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VOL. 6 | NO. 9 | Saturday, February 23, 2013

Daily Digest

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Boyle Sells Lots at Spring Creek Ranch

Boyle Investment Co. sold 10 lots at Spring Creek Ranch to a newly formed builder group and construction soon will commence on the next phase of development at The Village at Spring Creek Ranch, an upscale, master-planned community off Raleigh-LaGrange Road.

The new builder group for the Village at Spring Creek Ranch includes: Marty Smith, Artisan Custom Homes; Mark McGuire and John Worley, Celtic Manor Homes; Chris Dickens, Dickens & Associates; Ryan Anderson, RKA Investments; and Ron Sklar and Scott Klazmer, Klazmer/Sklar Homes.

Boyle anticipates five to six starts in March, and the homes should be ready for occupancy by mid-summer. The lots are located within the reserve area of Collierville on the 168 acres purchased by Boyle in November from the Meyer family, which owns Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course.

The new homes will be priced from $385,000 to $425,000 and the builders are pre-selling now, with two homes already sold.

Gary Thompson, vice president of Boyle, said the 10 lots in The Village at Spring Creek Ranch represent the first group of new lots to come online in quite some time. Boyle hopes to develop a total of 340 lots in phases over the next decade.

In addition, Boyle has 10 lots in the gated Grand Manor, which provides residents with estate-sized lots available for custom homebuilding with views of the golf course and Chinquapin Lake. Home prices in The Grand Manor range from the high $600,000s to more than $1 million.

Raymond James Analyst Rates AutoZone a Strong Buy

A Raymond James Equity Research analyst wrote in a note to clients this week he’s maintaining a strong buy rating on shares of AutoZone Inc. ahead of the Memphis-based auto parts retailer reporting quarterly earnings next week.

“AutoZone possesses the headroom to achieve the fastest commercial sales growth in the sector,” wrote Raymond James analyst Dan Wewer.

“Further, AZO is poised to benefit from a sector wide sales recovery that could materialize as soon as the second half of 2013.

“In our view, Zone’s quarterly results will be driven by a continuation of the gross margin expansion cycle, but partially offset by tepid sales growth and subsequent deleveraging in expense rate. As a reminder, we anticipate headwinds for the auto parts retailers to persist until 2Q13 when comparisons ease and the impact from unseasonal weather seen a year ago is diminished.”

EDGE Board Approves Several Tax Freezes This Week

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. shows up to meetings of the local economic development body that grants tax incentives to businesses pretty predictably.

That’s not to say on a regular basis, rather his appearances are predictable because they tend to coincide with votes on tax deals for businesses moving into or expanding in the core city.

And that’s what he did this week. The mayor showed up at both meetings of the Economic Development Growth Engine Board this week, at one of them praising Smucker’s decision to stay put in Memphis in exchange for a tax incentive, a deal that Wharton said shows Memphis’ commitment to essentially the heart of Memphis and its infrastructure.

On Wednesday, the EDGE board approved a four-year tax freeze for Container Maintenance Corp., which is boosting employment in Memphis (where it provides intermodal-related services) by 96 workers and investing almost $4 million to expand. Wharton praised the company for making that push, in addition to praising (along with Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, also present) another project up for a tax freeze: International Paper Co.

Memphis-based IP got a 15-year tax freeze to help the company pursue a nearly $116 million expansion of its Memphis presence, which includes keeping 2,274 jobs here, creating 101 new jobs, keeping its headquarters here and building a new 235,000-square-foot, 10-story building along with a new 470-car garage and two pedestrian bridges.

On Monday, the EDGE board granted a 12-year tax freeze to the J.M. Smucker Co. so that the company would stay in Memphis and pursue a $55 million expansion.

That would save the company several million dollars in taxes, and in return the company would keep 125 jobs in Memphis.

Smucker vice president Bob Kenner told EDGE officials several factors played into the decision to keep a presence in Memphis, including the tax incentives offered. The company’s PILOT application explains the project will retrain the company’s current remaining workforce to produce products using new machinery and technologies.

Smucker announced in 2010 it would close its Memphis plant and lay off 161 employees by 2013. The intention was to consolidate its operation to improve its supply chain as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance the company’s long-term strength and profitability. The company’s Memphis operation dates back to 1969.

City Council Approves Hickory Hill Intermodal Yard

The Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, Feb. 19, a 30-acre intermodal container yard in Hickory Hill for the storage of the containers by The Marino Group/Container Maintenance Corp., which is working with Chism-Hardy Enterprises LLC on the new facility that will employ 94 people.

