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VOL. 129 | NO. 124 | Thursday, June 26, 2014

Daily Digest

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Sheraton Files Permit for Room Renovation

The 600-room Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel at 250 N. Main St. has filed a $4.5 million permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for guest room renovations.

No contractor was listed for the project, but Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. – which last year rebranded the Memphis Marriott Downtown hotel as a Sheraton – announced at the time that the property would undergo renovations to bring that brand’s amenities and services.

“Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel will welcome travelers with a stylish, comfortable and social atmosphere where they can enjoy all the brand’s recently enhanced signature services and amenities in a convenient location near leading Memphis attractions,” Hoyt Harper, global brand leader for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, said last year.

The Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel is connected to the Memphis Cook Convention Center. It was originally a Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza before being converted to a Marriott.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

UPS Expanding Memphis Operations, Adding Jobs

United Parcel Service announced Wednesday, June 25, that it had launched an expansion in Memphis that will add 350 jobs over a three-year period.

The company will add 140,000 square feet of space to its facility on Swinnea Road adjacent to Memphis International Airport. The expansion is expected to be completed in early 2016 and will increase the facility’s sorting capacity by 80 percent.

The previously announced expansion, which could cost upwards of $70 million, is to help handle an increasing amount of business from e-commerce, the company said. The new jobs will include tractor-trailer and delivery drivers, package handlers, management, maintenance and support staff.

The Memphis UPS hub is a centerpiece for the company’s movement of package volume among Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, and it currently employs more than 1,300 people.

In November, UPS received an 11-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive from the Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County for the project, which is expected to create around $9.8 million in new tax revenue in the Memphis area.

– Amos Maki

Wunderlich Expands, Opens New Office

Wunderlich Securities Inc. has expanded into consumer and business services investment banking.

The Memphis-based company has hired Joe Schimmelpfennig, Jeff Ng and Eric Eindahl as managing directors to lead the group and to open a new Orange County, Calif., office. The consumer and business services investment banking team is based in Newport Beach, Calif., and is in the process of supplementing its team with investment banking, equity research and institutional sales and trading professionals.

Wunderlich CEO Gary Wunderlich said the consumer and business services sectors are among the firm’s top priorities as it continues to build its institutional and investment banking capabilities.

– Andy Meek

University of Memphis Athletics Publications Honored

Four University of Memphis publications designed by Brandon Kolditz, assistant director of athletics communications, received “Best Cover in the Nation” recognition by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The publications were judged as part of the organization’s annual publications contest.

Only Notre Dame, which won six awards, had more Best in the Nation honors than the University of Memphis.

The U of M’s 2013-2014 publications were produced with a common theme of “We Are Memphis” as the school played its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

– Don Wade

Redbirds Back Home for Weekend Series

The Memphis Redbirds open up a four-game weekend series Thursday, June 26, at AutoZone Park against the Round Rock Express, the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.

The homestand includes the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2013 National League Championship Series replica ring giveaway on Friday night for the first 3,000 fans. Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday, and first pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Also on Friday, Cardinals pitcher and former Redbird Joe Kelly is scheduled to make a rehab start as he works his way back from a hamstring injury.

Saturday night’s 6:05 game (gates open at 5 p.m.) is an opportunity for fans to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Fans can use the promotional code STJUDE when purchasing tickets online to donate $5 back to St. Jude. Fireworks will follow the game.

On Sunday, select Redbirds will sign autographs in the plaza from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. before the 6:05 p.m. game start. After the game, kids 12 and younger can run the bases. The first 3,000 kids under 48 inches tall will receive a complimentary ticket to Six Flags St. Louis. Looney Tunes characters will also be at the ballpark Sunday to greet fans.

For more information, visit memphisredbirds.com or call 722-0299.

– Don Wade

Carson: Joe Brown Not ‘Average Candidate’

The chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party said Wednesday, June 25, that he is concerned by questions from Democrats about the campaign of Joe Brown as the Democratic nominee for district attorney general in the August county elections.

In a written statement to local Democrats, Bryan Carson said some have questioned whether Brown, a retired Criminal Court judge, is campaigning.

“Judge Joe Brown is a Democratic nominee and should be supported by all,” Carson said in the statement. “As far as his campaign methods, you have to realize he is not your average candidate.”

Carson cited Brown’s history as a prosecutor, defense attorney and judge. Brown is challenging Republican incumbent Amy Weirich in the county general elections.

Earlier this week, Brown opened his campaign headquarters at Third Street and Court Avenue.

Brown has said before that he was “drafted” by party leaders to challenge Weirich and that he also sees himself as attempting to unite Democrats and boost turnout for the entire party slate in the county races four years after Republicans took every countywide office in the same election cycle.

– Bill Dries

Data Providers Receive High Marks at Airport

T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon received high marks for the performance of their data networks at Memphis International Airport, according to a recent national survey.

T-Mobile received a score of 97.5, AT&T recorded a score of 97.3, and Verizon received a score of 96.9 in RootMetrics AirportRootScore survey of data performance. AT&T won the award during two previous survey visits.

RootMetrics tests the reliability and speed for file uploads and downloads, downloading email, and loading data files that represent typical Web pages and apps. The higher the RootScore, the better the performance is considered to be.

– Amos Maki

Durable Goods Orders Drop 1 Percent in May

Orders for U.S. durable goods tumbled 1 percent in May as demand for military equipment fell sharply. But excluding defense-related goods, orders actually rose, and orders in a key category that signals business investment also increased.

The gains outside of military goods suggest business spending is picking up, which could give the economy a much-needed boost.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders, excluding defense, rose 0.6 percent in May, after falling 0.8 percent in April. Orders for core capital goods, which reflect business investment, increased 0.7 percent, after a 1.1 percent drop.

Demand for military goods is highly volatile and had surged in April, so the sharp drop in May wasn't a surprise and was dismissed by many economists.

"Monthly defense orders are so regularly irregular that they do not matter, given their tendency to promptly reverse," said Michael Montgomery, an economist at IHS Global Insight.

Factories reported higher demand for steel and other metals, computers, and autos. Durable goods are items expected to last at least three years.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396