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VOL. 8 | NO. 17 | Saturday, April 18, 2015

Daily Digest

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Methodist South to Expand Emergency Department

Methodist South Hospital is pursuing an $8.75 million project that includes renovating and expanding its emergency department.

The hospital recently submitted a certificate-of-need application to request state approval for a “significant renovation and expansion” of its emergency department, the hospital said this week. That proposal asks for an expansion of the current emergency department from 9,950 square feet to about 22,750 square feet, with the expansion allowing for not only more space but more efficient care for the more than 60,000 patients the emergency department treats each year.

Assisting in the facility’s expansion plan is the brg3s architectural firm.

– Andy Meek

Wal-Mart Applies For New Store Building Permit

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is moving forward with plans for a new supercenter near Interstate 40 and Whitten Road.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant has applied for a $600,000 building permit through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for a new supercenter at 6790 Raleigh Lagrange Road. Carlos Perez of Saint Paul, Minn., is listed on the application as the architect.

Last year, Wal-Mart paid nearly $4 million to assemble multiple properties northwest of the Whitten Road exit off I-40 for the new supercenter.

The new supercenter will be the company’s sixth inside the city of Memphis. Wal-Mart has existing supercenters 4.9 miles away on Germantown Parkway and 4.2 miles away on U.S. 64.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Bristol on Union, Crowne Plaza Poised For Sales

Two key pieces of commercial real estate – one Downtown and one in the Memphis Medical District – are poised to trade hands.

A joint venture between New York-based DRA Advisors LLC and Memphis-based Fogelman Properties LLC have entered into an agreement to acquire the 220-unit Bristol on Union apartment community at Union Avenue and Interstate 240 from Sentinel Real Estate Corp, which has owned and operated the property since 2006.

The venture between Fogelman and DRA Advisors has acquired 21 multifamily properties collectively worth more than $500 million. Over the last 10 years, Fogelman and DRA have acquired 10 multifamily communities in the Memphis market. Last year, the joint venture acquired the 280-unit Brook Chase community in Germantown from Sentinel.

In addition, an entity associated with RevMAX Hospitality Consulting Services plans on acquiring the Crowne Plaza Memphis hotel at 300 N. Second St. from General Electric Real Estate Equities Inc. The buyer intends to continue operating the hotel under the Crowne Plaza flag, which is owned by InterContinental Hotels Group. The lead investor in the project is RB Investment Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Monarch Holdings LLC.

The Center City Revenue Finance Corp. approved Tuesday, April 14, the transfer of existing payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreements on the two properties to the prospective buyers.

– Amos Maki

Onyx Medical Acquired by Swedish Company

Memphis-based medical device manufacturer Onyx Medical Corp. has a new owner.

The company has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Elos, a Swedish-based leading solution partner in the development and manufacture of high precision products and parts used in medical technology, like dental and orthopedic implants and instruments.

The move is a result of an effort by the Onyx leadership team to “explore strategic growth options,” the company said. According to Onyx CEO Jodie Gilmore, size is key – the right-sized organization is large enough to serve customer needs but still small enough to be responsive and nimble.

The deal with Elos is expected to close this month, after which Onyx will continue its existing operations as a business unit within the Elos group and serve as a platform for expansion within the U.S.

– Andy Meek

MRI Interventions Leaving Memphis for California

Memphis-based medical device company MRI Interventions Inc. is preparing to leave the Bluff City.

In a recent letter to shareholders, company CEO Frank Grillo explained that the company is in the process of consolidating its Memphis operations into MRI Interventions’ existing presence in Irvine, Calif. That consolidation, he said, should be wrapped up by the end of May.

“It will have two benefits for our company: enabling the daily face-to-face interactions among the leadership of the company that should accelerate the pace of progress, and reducing ongoing expenses,” he wrote. “As part of this consolidation, we recently announced the hiring of a new CFO, Harold Hurwitz, who will be joining us at our Irvine headquarters later this month.”

In a securities filing earlier this month, the company also noted that it would not retain any Memphis employees as part of the consolidation. It employs less than 10 people locally.

– Andy Meek

Rental Company Buys 7 Homes Near U of M

A Germantown-based rental-home company has purchased seven houses near the University of Memphis for $617,000.

Blue & White Properties bought the homes at 572, 582 and 588 Watson St., 590 Loeb St., 737 Shotwell St., 705 S. Graham St. and 3739 Spottswood Ave. from Collegiate Properties LLC, according to a March 31 warranty deed.

