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VOL. 6 | NO. 12 | Saturday, March 16, 2013

Daily Digest

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Grubb & Ellis Affiliates With New York Advisory Firm

Grubb & Ellis-Memphis – a full-service commercial real estate firm serving western Tennessee, northern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas – has formed an affiliation with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a New York City-based commercial real estate advisory firm.

Effective immediately, the regional firm will operate as Newmark Grubb Memphis.

Newmark Grubb Memphis’ local professionals and clients will have access to NGKF’s global resources and relationships, capital markets capabilities through NGKF’s parent company BGC Partners Inc., and BGC’s relationships with Cantor Fitzgerald and Cantor Commercial Real Estate.

Joe Steffner, Grubb & Ellis-Memphis’ founder and president, said in a statement the affiliation with NGKF offers the firm international reach and size with “an egalitarian mentality that’s nimble and effective.”

Newmark Grubb Memphis has completed more than $500 million in deals since its inception in 2004, and has grown from a single-broker shop to a team with more than 150 years of combined commercial real estate experience. The firm provides tenant advisory, ownership representation, investment sales, corporate advisory, property and facilities management, market research and lease administration services.

Newmark Grubb Memphis’ highlights from 2012 include representing Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. in leasing a 600,000-square-foot, build-to-suit warehouse in Olive Branch; representing Baptist Memorial Healthcare in acquiring a 12-acre site to develop a regional cancer center in Memphis; representing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in leasing a 33,000-square-foot office space at Lakecrest III; negotiating the sale of 49 acres to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis for development of a new medical center near Kirby Parkway and Quince Road; and representing Nissan Corp. in the sale of a 400,000-square-foot warehouse in Olive Branch.

TJX Applies for Five-Year Tax Freeze

As reported last week by The Daily News, TJX Cos. Inc. – after inking the largest industrial lease in the area so far in 2013 – is opening a new distribution center in Memphis that will create 40 jobs, and the company is seeking a five-year tax freeze for the project.

The retail and home furnishings company is investing almost $7 million here, and it owns and/or operates under brand names such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods. It signed a lease for 414,076 square feet at Chickasaw Distribution Center Building D, 6100 E. Holmes Road, suite 101.

The company will add the new jobs in the first two years, but hopes to increase its local employment to 117 full-time positions in year three.

Competing Voucher Bills Gearing Up in Legislature

The Republican sponsor of a measure competing with Gov. Bill Haslam’s to create a school voucher program in Tennessee says she’s convinced the initiative should be broader than what the governor is proposing.

His measure would limit the program to 5,000 students in failing schools in the academic year that begins in August, and grow to 20,000 by 2016.

The proposal Sen. Dolores Gresham plans to present in the Senate Education Committee as early as next week would increase the income limit for eligibility to about $75,000 for a family of four, which is quite an increase from the $42,643 envisioned by Haslam’s proposal. The bill also has no limitation on growth.

When reporters asked Gresham about her proposal Wednesday evening, she said she had talked to the Republican governor about the competing proposals, but didn’t elaborate on what was discussed.

Critics have said they’re uncomfortable with the idea of voucher programs taking needed money from public schools and giving them to private schools to educate children.

Last year, Haslam persuaded the legislature to defer taking up voucher proposals while a task force he appointed studied the various options about which families should be eligible to use public money.

Before announcing that he would sponsor a bill on vouchers in January, Haslam had been undecided about whether he would take the lead on the issue or if he would let lawmakers control the measure.

Bass Pro Shops Mulling Pyramid Sign Changes

Bass Pro Shops executives are “actively considering” some changes to their proposed signage at The Pyramid, according to the Downtown Memphis Commission.

Commission Development Projects Manager Brett Roler said Wednesday, March 13, that Bass Pro Shops executives haven’t committed to changing the signage but are considering “various options at this point.”

“Bass Pro listened very carefully to the input provided by the DRB and public, and they are actively considering potential modifications to their signage application that would advance their business interests while also being sensitive to the community’s concerns,” Roler said in a written statement.

Because of those considerations, the March 18 special meeting of the Design Review Board has been postponed. The meeting will be rescheduled once Bass Pro decides what it wants to do with its pending application before the board.

Artspace Granted 15-Year Tax Break

National nonprofit Artspace Projects Inc. was granted a 15-year tax freeze Tuesday, March 12, for its live/work space for local artists behind The Arcade Restaurant called South Main ArtSpace Lofts.

