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VOL. 8 | NO. 16 | Saturday, April 11, 2015

Daily Digest

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Medtronic Settles Lawsuit for $4.4 Million

Medtronic has agreed to pay $4.4 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the federal government accusing the company of selling medical devices made in China and Malaysia to the U.S. military.

Federal law requires that devices sold to the military be manufactured in the U.S. or its international trading partners. Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger alleged Medtronic, which recently moved its headquarters from Minnesota, bought spinal surgery devices in China and relabeled them to indicate they had been manufactured in Memphis.

Medtronic spokeswoman Cindy Resman said in a statement the company “makes no admission that any of its activities were improper or unlawful.”

Resman says the majority of Medtronic’s products are manufactured in the U.S. or its trading partners, such as Mexico or Ireland.

Medtronic moved its headquarters to Dublin, Ireland, in January.

– The Associated Press

Universal Life Building Developers Seek PILOT

Developers of the Universal Life Building are seeking a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. to renovate the building for office use.

The application by Self Tucker Properties LLC goes to the board of the revenue finance corporation at its Tuesday, April 14, meeting.

Self Tucker intends to develop 25,482 square feet of leasable space, including the two floors and part of the basement in a $6.2 million project.

Self Tucker Architects will lease 20 percent of the space for its new offices and the remainder will be available for other tenants.

Self Tucker bought the historic building on the northeast corner of Danny Thomas Boulevard and Linden Avenue in 2006 and had a previous PILOT agreement with the CCRFC. It sought an extension for that agreement in 2007 as the effects of the Great Recession began to make financing of such projects difficult.

Built in 1949, the two-story building was the headquarters of Universal Life Insurance Co., one of the largest black-owned life insurance companies in the U.S.

Founded and headed by J.E. Walker, the company also was a pillar of the local African-American community in the era of racial segregation by law.

The Egyptian Revival-style building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2007.

Self Tucker plans to submit its design plans to the Design Review Board in May, with standards for preservation set by the National Park Service and the Tennessee Historic Commission coming into play.

– Bill Dries

Wright Medical to Add 100 Employees

Wright Medical plans to add 100 employees to its Cherry Road corporate headquarters.

The 100 employees, which would bring Wright’s workforce at the location to 400, would be part of a 20,000-square-foot expansion of the headquarters, according to an application to the city-county Office of Planning and Development for additional parking.

The application was filed March 26 by the Pickering Firm Inc., which would design the parking plan for RBM Cherry Road Partners, the company that owns the property and leases it to Wright.

Wright moved from Arlington to the Cherry Road campus in January 2014.

“With Wright’s continued growth and the recent announcement of their merger with Netherlands-based Tornier, Wright would now like to expand into the remaining 20k square feet to accommodate an additional 100 employees,” wrote Cara L. Martin, principal owner of Pickering Firm in the letter to OPD officials.

– Bill Dries

Crestwyn Pays $3M for Germantown Hospital Site

Crestwyn Behavioral Health has acquired property for a psychiatric hospital in Germantown.

Crestwyn Health Group LLC acquired a 52-acre site with an address of 0 Crestwyn Hills Drive from Baptist Memorial Health Services Inc. for $3 million, according to a March 31 warranty deed.

The site is on Crestwyn Hills Drive, south of Winchester Road. The County Assessor’s 2014 appraisal is $2.9 million.

Last year, the state of Tennessee approved Crestwyn’s proposal to build a 60-bed, 61,592-square-foot facility at the site. The hospital is a joint project with Baptist Memorial Healthcare, Acadia Healthcare and St. Francis Hospital.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports
– Amos Maki

MATA Buses to Run on Main Street Mall

The Memphis Area Transit Authority will run shuttle buses on the Main Street Mall starting Sunday.

MATA president Ron Garrison announced the temporary measure in lieu of restoring trolley service Wednesday, April 8, during a taping of the WKNO-TV program “Behind The Headlines.”

“They will integrate with the rest of the buses that simulate trolley service,” Garrison said on the program, hosted by Eric Barnes, publisher of The Daily News.

“We’re working on getting some other vehicles so that when there’s crush loads, we can have additional capacity during Memphis in May and the opening of Bass Pro Shops,” he added.

Garrison said the transit authority will coordinate buses on the mall as well as parallel streets to accommodate crowds going to and coming from Memphis in May events as well as events surrounding Bass Pro Shops’ reopening of The Pyramid, which begin April 29.

