VOL. 6 | NO. 47 | Saturday, November 16, 2013
Electrolux Ships First Memphis-Made Products
Electrolux North America’s first Memphis-made products have rolled off the assembly line and been shipped across the country.
The inaugural products produced at the Memphis facility – the Frigidaire and Frigidaire Gallery slide-in ranges – were recently manufactured, packaged and loaded onto trucks for warehousing and retail distribution throughout the United States. It’s the culmination of a two-year construction effort on the 750,000-square-foot, $266 million dollar facility. The first truckload of ovens was shipped to Seattle, Wa.
In addition to the two ranges, the plant will ultimately produce a variety of signature items, including Electrolux, Electrolux ICON and Frigidaire built-in and specialty cooking products, wall ovens and specialty freestanding ranges.
The plant, inside Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park, features an in-house lab that allows the company to simulate a product’s lifetime usage and performance expectations.
Electrolux said it has hired about 500 employees in manufacturing, engineering, supply-chain management, finance and operations management at the Memphis plant. It will eventually employ 1,200 people over the course of the next five years as it reaches full production.
Transplants Foundation Names New CEO
The National Foundation for Transplants has a new leader.
The foundation has appointed Connie Gonitzke to serve as president and CEO of the Memphis-based national nonprofit.
Gonitzke rose through the foundation’s ranks, joining the organization in 2002 as a patient advocate before being appointed director of resource development in 2006 and senior vice president of development in 2008.
As president and CEO, Gonitzke will focus on raising the foundation’s national profile and position and increasing philanthropic efforts.
Gonitzke has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 2005, earning the Certified Fund Raising Executive credential. She also has volunteered and served on various boards and in leadership positions in numerous community and religious organizations, including the West Tennessee Transplant Association and as president of the local AFP chapter.
Founded in 1983, the National Foundation for Transplants has generated nearly $65 million to help transplant patients overcome financial obstacles.
Two Memphians Among Appeals Court Finalists
Shelby County Chancellor Kenny W. Armstrong and Memphis attorney Dorothy Pounders were among three finalists for an upcoming vacancy on the Tennessee Court of Appeals recommended Thursday, Nov. 14, to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
The recommendations are the first the Governor’s Commission on Judicial Appointments has made since Haslam created the body in October.
The third finalist on the list is attorney Brandon O. Gibson of Jackson, Tenn.
Haslam will pick one of the three to fill the vacancy on the court when Judge David Farmer retires at the end of August. Farmer is one of several state appellate court judges who have announced they will not seek re-election in retention races in August but plan to serve until the end of their terms later that month.
Haslam is awaiting the commission’s recommendations to fill the upcoming Tennessee Supreme Court vacancy created by the planned retirement of Justice Janice Holder of Memphis.
Trolley Station Sells For $2.7 Million
Trolley Station, a Class C shopping center at the northwest corner of South Perkins Road and American Way, has sold for $2.7 million to a Georgia-based company.
Vishal Trolley Station LLC purchased the property from Kimco Trolley Station LP in an Oct. 29 special warranty deed, financing the deal with a $1.9 million deed of trust through Citizens Savings Bank & Trust Co. Shiv K. Aggarwal signed the trust deed as sole manager of Vishal Trolley Station.
The purchase includes three parcels, according to the warranty deed: a 107,267-square-foot neighborhood shopping center at 2685 S. Perkins, a 45,812-square-foot single-occupancy building at 2665 S. Perkins, and a 15,312-square-foot single-occupancy building at 2671 S. Perkins.
Constructed between 1991 and 1993, the buildings are situated on 14.6 acres, and the Shelby County Assessor of Property’s combined 2013 appraisal is about $4.4 million.
Kimco Trolley Station bought the property in 1998 for $16.2 million.
Stratton to Serve On National Real Estate Board
Henry Stratton, vice president of brokerage services for Colliers International Memphis, has been elected to a three-year term on the national board of directors of the CCIM Institute, a commercial real estate organization with over 15,000 designees worldwide.