The $4 million planned development drew opposition from several homeowners in an area that includes some residential subdivisions as well as warehouse and distribution centers, other intermodal facilities including a Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail yard.

Marino considered sites in Olive Branch and West Memphis as it contacted Carolyn Hardy of Chism Hardy last October about the Memphis location. Marino leases space in Memphis for a smaller operation that employs a dozen people.

In other action, the council gave city engineers the green light to designate some on-street parking spaces to be selected by the Downtown Memphis Commission for car-sharing vehicles in a three-year pilot project. The DMC has no agreement with a car-sharing vehicle company yet and no specific parking places picked.

Council member Lee Harris questioned why the DMC wouldn’t charge a company for the use of the spaces.

Council member Joe Brown complained that there should be more free on-street parking for Memphis City Council members and other elected officials. Brown complained of not being able to find a free parking place recently at the Greater Memphis Chamber offices.

City Council members have free parking at City Hall. City Hall is three blocks from the chamber offices on Front Street.

Parking Lot Guns Bill Charges Toward House Vote

A bill to allow handgun carry permit holders to store loaded firearms in their vehicles no matter where they are parked has cleared its final legislative committee before a full House vote.

The House Civil Justice Committee advanced the measure on a voice vote on Wednesday after supporters stressed that the measure would not stop employers from banning weapons on their property but would simply remove their ability to call for criminal charges against violators.

Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby said his bill would also not apply to areas like airports, railroads or secure facilities governed by federal law.

The Senate approved its version 28-5 earlier this month as GOP leaders have sought to avoid a repeat of last year’s drawn-out fight between gun advocates and the business community.

La Paloma Treatment Center Opens New Building

La Paloma Treatment Center, a Memphis treatment resource for substance abuse or co-occurring mental health disorders, has opened a new building for outpatient services at 1083 West Rex Road in East Memphis.

The new location of the outpatient center replaces the former locations on Brookhaven Circle. It will allow for an expansion of existing outpatient services and will more than double the current capacity.

The space will also include an expansion of existing family and alumni services as well as ongoing programming for co-occurring health and substance use disorders.

La Paloma was founded in 2007 and is part of Nashville-based Foundations Recovery Network, which owns and operates three inpatient and four outpatient treatment facilities across the country. La Paloma’s residential campus is located at 2009 Lamar Ave.

A grand opening celebration for the new location and ribbon cutting will take place in March.

Schools Superintendent Hire Now Set for Late May

The countywide school board has a new timeline for hiring a merger superintendent that puts the hiring in late May instead of mid-February, the original goal of the school board.

School board members reviewed and approved a proposed work plan with consultants from ProAct Search, the Wilmette, Ill., search firm the board hired to conduct a national search.

The work plan includes hiring a superintendent the third week of May with the field being narrowed to five to seven finalists by the fourth week in April.

Komen Race for the Cure Moving to Carriage Crossing

Starting this October, the Memphis-Mid-South Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will be held at the Carriage Crossing lifestyle center in Collierville.

Held for the past 20 years at The Shops of Saddle Creek in Germantown, the organization this year opted for a larger venue with room to grow the local event.

“We have simply outgrown the space,” Elaine Hare, executive director of Memphis-Mid-South Susan G. Komen said in a statement. “We needed a new, larger venue.”

In 2011, the Mid-South Race for the Cure was one of the largest in the country – No. 26 out of 120 races.

The local Race for the Cure event is the largest fundraiser for Susan G. Komen, and raises approximately $1 million per year to fund breast cancer research and treatment, 75 percent of which stays in the Mid-South in the form of grants and financial support for local health care organizations. With the move, the organization set a goal of 25,000 participants and $1.5 million raised.

Carriage Crossing, which had approached the organization before about relocating the event to the lifestyle center, will enter as a presenting sponsor of the race. The Town of Collierville has agreed to provide police and fire support as needed.

Founded in 2005, the open-air Carriage Crossing center has nearly 75 stores and restaurants. Formerly known as The Avenue Collierville, Carriage Crossing returned to its roots after being acquired by a division of Memphis-based Poag Shopping Centers LLC in 2012.

Mark Weaver Elevated to Fellow of AIA

Mark Weaver, principal with Hnedak Bobo Group, was recently elevated to a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

A past president of AIA Memphis and AIA Tennessee, Weaver was recognized for advancing the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training and practice.

