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jmduke

Memphis Infill Developments

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I haven't seen much discussion about infill developments (mostly East Memphis) on the board and wanted to get some of your thoughts about it. For example in today's Commercial Appeal, there is an article concerning proposed infill developments near Mendenhall/Cole roads between Poplar and Walnut Grove and another development on Graham north of Given Ave. between Summer Ave. and Macon Road. Memphis-area residents know infill has been controversial.

To be honest, I'm not totally sure where I stand on this issue, but I see more positives than negatives with infill. Infill shows that developers are still interested in the city, people are still interested in living in Memphis vs. a new development in the suburbs, the density is higher, the appraisals are higher, and it's a means of expanding the tax base without annexing additional area. Is this a good way for a stangnant older city to grow?

However, I do see the points about the new houses not fitting in with the surrounding area and some of the nice older houses being moved away or torn down to make room for potential McMansions on small lots (such as the old English-style house on the SE corner of Poplar and Cherry). That said, is there a difference in downtown infill/redevelopment vs. what is happening in East Memphis? I assume what is happening downtown is better-received because the newly developed areas had been underused and blighted in many cases.

I'll be interested to see the other opinions on this topic.

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I'd say overall it's a positive for the reasons you gave.

But I think the city ought to defer to the wishes of the neighborhood before it issues permits.

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I presume you're talking about infill residential? I think any infill is good. There are valid concerns, but the positives outweigh the negatives.

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Latest infill news:

http://www.wmcstations.com/Global/story.asp?S=4356352

10 homes on a 1-home lot

For those of you unfamiliar with this section of Graham Road, most lots lining the road range from 0.5 acres to 2.5 acres. However, the lots behind Graham on neighborhood streets are all about the same size: 0.2 acres (8700 sq ft). Depending on the size of the lot in question (unlikely the lot is less than 1 acre), the new subdivided lots would be similar in size to the smaller lots off Graham, +/- 2000 sq ft or so. Also, there are 2 condo-complexes at Graham and Macon.

So the increased density caused by these lots is not foreign to the neighborhood, although it does diminish the current "estate lot-look" driving down Graham. The current homes are all decent-sized, similar to homes along Goodlett in East Memphis, and they are are kept up very well.

For a comparison, the next major road east, Perkins, has an infill development with 6 or 7 homes that was probably created out of 2 or 3 lots (about 1.5 acres total). Its a very nice development, but Perkins is not an estate home-lined street like Graham, so the home and lot sizes blend better with the surrounding homes.

In all the stories I have seen on this (Grahamwood) particular infill development, I do not recall any positive response from residents.

So, is this a good development for this area?

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IMO, as long as the neighborhood looks nice and crime stays low infill is ok. I'm not sure what kinda infill developments are going on but if somebody would take some pictures it would be easier to make a decision. I would discourage infilling a dense subdivisions so that the entire city looks as intresting Hickory Hill or SE Shelby County. Some greenspace should be kept and how about some unique and intresting architecture!!!

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Well, there will be less greenspace, since what was once yard will be filled with several homes. I'm not sure about the architecture--I imagine it will resemble that of other infill developments in the area: 1. Perkins at Tutwiler 2. off White Station on Mesquite just south of Sam Cooper, and I'm sure there are others.

It is always encouraging to see continued investment in older areas of town--it also shows that it is still a desirable area to live. I would guess that it would increase property values as well.

It's feasible that some sort of loop may be built, but in all likelihood, cove(s) and dead end streets will make up the layout. There are several coves in the area, but the road plan is dominated by connected streets in which additional coves could be irrelevant or a bad thing, depending on who you ask.

But the biggest concern (for residents of the area especially) is what impact it will have on the continuity and aesthetic integrity of the current stretch of Graham, a stretch that is not run-down or in disarray.

Of course, as was mentioned earlier in the thread, development is occuring within an area that already has the infrastructure in place, brings residents closer to work centers, decreases commuting and problems caused by it, and injects life into Memphis proper. I feel the positives far outweigh the negatives, and that this is in the best interest of the city of Memphis. It may not be in the best interests of the residents however. Who has more of a say--the greater good, or those directly impacted?

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Living as I do very close to some infill near the intersection of Park and Estate, I feel positive about these types of developments when they are done tastefully.

Many of the projects I'm familiar with in East Memphis are occurring along major streets, where the traffic and nearby commercial establishments have long sense eroded any semblance of a quiet, suburban neighborhood. Property values for the existing landowners were stagnant or falling since few people want to buy a 2,000 square foot home on a 1/2 to 1 acre lot along a busy street near a shopping center. The developments along Mendenhall north of Poplar seem to be an excellent example of this.

The challenge, of couse, is creating an appropriate transition between the infill community and adjacent neighborhoods. It is ideal when the infill is built between a busy street and some natural break in the neighborhood form (railroad, expressway, utility easement, woods, etc.). Less ideal, in my opinion, are infill developments that occur right in the middle of a neighborhood off of a lesser street. You have one of these on Echles Street, between Park and the U of M.

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Can anyone post pictures or find a website of what these developments look like? I only remember a couple on Shelby Drive near Southland Mall and I wasn't very impressed. Can't really recall any near Poplar. Lots of traffic so I had to keep my eyes on the road :P

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The latest MBJ (sorry, it's only in paper form until tomorrow) has an article talking about a new infill development on Shady Grove called Normandy Park with prices ranging from $800,000-$3 million+...pretty swanky stuff. The parents looked over there when we were moving and said it was nice due to the fact that, unlike infill developments such as Nottoway or Rowan Oak in G'town, where all you get is a patio and a house, these homes have some patch of grass to cut. If infill is like Normandy, I see no problem with it, as the surrounding area and prices will keep riff raff/low prices out in the long run.

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Can anyone post pictures or find a website of what these developments look like? I only remember a couple on Shelby Drive near Southland Mall and I wasn't very impressed. Can't really recall any near Poplar. Lots of traffic so I had to keep my eyes on the road :P

I think there's some along Poplar between PDS and Oak Court, on the south side of the street. There's also some along Poplar near Germantown, east of Kirby, across the street or near the garden supply shop. I don't have any pictures. At least I think those are infill developments. Taking a chunk of land and creating basically zero-lot homes on tiny parcels of land.

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The latest MBJ (sorry, it's only in paper form until tomorrow) has an article talking about a new infill development on Shady Grove called Normandy Park with prices ranging from $800,000-$3 million+...pretty swanky stuff. The parents looked over there when we were moving and said it was nice due to the fact that, unlike infill developments such as Nottoway or Rowan Oak in G'town, where all you get is a patio and a house, these homes have some patch of grass to cut. If infill is like Normandy, I see no problem with it, as the surrounding area and prices will keep riff raff/low prices out in the long run.

Here's the link to the article you're talking about:

http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories.../16/focus1.html

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Another update, from today's Commercial Appeal:

http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/local/...4529433,00.html

Looks like the Council listened to the neighborhood residents in this case, but it is a blow to infill. I'm not aware of the details of this particular project--maybe someone else can cut in and gauge if it was a good decision or not.

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