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VOL. 7 | NO. 50 | Saturday, December 6, 2014

Daily Digest

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Brook Chase Apartments Will Receive Upgrades

The Brook Chase Apartments in Germantown are about to get a makeover.

Memphis-based Fogelman Properties and New York-based DRA Advisors LLC, which teamed up this year to acquire the property for $31.1 million, plan on making significant upgrades to the 280-unit apartment community at 7865 Grove Court West.

The 46-acre complex, situated along Germantown Parkway south of Wolf River Boulevard, will be renamed The Retreat at Germantown.

Fogelman, which will manage the property, said plans call for improved landscaping, a fitness center and upgrading countertops, appliances, flooring, lighting and plumbing fixtures in the apartments.

Highland Row Developer Acquires 13 Acres

Indianapolis-based developer Milhaus Ventures has acquired several vacant parcels for the long-awaited Highland Row project near the University of Memphis for $4.3 million.

Milhaus, operating as Highland Row LLC, acquired the properties at 443 S. Highland St. and 366, 374 and 380 Ellsworth St. from Worthington Hyde Partners, operating as Highland Row Land Partners LLC, according to a Nov. 26 warranty deed.

The addresses listed on the warranty deed did not match addresses on the Shelby County Assessor of Property site. The tax parcel numbers listed on the deed returned addresses of 0 Ellsworth and 0 S. Highland. The 0 S. Highland address contains 10 acres and the assessor’s 2014 appraisal is $2.4 million. The assessor’s 2014 appraisal of the 0 Ellsworth address is $210,300.

The mixed-use Highland Row development will include 354 apartments, 35 townhomes, a parking garage and 26,000 square feet of retail space. Memphis-based Poag Shopping Centers, then operating as Poag & McEwen Lifestyle Centers, originally planned to develop Highland Row, but those plans were shelved following the recession.

Worthington Hyde acquired the four addresses listed on the warranty deed, a total of 13 acres, from Poag & McEwen Lifestyle Centers in 2011 for $2.6 million.

Kemmons Wilson Cos. Announces New Leaders

Kemmons Wilson Cos., a family-run business started by Holiday Inn Hotels founder Kemmons Wilson, has announced a new leadership team.

Spence Wilson Jr., Kemmons Wilson III, McLean Wilson and Webb Wilson – all grandsons of Kemmons Wilson – are now principals of the firm. The previous second-generation family leadership group, Spence Wilson Sr., Robert Wilson, and Kemmons Wilson Jr., will remain members of the board of directors.

“We are excited about the opportunity to advance this great legacy created by our grandfather and continued so successfully by our fathers and uncles,” Spence Wilson Jr. said in a statement.

Kemmons Wilson Cos. is a concentration of six industries, including aviation, financial services, hotels, insurance, real estate and time sharing, and company leaders also pursue private investment opportunities inside and outside these industries.

The leadership team has refreshed key elements of the Kemmons Wilson Cos. brand, including foundational items such as vision and core values, and has introduced a new logo and website. The third generation has already hosted several town hall meetings with each of their businesses to share their vision moving forward.

Wunderlich Investment Taps New Finance Chief

Wunderlich Securities Inc. has a new chief financial officer at its holding company, Wunderlich Investment Co.

The Memphis-based investment firm has tapped Stacy Hodges as its new CFO. She brings two decades of financial services experience to the role, mostly with Dallas-based Southwest Securities. She also has a background in public accounting.

Hodges joined Southwest Securities in 1994 as controller, following nine years in public accounting with KPMG LLP. In 2002, she became Southwest’s executive vice president and chief accounting officer, then was promoted eight years later to CFO.

Hodges left Southwest in 2013 for Nationstar Mortgage, where she was named executive vice president and chief accounting officer.

In a statement about the hire, Wunderlich CEO Gary Wunderlich said Hodges’ “experience leading the finance areas of larger, publicly traded financial services firms will be tremendously valuable to support our firm’s strategic growth objectives over the next few years.”

Former St. Jude CEO Wins Claes Nobel Award

Dr. William E. Evans, former president and CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has been honored with a 2014 Claes Nobel World Betterment Award, named for Claes Nobel, senior member of the Nobel family and founder of the National Society of High School Scholars Foundation.

