August 03, 2015

Old-Time Sidewalk Charm

By:  John Wood
Commercial Appeal
If you’d like to get a glimpse of the future of the downtown Collierville area, take a look at Washington Gates.
Located in a quiet grove of trees just a few blocks east of the famed Collierville Square, Washington Gates is a 16-home development from Boyle Investments that offers homebuyers a quiet, shady cove with a charming stone bridge, comfortable conversation area with a fireplace/grill and a breathtaking fountain, all in multiple open spaces. It’s also the place where you can build a new, modern, energy-efficient home that has old-fashioned neighborhood charm built in.
“People seem to love the old-fashioned neighborhood type homes at Washington Gates where you can walk down the street and say hello to your neighbors who are relaxing on their front porch,” said Doug Dickens, developer of Washington Gates for Boyle Investments. “The architecture is from Collierville’s heyday amid the early 1900s and provides for lots of natural lighting, high ceilings and large, spacious rooms that create great living areas where families can meet for a meal or to just get together for a relaxing evening at home.”
Collierville’s planning board is also taking note of Washington Gates and after seeing the positive impact the development has had on the Downtown Collierville area, the board has embraced the concept and  
 plans to encourage other builders to use Washington Gates as an example of their vision for residential development around Collierville Square.
“The board spent about a year firming up its vision for the downtown area deciding where the houses should go, where the retail should go and where the roads should go and how we can get more developments like Washington Gates,” said Jamie Groce, Collierville’s town planner.   “We are working on the zoning tools that are pending before the board right and hopefully by this summer those should be on the books so maybe Washington Gates No. 2 will be easier to build.”
And while Boyle’s Washington Gates and Magnolia Square developments could be what a lot of downtown Collierville developments will look like in the next five years, the town of Collierville is initiating a 15-year plan to add infrastructure to support such developments including the addition of sidewalks, on-street parking and drainage improvements.
“We’ve talked with elected officials and downtown property owners so that everyone involved knows what we think should happen in the downtown area,” Groce added.
The present number of rooftops in the downtown area today number about 800, Groce points out,but with the encouragement from Collierville’s town fathers, he believes that number could grow to over 2,500 in the near future. And he agrees that Washington Gates has set the bar for residential developments that may follow.
“The front porch architecture of Washington Gates can change the dynamic of Washington Street,” Groce said. “Imagine what Washington Street is going to look like five years from now with people walking up and down the sidewalk to the square and what it could mean to the businesses. Hopefully, it will be a good thing.”
For more information about Washington Gates and the recently announced 3.5 percent, 15-year mortgages, visit or call Chris Dickens at Boyle Investments, 766-4236.