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VOL. 8 | NO. 18 | Saturday, April 25, 2015

Daily Digest

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Memphis Drug Device Company Raises $4.6M

Memphis-based drug device company Ariste Medical has raised $4.6 million, the company announced April 21.

The funding will go toward continued development of a drug-eluting hernia mesh intended to reduce the risk of an intra-abdominal infection. It also will support product testing and regulatory filings, as well as preparation for commercialization in the U.S. and Europe upon regulatory clearance.

Dr. Timothy Fabian and Dr. Lisa Jennings, two faculty members at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and Brian Best formed Ariste Medical in 2007. In 2012, the company got initial seed funding of almost $1.3 million.

It’s been located at the Memphis Bioworks Foundation since 2012.

– Andy Meek

Wanda Halbert to Run For City Court Clerk

Memphis City Council member Wanda Halbert will not seek re-election in this year’s city elections and will instead run for City Court Clerk.

Halbert pulled a petition for the challenge of incumbent clerk Thomas Long.

Halbert is the fifth incumbent on the 13-member council to pass on a re-election bid in the October elections. The other four are Harold Collins, Jim Strickland, Shea Flinn and Myron Lowery.

Collins and Strickland are running for mayor in October; council chairman Myron Lowery is the council’s longest-serving member.

Halbert, a former Memphis City Schools board member who was elected to the council in 2007, ran for Criminal Court Clerk in 2014 as the Democratic nominee, losing to Republican Richard DeSaussure in the August general election.

– Bill Dries

Medical Center Apartments Sell for $6.4 Million

A Memphis investor has acquired a Memphis Medical Center apartment building for $6.4 million.

Thunderbird Towers LLC bought the 201-unit, Class C apartment building at 141 N. Manassas St., known as the Adams Place Apartments, from 750 Adams Place LLC, according to an April 13 warranty deed.

Doug Wright is the registered agent for Thunderbird Towers, and Mary Le Friant of California is the manager of 750 Adams Place LLC, according to public records.

In conjunction with the purchase, Thunderbird Towers LLC filed a $4.8 million loan with American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co., according to an April 15 deed of trust.

The 148,840-square-foot high-rise apartment building was built in 1962. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $2.1 million.

Source: The Daily News & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

MUS Students Win Regional Hunger Challenge

A Memphis University School group took first place in a regional competition of community service, charitable giving, and hunger-relief awareness activities called the Hunger Challenge. The club’s activities resulted in about 60,500 meals provided to Memphians in crisis.

Members of the group include juniors Alex Barksdale, Carter Coleman, Bolton Gayden, Nick Bragorgos, Edward Apple, Billy Dunavant; sophomore Brent Robinson; and freshman Richard Bragorgos.

“The young men who participated in this club have a lot to be proud of,” said Hunters for the Hungry manager Matt Simcox, who, with HFTH coordinator Michael Folk, presented the students with the winning trophy.

This year, six Memphis schools participated in the Hunger Challenge, including Hutchison School (which won the Hunger Challenge last year), St. Agnes, St. Benedict, St. George’s, and Collierville High School.

Simcox explained that the HFTH program connects white-tailed deer hunters with local wild game processors who prepare and package donated venison either for free or at a reduced price to the hunter. The venison is then provided to area food banks and soup kitchens and is often the main source of fresh protein for hunger relief organizations. Since its founding in 1998, HFTH has accounted for more than four million meals in Tennessee.

Hunger Challenge creator and longtime Tennessee Wildlife Foundation board member Dr. Jack Gayden said he’s thrilled with the growth of the program.

“It’s very satisfying for me personally to see this thing taking hold,” said Gayden, a Memphis physician. “We have a chance at making a serious impact on the ongoing problem of hunger in Tennessee.”

Gayden’s son, Bolton, a junior at MUS, was recognized with two individual awards: Top Gun, presented to the student who raises the most money for hunger relief, and the Harvester Award, presented to the student personally responsible for the most donated deer.

– Don Wade

Memphis Health Company Expands and Rebrands

Memphis-based Adventia LLC announced this week that it’s expanded its staff, extended its reach into Middle Tennessee, and rebranded to help employers more effectively confront chronic disease risks and health care costs.

As part of those moves, the company also has a new website, www.adventiaforlife.com, corresponding to its sharpened focus on workforce health transformation.

Kent Cooper, a veteran of companies like IBM and Burson-Marsteller, has joined the company as executive vice president of sales, and Adventia is currently looking for office and lab space in the Brentwood area of Nashville.