Weaver has worked on numerous award-winning projects such as the Peabody Place Historic Block, Main Street Pedestrian Mall/Light Rail Trolley, the Allenberg Building, Fire Museum of Memphis, FedEx Corp. World Headquarters, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, and Westin Memphis Beale Street Hotel.

The Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession.

The 2013 Jury of Fellows from the AIA elevated 122 members this year to its College of Fellows. Out of a total AIA membership of more than 83,000, there are just some 3,100 distinguished with the honor of fellowship and honorary fellowship.

The 2013 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2013 National AIA Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.

Butler Snow Attorney Named to Leadership Position

Attorney Amy Pepke has been named to a leadership position at the law firm of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada PLLC.

She’s now the appellate and written advocacy practice group leader.

Pepke focuses her practice on appellate litigation, complex commercial litigation, contract disputes, and class action and multi-party litigation.

She has been named in Mid-South Super Lawyers for civil litigation defense and The Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation. Pepke is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, the American Bar Association, and also of the Memphis Bar Association. She also serves as an adjunct professor of legal methods at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Announces Changes

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has announced some changes to its Memphis board.

Lisa McDaniel Hawkins, president of Room to Room in Tupelo, Miss., has been appointed to a three-year term on the board.

Charlie Thomas III, regional director of external and legislative affairs for AT&T Tennessee in Memphis, has been reappointed to a three-year term on the board. Thomas also serves on the board of directors of the Greater Memphis Chamber, and LeMoyne-Owen College.

The chairman of the St. Louis Fed’s Memphis branch board of directors is Charles Blatteis, managing member of Blatteis Law Firm PLLC in Memphis. Also serving on the board are Roy Molitor Ford Jr., vice chairman and CEO of Commercial Bank and Trust Co. in Memphis; Mark Fowler, vice chairman of Liberty Bank of Arkansas in Jonesboro, Ark.; Lawrence Long, partner at St. Rest Planting Co. in Indianola, Miss.; and Clyde Warren Nunn, chairman and president of Security Bancorp of Tennessee Inc. in Halls, Tenn.

Indie Memphis Festival Announces 2013 Dates

The Indie Memphis Film Festival has set its dates for this year’s festival.

The event will run from Oct. 31 through Nov. 3. It will be presented again by Duncan-Williams Inc. and will award a total of $6,000 in cash – up from $2,000 in 2012.

Duncan-Williams has been the festival’s presenting sponsor since 2011.

Marking its 16th anniversary, Indie Memphis will show films this year at three venues in Midtown’s Overton Square area, including Playhouse on the Square, The Circuit Playhouse, and on three screens at Malco Theatres’ Studio on the Square. Related events will be held at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

Local Projects Up for Statewide Engineering Award

Six Memphis-area projects are among those being considered in the 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards competition, presented by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee.

“Ridgeway Trace Retail Center” was completed by Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. for Weingarten Realty Investors. Surrounding the highly congested area near Ridgeway Trace, and traffic was improved by coordinating five traffic signals, adding lanes and widening roadways surrounding the development.

“Seismic Retrofit of Winchester Structures” was completed by A2H for Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. Four bridges crossing Winchester Road at the Memphis International Airport were retrofitted to ensure reliable operations in the event of a seismic catastrophe. The bridges provide access to four runways utilized by commercial and private airlines, the Tennessee Air National Guard and FedEx.

“Wolf River Greenway” was finished by ETI Corp. for the City of Memphis. The project involved 3.5 miles of pedestrian and bicycle trails, four bridges, parking facilities, and several plazas and points from which to view the Wolf River.

“Successful Low-Concentration TCE Remedy in Groundwater” was completed in Millington by EnSafe Inc. for U.S. Navy. The Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington faced the challenge of TCE (industrial cleanser) in the groundwater. This project identified TCE hot spots and developed a cost-effective remedy providing a long-term solution and minimizing interruption to site development.

The winners will be announced on the evening of Tuesday, March 5.

Imagine Vegan Café Landlord Ends Lease

Imagine Vegan Café in Cooper-Young said the restaurant is moving and is soliciting ideas for vacant buildings.

“Our landlord decided to not renew our lease so we are now intensely looking for a new spot,” read a Friday, Feb. 15, Facebook post. “We ask that everyone please bear with us as things might be a little scattered over the next month or so. Our last day here in this spot is March 31st. We would like to stay in the Midtown area or maybe move over to Crosstown. Overton Square and out East are just out of our budget. If you have any specific ideas as to vacant buildings, please let us know.”

