VOL. 131 | NO. 80 | Thursday, April 21, 2016
City Council Approves Parkside Development
By Bill Dries
The Memphis City Council has approved the concept of Parkside at Shelby Farms Park, a $200 million mixed-use development on the northern border of Shelby Farms Park.
But it will be at least another six months before there are specific plans for the development featuring three, six-story apartment buildings that won council approval Tuesday, April 19.
The council will review and vote on different phases of the project as they begin construction over the next six or seven years.
The 10-2 council vote Tuesday was to allow the concept of a mixed-use development on the 52 acres of land on the northwest corner of Whitten Road and Mullins Station Road.
The $200 million Parkside at Shelby Farms Park development was approved by theMemphis City Council Tuesday, April 19. The council approved the concept with morespecific plans and design work on the different phases still to come.
(Land Use Control Board)
The vote followed a council debate about the impact of the development on an area that is a mix of single-family homes and apartment complexes.
“Am I against growth and development? No, not at all,” said council member Martavius Jones. “But when we talk about quality of life, I don’t think this project is a good fit.”
Council member Patrice Robinson was also wary of the success of the development as well as its impact.
“Memphians aren’t very receptive of new ideas, of mixed-use communities,” she said.
Council member Frank Colvett, however, argued that the developers could throw up a group of homes on the lot without any approval necessary from local government.
“They are not asking for any kind of handouts,” Colvett said of the developers. “At the end of the day, they are going to increase tax revenue. They could just pop those houses up and get on down the road.”
The council vote sets in motion traffic and engineering studies over the next six months that will dictate road improvements DB Development Co. will make surrounding the development, which includes townhomes of up to three stories elsewhere on the site, further north of the park.
The road improvements that result from those studies must come before any construction can start on the structures in Parkside, under terms of the council resolution. First up would be one of the apartment buildings and some of the townhomes further north.
Homeowners in the area have long complained of the impact of traffic through their subdivisions from apartment complexes in the area.
That’s been heightened in the last year by traffic using Walnut Grove Road to avoid the recent and perpetually snarled Interstate 40 interchange to go east, as well as the perilous Summer Avenue interchange that makes for a regularly complex Memphis rush hour.
The apartment buildings, which would include retail and office development on ground and lower floors, would have courtyards facing the Shelby Farms Greenline, according to development plans.
And the Greenline would become a temporary construction easement for a phase of the development.
In other action, the council approved the lighting of athletic fields at Hutchison School in East Memphis after debate among some neighbors of the school and students at the school.
The council delayed votes Tuesday on a proposed truck stop with a hotel and restaurant on Hollywood at Interstate 40 on the site of the old Treasury department store in Frayser, as well as a parking lot at Prescott Road and Raines Road for employees of Delta Wholesale Liquors Inc.
Both items are on the May 7 council agenda.
The council approved a committee proposed by council chairman Kemp Conrad to explore possible voluntary de-annexations by the city of Memphis.
Conrad amended his original proposal to include a representative of local business on the panel, as well as a state senator from Shelby County appointed by State Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville and a state representative from Shelby County appointed by Democratic state Rep. Karen Camper, the chairwoman of the Shelby County legislative delegation.
They join two members each from the city council and Shelby County Commission and two representatives each from the city and county government administrations.