Hedge Fund Hunting For Memphis Island

Sep 21 2012 | 11:06am ET

An Arkansas hedge fund wants to buy most of a huge, undeveloped peninsula just a few miles from downtown Memphis.

Land & Timber Resources hopes to buy 5,000 acres of farm and timberland on Presidents Island, which sits in the Mississippi River between Memphis and Memphis, Tenn. The "island"—connected to Memphis by a narrow strip of land and a causeway—is home to Memphis' river port and about 2,000 acres housing industrial activities.

While L&TR has offered the Port Commission $4 million for the whole island, managing member Stephen Son said they "know you can't sell the industrial part; we're interested in the rural and timberland."

L&TR said it would use the land for farming and hunting, and said it would "work the sand off;" the island was hard-hit by last year's floods, which cut the amount of arable land to just 1,000 acres from more than 3,000.

The Port Commission has set up a subcommittee to study L&TR's offer. While the island's industrial land is almost at capacity, the commission could improve land on the island to expand that zone. Randy Richardson, the executive director of the Port of Memphis, warned that the Port Commission has to be "careful not to dispose of land it may use at a later date."

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