Apartments may be in the future of Carrefour at the Gateway, a proposed development in Germantown’s western gateway near Poplar Avenue and Kirby Parkway.
Cannon, Austin & Cannon, owners of the shopping center, presented plans for the development near Kirby and Poplar on Monday to the Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
The mixed-use development would include office space, retail, hotels and restaurants, according to Nelson Cannon, vice president of Cannon, Austin & Cannon. However, he did not deny apartments could be a part of the plan in the future.
"I’m going to look at anything that works with market conditions when we come for final (approval)," Cannon said after Alderman John Barzizza asked if apartments could be a possibility after the city’s apartment moratorium expires in July.
This is not the first time the developers have mentioned apartments as part of the plan for Carrefour. In May, the developers asked for an exemption from the suburb’s apartment moratorium, which expires in July 2019. Although three aldermen were in favor of discussing the exemption, it was not put on any agendas.
"I’m not opposed to your project," said Alderman Dean Massey, who has been strongly opposed to apartments. "I just want to know that it makes sense for us, and I want to know what the reality is going to be from the residential standpoint."
Massey suggested postponing the vote. He said he did not want the developers to make a politically motivated presentation. He said he wanted them to come out and talk about apartments.
"I just wanted straightforward answers without the political spin," Massey said, adding he was interrupted multiple times by the mayor and city officials.
"I’ve been honest," Cannon said strongly. "I don’t want to be painted as dishonest."
"What would you like to see as far as the apartments go, the residential aspects, condos? How have things changed?" Massey asked the developers.
"We’ve been working on this since 2012. We’ve been working back and forth, back and forth with the city. We are running out of patience and time," said Henry Cannon, president of Cannon, Austin & Cannon.
Henry Cannon said this was one of several ideas they had presented.
"We know the moratorium has said no residential so we are approaching this without the residential, and we are going to continue trying to market the property and get this thing going … we will have to address that when we come in for final plan of any of the uses."
The board voted 3-1 to approve the outline plan for Carrefour, with Massey voting against it and Barzizza abstaining.
While the developers are looking at office, retail and dining for the first phase, Cannon said they would not start building until 60 percent of the office building is leased, and there are potential tenants.
Alderwoman Mary Anne Gibson praised the project.
"I do believe this is a dynamic project," she said. "It is a beautiful project."
Gibson asked that any amendments would go through the planning commission before being approved by the board, and Cameron Ross, director of economic and community development, affirmed that would happen.
"Approval of this outline plan is not going to immediately affect city staff," Ross said. He said each phase must still be planned and then go through the city’s approval process.
Ross told Massey the approval was for office, retail and hotel. Massey challenged that amendments would not have to be presented to the board because its current T5 and T6 zonings allow apartments. Ross said if multi-family housing was to come up in future plans, it would have to be approved by the planning commission and the board.
Although citizens had an opportunity to speak about the development during Monday’s board meeting, none came forward.
The addition of a traffic signal on Kirby Parkway between Poplar and Poplar Pike was a concern during the planning commission meeting in October. Alderman Forrest Owens said he met with the Carrefour team and that the traffic signal is warranted.
"From a common sense standpoint, you have some questions about putting a signal in that short span from Poplar to Poplar Pike," he said. "I think the simulation (presented by developers) shows no major disruptions."
Th outline plan called for traffic signals, which will be approved as developers bring forward plans for the different phases of the project.