Germantown candidates hopeful for future of former country club

By , Daily Memphian Updated: October 19, 2020 9:30 PM CT | Published: October 19, 2020 5:43 PM CT

The future of the Germantown Country Club property is among the first major issues new aldermen will face not long after they take office following the Nov. 3 election.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will consider several measures regarding the shuttered site next year. And since none of the current aldermen in Positions 3, 4 and 5 are seeking reelection, the matter — which could be one of the most important developments in the suburb — will deal with what is built on the site northeast of Kimbrough and Farmington Boulevard.


Farmington Kimbrough Development Group identified as buyer of Germantown Country Club


“One thing I learned was to never prejudge any site area or case until it (was formally submitted),” Position 5 candidate Jon McCreery said, declining to discuss the country club property. “Anything short of that is speculation.”

Farmington Kimbrough Development Group plans to submit proposals to the city in early 2021 for the 178 acres. The company does not plan to seek rezoning, and will include varying size houses for different stages of life. As far as schools, the property is currently zoned for Farmington Elementary and Houston Middle


Suburban down-ballot races are competitive


No existing structures on the property will remain, but the development group hopes to add a connection to the Germantown Wolf River Greenway, Spence Ray with FKDG said.

Aldermen hopefuls know they have a part in deciding its fate. Some candidates worry about the density of the potential development. Others expressed concern over the impact on the suburban school district. Still others wanted to make sure whatever is decided for the property that it reflect some suburban character.

Terri Johnson, who is seeking Position 3, said Germantown Country Club and its future are among the factors making this election so important.

“That’s right in the heart of Germantown,” she said, noting Thornwood investors — like Spence Ray — are part of this plan.


McCreery, Musso face off for Germantown Alderman Position 5


She added Neshoba North residents believed the nearby Thornwood development on the northeast corner of Neshoba and Germantown Road would include condominiums, but apartments were approved.

“(GCC) is one of the reasons we need to be super careful in this election,” she said. “I like what I’ve heard so far. It serves a wide range of different needs in our community from empty nesters to growing families, and I think that’s a good plan.”

She recognizes any residential development impacts the schools, and she want the city to review that factor in its consideration. Johnson added she does not support a dense development or mixed-use for the large tract, a position she believes is held by residents.

Sherrie Hicks, Johnson’s opponent in Position 3, recognizes Germantown has little land left to develop and must make prudent decisions for future large tracts like the former golf course.


Miles, Motley, Ueleke seek Germantown Alderman Position 4


“I don’t want to see a bunch of homes. You want to see something there that has something special,” Hicks said, noting that a Greenway connection would add to the proposal.

 “Consistently, people have said they want it to retain some of the character. I’d like it to be something that adds to the charm, adds to the character and in that case even pull some of the history.”

Rod Motley, one of three candidates seeking Position 4, wants to make sure the project aligns with the developer’s promises.

“Always making sure no one — who is going to develop — goes back on what they said to the people,” Motley added during the Leadership Germantown candidate forum.

John Paul Miles, one of Motley’s opponents, said he has talked with nearby residents since FKDG’s contract. Those neighbors have thoughts on what kind of residences they want on the property.

“They’d like to see some more expensive, upscale homes,” Miles said. “They want those moving there to have skin in the game. I am okay with single-family homes, but we will have to watch the impact on the schools … So long as they are higher-end single family homes, people are OK with that.”


Hicks, Johnson to face off for Germantown Alderman Position 3


Miles said neighbors concerns included infrastructure and drainage improvements needed for the project. Like Miles, Position 4 opponent Brian Ueleke expressed concerns regarding the impact of any development on schools.

“I would love to see options explored that would have a section ... dedicated to senior living,” Ueleke said. That would allow adults to live near their elderly parents, but also decrease the impact on schools. The city’s aging population wants ownership options aimed toward their lifestyle in Germantown, he said.

“It’s going to be a community discussion to see how it is developed and what it looks like,” he said, “We’ve got to listen to the folks that live around there — get their insights and thoughts about the proposals that come forward is well.”

While McCreery, who spent 14 year on the Memphis and Shelby County Land Use Control Board including seven as chairman, withheld comment on the land, his opponent Brandon Musso has an interest in the site. Musso lives on Allenby a couple blocks from the property and is wary of some suggestions already discussed.

Musso initially wanted to see the land transformed into a city park. The city bid less than $2.5 million, after an appraisal that valued the land, excluding buildings, at $6.8 million. City officials never got a second chance to offer.

“The whole journey of that decision should have never happened,” he said. “The people didn’t know. Being a property owner right across the street, that upset me.”

Ray and investors of Thornwood formed FKDG, which has the contract for the country club property. Musso is concerned about the project’s density and worried he could have an experience similar to the one Neshoba North neighbors faced with Thornwood.

“There’s no way that stays residential with the current administration,” he said. “We don’t have a voice as to what goes in there with the current administration.”

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Topics

Germantown Country Club Germantown Election Germantown Election 2020 Sherrie Hicks Terri Johson John Paul Miles Rod Motley Brian Ueleke Jon McCreery Brandon Musso
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


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