A separate news release stated MATA would use its green hybrid bus replacements for the service. Garrison also acknowledged it is “not an ideal solution” but it will make transportation easier for tourists and residents.

The buses will use the existing trolley stops and be restricted to a 10 mph speed limit.

MATA halted all trolley service in June 2014 after two trolley fires in less than a year.

An outside review of the trolley system found the trolley fleet was past its restored prime and that the transit authority kept few if any maintenance efforts and had no training programs.

It was in that environment that Garrison arrived as the new president and began the difficult task of trying to restore trolley service.

– Bill Dries

REIT Acquires Three Hotels for $39.6 Million

A New York-based real estate investment trust has acquired three hotels in the Memphis area for $39.6 million.

ARC Hospitality Portfolio I Owner LLC, an affiliate of American Realty Capital Hospitality Trust Inc., acquired the three properties from W2007 Equity Inns Realty LLC.

The Memphis properties were part of American Realty Capital’s $1.8 billion acquisition of the Equity Inns Lodging Portfolio from affiliates of the Whitehall Real Estate Funds. That portfolio consists of 116 hotels totaling 13,744 rooms across 31 states.

The Memphis properties include the Hyatt Place Memphis Wolfchase at 7905 Giacosa Place, the Hampton Inn at 5320 Poplar Ave. in East Memphis and the Homewood Suites at 7855 Wolf River Boulevard in Germantown.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s combined 2014 appraisal for the three Memphis area properties is $15.1 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports
– Amos Maki

Mickell Lowery to Run for Father's Council Seat

Mickell Lowery, the son of Memphis City Council chairman Myron Lowery, announced Monday, April 6, he will run for the Super District 8 Position 3 seat currently held by his father.

The younger Lowery is a FedEx district sales manager. He also is on the board of the Memphis Housing Authority and last year was elected to the state Democratic party’s executive committee.

He announced his candidacy with a group of 22 supporters on the campus of LeMoyne-Owen College calling for “new leadership for a better Memphis.”

Mickell Lowery announced for the council race on the October ballot following last week’s announcement by Myron Lowery that he would not seek re-election to the council.

Candidates in the Memphis elections can begin pulling qualifying petitions from the Shelby County Election Commission on April 17 as the first formal step toward running for the ballot positions.

– Bill Dries

Southwest Launches First Memphis-Dallas Nonstops

Passengers traveled on the first nonstop flight between Memphis International Airport and Dallas Love Field on Wednesday, April 8, when a Southwest Airlines flight departed from Memphis at 7:15 a.m.

Southwest Airlines announced the new nonstop route in January, which features two flights a day between Memphis and Dallas.

“We are excited to add our sixth Southwest Airlines nonstop destination, Dallas Love Field,” said Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. “Our passengers have waited a long time for this flight, which not only provides a new nonstop option, but also is a major connecting point for many of Southwest’s other destinations.”

Airport officials said the new nonstop service gives travelers easier access to more destinations since Dallas is a major connecting point for Southwest. With Wednesday’s addition of Memphis and eight other locations, Southwest will have 166 daily flights out of Love Field.

“These new flights, including long-sought nonstop service from Memphis, are part of a major expansion of places we’re linking to Dallas Love Field,” said Andrew Watterson, senior vice president of network and revenue management.

The Memphis to Dallas flights depart Memphis at 7:15 a.m. and 2:25 p.m. during the weekday. The Dallas to Memphis flights depart at 11:15 a.m. and 8:50 p.m. during the weekday. Weekend times will vary.

Southwest Airlines now offers nine flights a day to six destinations from Memphis.

In June, Memphis will experience a year-over-year increase in flights for the first time since 2011, with an average of 87 flights a day to 39 destinations. While daily totals vary, Memphis will reach a peak of 98 flights a day this summer.

The next service increase takes place May 22, when Allegiant Air begins service to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Las Vegas.

– Amos Maki

Hall Booth Smith Law Firm Opens Memphis Office

Hall Booth Smith PC – a law firm with 11 offices across the South – is opening a Memphis office.

The Memphis office will be led by partners Jennifer Harrison and Charles Moody and include associate Lauren Callins.

Harrison’s practice is focused on professional liability, medical malpractice and general liability cases. She also handles health care related matters.

Moody focuses on long-term care facilities and hospitals. Callins represents health care providers.

Hall Booth Smith has offices throughout Georgia and offices in North Palm Beach, Fla, Charlotte, N.C., Charleston, S.C. as well as Nashville and Memphis.

