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VOL. 114 | NO. 243 | Tuesday, December 19, 2000

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IDB has a lot on plate for next meeting IDB has full plate for next meeting By SUE PEASE The Daily News The Memphis and Shelby County Industrial Development Board will consider a full slate of tax abatement requests during its meeting this week. The agenda for the 2 p.m. Wednesday meeting has 12 items listed, of which 11 are payment-in-lieu-of-tax applications. Reviewing a large number of requests is normal for the end of the year, said Doug Bene, senior planner with the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Economic Development. "But, even this is high for December," Bene said. Companies want to apply before the property appraisal in January, he noted. "To get any kind of benefit on real property, you need to close and have the building frozen before its assessed on Jan. 2. If they dont, its going to have a value associated with it and their benefit would be greatly reduced," he added. The company with the highest capital investment, a total of $66 million, is Memphis-based International Paper Co. The company is seeking two PILOTs, both 15-year tax assessment freezes for expansion projects in Memphis. IP plans to invest $46 million to build a new building, called Tower III, at its East Memphis campus at 6420 Poplar Ave. In addition to the Poplar Avenue expansion, IP is seeking a PILOT for development projects at 4000 and 4101 Willow Lake Blvd. The company plans to invest $20 million into the Willow Lake project that will create 600 new full-time jobs over three years. The median wage for workers would be $35,000, which is 121 percent of the current average income in Shelby County of $28,984. At the Tower III project, the investment will create 350 new jobs over three years at a median wage of $85,000 for workers. Chicos FAS Inc., a specialty retailer of designer casual clothing, is seeking either a six-year PILOT, if they relocate to Shelby County or a seven-year PILOT if they move to Memphis. The company is planning to invest $20.3 million into a 250,000-square-foot building that will house its worldwide distribution and e-commerce center. The operation would add 300 new full-time jobs over three years at a median wage of $23,250. The retailer is based in Fort Myers, Fla. and has more than 230 retail stores nationwide. Belkin Components, maker of computer peripherals, is headquartered in California and planning on expanding in the central region with Memphis as a possible location. Belkin is proposing an investment of $39.7 million in a 650,000-square-foot distribution center at 5166 Pleasant Hill Road in Shelby County. "It would be our intent to get space that was expandable to more square footage to be able to accommodate future growth as well," said Chet Pipkin, Belkins chief executive officer. This facility would be the companys third distribution center in the United States. When considering a new location, the company focuses on human resources. "Our number one asset, bar none, is people. We are very firm believers that if you surround yourself with great people, great things are sure to follow. So, we are looking for a place that has got great folks," Pipkin said. Pipkin hopes the company will make a decision in the next few weeks and start some level of operations in about three months and be fully up and running within a year. The company is seeking a seven-year tax assessment freeze for the project that would create 400 new full-time jobs over three years at a median wage of $22,370. Baldwins Industrial Services has plans to purchase about two acres of land at 1145 Kansas St. to establish a crane service operation that will utilize a fleet of 40 cranes by the end of 2003. The $20.8 million project would create152 new jobs over three years at a median wage of $34,744. Chicago-based Anixter distributes communications products and plans to start an international quick-response facility at their current location at 4550 Mendenhall Road. The operation will be in partnership with FedEx and will provide expedited order fulfillment. The company will occupy 280,000 square feet of warehouse space. The company plans to invest $10 million in the project that is expected to generate 106 new jobs over three years. The median wage for workers would be $20,800. The company is seeking a six-year tax assessment freeze. Varsity Spirit, a supplier of cheerleader and dance team uniforms, is planning on consolidating and relocating its national headquarters into a new office building either at 6730 Lenox Center Court or 1665 Whitten Road. Currently, the companys administrative base is located in New York City and Shelby County. The company plans to invest $5 million into a facility that would house the executive officers, as well as financial, administrative and customer service staff. The company is seeking a three-year tax abatement and the project will add 27 new jobs to its current 137. The median wage for workers would be $23,200. Toshiba American Business Solutions, a supplier of office products solutions, is currently located at 4750 Pleasant Hill Road and is planning to expand its distribution operation by moving into a 200,000-square-foot warehouse located at 5400 Distriplex Farms Drive. The $5.8 million investment will create 10 new jobs over three years at a median wage of $25,000. The company is seeking a three-year tax assessment freeze. Media Consultants-Systems Integrators, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, is planning a $6 million project in Memphis that will support its audio-visual presentation and broadcast facilities. The firm plans to occupy a 192,000-square-foot building on Hickory Hill Road and operations will include personal computer integration and configuration, assembly and the distribution of audio-visual products. The company plans to create 108 jobs, the majority of which will be classified as lab technicians requiring high-tech computer skills and light manufacturing abilities. The company is seeking a six-year tax assessment freeze. Communication Test Design Inc. is seeking a five-year tax assessment freeze for a $4.1 million development of a distribution warehouse facility proposed for 5280 Meltech Drive in Shelby County. The 100,000 square foot warehouse would establish distribution of wireless handsets and accessories for Verizon Wireless. CTDI customers include the regional Bell operating companies and several independent phone companies. The project would create 150 new jobs over three years. The median wage for workers would be $33,758.
PROPERTY SALES 56 289 2,908
MORTGAGES 55 226 2,009
BUILDING PERMITS 108 1,002 6,703
BANKRUPTCIES 42 248 1,225