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VOL. 122 | NO. 99 | Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Daily Digest

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Lee's Landing Restaurants Near Completion

     Two blues-themed restaurants on the ground floor of Lee's Landing Garage are nearing completion, and that means more music options for Beale Street patrons. The restaurants will occupy most of the 14,300-square-foot ground-floor commercial space in the 536-space garage, which is on the north side of Lt. George W. Lee Avenue between South Second and South Third streets.
     Ground Zero Blues Club, a restaurant co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman, will occupy about 6,500 square feet of the space, said John Elkington, CEO of Performa Entertainment Real Estate Inc., the company behind the Lee's Landing project. Another 5,000 square feet will become King Biscuit Café, a joint project with New York-based King Biscuit Entertainment Group Inc.
     The third tenant, which will occupy the remaining 3,000 square feet, has not yet been announced.
     Lee's Landing Commercial LLC filed a $1.5 million loan through Seedco Financial Services Inc. Elkington said the mortgage is the permanent loan for the 14,300-square-foot space.
     "King Biscuit's probably about two weeks from being finished. The build-out is almost finished, but then they (installed equipment Tuesday), they're putting the walk-in freezers, and then they'll start their training. So I think we're probably three or four weeks from it officially opening," he said. "And then Ground Zero, they've put in all the plumbing, they've poured the slab and they're working on the walls. I think that's probably 45 days from really moving in equipment."
     Elkington said the restaurants will comprise "Blues Row," and will be an extension of Beale Street.
     "We were working for a number of years to have additional
     space on Beale Street to have more blues, more music and a little more upscale - these are a little bit more upscale than the restaurants we have on Beale Street," he said. "We're spending a lot of time and
      attention to make sure they have the right menus and so forth,
     and that they really kind of tie in and create an expansion of Beale Street."

Juvenile Court Judge Tops Commission Agenda

     Shelby County Commission members will discuss a lawsuit over the possibility of hiring a second judge for the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County.
     The commission meeting will begin at 10 a.m. in the Shelby County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St., and discussion of the lawsuit will begin at noon. Last week, Chancellor Kenny Armstrong stayed a ruling that would have given the Shelby County
     Commission permission to establish a second judgeship for Juvenile Court.
     The ruling reversed Armstrong's earlier ruling that commissioners could move forward with creating a second judgeship at the court.
     Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person argued in a lawsuit that the creation of a second judgeship by the board of commissioners was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority.
     Person's attorneys have said they plan to file an appeal and ask the Tennessee Supreme Court to hear the matter without the case first going through the state Court of Appeals.
     For more information, call 545-4301.

Pinnacle Pilots Receive Union Contingency Money

     Pinnacle Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), have received access to $2 million from the union's Major Contingency Fund (MCF) as negotiations with Pinnacle management on a new collective bargaining agreement passed the 27-month mark.
     Headquartered in Memphis, Pinnacle Airlines operates as Northwest Airlink under an air services agreement with Northwest Airlines and employs more than 1,200 pilots.
     The allocation provides Pinnacle pilots with the needed resources to fully prepare themselves and their families for a strike in the event an agreement cannot be reached at the bargaining table.
     Pinnacle pilots began contract negotiations in February 2005 and their contract became amendable in May 2005. A mediator with the National Mediation Board has been helping in the negotiations since August 2006.
     Although most sections of the contract have been tentatively agreed upon, Pinnacle pilots and management remain far apart on scope, work rules and compensation, officials have said.

Mallory Alexander Honored For Exporting Excellence

     Memphis-based Mallory Alexander International Logistics was presented the Presidential "E" Award for excellence in exporting. U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez joined President
     George W. Bush at the White House last week to present the award.
     "Exports create good high-paying jobs here in Memphis, and Mallory Alexander International Logistics is at the forefront of innovation and competitiveness," Gutierrez said in a statement. "I commend Mallory Alexander International Logistics for helping to grow new markets around the world."
     The "E" Award is the highest honor the federal government can give to an American exporting company. The award recognizes U.S. firms for their competitive achievements in world markets and their part in increasing U.S. exports abroad. This marks the 45th anniversary of the Presidential "E" Award created in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.
     "What is often overlooked in trade figures is the growth of U.S. exports, which in 2005 set another record," said Mallory Alexander president Neely Mallory III in a statement. "Mallory Alexander, from its beginning, has focused on the U.S. export market and continues to grow the company with this focus."
     The "E" Award is given to persons, firms and organizations engaged in the marketing of products that make significant contributions to the expansion of the export trade of the United States.

Tennessee Could Impose Tax on Propane Tank Sales

     Legislation being introduced by Gov. Phil Bredesen aims to change the state tax code to impose a tax on propane tanks sold at a retailer.
     Under an amendment to a larger revenue bill, the sales tax exemption that currently applies to propane would no longer apply to tanks that are sold at the store or seller's location.
     The tax would not affect people who use propane to heat their homes, but it would affect those who buy propane tanks for their grills, portable heaters or other uses.
     Under the proposed legislation, propane tanks sold at a store would be subject to sales tax, which is 9.25 percent in Shelby County. Only tanks delivered to the home of the consumer would continue to be tax-exempt.
     The change could mean an additional $3 million a year in revenue for Tennessee, which has a revenue surplus.
     A call to state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr was not returned by press time.

Protest March Planned Against Possible Cordova Topless Club

     Speculation over whether local topless club magnate Steve Cooper is building more than a restaurant in Cordova has expanded into more than mere neighborhood concern.
     After more than 400 people attended a public forum earlier this month hosted by the Cordova Leadership Council to discuss Cooper's plans and what actions can be taken, the Shelby County Commission decided to put the issue on their legislative plate. Now, the matter has grown further still.
     Opponents of Cooper's Cordova development are planning to march on City Hall June 19 to raise awareness of their battle. Brian Stephens, a candidate for the Memphis City Council's District 2 seat, said a city-wide team is being built to address the issue and to tighten the city's sexually oriented business laws.
     In addition, a planning meeting will be held related to cracking down on topless clubs and related businesses Thursday at 6 p.m. at the office of the Cooper Young Development Corp., 2298 Young Ave.

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