Friday, May 03, 2002

Clear cut, it's not

Plans uncertain for Mud Island tract

Memphis Business Journal [link]
by Kate Miller

Ongoing talks between Kevin Hyneman, Henry Turley, Jack Belz and the Riverfront Development Corp. regarding development on Mud Island have intensified after Hyneman began clearing trees from his 21-acre property south of the Auction Street bridge.

Hyneman, whose development plans caused an uproar last year from several Downtown organizations -- including the RDC -- says he no longer wants to develop the land and is in preliminary negotiations to sell it to a joint venture consisting of the three parties for a Harbor Town-like development.


"That's not something that we'd want to be a part of," Hyneman says. "Not that that won't be nice, but we've got a lot on our plate and that won't be a part of our five-year plan."

All parties emphasize that negotiations and plans are still at a preliminary stage, but Turley has an idea of what such a deal might look like.

Belz-Turley, a collaboration that has worked on numerous other Downtown projects -- most recently Uptown -- would form a joint venture with the RDC.

The RDC would contribute city-owned land such as the property it owns west of Island Drive and south of the Auction Bridge. Belz-Turley would guarantee the loan taken out by the joint venture and contribute to the work and planning of the development.

That loan would pay for the acquisition of the land as well as the costly infill.

The Belz-Turley portion of the venture would also contribute about an acre of land Turley owns on the southeast corner of Auction and Island Drive.

Turley says the development wouldn't be identical to Harbor Town but would be of the same quality. It would most likely be mixed-use with single family and multi-family residential development as well as some office space. A small inn or hotel has even been discussed.

The public-private development would also incorporate public access along the Mississippi and Wolf Rivers, including public trails and green spaces.

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