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VOL. 127 | NO. 47 | Thursday, March 8, 2012

Daily Digest

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St. Jude Files Permit App. for Seven-Story Tower

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is in construction mode. A $5 million building permit application has been filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to begin work on a seven-story tower at 315 Danny Thomas Place, next to the Chili’s Care Center.

Flintco LLC is listed as the general contractor.

The description on the permit says it is part of a fast-track project for a seven-story addition to an existing building and covers “the building’s concrete mat foundation and under-mat drainage system.”

St. Jude in May applied with the state Health Services and Development Agency for a Certificate of Need for a $190 million medical tower to serve as a new patient care and research building with space for a number of new programs, surgery suites and an expanded intensive care unit.

Construction on the tower is likely to begin this spring, with site work beginning earlier, a St. Jude representative told The Daily News in May. Construction is expected to last about 4 1/2 years.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

IDB Committee Approves Wider Road for Electrolux

A $3 million grant from the Delta Regional Authority will be used to widen a road near the site where Electrolux is building its new Memphis plant, according to plans approved by a subcommittee of the city-county Industrial Development Board.

That move comes as plans for the facility are moving forward, with Electrolux having awarded more than $72 million of an $80 million construction contract associated with its new cooking products manufacturing facility being built in Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park. Also, with less than 10 percent of construction dollars yet to be awarded, Electrolux said in recent days that the company is on track to exceed commitments to the local minority- and women-owned business communities.

Of the $72 million awarded so far, 89 percent – nearly $64 million – was awarded to local companies, the vast majority to companies in Shelby County, according to Electrolux. And 33 percent of the $72 million awarded, or $24 million, has been awarded to local minority-and women-owned businesses.

Construction of the plant is on schedule, with full manufacturing operations expected in 2014.

– Andy Meek

Verso Posts Loss for Year but Net Sales Growth

Verso Paper Corp. posted a net loss of $54.3 million for 2011, compared to a net loss of $126.4 million for calendar year 2010, according to year-end and fourth-quarter 2011 statements released Wednesday, March 7.

Memphis-based Verso makes coated papers used in media and marketing like magazines, ad brochures, annual reports and direct-mail pieces.

The loss excluded special items of $82.8 million including restructuring costs that involved a shutdown of three paper machines and debt refinancing.

Verso showed a net sales increase for full-year 2011 of 7.3 percent on sales of $1.7 million compared to 2010.

The Q4 numbers showed net sales up 10.4 percent from the Q4 2010.

During the last three months of 2011, Verso permanently closed three paper machines at mills in Maine and Minnesota, which cut its annual production capacity by 193,000 tons. The company also cited a “tepid economic recovery” and a “seasonal slowdown” in Q4.

– Bill Dries

ServiceMaster to Help Vets Secure Franchise Funding

Four brands from The ServiceMaster Co. have joined the online fundraising program Boost A Hero to help military veterans purchase franchise businesses.

Boost A Hero provides a platform for veterans to utilize crowdfunding at www.sprigster.com to raise the capital necessary to purchase franchises such as the four participating ServiceMaster brands: ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec.

ServiceMaster is based in Memphis.

The ServiceMaster brands are charter members of the Boost A Hero program, which was recently initiated by Sprigster in partnership with the International Franchise Association.

The program is free to veterans, but a 5 percent fee from pledges is payable to Sprigster to cover administrative fees. Veterans, who must also have a significant financial stake in their business effort, may only raise money to purchase franchises from participating companies.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Mixed-Use Development Planned for Downtown

A roughly $3.2 million mixed-use development anchored by loft-style apartments – Printer’s Alley Lofts – in the works for Downtown at the northwest corner of Front Street and Talbot Ave.

Project principals Robert Mallory and Vince Smith Jr. are planning to revamp an existing building and parking lot at 347 S. Front St. into their mixed-use development.

The project would include 20 loft-style apartments. As part of the same project, a three-story building would be constructed in the parking lot and would include nine townhome-style units.

Several units would have attached garage parking. The building also will have about 750 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Construction is expected to start in August and end by June.

The project will go before the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. next week to request a 10-year tax freeze that would save almost $450,000 in taxes.

The principals also plan to apply for an $85,000 development loan from the Center City Development Corp.

– Andy Meek

Project Green Fork Founder Honored by Nat’l Radio Show

Project Green Fork founder Margot McNeeley has been honored by nationally syndicated radio show eTown with its E-Chievement Award.

The award is nominated by listeners and recognizes individuals who are making a positive difference in their community. McNeeley is receiving the award for her work in helping Memphis restaurants operate more sustainably.

The honor includes an interview segment on the show, which is heard weekly on more than 300 radio stations across North America.

Taped in front of a live audience in January, the show featuring McNeeley will air nationally starting Wednesday, March 7.

eTown is heard locally on WEVL FM 89.9, which will premiere the episode Saturday, March 10, at 3 p.m. and repeat it Thursday, March 15, at 10 a.m.

– Sarah Baker

Triumph Bank Adds Mobile Banking

Triumph Bank has added a downloadable mobile app for iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices, in addition to many other Java-enabled phones.

Users have full online banking capabilities including account details, bill payments and funds transfers.

The bank has made other mobile banking changes: Mobile Browser provides full account access for web-enabled phones; and text messaging that allows SMS-enabled phones to receive texts for account balance and transaction history.

– Andy Meek

18-Cent Tax Hike Advances in Council

A one-time, 18-cent city property tax hike was approved by the Memphis City Council Tuesday, March 6, on the second of three readings.

But the final vote in two weeks on the tax hike that would come in the form of a special tax bill promises to be a close vote with lots of debate.

Council member Kemp Conrad tried to take the item off the council’s consent agenda Tuesday for a separate vote. His effort was one vote short of the seven needed.

In other action, the council approved a $180 million refund bond issuance and a separate resolution to issue $75.4 million in bond anticipation notes to refund other outstanding bond notes by the city of Memphis.

The council also approved $475,000 in federal grant funds for the Beale Street Landing project and $2.1 million in sewer revenue bond funding to repair a damaged sanitation sewer pipe.

A resolution to approve an option agreement for Illinois Central Railroad – a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway Co. – to buy and develop several hundred acres in the Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park was delayed for two weeks by the council.

– Bill Dries

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