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VOL. 129 | NO. 19 | Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Daily Digest

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Hard Rock Files Permit for New Beale Locale

Hard Rock Cafe International (USA) has filed a $2.5 million permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for interior renovations at 126 Beale St.

The restaurant, bar and live music venue will depart its current location at 315 Beale St. and move to the Lansky Bros. building at Second and Beale, according to recent reports in The Commercial Appeal.

The permit lists Hard Rock as the tenant and Belz Enterprises as owner. Technically, the owner is BJHA LLC, which is affiliated with the Lansky family.

Built in 1904, the 24,512-square-foot building sits on 0.8 acres and formerly housed EP Delta Kitchen & Bar, which closed in 2008. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal was $1.3 million.

Philadelphia, Miss.-based W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co., which has an office on Poplar Avenue, is general contractor for the project.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Groundbreaking Set for Memphis' First Hilton Garden Inn

The groundbreaking for the first Hilton Garden Inn in Memphis is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 31, at 10 a.m.

Hilton Worldwide and Globus Partnership are hosting the groundbreaking at the site of the new hotel, 7955 Market Plaza Drive in Cordova.

The property is owned by Globus Partnership, and construction will be provided by Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC. The five-story, 124-room Hilton Garden Inn Memphis-Cordova/Wolfchase is expected to be completed in December.

The Cordova hotel could be the first of two Hilton Garden Inns to break ground this year.

In December, Turkey Creek Hospitality announced it had has signed a licensing agreement with Hilton Worldwide to develop a 140-room Hilton Garden Inn at 235 Union Ave., the site of a former structured parking facility at the corner of Union and Fourth Street. Knoxville-based Turkey Creek Hospitality would own and operate the new hotel.

– Amos Maki

Evolve Bank Offers Nonprofit $25,000 Challenge Grant

Evolve Bank & Trust is offering a challenge grant of $25,000 to Neighborhood Christian Centers Inc. if the nonprofit raises $50,000 by Feb. 28.

Because of the challenge grant, Neighborhood Christian Centers will leverage all gifts of any size that are designated for the “Evolve Matching Gift” from now through the deadline.

To have their gifts matched, donors may mail contributions to Neighborhood Christian Centers (785 Jackson Ave.) or donate at ncclife.org and note “Evolve Matching Gift.”

Neighborhood Christian Centers President and CEO Ephie Ballard Johnson said the grant will allow the group to engage its donors and leverage each of their gifts.

– Andy Meek

Tigers’ Goodwin Recognized by AAC

University of Memphis sophomore forward Shaq Goodwin made the American Athletic Conference’s Weekly Honor Roll after averaging 16.5 points and 8.0 rebounds through games ending Sunday, Jan. 26.

The Tigers went 2-0, beating Houston and the University of South Florida in games at FedExForum.

For the season, Goodwin is averaging 13.2 points per game and a team-high 7.0 rebounds. He also leads the Tigers with 30 blocks.

– Don Wade

Commission Votes Down Fairgrounds TDZ Resolution

Shelby County Commissioners on Monday voted down a resolution by Commissioner Steve Basar urging the Tennessee Building Commission to reject Memphis government’s coming application for a Fairgrounds Tourism Development Zone.

The commission’s addition of the ballpark deal to its Monday agenda did not extend to adding a resolution that would change the size and districts of the Shelby County Schools board.

Commissioner Mike Ritz said earlier this month he is ready to propose changing the 13-member school board, which is to debut in September, to a nine-member school board whose districts cover only the city of Memphis and unincorporated areas of Shelby County.

The current seven-member school board covers all of Shelby County, as would the 13-member board.

The district lines to be proposed by Ritz would reflect the formation of six suburban school systems, each with its own elected school board. Leaders from the six districts are hoping to open their separate systems when the new school year starts in August.

The change, if approved, would also come as the filing period for candidates in the 13 races on the August county general election ballot is already underway.

– Bill Dries

Haslam Named Policy Chair of GOP Governors Group

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has been named policy chairman of the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee.

The group is the policy arm of the Republican Governors Association. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is the chairman of the 29-member national association, in a release called Haslam "a true pioneer in the public policy sphere."

Haslam said states are flourishing while the federal government is unable to implement its own policy priorities. The governor stressed his own accomplishments in overhauling civil service rules in Tennessee and reducing what he called the government footprint in the state.

Haslam is up for re-election this fall but has yet to draw a serious opponent for the primary or general election.

– The Associated Press

Mississippi Jobless Rate Falls on Labor Force Decline

Mississippi's unemployment rate fell to 8 percent in December, as people continued to drop out of the labor force.

A separate survey shows state employer payrolls rising slowly.

Both sets of figures – adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes – were released Tuesday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It's the lowest state jobless rate since January 2009, a point when jobless rolls were surging.

Mississippi's unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in November. The state jobless rate was 8.9 percent in December 2012.

The labor department reports 102,000 Mississippians were unemployed in November, down from 107,000 in November and 119,000 in December 2012.

That decline was more than cancelled out by an 8,000-person decline in the labor force.

– The Associated Press

US Home Prices Dip Slightly in November

U.S. home prices fell slightly in November as colder weather slowed buying, ending nine straight months of price gains.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index slipped 0.1 percent from October to November, partly reversing the previous monthly increase of 0.2 percent. But the index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the monthly decline partly reflects slower buying in the late fall as temperatures drop.

"November was a good month for home prices," said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Dow Jones index committee. "Prices typically weaken as we move closer to the winter."

Despite the overall decline, home values have continued to rise in many Sun Belt cities. Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix have registered 20 straight months of rising prices.

But home prices surged for much of 2013, driven by big gains earlier in the year. Prices have risen 13.7 percent over the past 12 months.

The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The November figures are the latest available.

– The Associated Press

US Consumer Confidence Hits Highest Since August

U.S. consumer confidence has risen to its highest point since August on the strength of a brighter view of the job market and business conditions.

The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday its consumer confidence index rose to 80.7 this month from a December reading of 77.5. It was the second consecutive strong gain.

Consumer confidence is closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

For 2013, the confidence gauge averaged 73.3, the highest since 2007. That's above the 45.2 average in 2009 when the economy was in recession for half the year. But it is still below the reading of 90 that economists view as consistent with a healthy economy.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 50 389 12,758
MORTGAGES 21 248 8,003
BUILDING PERMITS 295 813 29,934
BANKRUPTCIES 35 164 6,064