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VOL. TMN-8 | NO. 11 | Saturday, March 7, 2015
Weekly Issue

Restless Winter

The Fairgrounds awaits its next chapter

For most of its 103-year life as city property, the Mid-South Fairgrounds has been a place where Memphians remember why they came there in the past, as local leaders have periodically pushed to remake its landscape and in turn create more memories going forward.

Editorial: Fairgrounds Should Be for All

The discussion about the future of the Mid-South Fairgrounds has become about more than what happens on 170 acres of land the city has owned since 1912.

EMPHASIS Construction

Building Boom

General contractors say brighter days ahead

With the greater Memphis area slower to recover from the recession and economic downturn than other parts of the country, frustrated local general contractors watched in 2012 and 2013 as firms across the country participated in what appeared to be a robust national economic rebound.

Wave of New Retail Construction Boosts Contractors

Retail development in the Memphis area is booming in what construction and retail officials describe as the most active period for retail construction since the recession, with everything from a massive outlet mall in Southaven to grocery stores and smaller, traditional retail centers going up.

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After Chisca, Carlisles Simplify One Beale Design

When the family-owned Carlisle Corp. joined the redevelopment of the historic but blighted Chisca Hotel Downtown, the project design only called for eight types of units.


March 6-12: This week in Memphis history

2014: The Germantown Municipal Schools board voted 3-0 to rescind its tuition requirement for open enrollment of students living outside Germantown. The decision affected high school-aged students in Collierville who had attended Houston High School in Germantown under the old Shelby County Schools system that had included all of Shelby County outside Memphis.

Caesars Seeks to Demolish Part of Former Harrah's in Tunica

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A division of Caesars Entertainment Corp. is asking a federal bankruptcy judge for permission to "dismantle and liquidate" part of its shuttered Harrah's casino complex in Mississippi's Tunica County.

Tennessee Unemployment Rate Rises to 6.7 Percent

Tennessee’s unemployment rate inched in the wrong direction in January while remaining above the national average.

Desperate Families Plead for Cannabis Oil

Josie Mae Mathes had her first birthday recently, but because she suffers from childhood epilepsy and infantile spasms, she’s so medicated she can barely move.

Capping a Career

‘Flu Hunter’ Dr. Robert Webster reflects on his work at St. Jude

A Smithsonian Magazine article once referred to him as “The Flu Hunter,” which is as good a description as any to get a sense of the kind of work Dr. Robert Webster has spent more than four decades pursuing at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

MRG Enjoys Flurry of Leasing Activity

Memphis-based Makowsky Ringel Greenberg LLC is reporting leasing activity at its retail, office and industrial properties.

Elvis' Planes Could Take Flight in New Museum

Two jets once belonging to Elvis Presley that have been displayed at Graceland for years could be destined for a museum, if the group that owns the planes has its way.

Southbrook Project Resurfaces Again

The owners of Southbrook Mall got $1.5 million in improvements from City Hall this week. But it wasn’t the $1.5 million the owners of the Whitehaven mall wanted in 2012, when the city contemplated giving them that sum to fix the roof and make repairs to the mall’s heating and air conditioning system.

Financial Debate Looms at City Hall

With Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. to present his budget proposal to the City Council in May, some on the council started to set the table this week for an election year challenge of Wharton’s methods for righting the city’s financial condition.

Standing Tall

Shaq’s mom, yes, but Lucille O’Neal has her own story to tell

Lucille O’Neal is 6-foot-2 and the mother of former NBA All-Star Shaquille O’Neal. But that’s not why she stands tall.

GTx Reports Full-Year, Fourth-Quarter Loss

Memphis-based biopharmaceutical company GTx Inc. has reported a net loss of $14.5 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31 and an annual net loss of $39.4 million for 2014.

Wharton Still Mum on Extent of Shake-Up

The move of Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority Board chairman and former Memphis City Council member Jack Sammons back to City Hall is not a done deal just yet.

ABB Creating 200 Jobs in Memphis

ABB, which bought Memphis-based electrical components maker Thomas & Betts in 2012 for $3.9 billion, is expanding its Memphis-area footprint.

Rhodes Results

Capital campaign will fund scholarships, endowments and more

Capital campaigns are usually about buildings. And the just-completed capital campaign at Rhodes College includes a new science building that will break ground in the summer and complete the quadrangle of the private liberal arts college’s scenic campus.

Jones Clinic Founder Talks Cancer Treatments

Dr. C. Michael Jones is expecting some big advances this year in the fight against cancer.

