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VOL. 6 | NO. 10 | Saturday, March 2, 2013

Daily Digest

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Olymbec USA LLC Buys Again in Memphis

Olymbec USA LLC has acquired 40,000 square feet of land and three small shed buildings totaling 12,000 square feet at 373 W. Brooks Road through a January auction from the Estate of George E. Smith for $50,600.

Olymbec USA is an entity of Montreal-based Olymbec Corporate Group. The family-run, private real estate investment firm entered the Memphis market in 2004 with its purchase of a 500,000-square-foot distribution center in Southaven at 8800 Rostin Road.

In February 2011, Olymbec bought the 1.1 million-square-foot Space Center portfolio at 3051-3133 Tranquility Drive from Trammel Crow Co. for $7.3 million. The land and buildings at 373 W. Brooks, at the corner of Brooks and Gemini Drive, are adjacent to the Space Center facilities.

“It was really a strategic purchase to secure more land and buildings around our Space Center,” said Justin Klumak, Olymbec director of acquisitions and development. “We’ll probably end up knocking them down at one point. Our plan in buying it is just to clean up the area around our main entrance to our park.”

In July, Olymbec purchased a 157,000-square-foot, Class C industrial warehouse at 3615 Lamar Ave. from Miami-based loan servicer LNR Partners LLC for $1.5 million. And in October, Olymbec acquired the 219,557-square-foot Brinkley Plaza at 80 Monroe Ave. from a partnership made up of entities related to local commercial real estate groups CB Richard Ellis Memphis and Loeb Properties Inc.

The acquisition brings the firm’s total Memphis portfolio to about 2.5 million square feet. Klumack said Olymbec will continue to search for chances to expand its footprint here.

“It’s a market that is really attractive to us and it’s a market that we’re looking to be very strategic in and find the right opportunities,” Klumack said.

Memphis Not Miserable in Eyes of Forbes

Memphis has landed on a lot of lists over the years, some of them positive, lots of them cringe-inducing for Memphians and many of them based on seemingly arbitrary findings.

Forbes’ Most Miserable Cities list is one that’s particularly drawn the ire of Memphians, including Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. In 2010, when the city was given a prominent spot on the list, Wharton wrote an open letter to Forbes Inc. CEO Steve Forbes in response. “The sun shines here 230 days a year,” he wrote. “Memphis is a city of joy.”

Memphis has been steadily slipping down the list in the years since, and this year, apparently happiness abounds. Because Memphis, for the first time in recent memory, is not on the dreaded Forbes list of miserable cities at all.

First Tennessee Honored for Treasury Management

First Tennessee Bank’s treasury management services have won the bank plaudits in the 2013 Phoenix-Hecht Treasury Management Quality Index in the middle market banking segment.

The top grades were awarded by senior financial executives responsible for managing their companies’ bank relationships for treasury management services in categories including customer service, product features and overall relationship manager effectiveness.

It’s not the first time this year First Tennessee’s treasury management services have been recognized.

Earlier this year, First Tennessee won top customer satisfaction honors from Greenwich Associates in both the national and regional categories for treasury management in the 2012 Greenwich Excellence Awards for U.S. middle market and small business banking.

Wonder Bread Sale Nearing Completion

Wonder bread could start appearing in school lunchboxes again soon.

A person familiar with the situation says a bid by Flowers Foods to buy Wonder and several other bread brands from bankrupt Hostess was met with no competing offers. The individual requested anonymity because the auction process is private.

Hostess hasn’t been making any of its cakes and breads since late November, when the company announced it was going out of business and shuttered its plants after years of financial struggles.

One of those plants that was closed in November was the Downtown Memphis Wonder Bread plant.

More than 250 workers reportedly were affected locally.

The $360 million bid by Flowers also includes Nature’s Pride, Butternut, Home Pride and Merita breads.

An auction will still be held Thursday for a separate $30 million bid by Flowers for Beefsteak. The source said a competing offer for that brand was submitted by Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo, which makes Thomas’ English muffins and Entenmann’s cakes.

Any sales would be subject to approval by a bankruptcy court on March 19.

Hostess has also picked opening bidders, known as a “stalking horse,” for its snack cakes.

A joint offer from two investment firms – Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC – was picked as the lead bid for Twinkies and other snack cakes. Hostess CEO Greg Rayburn has said he expects that auction to be “wild and wooly.”

McKee Foods, which makes Little Debbie snack cakes, was picked as the lead bidder for Drake’s cakes, which include Devil Dogs, Funny Bones and Yodels. The deadline to submit competing offers for the snack cakes isn’t until mid-March.

Flowers Foods, based in Thomasville, Ga., makes Tastykakes and breads including Nature’s Own.