The seven houses, which are all in the 38111 ZIP code, were built between 1922 and 1948 and range from 1,338 square feet to 1,723 square feet. The Shelby County Assessor’s cumulative 2014 appraisal of the properties is $705,500.

In conjunction with the purchase, Blue & White Properties filed a $556,946 deed of trust through Financial Federal Bank. The loan also covers 739 Loeb, a 961-square-foot house the company acquired in early March for $55,000. James Cobb Andrews signed the trust deed as managing member of the borrower.

Blue & White Properties filed articles of organization as a limited liability company with the Tennessee Secretary of State in February. The company is a family-owned and operated rental-home business with units that range from one-bedroom condos to five-bedroom houses, according to its website.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Triumph Bank Unveils New Germantown Facility

Triumph Bank has relocated its Germantown office to a new facility at 7550 West Farmington Blvd.

Among the features of the new location: It shifts the traditional center of gravity from a bank’s so-called “teller row” to the interactions Triumph customers will have with a universal banker team that will greet the customer from start to finish.

The new office design was drawn up by Fleming Architects and built by F&F Construction, and it includes two kiosks built around innovative cash dispensing machines. New accounts can be opened in private offices or in the comfort of a lobby club chair with bankers entering information on Microsoft Surface tablets.

The office also will have a 4-by-7-foot video wall featuring educational short videos on various online or mobile services, as well as identity theft protection and other information. The wall will be located near the coffee bar and beverage center. A community room also will serve as an area for larger meetings.

– Andy Meek

Tennessee Unemployment Dips in March

Tennessee's unemployment rate inched slightly lower in March but remained above the national level, according to state Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips.

Tennessee's preliminary unemployment rate for March was 6.3 percent, three-tenths of one percentage point lower than the February revised rate of 6.6 percent. The U.S. preliminary rate for March was 5.5 percent, unchanged from February.

Over the past year, Tennessee's unemployment rate declined from 6.4 percent to 6.3 percent while the national rate declined from 6.6 percent to 5.5 percent.

– Amos Maki

Music Hall of Fame Expands Nominating Committee

Heading into its fourth year of honoring some of the country’s greatest music icons, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame has added some big names to its nominating committee – stacking it with both local and national music executives who will help pick this year’s inductees.

New nominating committee members this year include movie producer Mitch Glazer, who was an original writer for Rolling Stone and Crawdaddy! magazines. His movie writing and screenplay credits include 1988’s “Scrooged” and 1998’s “Great Expectations,” and he also was an associate producer of 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” starring Bill Murray.

New committee members also include musician Randy Jackson, known for among other things his work as a judge on Fox’s “American Idol;” Steve Jordan, a composer, musician and original drummer with Paul Schaffer’s band on “Late Night with David Letterman;” guitarist, songwriter and session musician Danny Kortchmar, who’s worked with singer-songwriters like James Taylor, David Crosby, Carole King and Carly Simon; former Big Star drummer Jody Stephens; and former DreamWorks Records executive and former Def Jam Records vice president Johnnie Walker.

John Doyle, executive director of the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, described the nominating committee members as “a stellar group of music industry professionals” focused on the venture’s growth.

“Each has reached the pinnacle of their fields,” he said, “from publishing and higher education to journalism and the music industry, and many have worked with the absolute biggest names in the music industry. However, they each still hold a real reverence and a special knowledge about Memphis music and its world-changing musicians.”

The nominating committee is expected to finalize its selection of inductees to be added to the hall of fame this year by the end of April. The unveiling of the 2015 inductees will come in May, in conjunction with the grand opening of the new Memphis Music Hall of Fame museum now under construction at the corner of Beale Street and Second Street, adjacent to the Hard Rock Café.

– Andy Meek

Cafe 1912 Building On Cooper Sells for $440,000

A company has acquired a key piece of Midtown property.

La Tourelle Inc., doing business as Café 1912, acquired the properties at 243, 245 and 247 S. Cooper St. from Reginald M. Peyton for $440,000, according to a March 31 warranty deed.

Located along the west side of Cooper between Peabody Avenue and Courtland Place, the three commercial properties include Café 1912 at 243 S. Cooper. The property at 247 S. Cooper is occupied by the Nail and Skin Bar.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 combined appraisal for the three properties is $157,600. The three properties total roughly 4,362 square feet, according to public records.