The Downtown Memphis Commission’s Center City Revenue Finance Corp. approved Minneapolis-based Artspace’s $13.2 million payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) lease in connection with the old United Warehouse building at 138 St. Paul Ave. Currently, the property is vacant, and is in a dilapidated and blighted condition.

Artspace was brought to Memphis thanks to the Hyde Foundation, the city and a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. The $12.9 million project entails renovating the 65,044-square-foot United Warehouse building and constructing a new 26,549-square-foot building next to it.

A total of 44 units of affordable live/work space will be available for artists and their families as well as seven non-residential working studios. There’s also 15,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor gallery, exhibition and support service space for arts education programs.

South Main Artspace Lofts will offer studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units to the artist community earning less than 50 and 60 percent of the area average median income. The primary source of capital for the proposed development will be low-income housing tax credits. Artspace also plans to pursue historic tax credits.

Construction is scheduled to begin in October and be completed, fully leased and occupied by April 2015.

First Tennessee Bank Grows Outside Tennessee

First Tennessee Bank, a subsidiary of Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp., is moving its Raleigh, N.C., office to a larger and more prominent location.

It’s a move related to the bank expanding its presence and enhancing its services in the North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia markets. On an organizational level, the bank recently created the Mid-Atlantic Region to join its existing regions of West, Middle and East Tennessee.

John Fox, executive vice president, leads the new regional division.

The new Raleigh office, led by senior vice president Ken Reece, will support expanded services and new relationships in its business lines of private client, wealth management, corporate and commercial lending and commercial real estate. First Tennessee will add jobs to manage increased business, especially private client and commercial bankers.

First Tennessee Bank expects to move into its new Raleigh office space in mid-April.

The building will bear “First Tennessee Bank” signage and offers room for up to 10 additional employees, including a teller position.

MAAR Reports February Home Sales

Memphis-area home sales for February were flat from a year ago, with 934 total sales recorded in the Memphis Area Association of Realtors MAARdata property records database. Total sales year to date were up 22 percent. Average sales price year over year rose 14.7 percent at $117,016.

Inventory was flat, with 6,147 units listed for sale. Sales volume year to date increased 36.8 percent to $267 million.

The database includes records of all property transactions in Shelby, Fayette and Tipton counties.

HealthSouth Memphis Honored by Industry Group

HealthSouth Memphis has been recognized by the nonprofit group Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation for its delivery of patient-centered care.

This is the second consecutive year the 80-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital has received the honor. The hospital ranked in the top 10 percent of rehabilitation hospitals for both 2011 and 2012.

Uniform Data System, a nonprofit affiliated with the University of Buffalo, tracks a patient’s progress through the rehabilitation process to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of rehabilitation hospitals across the country.

At HealthSouth Memphis, the average length of a patient’s stay was 12.9 days and about 80 percent of patients were able to go home after they were discharged, for the 12-month period ended Dec. 31.

HealthSouth Memphis is owned by Birmingham, Ala.-based HealthSouth Corp.

Central Defense Security Supports Northaven Association

Business, retail and warehouse security provider Central Defense Security is continuing its partnership with the Northaven Community Association to collect Box Tops for Education coupons throughout 2013.

Jerrica Love, executive administrative assistant at Central Defense Security, is spearheading the firm’s collection effort, which will benefit Northaven Elementary School in North Shelby County.

In late 2012, the company partnered with Northaven Community Association in its effort to support the elementary school. Together, the two organizations were able to collect nearly 100 Box Tops coupons, which were used by the elementary school to purchase instructional games for students.

The security firm will be accepting Box Tops at its Memphis office, 6084 Apple Tree Drive, and will distribute the coupons to the Northaven community for use by the elementary school to support its educational programming.

Assisi Foundation Provides Grant to Meritan Inc.

The Assisi Foundation has given a $201,000 grant to Meritan Inc. to build the first medical residential home solely owned and operated by Meritan.

Meritan is a nonprofit health and social service agency. The home, to be named the Deborah Cotney Cottage in honor of Meritan’s former executive director, will be designed to house three people with developmental and intellectual disabilities who also require intensive medical assistance. Residents will receive 24-hour skilled nursing support.

The Deborah Cotney Cottage will be built by United Housing Inc. and will be in United Housing’s Wolf River Bluffs development in North Memphis. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring.