“The best way to treat the human and financial costs of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes is to avoid them,” said Adventia medical director Dr. David Wright. “Adventia was created to act on that prescription. Our strategic relationships with Cleveland HeartLab, Provant Health, Diagnostic Partners and PCS Medical Solutions enable us to deliver customized solutions for corporate clients of any size, anywhere in the country.”

– Andy Meek

Live at the Garden Concert Series Announces Lineup

The Memphis Botanic Garden has announced the lineup for this year’s Live at the Garden concert series.

The series gets started June 26 with Aretha Franklin, followed on July 17 by Rob Thomas, then on August 15 is ZZ Top, with Martina McBride next on Sept. 4, and finally on Sept. 18 Daryl Hall & John Oates.

The series, now in its 15th year, is held on the grounds of the Memphis Botanic Garden and can accommodate 6,600.

The series title sponsor is Duncan-Williams Inc. Presenting Sponsors are FedEx, TruGreen, Infiniti of Memphis, Regions Bank, Hollywood Casino, Ashley HomeStore, Nolan’s Audio/Video, Classic Party Rentals and Nationwide Insurance.

– Andy Meek

IHeartMedia Sells Four Memphis Radio Towers

IHeartMedia + Entertainment Inc. has sold four of its Memphis radio towers for $6.3 million as part of a national deal topping $300 million.

The global entertainment company announced in December it planned a sale-leaseback of select tower assets to Vertical Bridge Holdings LLC, a Florida-based real estate investment trust that focuses on wireless communication towers, for up to $400 million. On April 8, iHeartMedia announced the first closing of the sale for $369 million prior to fees and adjustments, with more closings expected to occur later.

The Memphis-area towers were sold in four separate transactions in late March, according to warranty deeds filed with the Shelby County Register’s Office.

Source: The Daily News & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

New Site for Elvis Jets Wins Council Approval

Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, April 21, a move of Elvis Presley’s two jets from Graceland property to a nearby lot at 3850 Elvis Presley Boulevard.

The lot is not owned by Elvis Presley Enterprises.

The Lisa Marie and Hound Dog 2 will be at the front of the lot along the boulevard, as they are at their present location. But they are moving a block to the north and across the street, to the east side Elvis Presley. There will be a museum building on the rear of the lot.

OKC Partnership, the owner of Elvis’ famed planes, is moving the jets after its contract with Elvis Presley Enterprises ran out this year. Graceland indicated it wanted the jets off its land.

Elvis Presley Enterprises did not object to the planned development. Earlier, EPE indicated it had problems with the development that council member Harold Collins described as involving “copyright” issues. There was no discussion during Tuesday’s vote about what may have settled the differences.

The council also approved on the second of three readings an ordinance establishing a five percent surcharge on all items bought on the 120-acre Graceland campus. The surcharge would be used to partially finance expansion plans at Graceland that include a $90-million, 450-room resort hotel north of the mansion.

– Bill Dries

State Association Honors Methodist Surgeon

The Tennessee Medical Association recently honored Dr. James Eason, medical director of the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute, with an Outstanding Physician award.

Eason, who also is professor and division chief of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s transplant division, was honored with the 2015 award during the TMA’s annual convention in Nashville.

The Outstanding Physician award is given each year to member physicians who, the organization says, “make an impression among their colleagues, peers and on the profession of medicine.”

Eason left New Orleans after hurricane Katrina in 2005 to become medical director of Methodist University Hospital’s Transplant Institute in Memphis. His leadership has helped the institute grow into one of the best programs in the country for liver and kidney transplants. In just nine months after he joined the program, the institute became one of the 10 largest liver transplant centers in the nation.

– Andy Meek

City Council Again Rejects Belle Meade Development

Four years after the Memphis City Council rejected a two-lot residential subdivision in the Belle Meade area of East Memphis, the developer returned to the council this week seeking approval of the same project.

And the council again rejected the plan by John R. Wills Jr.

The appeal of the earlier decision took an unusual path back the council.

Wills took the 2011 rejection to Shelby County Chancery Court, and the Tennessee Court of Appeals in a later decision sent the matter back to the council.

Under the court ruling, the council was instructed to only consider whether the area to be developed was surrounded by single-family homes legally established before 1950 in a residential district.

Ricky E. Wilkins, the attorney for Wills, argued that lots on three sides of it were developed after 1950.

But attorney David Wade, representing homeowners, argued the standard was what is the dominant development in the area, not just the bordering lots.

He also argued that the appeals court limited the council to considering only the proof that was presented in 2011. And, he added, that did not include the property records Wilkins offered at the Tuesday, April 21, council session.