Representatives for Flowers Food and Grupo Bimbo did not immediately return calls for comment.

Taken together, Hostess has said its six bread brands generated just under $1 billion in sales last year, with Wonder bread accounting for about half of that.

Flowers Foods, which generates about $3 billion in annual sales, said it expects the deals to add to its earning this year. The company plans to finance the deal through a mix of cash and debt.

EdR Purchases Interest in Elauwit Networks

EdR – a Memphis-based owner, developer and manager of collegiate housing – has purchased a 10 percent interest in Elauwit Networks, a Charleston, S.C.-based provider of Internet access, high-definition video and telephone service.

While the initial investment for this minority interest was nominal for EdR, it provides a variety of potential benefits including reduced network operating costs and ancillary income.

Elauwit Networks has been in the broadband and network service business since 1989 but has shifted its primary focus to the student housing industry for the last three years. The company currently serves communities owned by American Campus Communities, Landmark Properties, Campus Crest Communities and Preiss Properties, and has forecasted student housing customer growth of 90 properties by the end of 2014.

Scott P. Casey, EdR’s chief technology officer, will work with Elauwit Networks CEO Barry Rubens as a board member and as co-chairman of a newly created committee to support the partnership.

EdR is a Real Estate Investment Trust that owns or manages 67 communities in 24 states with more than 37,000 beds within more than 12,500 units.

‘Elvis: Live From Vegas’ to Open at Graceland

A new exhibit called “Elvis: Live from Vegas,” is opening Tuesday, March 5, at Graceland and will allow audiences to experience Las Vegas through the eyes of Elvis Presley.

The exhibit will feature part of the 30-foot marquee Col. Parker had made to stand outside the New Frontier Hotel in 1956 and the first jumpsuit worn on-stage by Elvis in 1970.

Other suits in the exhibit include Elvis’ Leather and Chains suit, worn in August of 1970 during his Las Vegas engagement and prominently featured in his first concert documentary “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is;” Elvis’ three-piece Spanish Flower suit worn in 1972 that was an alternative to one of the jumpsuits he wore in Las Vegas; Elvis’ “I Got Lucky” jumpsuit that was worn in 1970 in various cities including Las Vegas, Oakland, Tampa and Los Angeles and can be seen on the cover of the 1971 “I Got Lucky” album.

Guests will also be able to view rare artifacts including hotel receipts and show memorabilia.

Orion Federal Credit Union Partners with Food Bank

Orion Federal Credit Union has partnered with the Mid-South Food Bank, donating more than $1,400 and about 600 food items to the nonprofit group.

The partnership is part of Orion’s community involvement program Orion Gives Back that was launched in January 2012. Each month, Orion chooses a local nonprofit to be the focus of their giving initiative. The goal is to work with the organizations and help provide for them and their needs in any way possible while creating a long-lasting partnership.

The Mid-South Food Bank serves more than 300 charitable feeding programs in 31 Mid-South counties in West Tennessee, East Arkansas and North Mississippi.

McGriff Retires From Drug Task Force

David N. McGriff, the director of the West Tennessee Violent Crime and Drug Task Force as well as chief investigator for the Criminal Investigative Division of the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office is retiring.

McGriff has 44 years of law enforcement experience. He started in Shelby County as a criminal investigator for the prosecutor’s office in 1976 and in 2007 became chief criminal investigator as well as director of the task force.

Before coming to Memphis, he had been a police officer with the Washington metropolitan police department.

McGriff is also a former supervisor of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s drug task force and a deputy commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Safety.

Tennessee House Sends Parking Lot Guns Bill to Governor

The Tennessee House has voted to send to the governor’s desk a bill to allow the state’s nearly 400,000 handgun carry permit holders to store firearms in their vehicles no matter where they are parked.

The chamber voted 72-22 to pass the measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby after rejecting a series of Democratic proposals to maintain business owners’ rights to ban weapons on their property and to create exceptions for schools and colleges.

House Speaker Beth Harwell told Republican colleagues before the vote that members of the business community are “holding their nose” over property rights concerns about the measure.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has raised concerns about the measure in the past, but has not said whether he will sign the bill into law.

US Unemployment Aid Claims Drop to 344,000

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell 22,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 344,000, evidence that the job market may be picking up.

The four-week average of applications dropped 6,750 to 355,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Economists were mildly encouraged by the decline. It “suggests further healing in the labor markets,” Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.

Stronger hiring is one of the reasons economists expect growth is probably picking up in 2013 after a disappointing October-December quarter, when the economy barely grew.

Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. When they decline, it suggests companies are cutting fewer workers and may be more willing to hire.