– Bill Dries

Monogram Loves Kids to Award $140,000

The Monogram Loves Kids Foundation will award $140,000 to charitable organizations that sponsor programs benefiting children in the six regional areas where Monogram does business.

The regions are Memphis; Martinsville, Va.; Chandler, Minn.; Bristol, Ind.; Schulenburg, Texas; and Harlan, Iowa.

Charitable organizations interested in applying for the grants, which will range from $1,000 to $10,000, should visit monogramfoods.com and click on the link “Monogram Loves Kids” to access the application form.

The Monogram Loves Kids Foundation was founded in 2010 as Monogram Foods’ charitable fund to raise money for children’s charities in areas of the country where the company’s employees live and work. Between 2010 and 2014, Monogram has donated more than $386,000 to children’s charities.

– Andy Meek

The Woods at Ridgeway Sells for $18.5 Million

The Woods at Ridgeway, an apartment community at the northeast corner of Ridgeway and Knight Arnold roads, has sold for $18.5 million to an affiliate of Michigan-based ROCO Real Estate.

Roco-Woods LLC bought the Class C property, which has about 550 units, from RRE Wyndridge Holdings LLC, according to a March 26 warranty deed.

The purchase includes two parcels, 6277 Lake Arbor Drive and 6206 Knight Arnold Road, according to the deed. The Shelby County Assessor of Property lists 6177 Lake Arbor as a 26.6-acre parcel containing 260 units, while 6206 Knight Arnold is listed as a 23.2-acre parcel containing 284 units.

The assessor’s 2014 appraisal of the properties is $6.4 million and $5.2 million, respectively.

RRE Wyndridge Holdings, an affiliate of Philadelphia-based Resource Real Estate, purchased the Hickory Hill complex – then known as the Wyndridge Apartments – for $9.5 million in 2009, when occupancy stood at 36 percent. The company extensively renovated the community the next year and rebranded it as The Woods at Ridgeway.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports
– Daily News staff

New Home For Elvis Jets Proposed Near Graceland

The company that owns two of Elvis Presley’s jets – which have been on display for nearly 30 years as part of Graceland tours – wants to move the jets to five acres just across the southern border Elvis Presley Enterprises-owned land.

Graceland and OKC Partnership parted ways during contract renewal talks earlier this year; Graceland wants the Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II jets off the property this year.

OKC applied to the Office of Planning and Development to move the jets to 5.3 acres between Dolan and Timothy drives on the same side of Elvis Presley Boulevard as the mansion.

The vacant lot at 3850 Elvis Presley Blvd. was, until just a few years ago, the site of a church that most recently was Reach Heaven Global Ministries Inc. Before that, it was Miracles of God Tabernacle and Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Elvis Presley Enterprises indicated last month it is opposed to the zoning request. The land currently is zoned residential and is next to single-family homes.

The developers want to use Timothy Drive for access to the jets as well as a museum building to be built on the property.

In its report to the Land Use Control Board, OPD staff called the plan “highly inappropriate” for such a commercial venture to get customers to its business by going through the residential area.

“The location of this proposed museum and exhibit is appropriate for the area,” the staff report reads, “but should be conditioned to avoid negative impacts on the single-family homes to the east and provide and maintain adequate buffers to help reduce noise levels and light intrusion.”

The LUCB approved the move in its meeting Thursday, April 9. The Memphis City Council still must approve the plan.

– Bill Dries

Council Approves Permit for Downtown Hotel

Memphis City Council members on Tuesday, April 7, approved a special-use permit for a new boutique hotel conversion of the Scimitar Building on the southeast corner of Third Street and Madison Avenue.

It also approved a special-use permit for a recycling site at Fullen Dock and Warehouse in Frayser.

A resolution to create a 5 percent Graceland Tourism Development Zone surcharge was approved on the first of three readings by the council. The measure had been a resolution but became an ordinance on the advice of council attorney Allan Wade who said there might be more amendments by the third and final reading next month.

The council also approved a $1 a year lease deal through Sept. 30, 2033 for the public boat ramp north of the A.W. Willis Bridge between Mud Island and the mainland. The U.S. Coast Guard, whose Memphis headquarters is also at the boat ramp, will lease and maintain the ramp “for the benefit and use of the general public.”

And the council approved $5.2 million in construction funding to repair sanitary sewer piping beneath the Wolf River.

