July 22, 2015

Schilling Farms Shifting From Plans to Reality

By James Overstreet
– The Memphis Business Journal –

Boyle Investment Co.’s $350 million, 450-acre Schilling Farms development on the western edge of Collierville is rapidly taking shape as the Memphis-based firm prepares to launch a 63,000-square-foot office/service facility. The brick and glass complex, which will be expandable to about 85,000 square feet, will include office buildout, overhead rear doors for truck service, a parking lot to accommodate 300 vehicles and extensive landscaping. Construction of the office/service building, expected to begin this fall, will be followed by a 110,000-square-foot distribution facility. That facility will sport a glass front, 24-foot clear ceilings and 7,600-square-foot truck bays. Both facilities are currently being leased.

"This is the most exciting project I’ve been involved in in 25 years," says Joel Fulmer, Boyle vice president of industrial properties. "The scope of the project and the fact that the actual property has such an identity makes it very exciting." The project, a joint venture between Boyle and Harry Smith, president of Schilling, Inc., will have 3,000 square feet of frontage on Poplar and 9,300 feet of frontage o Winchester. It will consist of 1.5 million square feet of office space, 90 acres of distribution space, a substantial amount of retail and a variety of residential developments.

Winchester is currently being extended through the development, a project that is expected to be completed by the end of August. Schilling Boulevard, the north-south thoroughfare that will bisect the property, is also expected to be completed then.

A 28,000-square-foot YMCA is scheduled to begin construction within 60 days, and officials are in the preliminary stages of launching a new Shelby County middle school in the development.

Schilling Farms is Unique "I don’t think there’s another tract of land of this size that has as much flexibility," says Russell Bloodworth, Boyle executive vice president. "The town officials have zoned it with the idea that it will be the center of Collierville." That residential section will include about 87 lots with home prices expected to range from $250,000-$350,000. The residential component is expected to be completed with three-four years, depending on market strength. The master plan for Schilling Farms was developed with New York-based Cooper Robertson & Partners and Memphis-based Looney Ricks Kiss, two firms that were instrumental in the design of Disney’s highly touted town development Celebration, which is located just outside Orlando, FL.

We’re trying to take the best of those techniques, mix them with the realities of the Memphis market, and create a hybrid," says Gary Thompson, Boyle director of planning. "We’ve really paid a lot of attention to the details, carefully looking at everything from the logo to the architecture to the signage."

The development is designed to be reminiscent of bygone days, with lighting for the entire site designed similar to antique light poles like the ones Collierville is using in its historic town square. Developers say the overall atmosphere of the project will be small-town, while maintaining the architectural heritage of Collierville.

Also, existing trees are being preserved and incorporated into the development’s design, and the whole project is being tied into the Collierville greenbelt system. "The project sets the tone of development that we’ve been advocating," says Gary Barta, Collierville town planner. "We look for it to really set an example for future development in Collierville. It’s the type of development every planner wants to be part of."

Landmarks Named for Ancestors Developers are also paying homage to key figures in Collierville’s history. For example, one street is being named Hoyahka after the Indian who received the land from Chickasaw Land Treaty which now is Schilling Farms. McGinnis Park, which will be adjacent to the middle school, is named after W.W. McGinnis, the first person to landscape Collierville Square. McGinnis’ grandson, Herman Wright Cox, Jr., is Collierville’s mayor. Schilling Farms is among several projects spawned by improved access to Collierville-Tennessee’s fastest growing city and among the top five in the nation-via the Nonconnah parkway. Other planned developments in the Nonconnah area include Ironwood, Bailey Station, price Farms, Porter Farms and Collierville Farms.

Besides improved access to the area, Federal Express Corp.’s planned 400,000-square-foot technology campus is also playing a big role in the number of developers launching sprawling developments in the area. FedEx’s decision to locate in the area revealed a trend that many developers predict will continue gaining momentum: corporate office relocations. "Look at all the corporate headquarters that located in the Poplar Corridor," Bloodworth says. "There are no corporate offices past Kirby because Germantown didn’t allow it. So the long-term corporate office opportunity in the Schilling Farms area is phenomenal."