August 03, 2015

Uncovering the Past: Developer Creates Boutique Neighborhoods off Square

 
By: Christina Morgan
The Collierville Herald
 

It’s no secret that the Collierville Historic Town Square has long been a destination place for residents, visitors and tourists.            From shopping to dining, there is never a shortage of things to be eaten or purchased on the Square. Even entertainment is provided with yearly events, music and shows.
           
Drawing from those aspects, father and son duo Doug and Chris Dickens with Memphis’ Boyle Investment Company are developing multiple neighborhoods just off the Square in hopes that a population will sustain the gem in the center of Town.
         
“Everyone thinks the Town Square is a great place. The only problem is there are no neighborhoods or enough rooftops around it to be fully supported,” Chris Dickens said. “In 2006, we noted the Square was vital to the Town, so we put together a plan of boutique or pocket neighborhoods in order to recreate a community that was really already there, yet covered up by time.”
           
The Dickens began developing their first subdivision called Washington Gates in the spring of 2008, which is located east of Mount Pleasant and less than two blocks from the square.
           
And the family is currently in the works of developing Twinings of Collier and Washington South, located across the street from Washington Gates.
           
“We are creating a place,” Dickens explained. “Within this place are many moving pieces such as the Town Square, sidewalks for pedestrians to use to go back and forth on foot, front porches to know your neighbors, architecture which has been around and survived and now imitated and, most importantly, there are shops in which to buy everyday needs.”
           
Dickens added that the hope with these neighborhoods is to create a “live, work, play” community, unlike many “cookie-cutter” developments in existence now.
           
“This is not a typical development with 300 subdivided lots and cleared trees with sewer taps sticking out of the ground and nothing around it but a fence,” Dickens emphasized. “We are carefully placing homes and sidewalks as if they had been there for hundreds of years, so that one doesn’t have to get in their car to accomplish their everyday needs. They simply walk out the door.”
           
The three neighborhoods will collectively consist of 30 single-family detached dwellings, with an average of 3,000-square feet with choices of three to four bedrooms and two to three baths.
           
“The architecture of the early 1900s was phenomenal and stands the test of time, as well, which is why we mimic as many details as we can in order to recreate this place,” Dickens noted. “Homes were built with architectural siding, standing seam metal roofs, brick wainscot, windows from ceiling to floor as to let air circulate the house, and front porches where families spent a large portion of their time.”
           
Dickens also noted the proximity and access to Highway 385, Highway 72, and the many schools in the area, including Collierville Middle and Collierville Elementary.
           
The three developments will once again give neighbors an opportunity to be just that.

           

“I absolutely believe that it’s important for neighbors to know each other,” Dickens concluded. “When everyone knows each other, more eyes are on the street watching out for one another which, in turn, provides security. When people are out walking or sitting on their porches or just traveling to the Square to grab a cup of coffee, it helps create an environment where cars are no longer a barrier to socialization.”