August 10, 2015

Spring Signal The Start Of Key Collierville Project

For the town of Collierville, the coming of spring will bring with it an important event: the birth of Schilling Farms.

Work will begin in late winter on a strategic 448-acre tract of land bordering Poplar Avenue at the western edge of Collierville. The area will be transformed into a $350-million, mixed-use development that will include up to 1.5 million square feet of office space.

Boyle Investment Company and harry Smith, owner of Schilling, Inc., have entered into a joi9nt venture to develop the vital Schilling Farms property which has more than 4,000 feet of frontage on Poplar Avenue in Collierville.

Work on the site, which will include construction of a Schilling Boulevard-Poplar Avenue intersection, will take an estimated 20 years to complete. The project will be completed in phases in much the same way Boyle’s Humphrey Center property was developed.

The parcel, the largest remaining tract of land on Poplar Avenue, is on the south side of West Poplar and has been used in recent years as a showcase farm operation.

"The size and frontage are unparalleled," says Russell Bloodworth, Boyle executive vice president. "Schilling Farms has more commercially-zoned Poplar frontage than any other property in Shelby County.

"This is a chance to develop a nearly complete community. It is almost the size of our Ridgeway Center and Humphreys Center projects combined."

In addition to the vast amount of office space, the Schilling Farms project will include significant retail space, 90 acres of distribution space, 700 homes, and 700 apartments, Several sites already are under contract.

"We envision the creation of a corporate headquarters and business center amidst a finely scaled neighborhood community where people can live as well as work." Bloodworth says. "Schilling Farms will extend the small-town quality and the architectural heritage of Collierville, while providing a setting suitable to the best national corporations and our finest local businesses."

Bloodworth says the development will include a main street, a civic plaza, a village square and many other elements that will contribute to make Schilling Farms a total and unique community-one that will reflect a more peaceful, less stressful period.

"We hope visitors to Schilling Farms will have the feeling they have stepped back in time to a scale of living more human and pedestrian-sensitive than the one today," Bloodworth says.

"Both Boyle and Harry Smith recognize and will act upon the community obligations we assume in an undertaking of this magnitude. One of the great challenges to building a community of this size is that it will remain for perhaps hundreds of years. We have an opportunity to do something great, and our sense of responsibility is high."

In many ways, the project is similar to Boyle’s Ridgeway Center effort begun more than 20 years ago. Though less than half the size of this new effort, Ridgeway Center has key Poplar frontage and an overall strategic location, Since 1973, it has grown to more than 1.5 million feet of commercial and office space, churches, and a variety of residences.

Though the primary suburban core for Memphis will remain at I-240 and Poplar Avenue, Boyle views the Schilling Farms site much as it did Ridgeway Center 25 years ago.

"Boyle has always tried to think strategically and long-term," says Henry Morgan, president of Boyle. "We have been working particularly hard during the last decade to identify and acquire key long-term sites in Shelby County that will dominate the commercial, office, and residential markets well into the next century.

"Schilling Farms is on of the most important. We are extremely excited about its future."