Boyle Investment Co.’s Schilling Farms development in Collierville is launching three new projects representing a total investment of $48 million that will bring 365 multifamily units, an office headquarters and additional retail space to the 443-acre mixed-use property.
The projects fit in with the overall development’s New Urbanism philosophy that encourages a variety of property types and a pedestrian-friendly community.
Boyle executive vice presidents Rusty Bloodworth, Les Binkley and Gary Thompson are leading the company’s charge when it comes to large, mixed-use developments.
“Hopefully, the market is starting to pick back up for real,” Binkley says. “In Schilling Farms, the mix of uses and integrated development is helping us recover more quickly. It shows the resiliency of mixed-use communities being able to rebound quicker than areas of development which are single use. We have more agility to respond to the market and capture that demand.”
The mix of new projects seems to bear that out.
First, ground will be broken this month for a 45,000-square-foot office building that will house MCR Safety’s corporate headquarters. The $8 million project will give the Memphis-based company room to grow with expanded facilities for training, product showrooms and a conference center. The two-story brick and cast stone veneer building with 176 parking spaces should be completed in summer 2013.
Secondly, the Schilling Farms partnership between Boyle and Schilling Enterprises chairman Harry Smith is planning to start construction by early winter on The Carrington, a $13 million project that includes ground-floor retail and 112 boutique apartment flats and town homes. The project will be built by Patton & Taylor Construction Co.
Finally, developer Makowsky Ringel Greenberg LLC is working toward launching The Signature, a $27 million multifamily project that will have 253 apartment units.
The gated complex will have garages, balconies, a community pool, fitness center, business center and common green spaces. It will feature a mix of town homes and one-, two-,and three-bedroom apartments. Fleming/Associates/Architects PC has worked with Makowsky Ringel Greenberg and Boyle to ensure the homes and community spaces of The Signature fit with Schilling Farms’ overall design.
“We think Schilling Farms has been well done,” Mike Greenberg, chief executive officer, says. “The fact that it is mixed-use and controlled is accretive to everyone who is investing inside Schilling Farms.”
The master planning was one aspect that drew Makowsky Ringel Greenberg to the project.
“If they’re putting in businesses and office buildings, that means there is a work force and that work force is going to have a need for a place to live,” Greenberg says.
Makowsky Ringel also likes the range of housing options. Greenberg says that someone could be raised in Schilling Farms, and then grow up to rent and eventually buy a house there. Then, his parents could sell their house and move into the Village at Schilling Farms, a senior community.
“The synergy of being able to be in a place for a long time is certainly attractive to us,” Greenberg says.
Boyle has been working on mixed-use developments since the early 1970s with the start of Ridgeway Center in East Memphis.
This tradition has continued, as Binkley and Thompson recently received CNU accreditation from the Congress of New Urbanism. Bloodworth would like to see more of these certifications in Memphis, as they pertain to overall developments and not as much to individual projects.
“It really helps elevate the community’s conversation,” Bloodworth says.
A concept the Congress of New Urbanism communicates, and which is featured in Schilling Farms, is walkability.
Walking defines neighborhoods, with 10 minutes being a maximum duration people will normally walk before changing transportation modes and five minutes being a comfortable walk, according to Bloodworth.
“A human can walk about 1,400 or 1,500 feet in five minutes,” he says. “Once you go beyond 1,500 feet, maybe you’re in another neighborhood which needs its own neighborhood center.”
Schilling Farms has several such neighborhood centers within it, with commercial properties as well as residential to support it.
There are 13 different uses, from schools to office buildings, mixed in Schilling Farms’ 443 acres. This density of uses is more commonly found in Downtown Memphis, but Schilling Farms works within Collierville’s zoning and other restrictions to keep a small-town feel. “New Urbanism in Collierville is different from New Urbanism Downtown,” Thompson says.