Chef Kristie Jeffrey and her husband, Adam, opened the family-friendly, 100-percent vegan cafe in April 2011 in the old Casablanca space in Cooper-Young at 2156 Young Ave. Imagine was one of the four restaurant pit stops at the recent launch for Dishcrawl Memphis along with Alchemy, Tsunami and Cortona, which is now under new management.

Several Facebook users suggested Imagine look at the old Wizard’s headshop on Madison Avenue to the west of Kwik Check; the old Fork it Over catering space at Bruce and Young; and Crosstown.

Imagine also commented in a response to a customer, “It’s all about money. Unfortunately, money ‘rules’ the world. He said something about somebody from The Peabody wanting to do something with the space.”

Magna Bank Announces Four Employee Promotions

Magna Bank has promoted four employees.

Chief lending officer Ted Simpson has been promoted from executive vice president to senior executive vice president. As senior executive vice president and chief lending officer, Simpson oversees retail banking, private banking, commercial lending, SBA lending, commercial real estate and construction lending.

In addition to Simpson’s promotion, Magna also extended promotions in private banking, human resources and retail banking.

First vice president Rebecca Floyd has been promoted to department manager for the private banking group. She has worked in banking for more than 12 years and has spent more than half of that time at Magna Bank helping build the private banking group.

Tiffany Riggins has been promoted to vice president of human resources after working at Magna Bank for six years. She served most recently as human resources manager and has 18 years of human resources experience.

Victoria Barnes has been promoted to assistant vice president and branch manager of Magna Bank’s Cordova branch. She became assistant branch manager at Magna’s Oak Court location in 2008 and has worked in banking for 13 years.

Patent Law Seminar to be Held at Rhodes

Bill Parks, an attorney with Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP and the founder and chairman of the Memphis Bar Association’s intellectual property and entertainment law section, will present a seminar to the Memphis business community Feb. 19 explaining the nation’s new patent law requirements that go into effect on March 16.

The seminar will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the McCallum Ballroom in the Bryan Life Center at Rhodes College, 2000 North Parkway. The seminar is free and open to the public.

Parks will address changes related to the America Invents Act, which Congress passed more than a year ago. It will create a new first-to-file standard for patent protection, which changes the current and historical first-to-invent standard that grants the patent right to the first person to conceive of an invention.

Under the new law, a patent will belong to the first person to file a patent application for a valid invention.

Philanthropic Black Women Taking Grant Applications

Philanthropic Black Women of Memphis is accepting applications for grants that will be awarded in April.

The organization, which supports projects geared toward economic self-sufficiency, is accepting applications for programs focusing on, but not limited to, career development, education, entrepreneurship, scholarship and health.

PBWM was founded in January 2005. The nine-woman group has previously granted funds to the Booker T. Washington High School girls basketball team, New Ballet Ensemble, College Bound of Memphis, Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Memphis Cultural Arts Enrichment Center, Amateur Athletic Union and Watoto De Afrika.

The deadline for submissions is March 31. Guidelines and application forms can be downloaded at pbwmemphis.org.

Mays Schedules Monday Schools Case Conference

Memphis Federal Court Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays has called a Monday, Feb. 25, status conference in the Shelby County schools merger case. All sides in the 2-year-old lawsuit are scheduled to appear before Mays at 9:30 a.m.

The conference comes after all sides involved in trying to work out a settlement of the municipal schools district part of the lawsuit ended their private discussions last month. Mays was not involved in the mediation effort as he had been in the first part of the case, which dealt with the terms of the merger of Shelby County’s two public school systems.

Mays tried unsuccessfully to mediate a settlement among all sides just before he ruled in November that one of three state laws governing how municipal school districts are formed violated the Tennessee Constitution. At issue now are two other state laws on municipal school districts.

Shelby County Commission chairman Mike Ritz indicated last month that he would instruct the commission’s legal counsel in the case to ask Mays to rule on the remaining state laws.

Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald said suburban leaders weren’t sure exactly how they would word their notice to the court that the mediation efforts had failed. They could simply tell Mays the talks are over without specifically asking him to rule.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 5,073
MORTGAGES 0 0 6,709
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 1,556
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 11,979
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 5,300
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 2,061
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 7,058
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 1,458

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