Goldman Sachs ‘Confident’ in Memphis

In April, Rachel Diller, managing director of the urban investment group at Goldman Sachs, received a phone call in her New York office from officials at Phoenix-based Dudley Ventures.

Memphis Industrial Portfolio Sells for $86.3 Million

A Minnesota-based real estate investment trust has acquired a large Memphis industrial portfolio for $86.3 million, one of the largest transactions ever recorded in the Memphis market.

AutoZone Grows Second-Quarter Profit

AutoZone Inc. ended its fiscal second quarter with a profit of $211.7 million, up 9.8 percent over the same period in 2014, the Memphis-based car parts retailer announced Tuesday morning.

Farm & Gin

Show highlights technology, marketing shifts for agriculture industry

Jacob Waters isn’t old enough to drive a car yet. But, by his own account, he has driven a tractor a few times.

Wharton Eyes City Hall Shake-Up

Facing specific criticism from political challengers that his administration is disorganized and hasn’t focused on priorities much past initial press conferences, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. acted this week to shake up his office starting at the top.

Boyle Unveils New Office Building Design

Boyle Investment Co. is offering the first glimpse of the new office building the company is planning near Poplar Avenue and Shady Grove Road.

Path to Crosstown Difficult, Unexpected

When Staley Cates bought the Sears Crosstown building in 2007 and the development team behind what is now Crosstown Concourse was taking shape to redevelop the property, another developer dropped by Cates’ office.

Co-Branded Hilton to Rise in Germantown

The first major mixed-use development in Germantown’s western gateway zone is moving forward and will include the first co-branded hotel in the Memphis area.

City Council to Get Update Halfway Into Fiscal Year

Memphis City Council members return to the matter of city finances Tuesday, March 3, with a financial review in a 9:30 a.m. committee session that marks the halfway point in the city’s fiscal year.

Loaded For Bear Wins Best of Show at American Advertising Awards

Creative directors from Boston, Las Vegas and New York were charged with judging 675 entries in the AAF Memphis 48th annual American Advertising Awards for creative excellence. The judges were so impressed by the quality of work that they created four additional “Best Of” awards, which recognize the top work of the year.

Morris Explains Why He’s Leaving Downtown Memphis Commission

Paul Morris will leave his post as president of the Downtown Memphis Commission late this year to become president of his family’s business, Jack Morris Auto Glass.

Women Say Barriers Overcome With Perseverance, Mentors

Kim Grant Brown calls it the “crazy look” she sometimes gets when she meets a client who wants her to build him a home.

Haslam Says Common Core a Standard, Not Ideology

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said the Tennessee legislature’s discussion and coming vote about the state’s public education standards is “critically important.”

New Pancake-Focused Restaurant Coming to East Memphis

It’s a tradition in Tressa Ogles’ house for the family to sit down together on Saturday mornings and enjoy a pancake breakfast.

County Home Sales Dip in January

Fewer homes were sold in Shelby County in January when compared to last year, but pricing remained strong.


Having It Both Ways: Pastner Says Tigers Don’t Get Any Breaks

Sometimes a single word says a lot. For this University of Memphis basketball season, that word might be “despite.”

Tigers Take the Field for Spring Practice

Coming off a 10-win season, an American Athletic Conference title and a victory in the Miami Beach Bowl, the University of Memphis football team got back to work at spring practice this week. Coach Justin Fuente was rewarded with a long-term contract extension and Paxton Lynch returns at quarterback.

Grizzlies’ Worries Shouldn’t Include Tony’s Temper

What, you expected this Grizzlies season to be all wine and roses? Or in the Memphis vernacular, all microbrew and barbecue?

Lady Vols Softball Squad Itching to Halt Rare 3-Game Losing Skid

Snow and ice covered the field at Tennessee’s Lee Softball Stadium, gripping it in the silence of winter.


LEO Events’ Gigas Named Rising Star

Airika Wallace Gigas, director of sales for Memphis-based LEO Events, has been honored with the Association of Destination Management Executives International’s Rising Star Award, given annually to one outstanding meeting and event-planning professional. Gigas, a destination management certified professional, oversees sales and operations for LEO’s local clients and clients inbound in to Memphis. She manages a team of two and a part time team of 25 people.


Brewery Developers Buy Site for New Apartment Building

11 Butler Ave., Memphis, TN 38103, Sale Amount: $1.25 million -
The team behind the development of the historic Tennessee Brewery has acquired a key piece of property adjacent to the long-vacant structure as plans for the new Tennessee Brewery: The Revival series of events there move forward.