The institute confers the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation, which denotes a recognized expert in commercial and investment real estate.
Stratton has held the CCIM designation since 2003. He served as local chapter president in 2009 and as a regional vice president in 2013.
As vice president of brokerage service, Stratton specializes in office and industrial tenant representation, acquisitions and dispositions. Stratton has been with Colliers International Memphis since 2001.
Dunkin’ Donuts to Add 12 Memphis Locations
More Memphis area Dunkin’ Donuts are on the way.
Franchise group JP Foods LLC will develop 12 new restaurants throughout Memphis, with the first new restaurant expected to open in 2015 and the remainder by 2020.
JP Foods, led by Peter Garner and Jonathan Vacca, will manage and oversee daily operations for each restaurant.
The new agreement means the Memphis market is officially sold out. Dunkin’ Donuts entered the market in 2008 at 1674 Whitten Rd. and currently has seven stores in the Memphis area.
Crosstown Team Wins Grant for Greenline Link
The Sears Crosstown redevelopment team garnered a $50,000 grant from Shelby County to help link the property with a nearby greenline.
The grant, which was given to the county from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be used on design work to extend the nearby Vollintine & Evergreen Greenline, located across North Parkway, through the Crosstown site.
The grant is supplemental funding for the development team’s $175 million proposal to turn the long-vacant building into a thriving hub for arts, education and health care.
The project includes St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, ALSAC (the fundraising arm of St. Jude), Crosstown Arts, Gestalt Community Schools, Memphis Teacher Residency, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Church Health Center and Rhodes College as founding partners that have pledged to be tenants in the redeveloped building.
The $50,000 is not part of $15 million the redevelopment team has requested from the city of Memphis for infrastructure improvements such as sewer repairs and improving sidewalks and roads.
Doctors Express Partners With Streetdog Foundation
A local medical clinic for humans has created a unique way to help “man’s best friend.”
When Doctors Express treats a patient, the medical services clinic will buy a bag of dog food in the name of that patient and donate it to the Streetdog Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is getting pit bull breeds off the streets of Memphis and into a rehabilitation program so they can be placed into homes.
Jim Harper, owner and CEO of the Memphis Doctors Express primary and urgent care medical clinic, said Doctors Express came up with the idea for the donation program and took it to the founders of the Streetdog Foundation, which is operated by volunteers.
The program currently runs through the end of the year, but Harper said if it is successful, he will continue it next year.
3 Popeyes Properties Sell for $5.1 Million
Three Memphis-area Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen properties have been purchased by an Arizona real estate investment trust for $5.1 million.
Spirit Master Funding LLC, a REIT affiliated with Scottsdale, Ariz., Spirit Realty Capital, bought the properties Oct. 25 from Shelton Development Co. LLC in separate transactions, paying $1.3 million for the Popeyes at 1105 W. Poplar Ave. in Collierville, $2 million for the one at 6085 Stage Road in Bartlett and $1.9 million for the one at 3660 Austin Peay Highway in Memphis.
Built in 2000, the Collierville Popeyes measures 3,226 square feet and is on 0.8 acres on the south side of West Poplar east of Poplar View Parkway. The Shelby County Assessor of Property appraised it this year at $917,900.
The 3,744-square-foot Bartlett Popeyes was built in 1985 and is situated on 1.2 acres on the south side of Stage between Bartlett Boulevard and Elmore Park Road. The assessor’s 2013 appraisal is $763,600.
And the Austin Peay Popeyes, built in 2004 and measuring 2,302 square feet, is on 1.3 acres on the southeast side of Austin Peay southwest of Joslyn Street. Its 2013 appraisal is $622,200.
In conjunction with the purchases, Spirit Master Funding filed a $7.5 million deed of trust through Citibank NA. Gregg A. Seibert signed the loan as senior vice president of Spirit SPE Manager LLC, the managing entity behind Spirit Master Funding LLC.
