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VOL. 125 | NO. 118 | Friday, June 18, 2010

$17.5M in Projects Approved by IDB

By Eric Smith

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A bottling plant, a luxury hotel and a research laboratory will soon see a combined $17.5 million in funding that Shelby County received through federal stimulus recovery zone facility bonds.

The stage is now set for an additional six projects to receive money through the program if the state reallocates unused funds to the area from other counties.

The city-county Industrial Development Board on Wednesday passed an inducement resolution for all nine projects to move forward through the recovery zone facility bond process, which could jump-start everything from the Highland Row lifestyle center to a community Laundromat for disadvantaged mothers.

The inducement resolution was passed after the Shelby County Commission targeted nine of 12 projects to receive the county’s allocation of funds.

The $6.97 million Royal Phoenix Hotel, while it ranked second on the County Commission’s list, was perhaps the most intriguing project – if only for one revelation.

Plans call for RPD Hotels LLC to build an 11-story, 300-room upscale hotel on the southeast corner of Linden Avenue and Fourth Street.

And though the project has been on the table for almost a year, RPD Hotels officials said Wednesday they have signed an agreement with Hilton Hotels Corp. to brand the property as the “Memphis Hilton Downtown.”

The tower, slated to sit diagonally to the southeast of FedExForum on a vacant lot, will feature 15 suites, a swimming pool, a spa, 20,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, and a 275-space attached parking garage.

A company representative said the hotel will have a “four-star, four-diamond” rating from hotel certification services. It is expected to create 200 jobs.

The top three projects – the $3.5 million Hardy Bottling expansion, the Royal Phoenix Hotel construction and the $6.97 million Memphis Bioworks lab – are guaranteed the county’s allotment.

The remaining six will need other counties throughout the state to return their allocated funds and send them to Memphis and Shelby County.

The city of Memphis received $41.5 million recovery zone facility bonds, all of which will go to seismically retrofit The Pyramid for Bass Pro Shops.

Topping the list was Chism Hardy Enterprises LLC, doing business as Hardy Bottling Co. The plant will use its $3.5 million in federal funding to bottle and sell Memphis water and increase the packaging line at its Raines Road facility.

Company owner Carolyn Hardy projected the plant to bottle 70 million cases of water a year, while the expansion should create up to 151 jobs.

The third project to be assured of funding was Memphis Bioworks Foundation, which will receive $6.97 million to develop and build a 25,000-square-foot laboratory on South Dudley Street in the UT-Baptist Research Park.

The lab will serve the local bioscience community by specializing in orthopedics, vaccine research and development, and pharmacology research. It is expected to create 133 jobs.

The other six projects, which may or may not receive funds, are as follows (requested amount in parentheses):

  • Poag & McEwen Lifestyle Center – Highland Row ($17.5 million)
  • Memphis Bioworks Foundation – Hyatt Summerfield Hotel ($17.5 million)
  • South Memphis Alliance – Youth Opportunity Center ($2.1 million)
  • South Memphis Alliance – Laundry/The Mother Center ($1.3 million)
  • HW Delivery Systems Corp. – Business Park ($1.8 million)
  • Roberts Hotel Group Memphis Hotels Inc. – Hotel Redevelopment ($12.6 million)

Look for more on these projects and recovery zone facility bonds in future issues of The Daily News.

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