Along with Evans, this year’s honorees are Laura Turner Seydel, chairperson of Captain Planet Foundation, and Arne Duncan, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools and current U.S. Secretary of Education.

The award was established in 2013 to honor outstanding role models for today’s millennials, recognizing individuals who are making exceptional contributions to the promotion of global unity and cultural understanding in their own particular area of influence. Through the award, the NSHSS Foundation seeks to inspire leadership and value for humankind among diverse young people around the world.

Evans retired as president and CEO of St. Jude in July and returned full time to his laboratory to continue research on the pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents with an emphasis on childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Dec. 17 Health Forum to Explore Solutions

A coalition of business and civic groups including the Greater Memphis Chamber and Memphis Tomorrow is hosting a Dec. 17 forum on health care issues at the University of Memphis Fogelman Executive Conference Center, 330 Innovation Drive.

The event, which will run from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., is free and open to the public. It will include representatives of the city’s major health care institutions, including the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

The forum is to specifically discuss poor health conditions in Shelby County and is part of a series of statewide forums that highlight those conditions as well as possible solutions on a statewide basis.

MassMutual Sponsors New JA BizTown Shop

Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South Inc. has announced MassMutual Life Insurance Co. as its newest shop sponsor for JA BizTown.

JA BizTown is a fully interactive simulated town facility in which students work together and put to the test lessons they learned over a four-week period using a curriculum provided by Junior Achievement. Students hold town meetings, write and execute business plans, deposit paychecks and even open their own savings account, which they may spend at shops within the model city.

The MassMutual Shop focuses on education related to financial services, including life insurance, retirement plans, supplemental insurance and other financial offerings.

MassMutual’s commitment brings JA BizTown to a total of 17 shop sponsors, including AutoZone, Baptist Memorial Health Care, Chick-fil-A, City of Memphis, The Daily News Publishing Co., FedEx, First Tennessee, iHeartMedia, International Paper, MassMutual, Memphis Grizzlies, Orgill, Power & Tel, ServiceMaster, Smith & Nephew, SunTrust and Target.

Shelby County Sees Drop in Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate in Shelby County dropped in October but remains above the state average.

The preliminary unemployment rate for Shelby County in October was 7.9 percent, down from 9.8 percent in October of 2013 and 8.3 percent in September, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for October was 7.1 percent, two-tenths of one percentage point lower than the 7.3 September revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for October was 5.8 percent, down from 5.9 percent in September.

The overall unemployment rate for the Memphis region in October was 7.5 percent, down from 9.2 percent a year ago and 7.9 percent in September.

The Fayette County unemployment rate was 7.8 percent, down from 9.7 percent a year ago and 8.1 percent in September. The unemployment rate for the Tipton County portion of the region was 7.8 percent in October, down from 8.9 percent a year ago and 7.7 percent in September.

The unemployment rate for the Arkansas portion of the region was 8.6 percent in October, down from 9.6 percent a year ago and 9.8 percent in September. The unemployment rate for the Mississippi portion of the regions was 5.8 percent in October, down from 7.1 percent a year ago and 6 percent in September.

Knox County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in October at 5.1 percent, down from 5.4 percent in September. Davidson County was 5.2 percent in October, down from 5.5 percent in September. The Hamilton County October rate was 6.2 percent, down from 6.6 percent in September.

Auction Doesn’t Attract Commerce Center Buyer

An auction of the former FedEx and Holiday Inns headquarters failed to produce a buyer.

The Commerce Center complex on Lamar Avenue is back up for sale after not receiving a minimum bid of $2.5 million for the 313,843-square-foot, three-building campus on 33 acres. Sperry Van Ness’ SVN Auction Service had put the property on the auction block for the owner, which had been seeking $7.5 million for the property.

The facility was constructed and occupied by Holiday Inn and subsequently FedEx, which utilized the campus for its global operation command and control center. FedEx reportedly spent in excess of $7 million on improvements from 1995 to 2004, when it left for the company’s new headquarters.

Malmo Memphis Real Estate is currently representing the owner.

Eclectic Eye Collecting Donations for Nonprofits

Eclectic Eye has announced that its Midtown eyewear boutique will support the DeNeuville Learning Center this holiday season by collecting items from the organization’s wish list.

DeNeuville is a nonprofit in Midtown that guides women from all backgrounds and cultures in learning the skills needed to make positive choices for themselves and their families through education, counseling and promoting ways to enhance self-worth.