– Bill Dries

100 Pct. College Acceptance Rate for Soulsville Charter

This July will mark the 10th anniversary of classes at The Soulsville Charter School, which also has another milestone to celebrate.

For the fourth year in a row, 100 percent of its seniors have been accepted to colleges and universities.

This year’s class of 66 seniors also is the largest graduating class yet for the school, and so far they’ve received almost 400 letters of acceptance – an average of about six colleges per student. The letters of acceptance and scholarship offers are still coming in.

Already, every senior in the grades 6-12 school’s first three graduating classes, starting in 2012, was accepted to college. The 141 seniors in those classes received scholarships and grants totaling more than $20 million, with the graduates now attending such schools as Rhodes College, Tufts University, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, University of Memphis, and others.

– Andy Meek

U of M Foundation Seeks $1 Million Building Permit

The University of Memphis Foundation has applied for a $1 million building permit for a new facility at the university’s Park Avenue campus.

The University of Memphis Foundation applied for the $1 million permit through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement. The permit is for a project at 1115 E. Getwell Loop, the same address as the planned indoor practice facility for the U of M’s football team. Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. is listed on the application as the contractor. Fleming Architects is listed as the architect. GTG and Fleming also were each listed on a previous building permit application for the indoor practice facility.

In March, the U of M applied for a $15 million building permit for the indoor practice facility. The university has been running a $40 million capital campaign to raise funds for the 74,000-square-foot indoor practice facility, which will be located on the university’s Park Avenue campus, and a new basketball practice facility to replace the Finch Center.

Source: The Daily News & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Finalists Named for Southwest President

Southwest Tennessee Community College has narrowed its search for a new president.

The Memphis school releases a list of four finalists for the position: Edythe M. Abdullah, special advisor to the president at the University of North Florida; Tracy D. Hall, vice president of academic affairs at St. Louis (Missouri) Community College – Forest Park; Anthony G. Kinkel, president of Wichita (Kansas) Area Technical College; and Kenyatta K. Lovett, assistant vice chancellor for community college initiatives at the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Each will participate in meetings, campus forums and community receptions next week. The campus forums will be streamed live online.

Following the campus visits, Tennessee Board of Regents chancellor John Morgan will gather feedback from committee members and make the final selection for recommendation to the board.

Southwest president Nate Essex announced last August his plans to retire effective June 30 after serving as president of Southwest since 2001. TBR expects to name a new president by July.

Southwest is Tennessee’s largest community college.

– Daily News staff

GTx Partners With UT Research Foundation

GTx Inc. has announced it’s entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation to develop the company’s proprietary selective androgen receptor degrader technology.

That drug technology, the company said, can potentially “degrade and inhibit” all forms of androgen receptor, including those resistant to current therapies, to inhibit tumor growth in patients with progressive castration-resistant prostate cancer. Androgen deprivation therapy is generally the initial treatment for men with metastatic prostate cancer.

GTx’s technology was co-discovered by Dr. Duane Miller, Van Vleet Endowed Professor and chair of the Department of Physiology, and Dr. Ramesh Narayanan, associate professor of medicine, both at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

– Andy Meek

Riverside Drives Closed for Entire Month of May

Riverside Drive will be completely closed to traffic through the end of May, the Memphis in May International Festival announced.

The street closed Thursday and plans are to reopen it May 25.

The street typically has been closed intermittently throughout the month, ensuring safety during Memphis in May events. But previous years also saw two lanes of traffic along Riverside open during the weekdays.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. announced in early April that Riverside between Beale Street and Georgia Avenue would return to four lanes of traffic, ending a yearlong trial period that shifted the two southbound lanes to bicycle and pedestrian use.

The full-month closure of the street that borders Tom Lee Park will allow the city to complete construction on its return to four lanes.

– Daily News staff

Building Permit Sought for Dollar Tree Store

Dollar Tree is planning a new store at 995 E. Parkway South.

Bel Investments Memphis EP, TN LLC, which is based in Alabama, applied through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for a $930,000 building permit to erect a “shell building” at the site. The permit application lists Dollar Tree as the tenant.

According to the Shelby County Assessor’s office, 995 E. Parkway South is currently a 5,582-square-foot fast food building. The Assessor’s 2014 appraisal is $429,600.

Source: The Daily News & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 55 55 20,821
MORTGAGES 44 44 24,405
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 8,610
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 42,337
BANKRUPTCIES 51 51 13,953
BUSINESS LICENSES 22 22 6,423
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 13,511
MARRIAGE LICENSES 23 23 5,092

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