MAAR: Home Sales Flat in October
Memphis-area home sales for October were relatively flat from a year ago, with 1,378 total sales, according to the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.
The 1,378 sales in October were up 5.3 percent from 1,309 sales recorded in September. The average sales price for a home in October was $146,771, up 14.2 percent from $128,526 last October. Total sales volume for the month was $202 million, up 13.7 percent from $177.9 million last October.
The sales numbers come from MAAR’s Multiple Listing Service, which covers Shelby, Fayette, Tipton, Hardeman, Hardin, McNairy, and Lauderdale counties in Tennessee; DeSoto County, Miss., and Crittenden County, Ark.
MAAR has recorded 13,891 home sales through October, up 8.9 percent from 12,752 over the same period last year. The average home sales price through October was $143,200, up 10.7 percent from $129,375 over the same period last year.
Rainey Kizer Law Firm Names New President
Dale Thomas, a partner in the law firm of Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell PLC, will succeed John Burleson to become the firm’s next president Jan. 1.
The firm’s president continues to practice law while also assuming responsibility for setting leadership strategy, managing business affairs and supervising the firm administrator.
Thomas has been associated with Rainey Kizer since graduating with honors from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1988. He practices in the areas of general civil and commercial litigation, workers’ compensation, employment law, insurance coverage, trucking law, and education law.
Indie Memphis Draws More Than 10,000
The Indie Memphis Film Festival drew more than 10,000 attendees for the second year in a row to the four-day festival, organizers said.
This year’s attendance total was 10,035.
With the completion of the new Hattiloo Theatre next year, Indie Memphis executive director Erik Jambor said, the 2014 festival “should be even better.” And according to Indie Memphis board president Iddo Patt, this year’s festival had more venues at, near and sometimes over capacity than ever before.
Haslam: Committed To Improving Teacher Salaries
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he's committed to improving the salaries of the state's teachers and plans to provide some degree of funding in his proposed budget to start doing so.
The Republican governor began his annual budget hearings with agency leaders at the Capitol on Tuesday with the Education Department.
Commissioner Kevin Huffman didn't provide specific numbers on what an increase for teachers might look like, saying he and the governor needed to first see how the overall budget comes together and then explore "what's doable this year" for teachers.
Haslam said at a news conference last month that by the time he leaves office he wants Tennessee's teacher salaries to have grown more than teacher salaries in any other state.
He told reporters on Tuesday that the state has an ongoing commitment with K-12 teachers.
BDL Files Building Permit for Cordova Site
BDL Properties LLC has filed a $907,091 building permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for a Cordova property it purchased Oct. 25.
The limited liability company, which lists a Memphis address, bought the 0.9-acre parcel in a $193,842 warranty deed from the Grace N. Gower Marital Trust and Grace N. Gower Family Trust.
The property, which the sale document lists at 0 Douglas Road, is part of 10 acres the Gower trusts own, located behind Lowe’s Home Improvement on the east side of South Germantown Parkway.
At the time of purchase, BDL filed a $1.1 million construction deed of trust through First State Bank, and also filed a $123,000 deed of trust through Jack Bomar. John W. Brown III signed both trust deeds on behalf of BDL Properties.
The permit application lists the scope of work as “ground up construction” of a 7,600-square-foot building. Alexander Construction LLC is listed as the project’s contactor.
Lipman Meets With Judiciary Committee
Memphis attorney Sheri Lipman appeared Wednesday, Nov. 13, before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, which is reviewing her nomination by President Barack Obama to become the newest U.S. District judge for the Western District of Tennessee.
Obama nominated Lipman Aug. 1 on the recommendation of U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis, who set up a screening committee to interview nine potential candidates.
The committee has not reported to the full Senate on Lipman’s nomination.
Lipman served as counsel to the University of Memphis for 10 years before becoming chief of staff to University President Brad Martin.
Paragon National Bank Seeks Food Bank Donations
Paragon National Bank’s four banking centers will serve as donation points for the Sixth Annual Mid-South Food Bank Student Food Drive.