Applications have fallen steadily in recent weeks. The four-week average has declined almost 11 percent since November. At the same time, employers have added an average of 200,000 jobs per month from November through January. That’s up from about 150,000 in the previous three months.

The drop in applications suggests companies will add more jobs in February than in January, economists said.

AIA Memphis Director Given Honorary Membership

Heather Baugus Koury was recently named Honorary AIA for The American Institute of Architects, the highest honor bestowed on a person outside the architecture profession.

Membership is granted only if the accomplishments of the nominee are truly outstanding and of national significance. During her 10-year tenure as executive director of AIA Memphis, Koury has enhanced the chapter’s programming and its involvement in community outreach programs, including the Distinguished Architects of the World speakers series, the Discovering Architecture summer day camp for high school students, and the Junior Girl Scout Architecture Badge Camp.

Also under her leadership, education grants to the chapter have increased by 500 percent.

Building on the AIA150 national initiative to encourage communities to focus on legacy projects, Koury shepherded a number of projects: the Memphis Regional Design Center, the Paul R. Williams Project and ArchiTree, an interactive genealogy of the Memphis architectural community.

She is currently working to establish a Memphis-based design alliance, complete a retrospective on the architectural history of Memphis, and create a bike tour of the city’s significant architecture and historic neighborhoods.

Koury was also the 2012 recipient of the AIA Component Executive Leadership Award.

Design Review Board to Discuss Artspace, Bass Pro

The Downtown Memphis Commission Design Review Board will discuss three major concepts at its Wednesday, March 6, meeting.

There is a construction application for Artspace Projects Inc.’s South Main Artspace Lofts, an adaptive reuse of the former United Warehouse at 138 St. Paul Ave. behind The Arcade Restaurant.

The $12.5 million project will also include the new construction of a building over what is currently a parking lot with 44 live/work spaces, as well as more than 20,000 square feet of commercial space, which includes gallery space and an outdoor arts garden and performance plaza. Construction is planned to commence in October with an expected placed-in-service date in November 2014.

Also appearing before the DRB is Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, which has a construction application for building renovation and site improvements at The Pyramid, 1 Auction Ave., as well as an exterior signage package that includes 5,490-square-foot logos for all four sides of the structure.

The DRB also will discuss window graphics and internally-illuminated monument sign for Beale Street Landing’s signage at 251 Riverside Drive. The application shows a lighted, rotating paddle wheel for Riverside Grill Sunset Bar.

The DRB meets at 4 p.m. in the DMC office, 114 N. Main St.

County Commission Pays Road Project Installment

The Shelby County Commission approved Monday, Feb. 25, paying $239,665 in county capital funding for the local match on the $7.1 million realignment of North Parkway and Jackson Avenue at their intersection with Danny Thomas Boulevard in Uptown.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation project was a 50-50 split with the city being the local half.

The $239,665 is the latest in a series of payments of the county’s part of the local match over several fiscal years totaling nearly $1.8 million.

The city of Memphis share of the local match has been $1.7 million so far with an additional $91,555 due.

The commission also approved a $88,700 contract with Allen & Hoshall Inc. to develop a facility master plan for the Shelby County Health Department.

And the body approved $42,000 in funding for acquisition and closing costs for right of ways and easements for the Woodland Hills detention basin project in the Grays Creek area. The project site is east of Houston Levee Road between Humphreys and Macon roads.

The commission also approved a resolution urging the state to improve its share of funding to the Shelby County Public Defender’s office.

Meanwhile, the commission approved the appointment of eight citizens to a Juvenile Justice Consortium that is part of the settlement among Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court, county government and the U.S. Department of Justice over due process problems at the court.

The consortium is outlined in the agreement as the citizens group that will keep the community informed of the progress Juvenile Court makes in implementing the reforms.

Rick Masson Joins Caissa Public Strategy

Rick Masson has joined Caissa Public Strategy LLC as senior director, serving as a lead strategist on local and regional projects.

Masson comes to Caissa with 23 years of experience working for the city of Memphis, where his roles included finance director and chief administrative officer.

Most recently, Masson operated his own private consulting firm that specialized in strategic planning and project management services to public agencies, nonprofit organizations and private corporations active in the government sector. The firm served as a catalyst in stimulating private investment in public projects and providing solutions to budgetary and operational challenges faced by public enterprises.

Caissa, run by lawyer and former Shelby County Election Commissioner Brian Stephens, opened in January 2011. Stephens told The Daily News in September that the public strategy concept is only about 15 years old and is relatively uncommon in the South compared to areas like Washington, where firms specializing in the trade are “on every block.”

Caissa will host a welcome reception for Masson on Thursday, March 7, at 5:30 p.m. at 125 S. Main St., suite 600.

