Business Formed to Finish Germantown's Enclave

Published on: July 25, 2016

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Michael Waddell, Memphis Daily News

Builder-developers John Duke, Mike Murphy, Chip Tayloe and Frank Uhlhorn, along with developer Dan Turley, formed a joint venture business to finish out The Enclave, a luxury estate home infill project they saved in Germantown after it had stalled during the Great Recession.

Duke, Murphy, Tayloe and Uhlhorn, the original members of the group, have worked together for as many as 30 years, so forming Enclave West Joint Venture LLC to rescue the sinking project just made sense.

“Our group had built together in various combinations for a long time in the Germantown area, and when the property came available through foreclosure we took some risk and each bought some lots,” said Murphy.

The group bought the remaining 43 lots in Phase III back from the bank in 2010. They sold out that phase in about 18 months and then exercised their right of first refusal to acquire 106 additional lots in phases IV, V and VI.

Beginning with Phase IV, Financial Federal provided financing for the land acquisition, land development, construction of the homes, and permanent mortgages for the homeowners.

“They are very loyal construction loan customers for us and have been for several years,” said Sam Hubbard, Financial Federal senior vice president. “They’re all highly experienced, being in the homebuilding and development business for more than 30 years, and they’ve been successful building in a number of price ranges – both speculative houses and custom homes.”

The Enclave project had stalled in 2009-2010 when the economy went in the tank and home sales dropped off.

“We were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and take advantage of the opportunity,” said Murphy.

The land is developed by Enclave West Joint Venture and then the homes are built by the partners’ individual building companies following a lot draw.

“We have some friendly competition amongst ourselves since we all use different floor plans, and the project’s worked out really well,” Murphy said. “We couldn’t be happier with it.”

The first 18 lots in Phase IV were developed over 16 months, and sold the homes out in a year. The business then developed the 39-lot Phase V, which now only has three homes left to sellout. Developer Dan Turley joined the project as a fifth partner for only phases V and VI.

“The market has improved and mortgage rates are down, so it’s been quite successful for them,” Hubbard said.

Duke said Financial Federal really made it all happen.

“They had the vision to do it, even though much of the rest of the industry was not loaning any real estate money at that time, so we’re very indebted to them for that,” said Duke, a third-generation builder and long-time customer of the bank for construction loans, land acquisition loans, and mortgage loans. “They believed in us, and the product we said we could sell.”

Enclave home prices have grown nearly 40 percent from $400,000 in Phase III to approximately $550,000 now, primarily due to higher lot prices, development costs and the fact that the group has carried the land longer.

“We’ve sold them as fast as we can get them up,” Duke said. “I think The Enclave is the project that led us out of the recession and kick-started things again in Germantown. Companies saw that we were selling houses and started building again.”

The Enclave’s large homes sit on smaller lots, with only seven feet between houses and 3.5-foot side yards, cutting down on yard maintenance for the homeowners. Approximately 30- to 40-foot backyards, buffered by a garage, provide privacy and feature outdoor fireplaces and other amenities. Floor plans average 3,700 to 4,300 square feet and feature French Country, English and other traditional architecture styles.

“We planned the community out so we could give people the maximum amount of privacy for a grand house on a smaller lot,” Duke said. “The nearby area is loaded with parks, and with the opening up of Wolf River Boulevard, you can easily get to anywhere in the city.”

The Enclave is located off Wolf River Boulevard, east of Farmington Boulevard.

Development of Phase VI lots is underway, and Murphy has begun construction on the first home in that phase. Expect to see a lot of activity and home starts at The Enclave over the next six weeks.

Learn more about The Enclave estate home infill project and their continued relationship with Financial Federal Bank here.