Donations of nonperishable food items can be made through Nov. 29 at Paragon’s four locations: Paragon Place, 6300 Poplar Ave.; Fountain Place, 5400 Poplar Ave.; Saddle Creek, 7600 Poplar Ave.; and Grove Park, 4515 Poplar Ave.
Last year, Paragon collected more than $14,000 in donations and more than 500 pounds of food.
Tennessee GOP Settles Lawsuit With Top Aide
The Tennessee Republican Party and former chief of staff Mark Winslow have settled a lawsuit over the public disclosure of his severance pay after he left the state GOP.
Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Chattanooga and political operative Chip Saltsman remain defendants in the case headed for trial on Feb. 24.
"I am pleased we have reached an amicable resolution of this unfortunate matter and look forward to Mark's continuing good work for the party and our principles," state Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney said in a release Thursday.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Devaney chose not to retain Winslow after he was elected to replace former Chairwoman Robin Smith, who left the position in 2009 to run for Congress.
Winslow went to work as a top aide to Smith's campaign, and later details of the confidential severance agreement became the subject of media reports and ads by Fleischmann's campaign. Fleischmann ended up winning the nomination and the general election.
"Their target was Robin Smith, but they used Mark Winslow, who had worked for the party, and is still on the state executive committee," said Winslow's attorney, Gary Blackburn. "And they described his behavior as at least unethical and probably illegal."
Winslow sued Fleishman, Saltsman and the state GOP in Davidson County Circuit Court, seeking a combined $750,000 in damages on the basis that his reputation had been unfairly damaged by the disclosures.
Saltsman, in testimony last year, said documents describing the payments were left anonymously on the steps of the garage at his home.
Amazon, Postal Service Will Deliver on Sundays
Amazon is teaming up with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays.
The Seattle company says Sunday delivery will be available this week to customers in the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Amazon and the Postal Service plan to roll out service to "a large portion of the U.S. population" next year, including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.
Amazon expects Sunday delivery to be popular with members of its Prime service, which costs $79 a year and comes with free two-day shipping on many items on the site as well as access to Amazon's TV and movie streaming service. But Sunday delivery will be available to all Amazon customers.
"For Prime members, it's free; for non-Prime members, it's like any other delivery day of the week," said Dave Clark, vice president of worldwide operations and customer service at Amazon. It won't cost extra to get a package delivered on a Sunday.
Sunday delivery has been on Amazon's wish list for a long time. The company does not disclose the percentage of its packages that are delivered on weekends, but Clark expects customers "to be delighted that they will get their products on a weekend."
Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed, but the deal is likely to give the financially ailing Postal Service a boost. The agency, which lost $16 billion last year, had tried but failed to end Saturday mail delivery as a cost-saving measure.
Report: Refugees Net Positive for Tennessee
A report by the state's Fiscal Review Committee has found that refugees bring in more money to Tennessee than they cost the state in entitlements. But that's not the message some of the lawmakers who asked for the report want to hear.
Due to a lack of data, the author of the report had to make some assumptions, including that refugees consume public services and pay taxes at a similar rate to the average Tennessean.
"We don't know if it's flawed. But we don't know if it's accurate," state Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas) told WPLN-TV. "So if we don't know if it's accurate or flawed, what was the point of the study?"
Carr serves on a subcommittee of the Joint Government Operations Committee that has been working on the assumption that there are hidden costs to resettling Tennessee's estimated 58,000 refugees.
The report estimates that Tennessee taxpayers spent $40 million last year to educate school-age refugees and $26 million to cover refugees on TennCare. That's about $66 million in costs. But refugees are estimated to have paid more than $103 million in state taxes.
The report concludes that by a conservative estimate, refugees and their descendants have accounted for about 0.7 percent of the state's population since 1990.
Over that same period, the state has spent at least $753 million on services to that population, and brought in at least $1.387 billion in revenue from them.