Youngberg is New Chair of Bar Health Law Section

Angela Choate Youngberg, an attorney with Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell PLC, is the newly elected chair of the health law section of the Tennessee Bar Association.

Youngberg leads the health law practice group at Rainey Kizer.

The state bar association’s health law section focuses on increasing its members’ knowledge of federal, state and local laws that impact health care professionals and facilities.

At Rainey Kizer, Youngberg maintains a diverse health law practice that includes counseling physicians, physician groups, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, nursing homes, medical equipment suppliers, nurse practitioners, imaging facilities, home health agencies, pharmacies, institutional clients, physical therapy companies, and other types of health care providers and suppliers on a variety of health care matters.

State Systems Installs Green Ballast Lighting

State Systems Inc., a privately owned total protection company based in Memphis, has installed Green Ballast Inc.’s light ballasts in its corporate headquarters and warehouse facility at 3755 Cherry Road.

Green Ballast, led by CEO J. Adams of CB Richard Ellis Memphis, is a developer and marketer of energy efficient electronic ballasts for fluorescent fixtures in the commercial lighting industry. Green Ballast’s ballasts measure and harvest available daylight to calculate and provide only the amount of needed electricity for proper lighting.

Bob McBride, president of State Systems, said in a release that using Green Ballast saves his firm 62 percent a year in lighting energy costs.

Publically traded since April, Green Ballast has added several clients to its portfolio in recent months, including Tommy Bronson Sporting Goods, Belz Enterprises and Healthcare Trust of America Inc.

Courtney to Speak at HopeWorks Event

Memphis-based HopeWorks Inc. is hosting its fifth annual Morning of Hope breakfast and fundraising event next month at Woodland Hills Event Center in Cordova.

The event will be held March 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the center, at 10000 Woodland Hills Drive. Bill Courtney, former volunteer head football coach of the Manassas High School football team and the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary “Undefeated” will speak at the event.

Courtney, a Memphian and chief executive officer of Classic American Hardwoods, led the Manassas High School football team to their first winning season to date in 2009.

The event will feature a gourmet breakfast provided by Sysco and musical entertainment, including a performance by HopeWorks graduate Stephanie Needham.

Tickets are $50 each or $500 per table of 10 and may be purchased online by visiting www.WhyHopeWorks.org or by calling 272-3700, ext. 107. The deadline for all ticket purchases is Feb. 25.

Fogelman Properties Moves Headquarters to Triad II

Memphis-based Fogelman Properties LLC has signed a lease for 12,000 square feet on the second floor of Triad Centre II, an 110,305-square-foot, Class A office building at 6060 Poplar Ave.

Fogelman Properties is relocating to Triad Centre II from its previous location at 5400 Poplar Ave., where the company has been headquartered since 1985. Founded in 1963, Fogelman Properties owns and/or manages more than 19,000 apartment communities in 14 states and is led by principals Rick Fogelman and Mark Fogelman.

Rick Fogelman said in a release that with 2013 being the 50th anniversary of Fogelman Properties, “the time was right to make this move,” which will provide additional space and further growth capacity going forward.

Fogelman was represented by Kelly Truitt and Wendy Bell of the CB Richard Ellis Memphis tenant advisory group. The landlord, Highwoods Properties Inc., was represented by John Mercer.

Triad II was recently renovated, including a new entrance and lobby.

Senate Majority Leader Norris Files Job Training Bill

Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, has filed legislation that would create a new statewide initiative aimed at shoring up workers’ job skills and addressing labor shortages among Tennessee employers.

Norris’ bill creates what would be called the Labor Education Alignment Program, or LEAP. The idea is to merge traditional college coursework with technical training, allowing students at the state’s technology centers and community colleges an opportunity to pair occupational training in a high-skill or high-tech industry with academic credit. Students could apply that experience toward a degree.

“I’ve met with a number of industries in high-tech manufacturing ready to expand in Tennessee but for a lack of qualified employees, and I know of many Tennesseans who can’t afford to attend school while sacrificing a paying job,” Norris said. The legislation is drafted so that student wages or other compensation won’t affect eligibility for state need-based financial assistance or grants.

Norris and his staff consulted with major employers in Tennessee and other area states, as well as overseas, to study so-called “cooperative education” programs. Students are paid to learn while also applying what they learn at work for credit toward a degree. Norris said it’s comparable to apprentice programs of generations past. The difference is this adds a modern higher education component to address what the state’s employers want: job candidates with skills needed in today’s technologically advanced workforce.

PROPERTY SALES 64 151 1,493
MORTGAGES 45 105 1,152
BUILDING PERMITS 201 410 3,466