Monday, November 15, 2004

Mud Island sale tracks a path to the future

Commercial Appeal
by Tom Charlier

In selling off one of the last large pieces of land left on the north end of Mud Island, the Riverfront Development Corp. cut a deal to secure more public access to the waterfront.

RDC, the nonprofit overseeing redevelopment of the Memphis riverfront, received six parcels totaling 18 acres along the Wolf River Harbor in addition to the $840,000-plus price that developer Kevin Hyneman paid for 8.7 adjacent acres.

RDC president Benny Lendermon said the donated acreage will accommodate part of a walking trail planned along the harbor.

"We hope to have public access all along the harbor, especially as the harbor gets better and better," Lendermon said.

Hyneman, a partner with Jeffrey Bronze in several projects on the island, will use the purchased land as part of a 15-acre development featuring 106 single-family homes. The Riverpoint planned development, which Hyneman describes as a continuation of his previous projects, was approved by the Land Use Control Board on Thursday.

The 8.7 acres in the transaction are less than a half-mile south of the causeway connecting the northern end of Mud Island to Downtown.

The land had been owned by an asphalt company, with the city obtaining it when the firm moved. The city transferred the property to the RDC this year. The sales price was based on the appraised value of the land, Lendermon said.

Hyneman agreed that RDC and the public benefited from the deal. "We think they came out on top, but that's OK," he said.

RDC officials were glad to see the land used for homes instead of apartments. "There's nothing wrong with apartments," Lendermon said. "But there's a multitude of apartments down at that northern end."

Hyneman, who has developed some 500 homes on Mud Island, said the residences in the new project probably will be priced from $160,000 to $250,000.

"The market is very strong down on the island," he said.
In addition to Riverpoint, he and Bronze are working on plans for a $75 million mixed-used development on the island just south of the Auction Street bridge and encompassing the site of a calamitous mudslide two years ago.

The project will feature condominium units and homes, but the 4 acres affected by the mudslide will be set aside for some amenity - perhaps a marina or park, Hyneman said.

Copyright (c) 2004 The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN

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