The buyer, La Tourelle Inc., lists a mailing address on Vinton Avenue for Martha Hays, according to public records. Hays is the long-time owner and operator of the restaurant.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Tax Incentive Approved for Millington Retail Center

Shelby County Commissioners approved a $3.3 million tax increment financing zone Monday, April 13, for the $20 million Shops of Millington Farms development on the east side of Highway 51 between Veterans Parkway and Glencoe Road.

The TIF – as it is known – pledges Millington and Shelby County property tax revenue to pay the debt on the development site’s infrastructure improvements.

– Bill Dries

FedEx Shows Hydrogen-Powered Support Vehicles

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and U.S. Energy Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Reuben Sarkar got a look at FedEx Corp.’s fleet of 15 hydrogen fuel cell powered support vehicles last week during a tour of the FedEx Express World Hub at Memphis International Airport.

The Thursday, April 9, tour also included a Plug Power Inc. hydrogen fueling station at the hub.

FedEx bills the CharlatteAmerica fleet as the “world’s first zero emissions hydrogen fuel cell ground support equipment.”

The test fleet and station were funded with a $2.5 million federal grant.

– Bill Dries

Triumph Bank Records Best-Ever Mortgage Month

During a month when the mortgage market countywide was up 23 percent by volume, Triumph Bank had a particularly strong month of its own when it comes to mortgages.

During the bank’s record-breaking March, Triumph Mortgage funded more units and loan volume than any other month in its history, the bank said this week.

Between all of its production channels, Triumph Mortgage funded 78 mortgage loans for a total of more than $16 million.

Year over year, according to Chandler Reports, volume last month rose to a little more than $126 million, up from $103.1 million in March 2014.

– Andy Meek

Grizzlies, FedExForum Team Up With Methodist

The Memphis Grizzlies and FedExForum are teaming up with Methodist Healthcare for a partnership focused on population health management and community wellness initiatives.

The emphasis is on encouraging Memphians to make positive, small choices throughout their day in pursuit of better health.

The relationship will also promote Methodist services, such as its primary care network with same-day appointment scheduling and health tips, via the Methodist mobile app.

Methodist Healthcare includes seven hospitals, 23 primary care clinics and multiple specialty clinics.

The Memphis Grizzlies also announced Thursday, April 16, a $530,000 marketing and sponsorship deal with Memphis International Airport. (See related story on page 11.)

– Andy Meek

Memphis Football Players to Get Red Cross Training

Players on the University of Memphis football team have helped restock the FedExFamily House adjacent to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. They have volunteered and worked with children at Youth Villages. They have read to kids at Campus School. And they have worked to clear ravines of undergrowth at the Memphis Athletic Ministries’ Grizzlies Center.

On Saturday, April 18, the Tigers train to become volunteers at American Red Cross emergency shelters. Having coordinated, shelter teams in place before disaster strikes means volunteers are registered, screened and trained to quickly respond to a community’s disaster. Shelter teams are prepared to open and manage facilities operated by the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross.

While Memphis Football’s community service efforts are an annual endeavor, this year’s service projects are part of a campus-wide undertaking. In association with University of Memphis President David Rudd’s investiture, which is slated for Friday, 2015 has been named the “Year of Service.”

Students, faculty and staff are working toward a goal of 500,000 hours of volunteer and community service this year.

– Don Wade

Universal Life Building Developers Secure Loan

The Center City Development Corp. approved a $300,000 loan to help get the planned redevelopment of the Universal Life Building across the finish line.

The CCDC approved the loan for Self-Tucker Properties LLC on Wednesday, April 15. Architects Juan Self and Jimmie Tucker plan on redeveloping the building, which sits on the northeast corner of Danny Thomas Boulevard and Linden Avenue.

The loan approval comes one day after the project won approval for a nine-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. and for $2 million in Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds.

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. The building has been vacant since 2001.

Built in 1949, the two-story building was the headquarters of Universal Life Insurance Co., which was launched in 1923 and grew into one of the largest black-owned life insurance companies in the U.S. Founded and headed by J.E. Walker, the company was a pillar of the local African-American community for decades.

– Amos Maki

Memphis College Prep Buys Dunn Avenue Elementary

The Shelby County Schools board voted unanimously Tuesday, April 14, to sell the old Dunn Avenue Elementary School building to Memphis College Prep charter schools for $660,000.

The 1950s-era school building in south Memphis closed as a public school in 2006 but was leased by City University, another charter school operator that moved out a year ago.

Memphis College Prep opened in 2010 as an elementary school in Uptown and has been adding a grade each year.

