By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The pales of dirt forming next door to Chili’s has been the talk of Millington for days.
What are they building? What is coming? What is Millington going to get?
The answer to those question has been in the works for years. On July 12 inside Chili’s the men and women who worked on the project proudly declared the coming of The Shops of Millington Farms.
“It’s been long and coming,” said Gil Ryan of Ryan Commercial Properties. “It feels excellent. I’m very proud to a part of this project and be able to deliver to Millington and the surrounding area. I’m just very appreciative of all that’s been done.
“It takes a village to raise a family,” he added. “And it takes a large village to make this a reality. I’m very appreciative of everybody’s effort.”
Millington Mayor Terry Jones conducted the ceremony celebrating the official groundbreaking of The Shops at Millington Farms. The groundbreaking was hosted by the City of Millington and the Millington Area Chamber of Commerce. Existing Millington business contributed to the celebration with Dunkin Donuts and Chick Fil A providing breakfast. Lowe’s delivered the hard hats and shovels for the groundbreaking of The Shops of Millington Farms – a new 125,000 square foot retail shopping development.
Jones introduced some of the key contributors to the project becoming a reality with Chairman of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners Terry Roland and fellow Commissioner Reginald Milton. Also taking to the microphone were Charles Gulotta, president of Millington’s Industrial Development Board, Nelson Williams, Community Bank president for First Citizens National Bank and Ryan.
The ceremonial groundbreaking took place at The Shops of Millington Farms’ future address 8570 Highway 51 North.
“When you get a good team put together and put the right people in the right places things happen,” Jones said. “Here’s another good thing happening here in Millington. We’ve worked together, we’ve worked with Shelby County. We’ve worked with the Industrial Development Board. And we’ve worked with the Board of Aldermen.
“We’ve got the right team together and things are starting to happen in Millington,” he continued. “Hopefully this is the catalyst of things to happen in Millington. Representative (Ron) Lollar put it well, we’re the little train making over the mountain. We’ve made it over the mountain and we’re starting to see good things.”
The development has been made possible through a proactive plan for economic development involving the Millington Industrial Development Board, The City of Millington, Shelby County and the developer GMR Millington Farms, GP – a subsidiary of Ryan Commercial Properties.
According to an economic impact study by Younger Associates, “the construction of 125,000 square feet of retail property will have a one-time economic impact of more than $36.8 million dollars on the Shelby County economy and will generate about $368,201 ($165,960 in sales tax for the City and $114,895 in sales tax for the county with an additional $87,346 from other local tax revenues…When retail operations are at full projected sales volumes, the annual local sales tax revenue generated is projected to be over $808,143. The retail operations will support a total of 484 direct and indirect jobs. The wages paid to these jobs will generate $928, 726 in new local tax revenues annually.”
“Without the tiff, the project was not able to happen,” Ryan noted. “That probably dates back to a year and half or two years ago when I first met Charles and the IDB.”
The deal was closed about two months ago clearing the way for construction crews to clear the land.
“It’s one of those things you hope to see come to fruition,” Jones said. “We’ve been working on this project since I got elected in the second time. That was one thing we wanted to do was bring more development. We’ve worked hard to bring these things to Millington. I hope people see that and we continue to grow.
“We’ve got such a strong business base here,” the Mayor continued. “With the Navy Base here, we’ve got 8,000 people working here that need places to go eat and other things that people don’t seem to understand. They bring in a lot of tax dollars here. And now we’ll be able to catch some of the shoppers from Memphis and South Tipton County.”
Those shoppers can look forward to businesses like Ross, Dunham’s Sporting Goods, Petco, Rack Room Shoes, Rue 21, Buffalo Wild Wings with others still leasing.
“It’s a really, really strong tenant mix that will be supported by the community,” Ryan said. “As for the city, they won’t have to drive a far to do their shopping. Their going to have a first-class shopping center to do their shopping, entertainment and eating. It’s going to be very well received.
“We’re targeting Spring of 2017,” he added. “With hopes of bringing in Buffalo Wild Wings and a handful of others late in 2016.”
With a ribbon cutting in the near future, Ryan now has no doubts that residents of Millington are ready to enjoy a top-notch shopping center like The Shops of Millington Farms.
“Driving out here this morning, I was thinking and wondering how many folks would be here,” he concluded. “I get here and there was so many folks. It was nice to see the support of everybody and so many merchants like Chili’s allowing us to use their faculty before they open. And Dunkin Donuts bringing donuts and Chick Fil A bringing some things. It’s been very nice and very welcoming.”
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