In a few months, all but a few hundred acres of the main installation at the former Defense Depot will move out of the federal government's hands and into those of the Memphis Depot Redevelopment Corporation (DRC).
The main installation at the depot has already been converted from a military distribution center into the Memphis Depot Business Park, but the federal government still owns the deed to a large chunk of land.
"We've had control under a master lease since 1997, so we've been operating just like we owned it. It's just that now the real ownership is coming along," said Jim Covington, DRC president.
The property proposed for transfer consists of 356.68 acres. Part of that is an area containing 65 buildings, which Covington describes as "mostly warehouses and associated parking." Also included in the transfer are 37.45 acres of recreational property on the depot's southeast corner, which is the current site of a golf course, and 249.21 acres of open land.
The depot has been closed to military use since 1997. Since warehouse buildings were already on the main property, converting the area into a business park only required clean-up and infrastructure improvements, such as additional parking and updated gas and electric lines. After the property in question is turned over, only about 200 acres will be left for future use.
Before the property can be transferred, however, it must pass through a 30-day public comment period, which began on March 25th. Citizens are invited to mail comments to Mike Dobbs, Environmental Manager, Memphis Depot Business Park, 2163 Airways Blvd., Bldg. 144, Memphis, TN 38114-5210. Comments can also be phoned in to the depot's community relations office at 544-0613.