Memphis Equipment's Roots Go Back to World War II

To most Memphians driving past the Memphis Equipment Co. front lot on South Third Street near E.H. Crump Boulevard, the company appears to be a small lot of vintage U.S. Army vehicles.


Join In The Waffle Shop Ritual

MEMPHIS RITUAL. The Memphis of Memphis is best shared around tables, best accompanied by good food, and best expressed in good stories.

The Value of Honesty

I’m not going to lie; recently, I’ve been on the receiving end of dishonesty in a business setting. The person could have easily told the truth or apologized, and it would have been no big deal. But, they didn’t. In order to save face, they stepped right up and said something that was clearly and definitely not the truth.

Eliminating Hall Income Tax Raises New Problems

Republican lawmakers are lining up legislation to reduce or phase out Tennessee’s Hall income tax on investments, even though Gov. Bill Haslam is concerned about losing revenue amid the state’s economic ups and downs.

The Ransom Note on Tennessee Public Records

The fastest way to shut down access to government records is to charge fees people can’t afford to pay.

Good Health, Wealth Go Hand in Hand

Ray’s Take: One of the biggest and most challenging issues in retirement is how to plan and pay for health care expenses. Medical bills can mushroom in later life and empty nest eggs. Reimbursements are being reduced regularly. The healthier we are, and remain, the lower our health costs will be. Especially in a world where health costs are rising more each year.

Lone Reader Heard From

I am blessed to have as a regular reader one Kathy Young. Kathy keeps the books at Palmer Brothers, a commercial real estate firm in Memphis that turns 103 years old this year. Evidently, she gets a break for a few minutes each week, picks up The Memphis News, and finds herself reading “I Swear.” And it seems that a recent bit of my prose struck a chord with her:

Digital Marketing for All Generations

A few years ago when speaking to the Vancouver Board of Trade, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz talked about the need for companies to use social media to build a “reservoir of trust” rather than just to sell more products.

Women and Philanthropy

“Women rock!” “Women rule!” “If you want something done, ask a woman.” “Women hold up half the sky.” It’s women’s history month and time to highlight women’s roles as philanthropists and fundraisers.

How to Delve Further Into User Insights

Think of it as the front end of the front end, this fusion of methods for solving problems for real people and creating a better experience for them.

The Big, Red Heart of Memphis

Whether intentional or the result of a collection of individual decisions, a skyline defines the unique characteristics of a city and the people who live there.

Nashville Edition

Space Race

Office shortage has Middle Tennessee builders, renters scrambling

Businesses looking for office space in Nashville are learning a painful lesson that homebuyers already know – prices are high, and if you take time to shop around for a better deal, someone else is likely to snap up the property, leaving you out in the cold.

Eakin: Rising Rents Hitting All of Middle Tennessee

Selling business people on the idea of relocating to Nashville is easy for commercial real estate broker Barry R. Smith because he, too, bought into the city’s charm when he first came to town in 1981.

Ryan: Be Flexible On Location For More Office Space Options

After 22 years heading up the Metro Housing and Development Authority for Nashville, Phil Ryan certainly knows the Middle Tennessee housing market.

Drive! Consortium Pushes Regional Auto Industry

Tennessee’s bustling automotive-industry sector is going to get a whole lot busier in the coming months, at least if a large group of businesses, agencies and related parties behind the Drive! for the Future Consortium (Drive!) have anything to say about it.

Affordable Housing Gets Foot in the Door in Mayoral Election

In recent weeks, the mayor’s race has taken a new focus: Affordable housing.

Knoxville Edition

The Wine That Saved a Knoxville Landmark

Blue Slip Winery turns Southern Railway Station into a prime spot for weddings, events

Linn Slocum started making wine from kits because she enjoyed it, later surprising herself by parlaying her hobby into a winery business that has enlivened downtown Knoxville, led to the renovation of a historic site and showcased East Tennessee’s farm-to-table food movement.

‘Magnificent’ Vineyard in Perrin’s Blood

The grapevines are still brown and bare as they wait for spring, but the work at Richland Vineyards doesn’t stop for winter.

Roy’s Events Take Wine, Travel, Even Chocolate to New Audience

Entrepreneur Maja Djorcev Roy knows the value of connecting people, sharing stories and developing an appreciation for artisan quality goods

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Blog News, Training & Events
PROPERTY SALES 98 238 15,862
MORTGAGES 122 284 18,332
BUILDING PERMITS 137 452 32,966
BANKRUPTCIES 62 178 10,191

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The Memphis News: Business, politics, and the public interest.