Hilton Memphis Sells For $45 Million

     The 405-room Hilton Memphis at 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. has sold for $45 million.
     The sale closed last week.
     Sale deeds list the buyer as RBD Memphis LLC and the seller as CHD Memphis I LLC. RBD filed a $40 million loan through NY Credit Funding I LLC, and John Belden, president and CEO of Memphis-based Davidson Hotel Co., signed the mortgage as president of RBD.
     The buying limited liability company is a collaboration between Davidson and Columbus, Ohio-based RockBridge Capital Partners, according to an article in the Memphis Business Journal (MBJ). The seller is Chick Hill, former CEO of Davidson, and Crow Holdings, according to MBJ. Crow Holdings is the group that owns and directs the investments of Trammell Crow Co. and its investment partners.
     CHD Memphis I bought the property in April 2003 for $16.2 million.
     With 27 stories and more than 300,000 square feet, the Hilton sits on 8.79 acres on the west side of Ridge Lake Boulevard south of Ridgeway Loop Road and east of Interstate 240. It was built in 1979 and the Shelby County Assessor's 2006 appraisal was $17 million.
     Hotel amenities include a fitness center, gift shop, the Rooks Corner restaurant, a lobby bar and more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space. March occupancy was 77.2 percent, down 6.1 percent from the same period a year ago, according to a Smith Travel Research report. Occupancy for the 12 months ended March 31 was 71.6 percent, down 4.6 percent from the year-ago period.
     Davidson owns or manages 30 hotels totaling 8,900 rooms across the United States. The company took over management of the then-Park Vista Hotel in the first half of 2003, and it was rebranded the Hilton Memphis in 2004.
     The hotel was designed by Francis Mah, a Hawaiian-born architect well known for using sweeping, rounded lines in his work. Before his death in 1998, Mah designed a number of Memphis buildings, according to the American Institute of Architects, Memphis chapter. Those buildings include Cybill Shepherd's former South Bluffs home and the Commercial Appeal building at 495 Union Ave.
     Branded an Adams Mark Hotel before becoming the Park Vista, the hotel underwent a $12 million renovation in 2004, according to Hilton's Web site.
     Messages to Davidson Hotel Co., Crow Holdings and Hilton Memphis representatives were not returned by press time.

City Council Committee To Discuss MLGW Rebates

     Rebates for customers from Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division (MLGW) will be among the topics at the Memphis City Council MLGW Committee meeting today at 11 a.m. in room 501 at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.
     MLGW officials announced April 19 that customers would receive a one-time credit adjustment of about $50 on their June or July bills.
     "This adjustment is the result of non-cost charges that were added to the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) component of customers' bills from September 2006 to April 2007," an MLGW statement read. "The charge proceeds were used to pay for initial inventories at a gas storage site."
     At a May 1 committee meeting, City Council members questioned how the decision was made to charge the money. They were told by an official that it was a management decision made without a vote by the City Council or the MLGW board.
     At that meeting, Council member Barbara Swearengen-Ware told MLGW officials to issue checks for the refunds rather than credit customers' accounts. And MLGW officials said they would consider that as a repayment option.
     The full council will meet today at 3:30 p.m. in council chambers on the first floor of City Hall.

Federal Tax Lien Filed Against Infuturo

     A federal tax lien of $40,000 has been filed against Infuturo Technologies Inc., according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com. Infuturo Technologies is a computer integrated systems design service based in Germantown.
     The company was founded in January 1997 with a focus on planning, designing, implementing and supporting computer technology for professional organizations, according to Infuturo's Web site.
     Infuturo Technologies and Informed Medical Networks occupy the building at 9155 Crestwyn Hills Drive in Germantown. Informed Medical Networks is a division of Infuturo.
     A $58,480 tax lien was filed against the company last month. Another $240,123 in federal tax liens have been filed against the company since November 2005. It has received tax lien releases totaling $181,643.

Smith & Nephew Acquires BlueSky Medical Group

     Smith & Nephew Inc. has announced plans to purchase Carlsbad, Calif.-based BlueSky Medical Group Inc. for $15 million.
     BlueSky has developed products for treating chronic wounds using negative pressure wound therapy and manufactures a range of negative pressure pumps and wound dressing kits to serve its global customer base.
     Based in London, Smith & Nephew's two orthopedics divisions are headquartered in Memphis, employing more than 2,600 people.
     Smith & Nephew has agreed to pay $15 million initially with further milestone payments of up to $95 million related to revenues and other events for the acquisition.
     BlueSky had revenues of about $11 million from its distributors in 2006 and net assets of less than $1 million. The acquisition of BlueSky is expected to dilute Smith & Nephew's 2007 earnings by about 1 percent, to be broadly neutral in 2008 and to be accretive from 2009 onward.
     "We are very excited by this acquisition and the market position that this will give us," said Joe Woody, president of Smith & Nephew's Advanced Wound Management Division, in a statement. "We look forward to adding BlueSky's products to our customer solutions for hard-to-heal wounds and to working with these exciting products. With our global scale, distribution channels and customer understanding we can effectively leverage BlueSky's sales and profits into a substantial business."

Frontier Airlines Expands Service From Memphis

     Denver-based Frontier Airlines began new non-stop flights from Memphis International Airport Saturday. Frontier offers two daily non-stop flights to Denver and once-daily departures to Las Vegas and Orlando.
     Frontier's arrival in Memphis expands airline competition for the airport and adds more options for Memphis travelers, including service throughout the United States and Mexico and also to Calgary and Vancouver, Canada.
     Frontier's foray into the Memphis market marks the airline's entrance into its second Tennessee city. The airline launched service from Nashville in 2004.
     The airline was recognized as the "Best Low-Cost Carrier" in the country in a 2006 survey of Business Traveler magazine readers.
     Denver is the hub for Frontier and is the second-largest jet carrier at Denver International Airport, employing about 5,000 workers.

Los Angeles Times Weighs in on Ford Dynasty

     The Ford political dynasty just can't catch a break, it seems.
     On Sunday, The Los Angeles Times newspaper weighed in on the Memphis family's troubles, giving the Fords' current woes national coverage in a 1,143-word story partly headlined "A bribery conviction may be the final act of the Ford family's two-generation drama."
     The story was inspired, at least in part, by former state legislator John Ford's recent conviction by a Memphis jury that found him guilty of taking $55,000 in bribes.
     University of Memphis business law professor Larry Moore is quoted as saying, "The Ford political machine is coming to an end, and sometimes the end isn't as pretty as the beginning."