September 15, 2021

First Phase of Water Tower District at Schilling Farms Receives Final Approval

The Daily Memphian

By Abigail Warren

The Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen has approved the first phase of the Water Tower District that includes 259 new apartments at Schilling Farms.

The board on Monday night endorsed the final development plan for the mixed-use project with retail components to go with the apartments. There was no discussion before the 5-1 vote in favor of the plan, Alderman Billy Patton casting the opposing vote.

Schilling Farms’ outline plan was initially approved in 1991, but amended in 2009 to allow for mixed-uses within buildings providing flexibility while creating pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

Schilling Farms has 1,180 apartments on site south of Poplar and west of Byhalia Road. The 2009 outline plan allows a maximum 1,725 multifamily units within the 443-acre property. If the board denied the project Monday, the decision could have resulted in legal fees, due to previous approvals a dozen years ago.

The proposal Monday for 16 acres also didn’t change substantially from a preliminary plan the mayor and aldermen approved in December.

The plan for the first phase includes 110 one-bedroom units, 95 two-bedroom apartments, and 54 three-bedroom residences. Based on previous approvals, developers have rights for an additional 286 apartments inside the Water Tower District in a later phase. Developers plan varying styles of rental units including duplexes, triplexes and town homes.

“I think it’s going to be a very special community, very walkable and organized,” Rusty Bloodworth, Boyle’s executive vice president, said.

In 53 years of development, he said the project took between two and three times more thought than anything else in his career.

The neighborhood will be centered around an old-fashioned water tower similar to one on the site when it was a working farm decades ago.

“Schilling Farms is the premier mixed-used development in West Tennessee and the Mid-South region,” John Duncan, Collierville’s director of economic development, said. “The Water Tower District continues Boyle’s thoughtful elevation of the property.”

The leasing office and amenities for residents are planned for the center of the development in the phase. There is also some retail space in the first phase.

No residents spoke at the Collierville meeting regarding the project, but a common concern attached to development is traffic. An analysis by Kimley-Horn said traffic impacts should be minimal. Engineers suggested retiming the traffic signals on Poplar Avenue at Shea Road and Poplar Avenue at Schilling Boulevard West in a future phase. Last month, the board also approved an agreement for an eastbound right turn lane at Poplar Avenue and Schilling Boulevard West.