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VOL. 127 | NO. 196 | Monday, October 8, 2012

Daily Digest

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MED Files $1.3 Million Permit for Improvements

The Regional Medical Center at Memphis has filed a $1.3 million permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for facility improvements.

The permit, which specifically calls for phase two of an “intervention cath lab and outpatient clinic” at The MED’s 877 Jefferson Ave. campus, was filed this week.

It listed Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC as the general contractor, but no architect was included on the permit.

These upgrades are part of a $32.4 million capital improvement plan The MED board approved in July. The hospital is expanding the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center and the Turner Tower Complex.

Facility improvements to the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center include the renovation of its outdated Critical Care Assessment area. Square footage will be added, modernizing and increasing the amount of assessment space.

Renovation work is scheduled to be completed in December.

The Turner Tower project will include the expansion of the Firefighters Regional Burn Center and the build-out of three vacant floors to relocate the inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital, Outpatient Ambulatory Surgery unit and acute care patient rooms.

The Turner Tower project includes more than 88,000 square feet and will be completed in stages over the next 18 months. The estimated completion date for the entire Turner Tower project is December 2013.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

US Unemployment Falls to 44-Month Low

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years and giving President Barack Obama a potential boost with the election a month away.

The rate dropped from 8.1 percent because the number of people who said they were employed jumped by 873,000 — an encouraging sign for an economy that’s been struggling to create enough jobs.

The number of unemployed Americans is now 12.1 million, the fewest since January 2009.

The Labor Department said employers added 114,000 jobs in September. It also said 86,000 more jobs were added in July and August than the department had initially estimated.

Still, many of the jobs the economy added last month were part time. The number of people with part-time jobs who wanted full-time work rose 7.5 percent to 8.6 million, the most since February 2009.

But overall, Friday’s report dispelled some fears about the job market. Average wages rose. And more people started looking for work.

The revisions show employers added 146,000 jobs a month from July through September, up from 67,000 in the previous three months.

The 7.8 percent unemployment rate for September matches the rate in January 2009, when Obama took office. In the months after Obama’s inauguration, the rate rose sharply and had topped 8 percent for 43 straight months.

– The Associated Press

First Tennessee Parent Offers Buyouts to 400

The parent company of First Tennessee Bank sent out letters to nearly one-tenth of the Memphis-based company’s 4,500 employees Thursday offering them terms of a voluntary buyout.

First Horizon National Corp. is offering the buyouts to some 400 employees, said chief human resources officer John Daniel, who stressed that they’re looking in “non customer-facing areas.”

It’s part of an effort to cut costs, but to do it in what he said is “a creative way” and to target higher-paid employees.

“So, it’s back office, operational areas like finance and HR and operations staff areas,” he said. “These would be people who maybe want to go back to school or maybe, for family reasons, they want to take some time off or they’ve been thinking about changing their career path.”

Affected employees have until the end of the month to accept.

– Andy Meek

Design Review Board OKs Athletic Club Construction

The Downtown Memphis Commission’s Design Review Board approved Wednesday, Oct. 3, the construction and renovation application of EYKONIC Group LLC’s Downtown Athletic Club at 387 S. Main St.

The board approved the project – which includes building renovation, some exterior signage and improvements to two parking areas – under two minor conditions. The first is that the applicant will provide a final site plan showing the exact sidewalk panels to be repaired; that site plan will have administrative review and approval from the DRB. The second condition is the applicant will provide final documentation showing details of the public art component, which will likely entail some sort of creative bike rack.

EYKONIC Group is led by Kate Dailey and Erik Yarbro, who plan to convert the 26,500-square-foot building in the South Main Historic Arts district (to the south of Spindini) into an upscale fitness facility with training, yoga, and day-spa components, as well as a European-style, health-food-centric restaurant that offers wine and beer.

The total development cost, excluding furniture, fixtures and equipment for the athletic club and café, is approximately $1.7 million. The Center City Development Corp. board in August approved a development loan of $200,000 for the project.

The design firm is Self-Tucker Architects. EYKONIC Group hopes to start construction by the end of the year and anticipates an opening 90 days after that.

– Sarah Baker

Pinnacle Airlines Principal Accounting Officer Leaves

Anthony D.McDuffie has resigned as principal accounting officer and vice president of finance and controller of Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines Corp.

McDuffie’s resignation is effective Sept. 28. He joined Pinnacle on March 29, just days before Pinnacle filed for bankruptcy reorganization.

Thomas M. Schmidt, the vice president of operations finance has been appointed by the Pinnacle board of directors as the new principal accounting officer for the regional air carrier. The appointment of Schmidt is at will with no employment agreement with the company.

– Bill Dries

New Grizzlies Ownership Could Include Manning, Hardaway

A source close to Robert Pera, the California businessman in the process of buying the Memphis Grizzlies, has confirmed the addition of a few new names to what will be the new ownership of the Grizzlies.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his wife, Ashley, a Memphis native, as well as former NBA and University of Memphis basketball star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway will be among the new Grizz ownership.

Hardaway released a statement Thursday afternoon.

“This is not just an investment in a sports team, it’s a way for me to give back to the people of Memphis in thanks for their supporting me,” he said. “When I was a child my grandmother told me, ‘Do for your community, do for your people, do what God puts in your heart.’ God puts in my heart to just give. The other local investors share this same commitment to Memphis, so I know the new Grizzlies owners will take more of a leadership role in making the team better.”

The potential new ownership team has been expanding quickly in recent weeks, including the likes of pop star Justin Timberlake and former Memphis congressman Harold Ford Jr. A source involved in the deal, which is still evolving and is not yet official, told The Daily News recently the local ownership participants will likely top out at between 10 and 12 people.

Pera is the founder of Ubiquiti Networks Inc., a Silicon Valley technology company he started after leaving Apple Inc. After word of his bid to buy the Grizzlies from current owner Michael Heisley became public earlier this year, Pera’s camp took pains to point out that his addition of local ownership elements was by choice, partly to give local fans assurance that the team isn’t going anywhere.

– Andy Meek

PROPERTY SALES 83 405 4,276
MORTGAGES 104 424 4,814
BUILDING PERMITS 148 883 10,151
BANKRUPTCIES 53 264 3,149