Developer Jeff Parker and partners have purchased what he believes could be the city’s last available riverfront property, and he's considering a residential development on the tract.
Parker on Thursday said they bought the 43 acres off Point Mallard Drive Southeast from General Electric and they plan to develop it soon.
Deeds on the sale were filed in the Morgan County Probate Office on July 2. The purchase price was not available.
The property is off the backwaters of the Tennessee River. It is on a slough, on the opposite bank from Wolverine Park.
“It’s a beautiful piece of property with a great view of the river,” Parker said. “I didn’t realize how nice it was until we walked it.”
Parker and his partners aren’t sure yet how they will develop it, but they know most of the city’s riverfront is in use. Industries and the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge dominate the city’s riverbanks.
The Point Mallard Drive property is zoned industrial, and Parker said they will pick the “highest and best use” for it. Blake McAnally, of Pugh, Wright and McAnally Engineering Services, is working on multiple concepts for the project.
“It’s a blank pallet, and I’m enjoying coming up with a concept,” Parker said.
Parker said he can envision a riverfront residential subdivision. The largely flat property provides plenty of room for multiple types of single-family homes and even condos or luxury apartments.
“I would imagine anyone would love this view of the river from their home,” Parker said. “The best thing about it is the property goes right down into the river (at a low grade).”
Parker serves on the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce committee for residential growth, so he recognizes a need for new homes. City officials are pushing for new subdivisions in an effort to get Decatur’s flat residential growth restarted.
The water off the bank of the property is shallow. Parker said Wolverine dredged the water to its park, so he is looking into the cost and the requirements for dredging in front of his property.
Wally Terry, city director of development, said this property and its possibilities have been discussed for years.
“Mayor (Gilmer) Blackburn talked about dredging the water,” Terry said. Blackburn was mayor from 1962 to 1968.
Terry said former Mayor Don Kyle looked at the possibility of the city buying the property during his first term, which was 2000-2004.
“I’m really pleased someone bought it and they’re quality developers who have done projects before in the city,” Terry said.
Terry pointed out that the property is just down the street from Point Mallard Park and particularly its golf course. The Point Mallard trail goes right past the property and connects to the Bill Sims Bicycle Trail, which runs into the heart of the city.
Unlike the Morris family development that is annexing into the city, Parker’s new property is already in the city and has access to the necessary utilities. The city expects to spend close to $1 million to run sewer to the Morris development off Old River Road in return for a promise of at least 40 homes in the 19.4-acre subdivision.
A Tennessee Valley Authority power line runs through the property, but Parker said that’s OK.
“The power line runs all through Point Mallard Estates and even near my home (in Chapel Hill),” Parker said. “We just can’t build under it.”
General Electric sold its nearby refrigerator-manufacturing plant in 2016 to Haier U.S. Appliance Solutions Inc., a subsidiary of China-based Qingdao Haier Co., as part of Haier's $5.6 billion purchase of GE Appliances. The plant still uses the GE Appliances name.