Friday, November 09, 2001

Mud Island property purchase finalized; Developer buys Mud Island property

Memphis Daily News [link]
by Sue Pease

Local developer Kevin Hyneman finalized the purchase of 21 acres on Mud Island, bringing plans to build on the vacant land closer to reality and continuing to raise questions about the property, which lies in the heart of the Downtown riverfront.

According to a special warranty deed filed in the Shelby County Registers Office, Kevin Hyneman Cos. bought the land from Echelon Residential LLC for $2.5 million Oct. 26.

A related trust deed also was filed in the registers office, with a lien on the real estate for $2.6 million.

While Hyneman, an independent developer, now owns the land, the property sits among the Downtown riverfront area, between the Mississippi and Wolf rivers. It would fall within the boundaries of a publicly initiated master plan, which might affect the way the property is developed.

At this point, Hyneman said he is still uncertain of what he will build on the property.

Hopefully, well be doing something the city will be proud of, he said.

Before the land purchase was finalized, Hyneman said he had discussions with the Riverfront Development Corp. Both groups considered a joint venture, but a decision wasnt agreed upon.

We went to the RDC for a proposal for a joint venture, and I think there is still an opportunity there, but I had contractual obligations so I had to close (on the property).

Of the 21 acres, about 14 usable acres are suitable for development, he said. It begins on the south side of Auction Street near the intersection of Island Drive.

Hyneman said discussions between both parties were positive. Regardless of whether a joint venture is realized, it would be developed with RDC input.

He said he is discussing a plan for the area with Atlanta-based Post Properties, in case plans dont materialize with the RDC.

In February 2000, the RDC was formed, backed by Mayor Willie Herenton, and given the task of redeveloping 12 miles along the Downtown riverfront.

The RDC, a public-private partnership, is creating a master plan for the waterfront with the help of consultants.

The board hopes Hynemans project will fit in with their plans.

Benny Lendermon, RDC president, said although the board had many discussions with Hyneman, a specific proposal hadnt materialized, but plans on both sides werent at different ends of the spectrum.

We don't think our goals, in both cases, are that different, he said.

Lendermon said types of uses the RDC would like to see would be similar to what is on the north side of the Auction Street Bridge.

Urban residential development, similar to Harbor Town, which increases in density closer to the Hernando DeSoto Bridge, would be optimal in RDCs opinion, he said.

Mary Baker, Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development deputy director, said the area is currently zoned R-MM, multifamily, which allows 30 units per acre at a maximum height of 125 feet.

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