Monday, September 17, 2018

Reminder: Meeting on plans for Carrefour Tonight--Western Gateway Small Area Plan

This is a reminder of the neighborhood meeting this afternoon at 5:15 at Carrefour, concerning that area's plans for future development.   

The developer has been rallying the troops to push for exclusion from the apartment moratorium that ends in July of 2019. The Chair of the Economic Development Commission and the Germantown Chamber of Commerce both called for its exclusion from the apartment moratorium (see this link), and Rocky Janda has called for the same at BMA meetings (see my June 30 post). That effort has thus far been unsuccessful due to the political pressures of the upcoming local elections.

While apartments are not currently part of the developer's plans, they could, after the moratorium is over in 2019, be added, perhaps in a different part of the development. The development could even be exempted from the moratorium later this year, depending on the election results. In any case, the developer wants to get started with the process, and whatever shifts may occur in the future are speculation at this point. Remember, however, that the Travure plans shifted drastically over time, as the initial plans called for less density and a shorter building than the project that was ultimately completed. 

Remember also that Thornwood's developers initially touted condominiums over storefronts. Three days after the November 2014 election, however, the developers submitted their first plans, and, lo and behold, condominiums were replaced by an apartment building. See my June 30 post for more details.

The Small Area Plan for the Western Gateway area can be found here. As you can see, it envisions as many as 2,181 residential units:

Please note that  "incremental costs" include only fire and police protection. No cost is assigned for school construction. 2,181 new apartment units would, however, be expected to yield an additional 676 students applying the historical .31 students per residential unit rate used by GMSD. These students would attend Riverdale Elementary, Riverdale Middle, and Houston High Schools. 

As a point of reference, consider the Forest Hill Elementary School currently under construction. It will house approximately 750 K-5 students, and the estimated cost is 27 million dollars. 
Again, though, the current plans call for no apartments, and, in fairness, even if 2,181 new apartments are later added, the net addition is likely to be less than 2,181 units.  The new units would, in all probability, replace some or all of the 276 units at Fountain Square condominiums and 101 apartments at Westminster Townhomes.

And, while we are on the subject of the costs associated with this project, it is worthwhile to keep in mind that a two million dollar sewer project has been approved for this area.

Caissa Strategies of Memphis plans to lead the meeting. Here is the description from its website:    

"Caissa has a dynamic portfolio of successful complex communications projects: from building issues campaigns and product launches to diffusing controversial crises and managing and growing reputations. 

Our competitive advantage over a typical public relations and marketing firm is our ability to effectively communicate to targeted audiences. We’re more than communicators, we’re influencers." 

A Google Earth version of tonight's meeting site 6645 Poplar Ave. is shown below. It is closer to Poplar than the old Border's Bookstore, which I use as a point of reference.


  1. Thornwood didn't tout condos -- that was one reporter's opinion, but the Thornwood developers never said it and it's not in any of their documents. For you to take someone's mistake and report it as fact really decreases the believability of your blog.

  2. There were not one, but two newspaper articles in separate publications that mentioned condos before November. In those articles City officials were quoted, so they obviously had input. And if those articles were incorrect, City officials should have corrected them. Also, citizens who attended the developer's meetings with residents have reported to me that they were told there would be condos there, not apartments. I feel that is enough evidence. I admit, though, that none of their official plans showed condos, because the first plans were submitted after the November election.