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VOL. 128 | NO. 98 | Monday, May 20, 2013

Daily Digest

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Nike Distribution Center Issued $4.4 Million Permit

The city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement has issued a $4.4 million mechanical permit for work on Nike Inc.’s North Memphis distribution center at 3100 New Frayser Blvd.

The permit was issued to S.A. Comunale Co. Inc., an Akron, Ohio-based “mechanical, fire protection and HVAC services company,” according to its website.

It is one of what will likely be many permits filed for the $301 million project, and it follows a recent $3 million permit that calls for the installation of “industrial steel storage racks” by Elk Grove, Ill.-based Wynright Corp.

Nike in January paid $2.2 million for about 200 acres of vacant land in Frayser from Belz Investco GP for the distribution center.

Operating in the transaction as Nike TN Inc., the Beaverton, Ore.-based sports giant bought the land in two parcels – a 162.5-acre tract and a 38.4-acre tract, both north of Nike’s 1.1 million-square-foot facility in Belz Enterprises Inc.’s Northridge Industrial Park.

The board of the Memphis and Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine approved last October a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement with Nike for the $301 million project.

According to the approved PILOT, the expansion would retain 1,600 jobs and add 250 more once the expanded facility opens, said Willie Gregory, Nike director of Community and Business Relations.

The PILOT amounts to a $57.8 million tax break with a local tax benefit of $105.3 million in return.

Nike’s 1,700 employees across Memphis are the company’s second largest workforce in the U.S. behind only its Beaverton headquarters.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

LaunchYourCity Rebrands as Start Co.

The local economic development organization LaunchYourCity Inc. has rebranded itself as Start Co.

According to a release from the organization, the new name and identity better reflect the organization’s offerings and values with a unified platform and mission. Along with that is a coming roll out of a redesigned website and new service offerings.

Start Co. will continue to operate Seed Hatchery, the 90-day mentor program that hosted its Investor Day May 16, and Upstart, which is a new accelerator program geared toward building women-led and owned startups.

The new name, brand and identity were developed by archer-malmo and its venture partner a-m ventures.

– Andy Meek

Main to Main’s Carpenter Moves to Plough Foundation

Mike Carpenter, the project manager for the city’s Main Street to Main Street project, will become the executive director of the nonprofit Plough Foundation next month.

Carpenter joins the philanthropic foundation June 10 and will remain as a consultant to the city project for three months.

Carpenter is a former Shelby County commissioner.

The Main Street to Main Street project is the redevelopment of Main Street Memphis and Broadway Avenue in West Memphis, Ark., with a bicycle and pedestrian boardwalk on the Harahan rail bridge across the Mississippi River linking the two.

Construction on the first phases of the project is scheduled to begin later this year.

– Bill Dries

UTHSC Appoints Dermatology Department Chair

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center said Dr. Kathryn Schwarzenberger will lead the university’s new Department of Dermatology in the College of Medicine.

Before joining UTHSC, Schwarzenberger was a professor in the Division of Dermatology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. After completing her medical degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, she completed residencies in both internal medicine and dermatology at Duke University and a fellowship in immunodermatology research at the National Cancer Institute Dermatology Branch.

– Jennifer Johnson Backer

Rich to Headline Benefit for St. Jude Hospital

John Rich will perform alongside Wynonna Judd, Larry the Cable Guy and his Big & Rich partner, Big Kenny at a June 4 concert that will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Actress and special guest Lisa Rinna also will perform at the event, St. Jude Presents John Rich & Friends, which takes place at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. The concert will serve as the second annual concert tee off for the 2013 FedEx St. Jude Classic.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital says proceeds from the concert, as well as the FedEx St. Jude Classic, benefit the hospital and its mission to provide exceptional care to children fighting cancer and other deadly diseases, while ensuring that no family ever pays St. Jude for anything.

Tickets range from $40 to $80 per person and can be ordered through Ticketmaster.

– Jennifer Johnson Backer

Arkansas Senators Participate in Online Business Forum

Arkansas’ two U.S. senators are participating in an online discussion with small-business owners about the Internet and economic development.

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor’s office said he and Sen. John Boozman will participate in a Google Plus Hangout at 3:30 p.m. Monday. Talk Business editor Roby Brock will moderate the discussion.

Pryor’s office said participants in the discussion will include officials with the Internet Association, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Farm Bureau. It will also include the founder of the Bourbon and Boots online store and the owner of Rock Appliances and Services.

Pryor is a Democrat serving his second term. Boozman is a Republican serving his first term.

– The Associated Press

Gauge of US Economy’s Future Health Up in April

A measure of the U.S. economy’s future health rose solidly in April, buoyed by a sharp rise in applications to build homes and a better job market.

The Conference Board said Friday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 percent last month to a reading of 95. That followed a 0.2 percent decline in March.

The index is intended to signal economic conditions three to six months out.

Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said the index is 3.5 percent higher at an annual rate than it was six months ago, suggesting expansion for the economy.

Goldstein said that steady job gains and a recovering housing market are driving the economy and helping offset deep federal spending cuts that threaten growth.

The index is composed of 10 forward-pointing indicators. Strength in April came from the surge in building permits, a drop in applications for unemployment benefits and a rising stock market.

Holding the index back in April: Weaker consumer confidence and a decline in the average hours worked at U.S. factories.

A separate report Friday showed consumer confidence jumped to near a six-year high in early May. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 83.7, up from 76.4 in April.

Economists attributed the gain to record-high stock prices, cheaper gas and solid employment gains.

“Changes in confidence don’t always filter through into changes in spending, but the omens are good,” said Amna Asaf, an economist at Capital Economics.

The job market has also improved over the past six months. The economy has added an average of 208,000 jobs a month since November. That’s up from only 138,000 a month in the previous six months.

Unemployment has fallen to a four-year low of 7.5 percent.

A rebound in housing, along with a limited supply of homes for sale, has lifted the construction industry.

Construction cooled off in April, as builders broke ground on fewer homes after topping the 1 million mark in March for the first time since 2008. But most of the decline was in apartment construction, which tends to vary sharply from month to month.

The most encouraging sign for the industry last month was that applications for new construction reached a five-year peak. That suggests the housing revival will be sustained.

– The Associated Press

MORTGAGES 54 374 1,120
BUILDING PERMITS 177 767 2,425