July 12, 2016

Schilling Farms

By Amos Maki
– The Commercial Appeal –

Boyle Investment Co. has sold an 18-acre tract inside to a Florida-based development company.

Cornerstone Development Group, in conjunction with Runnels Family Holdings, plans to build a residential community inside Schilling, a 443-acre mixed-use community nestled between Poplar and Tenn. 385 in Collierville.

Destin, Florida-based CDG purchased the 18 acres for $1.7 million, according to Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood’s office.

“We’re very bullish on the entire area,” said Davage “Buddy” Runnels, president and managing partner of CDG. “We’re not totally finalized on our planning. We’ll now start defining and creating a place.

“We try to create a place that differentiates our projects from others,” Runnels said.

Since Memphis-based Boyle began planning nearly a decade ago, the goal was always to separate the project from other suburban developments.

Featuring a wide mix of uses – from residential to office and medical – incorporated many elements of the new urbanism movement in a suburban environment.

New urbanism promotes the creation and restoration of diverse, walkable, mixed-use communities featuring the same components as conventional development, but assembled in a more integrated fashion.

New urbanism communities typically contain housing, work places, shops, entertainment, schools, parks, and civic facilities essential to the daily lives of the residents, all within easy walking distance of each other.

The same is true of , which Boyle is developing in partnership with Schilling Enterprises.

The master plan, which was finalized by Memphis-based Dalhoff, Thomas, Daws with input from Looney Ricks Kiss and Cooper, Robertson & Partners of New York, calls for 1 million square feet of office space, 130,000 square feet of retail space and about 1,400 residential units.

That mix of uses can also create greater value for the developer.

“They knew if they did something better than the norm that it would create value,” said Carson Looney, a principal in LRK. “That value is obvious with this sale. It has paid off.”

Boyle has already developed several office buildings inside and sold sites to other companies that built their own buildings.

Major commercial tenants inside include Helena Chemical Corp., Orion Packaging and Bank Tennessee, which has its headquarters there. Nearly 300,000 square feet of office space has already been built.

The development also contains Middle School, Collierville YMCA, Kid Tech Child Care Center and Life Church at .

There is also a nice mix of residential units, including 704 multi-family rentals and roughly 160 single family homes. Prices in two Schilling neighborhoods – Sterling Square and The Neighborhood in – range from about $250,000 to more than $500,000.

“Mixing of uses is terribly important to changing the way traffic patterns work and the way people can not have to leave an area to get an essential service, take a child to school or go to church,” said Rusty Bloodworth, senior vice president at Boyle. “It can all be very close at hand and you can live there and work there and play there.”

Bloodworth was the meticulous planner behind the creation of , traveling to new urbanism communities across the country as he worked on the master plan.

But Bloodworth also found inspiration for closer to home in the form of Belvedere Boulevard in Mid-town, developed by Edward Boyle in 1906.

“Belvedere is kind of the iconographic street in Memphis and Schilling was really the iconographic farm in Shelby County,” said Bloodworth. “We really went down and studied again the boulevard at Belvedere when we were trying to visualize the main boulevard at Schilling.”

As city and county leaders continue dealing with ways to tame suburban sprawl, the development has won praise for its mix of uses and residential pricing.

The conventional type of subdivisions typically associated with sprawl often decline in value because they offer little or no variety in home sizes and values. As a result, when families want to upgrade, they have to go to another development.

“Certainly, would be edgy, visionary and most important of all, sustainable,” said County Engineer Michael Oakes.