February 19, 2016

Schilling Farms Growing From Field

By Katherine Comer
– The Commercial Appeal –

Four years ago, Schilling Farms was little more than an open field behind a white fence along Poplar.

The white fence remains – now a symbol of one of the most recognizable developments in the area – and the “town within a town” of Schilling Farms is beginning to take shape behind it.

“Four years ago, there was absolutely nothing there,” said Gary Thompson, vice president and director of planning for Boyle Investment Co. “In some regards it’s coming along a little slower than what we would have liked.

“As a developer, we would have loved for it to be filling up faster, but I don’t think we could have handled it any faster”.

Schilling Farms was approved by Collierville as a 450-acre mixed use planned unit development, or PUD. The massive plan called for a diverse combination of everything from residential and office use to a school and park space.

Already in Schilling are Schilling Farms Middle School, the YMCA, single-family houses, multifamily apartments, BankTennessee, NBC Bank, the regional headquarters of the Thyssen-Dover elevator company and Physiotherapy Associates.

There are several projects under construction including the four-story, 104,000-square-foot Helena Chemical corporate headquarters, set to open in August.

Also set to open this year is the Schilling Farms office of Pediatrics East, staffed with five physicians.

Plans have recently been submitted to the town for a new Life Church at Schilling Farms, which hopes to establish a campus on 44 acres along Winchester.

Thompson said Schilling Farms’ prime location along Bill Morris Parkway and at the eastern end of the new “technology corridor” has allowed the developers to take their time in filling all of the available building space.

“We have turned down quite a few things, some things that just wouldn’t fit, like a tire and battery store along Poplar,” Thompson said.

“We have brought in people that either we really have aggressively gone after or that just were a good fit.

“The Town of Collierville right now is extraordinarily sensitized to what they want in and what they don’t want in.” Thompson continued. “We are kind of a microcosm of the larger community around us.”

Thompson acknowledges that Schilling Farms has endured some criticism for a few of the development decisions that have been made.

For example, the mammoth Legacy Farm apartment complex, which is under construction, can be seen looming over Winchester Road from all directions.“Schilling Farms is right now in the ugly adolescent stage,” Thompson said “It’s not fair to judge yet.” “When the offices go in from the north, you won’t see those apartments across the lake.”

Thompson said Schilling Farms is being built as a “town within a town,” with places for families to live, work, eat, play, worship and attend school.

Memphis Light Gas & Water Division has been laying infrastructure for more road ways within Schilling, and landscaping is an ongoing process. The development also has a Web site for those wanting more information.