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Developer unveils Carrefour development outline plans

By Updated: September 18, 2018 5:37 PM CT

Neighborhood leaders and concerned citizens met at the Carrefour shopping center on Monday, Sept. 17 to discuss a proposed mixed-use redevelopment of the property at Germantown’s western border. The outline plans from property owners Cannon, Austin and Cannon were submitted to the Germantown Planning Commission earlier this month.

The concept includes upscale street-level retail, restaurants and entertainment, along with premier, Class A office space.

The project on the southwest corner of Poplar and Kirby Parkway is called Carrefour at The Gateway.

“I think it will be fantastic. We need it,” said Jerry Conatser, a resident of the Fountain Square condominiums west of Carrefour. “I’m not opposed to apartments. I live in a condo next door. We’ve been through all of this before a long time ago. Maybe we have a real bite this time.”

But the major concern for some Germantown residents is whether the development will include apartments. There is growing opposition to such multi-family projects in Germantown. The city established an18-month moratorium on such developments earlier this year to study the impact of such developments.

Preliminary plans for the Carrefour site include 100,000 square feet of retail, including 25,000 to 30,000 square feet of restaurant space, along with 430,000 square feet of office space, two 120-room hotels, and more than 1,400 surface and structured parking spaces.

Dentist Stanley Waddell, whose practice is on the east side of Kirby Parkway across the street from the development, is concerned about a potential increase in traffic.

“I don’t think we have adequate information yet. That’s the purpose of this meeting,” he said. “Am I opposed to redeveloping this shopping center? Not at all. Would I be opposed to apartments here? I wouldn’t be happy about it. I’m opposed to creating more traffic, which is already horrible. My patients already have trouble getting to me at 8 in the morning when I open.”

Waddell hopes developers keep the property as a shopping center adding some nice restaurants.

Gene Bryan, director of planning and development for Caissa Public Strategy, facilitated the meeting. Bryan said specifics about the project such as height, design and other factors will develop as the application moves through Germantown’s review process before reaching the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for consideration.

But the opposition to apartment continues to linger, despite the absence of multifamily in the plans. Residents are worried applicants will add them if Germantown approve the initial plans, and the apartments will impact home values.

“The real reason is that apartments generally have less impact on the city’s infrastructure than what is proposed, so the developers have put forth a list of activities that they see as having the most significant impact,” explained Bryan. “If the moratorium is never lifted, then they can’t propose apartments.”

However, the developers could gain an exemption from the moratorium, which expires next summer, to build multifamily if approved by Germantown leaders.

Ed Nichols, president of the Poplar Estates Homeowners Association, came out to learn more about the project.



“The real reason is that apartments generally have less impact on the city’s infrastructure than what is proposed, so the developers have put forth a list of activities that they see as having the most significant impact. If the moratorium is never lifted, then they can’t propose apartments.”
Gene Bryan, Caissa Public Strategy



“For us, it all goes back to ‘No Apartments’,” said Nichols. “They can only be made to look shiny and new for five or maybe even 10 years. But what happens then?”

Walter Wills lives nearby and is a little skeptical of the plans.

“It’s so voluminous, so big what they plan to do,” he said. “I guess my only concern would be the traffic on Kirby Parkway. This Poplar corridor has really become the Wall Street of Memphis and Shelby County, and this section in Germantown is really just an extension of that.”

Phase 1 of the redevelopment would include a parking garage with retail stores on three sides on the corner parcel that previously housed a Macaroni Grill, which burned down in 2014. Border’s bookstore, which anchored the shopping center, closed in 2011.

According the Smart Growth codes for Germantown, a developer has two choices: to develop under current zoning or seek approval from the city’s Planning Commission of an outline plan regarding the bulk and impact of the potential development. If approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, then applicants will provide more specific designs and uses on the property.

The Germantown Planning Commission will discuss the development on October 2.



Topics

germantown Carrefour at Kirby Woods redevelopment apartments
Michael Waddell

Michael Waddell

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian with more than 20 years of professional writing and editorial experience, working most recently with The Daily News and High Ground News.


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