October 31, 2017

Commercial Developers See Bright Future With Collierville’s Growth

The Daily News

October 31, 2017

The town of Collierville has been enjoying strong development activity in all sectors over the past several years, fueled by the area’s strong schools, low crime rate, plentiful amenities and an abundance of developable land.

“One of the great things about Collierville and one of the things that will sustain us as we move forward is our economic diversity,” said John Duncan, Collierville’s director of economic development. “We have more than 1,200 acres of developable land in this community, so we have opportunity to grow residential, commercial, office and industrial.”

The town has issued nearly 800 residential building permits in the last five years, and a new $93 million, 450,000-square-foot high school – the largest in Tennessee – is expected to open next August. It will have the capacity for more than 3,000 students.

“On the office side, we have close to 600 developable acres for office uses,” said Duncan, who cites the Houston Levee Road corridor, where Orgill Inc. is building its new 92,000-square-foot world headquarters. The hardlines distributor, whose current headquarters is near the intersection of Winchester and Forest Hill-Irene roads, plans to move by December.

Mueller Industries, meanwhile, is moving its headquarters to Collierville’s Schilling Farms development from Southwind. The company – which manufacturers and markets piping systems, industrial metals and climate-control products – broke ground on a 55,000-square-foot facility in early October.

“With the fact that we have the FedEx World Technology Center here with 2,500 employees, $90,000-plus salaries and 1.2 million square feet of office space, that is our cornerstone that has helped us grow the office part of our economy,” Duncan said.

Pursuing Amazon’s second headquarters has been a top priority for Collierville in recent weeks, and town leaders worked with the city of Memphis to present the online retail giant a unified package by the Oct. 19 deadline for proposals. Two 100-acre-plus sites in Collierville were to be presented as options in that package, including one near Houston Levee and Tenn. 385 across from Orgill’s new headquarters, and one off of Shelby Drive next door to the new high school on the southeast side of town.

Most of the town’s industrial real estate is on the southeast side of Collierville near the U.S. 72, Tenn. 385 and Interstate 269 crossroads.

“In fact, I-269 will be completed all the way over to I-55 in a year, and we expect industrial activity to follow that,” said Duncan, who estimates roughly 300 acres in that area are zoned for industrial use.

CCL Label recently added 85,000 square feet to its facilities nearby, and FedEx operates a packaging facility in the area.

“We’re looking for the type of manufacturing that is low impact. We don’t want smokestacks. We want assembly and advanced manufacturing, pharmaceutical, electronics – great companies that have very limited environmental impacts on our community,” Duncan said.

Restaurant and retail activity in Collierville also has remained brisk.

Both Pimento’s Kitchen + Market and Salsarita’s recently signed on to anchor Houston Levee Market, developer Kevin Hyneman’s proposed 15,000-square-foot retail center at Houston Levee and Winchester roads, which received approval from the Collierville Planning Commission in early October.

And popular barbecue restaurant Germantown Commissary is expanding its reach eastward with plans to open a Collierville Commissary at the corner of Houston Levee Road and Poplar Avenue next spring.

Duncan sees no infrastructure concerns because the town planned well in advance of development, including widening Shelby Drive, Byhalia Road and U.S. 72.

“Infrastructure is something we take very seriously – and not only roads, but also sewers and water,” he said.

Collierville-based Crews Development, which develops both residential and commercial properties, has been working on several residential subdivisions in the town over the past six years, owner Jason Crews said.

“We believe there is a huge demand for homes in Collierville, with the town’s strong school system and the incoming new high school coming in,” he said.

Crews just finished the 110-lot Village Park community, sold the first phase of the 250-lot Cypress Grove and started construction on phase two, is working on homes in the 30-lot The Villas and just finished the second phase of the 88-lot Shepherd’s Creek. Starting prices in the communities range from the $400,000s to $1 million.

His company has several more residential projects in the pipeline, including the 250-lot Oak Hill on Shelton Road. Homes there will start in the $400,000s.

“The challenge now is trying to keep home prices down. Lot prices have increased, and there are higher development costs, material costs and labor costs,” said Crews, who sees a lot shortage right now in Collierville. He estimates it takes about 20 months to prepare lots for construction.

Next up, Crews is planning some retail development and a Home2 Suites hotel on Houston Levee near Tenn. 385, where his company owns 250 acres. Construction on the hotel could start within the next year.

Township Development Services, which offers a variety of real estate-related services and acts as a fee-based developer for some projects, is working with clients on several projects in Collierville, according to founder and owner Kevin Vaughan.

“We recently began construction on infrastructure for the Arboretum, a new, 22-acre mixed-use development on Poplar Avenue near Bray Station. We’re also knee deep in the planning of some retail redevelopment along Poplar and other mixed-use developments.”

Vaughan is bullish on Collierville’s future and expects office and industrial projects to continue to build the daytime population of Collierville as more businesses and industries move operations into the town.

“The availability of land; the local control and capacity of infrastructure such as water and sewer systems; access to I-269, SR-385 and U.S. 72; great public education and public safety; and strong, effective leadership is a recipe for success,” he said.