The perimeter of the project along Hacks Cross and Players Club Parkway will be wrapped with retail strips, with the 23-building gated office community in the interior. The office buildings will contain about 74,000 square feet, McDermott said.

Design style. The basic theme of the buildings architecture is similar to the popular French Country style being employed in many residential developments.

What weve seen recently is a lot of the residential trends have migrated into certain types of commercial architecture in the recent past, namely smaller buildings like office buildings anything that can be stick framed and constructed similar to a home, Bullard said. People are wanting that same type of character of whats hot in the residential market, which is what Id say if you polled residential builders right now, one of the hottest styles is this French Country look. So the office buildings and the retail buildings all will have a consistent thread of French styling to them.

What we like is its a very soft and welcoming-type look that utilizes stone and brick, as well as residential-type architectural shingles and in some cases exposed wood beams and archways.

Bullard said the development is unique in style and concept.

Theres not really anything similar to this in the Memphis area that I know of, he said. So in my opinion thats what makes it unique is both its styling and the concept itself.

Smaller spaces. The concept is designed for smaller office users, such as insurance offices. The project is open to businesses that want to build their own sites, as well as ones that want to lease space.

Sizes of the buildings will vary, with footprints ranging from 3,000 square feet to 7,200 square feet.

Weve designed several building prototypes to go in there, Bullard said. If someone wants a building, they contact (Johnson), we show them the prototypes and there are several different footprint sizes for various lots within this community. They select a prototype and then we fit them out for their particular tenant use. We have more or less a matrix of stone and paint and brick and roof colors that will all go together so you dont get people in there wanting to build something totally custom that would wind up being out of place.

European feel. For a consistent look throughout the project, buildings will feature mostly neutral stone finishes, a look designed to be soft on the eye but welcoming, Bullard said.

One entrance from Hacks Cross into the development will serve as an entry boulevard of sorts and will pass between two retail buildings before dipping back into the office community, ending in a roundabout.

Were looking at a cobblestone-type feel, Bullard said. Youll realize youve driven into something new, almost a European village-type feel. With all these buildings in there together and fenced in with this roundabout and probably a large fountain, the amenities of this particular development I think are going to be second to none.


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