The 2015-16 school year will be the first school year the school will have all grades, kindergarten through fifth

The terms of the sale are “as is,” meaning Shelby County Schools will make no improvements to the property.

– Bill Dries

Junior Achievement Raises $300K With Bowl-A-Thon

Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South held its 30th Annual Bowlin’ on the River Bowl-A-Thon in February and March at bowling centers across the Mid-South, and it turned into a successful endeavor of bowling for dollars.

Held at Billy Hardwick’s All-Star Lanes, Winchester Bowling Center and FunQuest Family Entertainment Center in Collierville, the event raised more than $300,000. Through its largest fundraiser of the year, Junior Achievement drew more than 100 local corporations and organizations with nearly 3,000 bowlers to build team morale and have fun, all while supporting the community’s youth who participate in JA programs.

“Every dollar raised during Bowl-A-Thon funds our efforts to provide the Mid-South’s next generation of leaders the skills it takes to own their economic success for the future,” said Larry Colbert, Junior Achievement president and CEO. “We are grateful for our event sponsors, participating corporations and individuals who stepped up this year to make our mission possible.”

– Don Wade

College of Optometry Appoints Interim Leaders

The Southern College of Optometry has announced new interim leadership following the resignation of Dr. Richard Phillips as president.

Dr. Lewis Reich, former vice president of academic affairs, has been named interim president, and Dr. J. Bart Campbell, former chair of the Department of Optometric Education, has been named interim vice president of academic affairs.

Reich joined SCO in 2008 as a professor and vice president for academic affairs. He received his Doctor of Optometry from the University of California at Berkeley and later graduated from the physiological optics program at the University of Houston.

Campbell earned his Doctor of Optometry from the Southern College of Optometry in 1987 and completed a postgraduate residency in contact lens practice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He rejoined SCO in 1988 as a professor and most recently served as the chair of the Department of Optometric Education, where he worked to design and implement the college’s optometric curriculum.

The SCO board accepted Phillips’ resignation as president the week of March 30. The college said in a statement it has not set a timeline to hire a new president and that its board will appoint a search committee at a future date.

– Daily News staff

MLGW Scores High in JD Power Survey

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division has posted a residential customer satisfaction score of 672 this month in the midpoint results of the J.D. Power and Associates Gas Utility Residential Customer Survey.

The 672 score is the highest the utility has ever posted in the survey, which the utility has set as a standard across several administrations.

The score is a 53-point improvement year over year for the utility and the third-highest improvement among the 83 utilities surveyed.

Over a year’s time, J.D. Power surveys and conducts interviews that gauge customer satisfaction based on customer service, power quality, billing and payment, price, the quality and reliability of the power, communications and corporate citizenship.

The survey began in September with a final score still to be determined.

The J.D. Power organization uses a 1,000-point index with its criteria.

A 2006 J.D. Power ranking of the nation’s 76 largest electric utility companies was a low point of sorts for MLGW, when the utility finished last among all utilities ranked for customer satisfaction.

– Bill Dries

Nashville Investment Firm Expands to Germantown

Nashville-based boutique investment banking and wealth management firm Avondale Partners is expanding to West Tennessee, with the opening of an office in Germantown.

The new office – headed by John Santi as managing director – will provide institutional and individual investors access to the full range of Avondale’s services, from equity analysis to investment banking, retirement plan management and wealth management.

Santi’s experience ranges from merchant banking to wealth management, and he will be responsible for building Avondale’s presence across the firm’s complete offering of services.

– Andy Meek

MIFA Receives $1,000 from Meals on Wheels America

MIFA has been awarded a $1,000 grant from Meals on Wheels America for participation in the 2014-2015 Subaru of America Share the Love event. The money will support MIFA’s Meals on Wheels program, helping to address hunger and isolation in the local senior population.

As part of the national Share the Love effort, MIFA teamed up with Jim Keras Subaru for a pet food drive called Stuff the Trunk.

The food was for the companion animals of MIFA’s Meals on Wheels homebound clients.

Last December, individuals visited Jim Keras Subaru on Covington Pike and stuffed their donated bags of dog and cat food in the trunk of a Subaru vehicle.

Following the pet food donation drive, Jim Keras Subaru employees came to MIFA to deliver the pet food.

The seven-year partnership between Meals on Wheels America and Subaru of America Inc. is designed to engage meals programs with their local Subaru retailers for increased community involvement.

– Andy Meek

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