July 12, 2016

Collierville’s Heritage Preserved In Schilling Farms Project

By Terry Hollerhan
– The Memphis Business Journal –

When Harry Smith contacted Memphis-based Boyle Investment Co. about developing his land in Collierville, he had already spent a lot of time and money designing the 443 acres that would be called Schilling Farms.

Russell Bloodworth, executive vice president of Boyle, says after Boyle executives met with Smith and surveyed and inventoried the property, they knew this could be special.

One of the biggest changes Boyle recommended was that Schilling Farms contain residential uses, which were not included in Smith’s original design.

“Rusty saw the advantage of having almost a little community in itself,” Smith says. “He was real wise to see that and I think that has really proven to be right.”

Smith says Boyle understood his intention of creating a development that would become a hallmark of Collierville, a small town with deep agricultural roots and a rich heritage of architecture. The site between Poplar and Winchester exemplified that history, with its green pastures, defining white picket fences, barns and an agrarian tower fronting Poplar that citizens had recognized for generation.

The challenge was to preserve that heritage, while creating a multi-use development that downplays commercialism and emphasizes a sense of community, while providing functional real estate products that maximize the investment.

The $350 million development is the most comprehensive undertaken by Boyle, which has been a leader in the local real estate market since 1933. Schilling involves 13 real estate uses, including medical facilities and light industrial product, but it is designed around the people who will live and raise families in more than 1,000 residences there.

The master plan for Schilling Farms was designed by Cooper Robertson of New York and Memphis-based Looney Ricks Kiss Architects. The design integrates the white fences, agrarian influences and the tower, and an extensive sidewalks with brick accents will be developed throughout the development.

After extensively researching the history of Collierville and its architecture, Bloodworth says that project was halted for a year and a half so they could devise an integrated, detailed community that would become more valuable with time.

Smith, chairman of Schilling Enterprises in Memphis, says Boyle shared his vision of creating a development that would stand the test of time.

“We wanted a development that would be a testimony to the good things about our community,” Smith says.

Developments within Schilling Farms must conform to standards set out by the developers and Collierville.

When mature, Schilling Farms will have the feel of the neighborhood at Belvedere and Central in Midtown. That tree-lined residential area was developed by Boyle decades ago.

Schilling Farms is a much different development, but is will be pedestrian friendly.

“Even with Ridgeway Center, I think we tended to want to let the biggest developments dominate the landscape,” Bloodworth says. “We want the life of the community to dominate Schilling Farms.