– Bill Dries

Mendenhall Property Fetches $2.4 Million

A New Mexico-based firm has acquired a Southeast Memphis warehouse for $2.4 million.

Westmeath LLC, which lists an address in Albuquerque, N.M., acquired the 33,190-square-foot warehouse at 4339 S. Mendenhall Road from SE Industrial Investments LLC, according to a March 30 warranty deed. William Preston Thomas Jr. signed the deed for the seller, SE Industrial Investments LLC.

Built in 1990, the Class B warehouse sits on 4.4 acres on the west side of South Mendenhall just south of East Raines Road. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $712,300. SE Industrial Investments LLC acquired the property from Crain Investments LP for $654,400 in October 2013.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports
– Amos Maki

Paragon Promotes Two to First Vice President

Paragon Bank has promoted Cheryl Shackelford and Tracey Thesmar to first vice presidents.

Both will report to Paragon’s chief financial officer Lewis Perkins.

Shackelford manages the deposit operations department, where she oversees customer service, deposit maintenance, bank statement generation, and cash management support.

Thesmar manages the accounting department, coordinates internal and external audits, and processes payroll.

– Andy Meek

Regency Homebuilders Buys Lakeland Property

Regency Homebuilders LLC has paid $1.3 million for 64 acres in Lakeland.

The Germantown-based homebuilder bought the vacant land from Bank of Bartlett in a March 25 warranty deed. In conjunction with the purchase, Regency filed a two-year, $1.3 million deed of trust, also through Bank of Bartlett.

The purchase includes two parcels, the larger of which is 60 acres at the northeast corner of Memphis Arlington and Evergreen roads. The Shelby County Assessor, which lists a 928-square-foot house on the land, appraised the parcel at $1.2 million in 2014.

The other parcel is an adjacent 4-acre triangular site that abuts U.S. 70 to the north. The assessor’s 2014 appraisal is $68,700.

Bank of Bartlett bought the property for $1.6 million at a 2009 foreclosure sale after then-owner Kensington Group LLC defaulted on a $5.5 million loan.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports
– Daily News staff

Germantown Mayor Hosts Inaugural CEO Roundtable

Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo recently hosted a meeting of area CEOs as part of the city’s new CEO Roundtable.

Palazzolo said he recognizes “the need for the top level executives within the city of Germantown to meet peer-to-peer and discuss matters of mutual concern regarding the challenges and opportunities that face our organizations and the greater community.”

Joining Palazzolo and Germantown City Administrator Patrick Lawton were Cary Whitehead of Boyle Investment Co.; Dick Leike of Crye-Leike; Jason Manuel, superintendent of Germantown Municipal School District; Spence Ray of McNeill Commercial Real Estate; William Kenley of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare; Brian Barbeito of Mid-South Imaging and Therapeutics; Jean Morton of Sun Trust Bank; Renee Victory of Union University; and Ron Rukstad of The Village at Germantown.

During the meeting, held in early April, the group of CEOs and city officials talked about the Germantown Forward 2030 Strategic Planning Steering Committee and its progress to date. Insure Tennessee and the impact of medical costs on the City of Germantown also was a topic of discussion.

The CEO Roundtable plans to meet quarterly.

– Daily News staff

GTx Shifts Stock Listing, Granted Grace Period

Memphis-based GTx Inc. has announced that it’s shifted its stock market listening from The NASDAQ Global Market to The NASDAQ Capital Market, a transfer that was effective on March 19.

On April 1, the company was given an additional 180-day grace period, through Sept. 28, to comply with the minimum $1 bid price requirement. By that date, the company’s common stock must trade above $1 for at least 10 business days.

GTx said it will “cure the minimum bid price deficiency” during that period by measures that include a reverse stock split, if necessary.

– Andy Meek

Green Mountain Adds Technology to Name

Memphis-based Green Mountain Consulting, a leading parcel spend management company, is changing its name to Green Mountain Technology.

Company officials said the name change demonstrates a commitment to Green Mountain Technology’s core competency and continued innovation of technology in leveraging big data for improved outcomes and execution in the supply chain industry.

Green Mountain Technology partners with the largest parcel shippers in the world to help manage their parcel spend. Current customers represent over $3 billion in annual parcel spend.

– Amos Maki

PROPERTY SALES 56 295 6,392
MORTGAGES 26 180 4,035
BUILDING PERMITS 128 840 15,361
BANKRUPTCIES 31 153 3,270