The organization is always accepting donations, including things like diapers and baby wipes, baby bottles, women’s clothing and accessories, educational DVDs, calculators and gift cards to Kroger, Wal-Mart and more. Donations of items from DeNeuville’s In-Kind Donation Wish List will be accepted at Eclectic Eye’s 242 S. Cooper St. location throughout December.

Meanwhile, Eclectic Eye’s Collierville boutique, 3670 S. Houston Levee Road, will support the Page Robbins Adult Day Center for the second straight year this holiday season by collecting donations from that organization’s wish list.

Page Robbins is a Collierville-based nonprofit that cares for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, while also caring for their caregivers and providing respite.

The Collierville organization is always accepting donations of items such as party supplies, paper products, food and kitchen items, office supplies, housekeeping items, personal items, and arts and crafts supplies.

Poll: Tennesseans Approve of Haslam, Legislature

Tennesseans approve of their elected officials but want them to work with members of the other party, even if it means compromising on some of their values and priorities, according to a new poll from Vanderbilt University.

The survey of about 950 registered Tennessee voters was taken just after the November election. Seventy percent of respondents said they approved of Gov. Bill Haslam and 55 percent approved of the Tennessee Legislature.

But voters' priorities for the Legislature differed somewhat from those that lawmakers have put forward.

Forty percent of respondents said the economy should be the top priority, followed by education and health care. Only 2 percent said guns were the top priority.

A full 77 percent said they wanted their legislators to compromise with members of the other party.

Renovation Planned for Mason Temple

The Church of God in Christ’s historic Mason Temple Downtown is about to get a makeover.

The Memphis-based church has applied for a $1.4 million building permit through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for the “renovation” of an existing two-story structure at 930 Mason St.

Mason Temple is named after COGIC founder Charles Harrison Mason and is the spiritual home of the denomination.

Walton Foundation Awards Grant to Excel Center

The Excel Center, a new charter high school that will serve adults 18 and older, has been awarded a $250,000 Walton Family Foundation grant for school startup. The Excel Center will begin classes in fall 2015 at 1490 Norris Road, site of the former Norris Road Elementary.

The center, which is being started by Memphis Goodwill Inc., will provide Shelby County adults the chance to return to school to earn a high school diploma and pursue post-secondary education or training. It will feature a learning environment geared to adult learners, life coaches, a free on-site drop-in center for students’ children, and college and career counseling.

“We are thrilled to be a recipient of a Walton Family Foundation grant, and are very grateful for the confidence the Foundation has placed in this unique education model,” said Tony Martini, CEO of Memphis Goodwill, in a statement. “We are looking forward to getting The Excel Center ready for opening next fall, and welcoming our first group of 350 students.”

The Shelby County Board of Education approved Excel Center to locate in the former Norris Road Elementary at its Nov. 25 meeting. Excel Center will stay at the location until its permanent space in the Sears Crosstown building is ready for occupancy.

Cafe Pontotoc Adds Weekend Brunch

Café Pontotoc, a new wine bar, tapas bar and restaurant in South Main, is adding a weekend brunch starting Saturday, Dec. 6.

It will serve brunch Saturdays and Sundays, and in the future, brunch on Fridays may be added.

Café Pontotoc opened this summer. Owners Milton and Cherie Lamb said they wanted to establish a comfortable neighborhood bar that serves wine, local beers and small plates in a setting where patrons get used to coming in to unwind.

Obama to Visit Nashville to Discuss Immigration

President Barack Obama is traveling to Nashville to speak about his executive actions on immigration.

Obama will be in Nashville Tuesday, Dec. 9, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper. Obama will speak at Casa Azafran, a community center and office space housing nonprofit groups that serve the city's immigrants.

In a televised address to the nation last month, Obama announced sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration system could shield 4 million people here illegally from deportation, without going through Congress.

Opponents of the move, particularly in the U.S. House of Representatives, have vowed to try to stop the executive action, which they consider unconstitutional.

Tuesday's visit is Obama's second trip to Nashville this year. In January, he spoke at McGavock High School.

Big Legal Need Among Low-Income Tennesseans

A new study found more than 60 percent of low-income Tennesseans face a significant civil legal need.