US CEOs Optimistic about Economy

Chief executives at the largest U.S. companies are much more optimistic about their sales prospects than they were three months ago, though many remain cautious about hiring.

The Business Roundtable said Wednesday that 72 percent of its members expect sales will increase in the next six months. That’s up from 58 percent at the end of last year.

And 38 percent plan to invest more in plant and equipment, up from 30 percent in October-December quarter, when the Roundtable released its last report.

Still, the better outlook hasn’t made the group more optimistic about hiring. Twenty-nine percent of CEOs plan to increase hiring over the next six months, the same percentage as the last two surveys.

The executives are more comfortable with their current staffing levels and are less inclined to lay off workers. The percentage of CEOs planning to cut jobs fell to 25 percent from 29 percent, the second straight drop.

Even so, employers added 236,000 jobs in February, the government said. That capped a four-month hiring spree in which job gains averaged more than 200,000 per month.

And it drove down the unemployment rate to a four-year low of 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in January.

The Roundtable surveys CEOs about sales, capital spending and hiring. The results are combined into an index, which gauges their outlook for the economy. That index jumped to 81 from 65.6 in December, the first increase in a year and higher the index’s long-run average of 79.2.

The Business Roundtable represents CEOs of the 200 largest U.S. corporations. The survey results are based on 144 responses received between Feb. 11 and March 1.

Senate Panel Delays Vote on Supermarket Wine Bill

A proposal to allow local referendums on whether grocery stores should be able to sell wine has been delayed in its final Senate committee to consider several changes desired by groups newly interested in negotiating over the measure.

A special subcommittee was appointed on Tuesday to work out a final version of the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro. A full Senate Finance Committee vote was rescheduled for next week.

Among the issues supporters want to hammer out is whether the bill should also allow liquor stores to sell beer, which hours wine would be available for sale and the exact start date of supermarket wine sales after it is approved by voters.

The bill has been opposed by liquor wholesalers and package store owners.

Shelby County Democrats Start Convention Process

The Shelby County Democratic Party begins the process of holding the group’s local biennial convention Saturday, March 16, with caucuses to select delegates to the April 6 convention.

Both gatherings are at Airways Middle School, 2601 Ketchum Road.

The delegates to the April 6 convention will be selecting a new chairman. Local party chairman Van Turner is not seeking another term.

The contenders for the chairmanship are Jennings Bernard, Bryan Carson and Terry Spicer.

Meanwhile, Republican delegates meet Sunday, March 24, for their convention at Bartlett Station Municipal Center. Local GOP chairman Justin Joy is seeking another term as party chairman.

Delegates are chosen by state House districts. The party leaders are elected in both local parties for terms of one year. And they usually seek a second one-year term in the off-convention years by a vote of the party’s executive or steering committee.

The conventions will also select members of those committees.

Burch Porter Law Firm Honored for Pro Bono Work

The Memphis law firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC has been recognized for its commitment to providing free legal services.

The firm was given the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Law Firm Award at the recent 7th Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala in Nashville. Burch Porter won the award for a partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that involves helping low-income families manage treatment of their children at the hospital.

For the past year, the law firm has helped patients and their families cope with what to do when certain children are too neurologically impaired to consent to their own treatment.

The firm has responded to that challenge by helping low-income families establish conservatorships for the benefit of the patient, which allow parents and other family members to direct treatment for the patient.

Terminix Expands Commercial Sales Team

Terminix, the Memphis-based pest control provider, has added three national account managers to its commercial sales team.

The new roles will allow the company to grow new business and better service existing commercial accounts, and all three will report to vice president of commercial sales Michele Vance, who joined the company last fall through its acquisition of Schendel Pest Services.

Jennifer Callahan most recently was a regional account manager for the Terminix Commercial market in Denver. She oversees several major accounts, including Archstone Properties, and she’ll oversee commercial sales for Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Utah.

George Armstrong has more than 20 years of experience in the pest control industry. He’ll be responsible for commercial sales in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Ed Guenther joins Terminix from Viking Pest and Termite in New Jersey. In his previous role, he earned repeated top awards as national account representative and is Six Sigma certified. Guenther will oversee commercial sales for New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the New England area.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 43 12,074
MORTGAGES 0 78 15,834
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 39 39 3,168
BUILDING PERMITS 292 292 29,124
BANKRUPTCIES 3 100 11,771
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 18 4,292
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 190 17,922
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 43 3,711

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