According to a news release from the Tennessee Supreme Court, respondents cited conflicts with creditors and landlords, problems obtaining or paying for health care, and difficulties with government benefits.

Unlike criminal legal matters, people with civil legal needs are not entitled to public attorneys. And according to the study, only 25 percent of respondents were aware of resources to help find a lawyer.

Many said they did not seek help because they feared involving the courts would make their problems worse.

The Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission is seeking ways to provide help civil legal aid to needy Tennesseans. The group meets in December to discuss the study's results.

Baptist Trinity Named to HomeCare Elite List

Baptist Trinity Home Care & Hospice was named to the 2014 HomeCare Elite, a compilation of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States, for the ninth consecutive year – earning the distinction of being the longest-running recipient in the area.

The annual review identified the top 25 percent of the more than 10,000 Medicare-certified home health agencies that were considered and highlighted the top 100 and top 500 agencies overall. Winners were ranked by an analysis of performance measures in quality outcomes, quality improvement, patient experience, process measure implementation and financial performance.

The 2014 HomeCare Elite is the only performance recognition of its kind in the home health industry. It is co-sponsored by National Research Corp. (also known as OCS HomeCare), a provider of cross-continuum healthcare metrics and analytics, and DecisionHealth, publisher of the Home Health Line newsletter. The data used for the analysis were compiled from publicly available information.

Firestone Center Sells for $2 Million

A large operator of auto care and tire stores has acquired a Firestone Complete Auto Care location for $2 million.

Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC, which counts four retail brands and 2,200 stores across the U.S. in its portfolio, acquired the Firestone location at 1921 Whitten Road from SMBC Leasing and Finance Inc., according to a Dec. 1 warranty deed.

The auto garage was built on 1.7 acres at Whitten and Raleigh LaGrange Road in 2011. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $1 million.

Greater Imani Buys Broadmoor Property

Greater Imani Baptist Church has purchased property from Broadmoor Baptist Church for $1.6 million.

Greater Imani acquired the Broadmoor property at 3824 Austin Peay Highway, according to a Nov. 3 warranty deed. Greater Imani filed a $2 million loan with Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Co. in conjunction with the purchase, according to a deed of trust filed the same day. William A. Adkins Jr., board president for Greater Imani, signed the deed of trust.

The purchase includes two parcels, a 21-acre vacant lot and a four-acre lot that includes two buildings and a parking lot. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal of the properties was a combined $276,000. The Assessor lists the address for the two properties as 0 Austin Peay.

Collierville Land Sells for $1.5 Million

Commercial property at Winchester and Byhalia roads in Collierville has sold for $1.5 million.

CGL Investments LLC sold two parcels of vacant land to Innovative Investments LLC. The address given on the Nov. 18 warranty deed was 484 Winchester Road, located on the northeast corner of Winchester and Byhalia.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal for the two parcels, which total 2.5 acres, is $1.3 million.

Fox 13 Taps New General Manager

WHBQ-TV Fox 13 has a new general manager and is looking for a news director.

Cox Media Group has tapped Paul Briggs, an 18-year veteran of the media company, to be the new vice president and general manager at Fox 13. He comes to the station from Charlotte, N.C., where he was the general sales manager at WSOC-TV.

He’s also worked as general sales manager at Charlotte’s WAXN-TV and as an account executive at WSOC-TV. Briggs replaces John Koski.

Meanwhile, Cox’s executive vice president of television, Jane Williams, told The Daily News the company also is looking for a news director to succeed Ken Jobe at the Memphis station.

Three Tigers Selected for East-West Shrine Game

University of Memphis safety Fritz Etienne, cornerback Bobby McCain and defensive end Martin Ifedi have accepted invitations to play in the 90th East-West Shrine Game. The game will be played Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised by the NFL Network.

The trio of Tigers join an elite list of football greats, such as John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and 70 NFL Hall of Famers, who have played in the East-West Shrine Game. More than 265 East-West Shrine Game alumni currently are on NFL rosters.

Memphis has previously had eight student-athletes play in the game, including current Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive lineman Clinton McDonald (2009) and current New England Patriot offensive lineman Jordan Devey (2012).

Dollar General Misses Street 3Q Forecasts

Dollar General Corp. reported third-quarter results Thursday that missed Wall Street expectations, and said it is still committed to buying rival discount retailer Family Dollar, which has already agreed to be bought by Dollar Tree. Dollar General said it plans to give an update on its Family Dollar bid this month.

The Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based company posted net income of $236.3 million, or 78 cents, per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to 79 cents per share. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 80 cents per share.

It reported revenue of $4.72 billion, up from $4.38 billion a year ago but short of Street forecasts. Analysts expected $4.76 billion, according to Zacks.

For the full year, the company expects earnings between $3.45 per share and $3.55 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect earnings of $3.50 per share.

Joerger Honored as Coach of the Month

After leading the Memphis Grizzlies to the best record in the NBA to start the season (15-2), including a perfect mark against Western Conference opponents (11-0), head coach Dave Joerger has been named the Western Conference Coach of the Month for October/November 2014.

This marks the third career Coach of the Month honor for Joerger since he began his NBA head coaching career with the Grizzlies at the start of the 2013-14 season. He previously was honored as the Western Conference Coach of the Month in January and April.

The Grizzlies are the first Western Conference team to start a season 15-2 since the 2010-11 San Antonio Spurs, and their 11 consecutive wins over Western Conference opponents is tied for the second-longest winning streak by a West team against conference foes to start a season in the last 20 seasons.

Memphis has held opponents to the lowest scoring average in the league (92.4 points) and ranks third in points in the paint (47.1) and fourth in steals (8.3).

Malco Pulls Permit to Build Cordova Cinema

Malco Theatres appears poised to build a new cinema and entertainment center in Cordova.

Memphis-based Malco applied for a $600,000 building permit through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for “foundation and underground” work at 9561 U.S. 64.

The application lists Linkous Construction Co. as the contractor and TK Architects as the engineer and architect.

Doug Carpenter Adds Workflow Manager

Doug Carpenter & Associates has added Sara Studdard as workflow manager.

She’ll be responsible for the internal trafficking of work throughout the agency and will help the director of account management in the day-to-day management of accounts.

Before joining the firm, Studdard served as coordinator of the Creative Placemaking Project for the Broad Avenue Arts District.

Teachers' Union Seeks 6 Percent Pay Increase

The state's largest teachers' union is calling on Gov. Bill Haslam to increase teachers' pay by 6 percent this year.

The Tennessee Education Association issued a news release on Tuesday, three days before the governor is to hear a budget presentation from the state Education Department.

Haslam is holding budget hearings with state agencies this week.

The TEA said it would ultimately like to see a salary increase of 11.3 percent for teachers: 6 percent this year and the rest phased in over two to three years.

The group said the increase could be built into the state's school funding formula, or BEP.

In 2013, Haslam vowed to make Tennessee the fastest-improving state in the nation in terms of teacher pay. He told reporters on Tuesday that he's still committed to that, even though he didn't say how and or when he'd do it.

Comcast Awards Grants to Tenn. Organizations

The Comcast Foundation announced it has made a series of financial grants totaling more than $87,000 to a variety of groups around Tennessee that support the underserved.

Beneficiaries include the American Red Cross; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Boys and Girls Clubs; the National Kidney Foundation; the Pencil Foundation; and Volunteer Mid-South.

Comcast vice president of external affairs Andy Macke said the grants help further Comcast's desire "to be a key partner to those in need."

Latest Fed Survey Finds Economic Improvement

The U.S. economy kept expanding in October and November, helped by solid gains in consumer spending, manufacturing and overall employment, according to the Federal Reserve's latest survey of business conditions around the country.

The Fed said that business executives remain optimistic about the prospects for growth in 2015. The gains in economic activity were coming as overall inflation remained subdued although the report did find upward wage pressures for some skilled workers.

The report, known as the Beige Book for the color of its cover, will form the basis for discussion at the Fed's final policy-making meeting of the year on Dec. 16-17.

The comments in the report suggest the Fed will leave a key short-term interest rate at a record low for the time being. The rate has been near zero since December 2008. Many private economists believe that the economy will be growing strongly enough and unemployment will be low enough that the central bank will begin raising rates in the middle of 2015.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 124 481 17,865
MORTGAGES 127 530 20,565
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 4 48 2,693
BUILDING PERMITS 195 891 36,836
BANKRUPTCIES 52 262 11,426
BUSINESS LICENSES 24 139 5,848
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 26 116 6,830
MARRIAGE LICENSES 26 133 4,049