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VOL. 8 | NO. 15 | Saturday, April 04, 2015

Daily Digest

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Finard Properties Sells Germantown Retail Center

A New York investor has purchased the Germantown Plaza Shopping Center for $14.35 million.

An entity operating as FarmEx Rail LLC acquired the 137,554-square-foot shopping center at 1991 Exeter Road, near the southwest corner of Exeter and Farmington Boulevard, from Finard Germantown LLC, according to a March 19 warranty deed. The buyer, FarmEx Rail LLC, filed a $10.7 million loan in association with the purchase with CitiGroup Global Markets Realty Corp, according to a March 21 deed of trust.

Boston-based Finard Properties owns an extensive portfolio of retail centers in the Memphis area, including Poplar Plaza at Poplar Avenue and Highland Street and Whitehaven Plaza.

According to the Shelby County Assessor of Property’s website, the combined value of the addresses listed on the warranty deed is $8.8 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Daily News Captures Seven Associated Press Awards

The Memphis Daily News won three first-place awards, and seven total, in the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors annual contest.

Amos Maki won first place in business news for “PILOT Reform.” Maki swept the business news category, getting second place for “FedEx drug-shipping portfolio” and third place for “Crossroads: Looming driver shortage threatens trucking industry.” Maki also received an honorable mention in the category.

The other first-place awards were for the paper’s 2014 editorials portfolio and Don Wade’s sports portfolio.

Andy Meek took second place in features for “Survival of the Fittest.” Andrew Breig finished third in feature photography for “Primary Choices.”

– Daily News staff

Memphis Leaders Revert Riverside Drive Bike Lanes

Riverside Drive between Beale Street and Georgia Avenue will return to four lanes of auto traffic in June, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. announced Wednesday, April 1.

But Wharton said the end of the yearlong trial period, which shifted the two southbound lanes to bicycle and pedestrian use, isn’t the end of some form of bike lanes on the scenic route.

“There will be bike lanes,” Wharton said earlier in the day before the announcement was made, when asked about a decision. “What we want to do is make sure we have the best configuration, the best alignment possible considering everybody’s views. We are not going to abandon bike lanes.”

Wharton also cited “no measurable shift of vehicle traffic to alternate routes” during the trial period.

“Travel speeds were reduced inconsistently, and the number of crashes was up over the year prior,” he added.

City Engineer John Cameron said at a public hearing in March that the city is considering a reconfiguration that would restore one lane of auto traffic on each side of Riverside’s median strip, with bike and pedestrian lanes taking the curb lanes.

“Once Riverside Drive has been completely repaved in 2016, we will again review the traffic patterns, the impact of major new developments and gather public input to determine the best permanent complete street configuration to accommodate all users – pedestrians, cyclists and motorists – safely and comfortably,” Cameron said in Wednesday’s written statement announcing the change.

– Bill Dries

Orpheum Searching for Halloran’s Successor

The Orpheum Theatre has hired an executive search firm to assist in its search for a leader.

President and CEO Pat Halloran, who has guided the Orpheum for 35 years, is retiring this year. The Memphis Development Foundation, which operates the 2,400-seat theater, has retained executive search firm DHR International to help in the process of finding Halloran’s replacement.

“Mr. Halloran will be a tough act to follow,” said Andy Taylor, board chair of MDF, in a statement. “The search committee engaged in a thorough process to vet national executive search firms with experience in the field of theater and the performing arts. DHR International, headquartered in Chicago, was selected to conduct the search under the guidance of its global nonprofit leader, James Abruzzo.”

The Orpheum is working to complete construction and fundraising for the Orpheum Centre for Performing Arts & Education, a new structure adjacent to the property that will feature a 350-seat state of the art theater, catering spaces, a rehearsal hall, board room and multiple classrooms.

Abruzzo said the new education center widens and magnifies the breadth of experience needed in the Orpheum’s new leader.

“We will be seeking someone who is a performing arts leader, who has the management skills to run the business, who has the Broadway producer’s flair and imagination, and someone with the determination and skill to be a tireless fundraiser,” he said in the statement.

– The Daily News staff

Race For the Cure Moving to Downtown Memphis

The annual Susan G. Komen Memphis-MidSouth Race For the Cure is moving Downtown in October.

The race – which was held in Collierville last year – will start and end at AutoZone Park October 31 and take in Riverside Drive as well as the Beale Street entertainment district. Sponsorships from Raymond James, AutoZone and the Memphis Redbirds are behind the move.

Elaine Hare, executive director of the Memphis race, said talks about moving the race had been underway for several years.

“We really need to have at least 20,000 participants in order to meet the need,” Hare said of the grants for breast health services, outreach and breast cancer education the Memphis organization makes each year. “Our grant requests every year range from $900,000 to $1.5 million. With only 15,000 participants, we are not generating enough money to meet the need.

“We know if we can get 20,000 people to register along with our corporate sponsors and the runners raise funds, then we’ll be able to meet the needs of our city. The easiest way to do this is to grow our race. We know the infrastructure is Downtown.”

The race was held in Germantown for 20 years before moving to Collierville in 2013.

– Bill Dries

Chickasaw Country Club Clerk Sentenced

A former clerk at the Chickasaw Country Club was sentenced Wednesday, April 1, to 18 months in prison for stealing $736,000 from the club.

Sue M. Winfrey pleaded guilty in January to a single count of wire fraud for submitting fraudulent payroll data to Paychex of New York, which processed the country club’s payroll.

Winfrey was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes. The sentence includes two years of supervised release and $486,000 in restitution to the country club as well as $250,000 to Traveler’s Indemnity Co.

– Bill Dries

Wagner and Spears Head Local Political Parties

In weekend conventions, local Democrats and Republican elected new leaders for their parties.

Mary Wagner is the new Shelby County Republican Party chairwoman, chosen by delegates to the local GOP convention held Sunday, March 29, at the Bartlett Station Municipal Center.

Wagner, an associate attorney with Rice, Amundsen & Caperton PLLC, is also an adjunct professor at the Cecil C. Humphreys University of Memphis Law School teaching advanced appellate advocacy. She has been leader of the local Young Republicans chapter for two years and also served on the state Republican party executive committee.

Randa Spears is the new Shelby County Democratic Party chairwoman, chosen by the Democratic executive committee after a party convention Saturday at First Baptist Church on Broad.

Spears, a special events coordinator with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has been active in the local party for more than 30 years. Most recently she managed Deidre Malone’s campaign last year for Shelby County Mayor as the Democratic nominee.

– Bill Dries

Indie Memphis Executive Director Jambor Resigns

After seven years of service, Indie Memphis executive director Erik Jambor is stepping down.

Indie Memphis board president Ryan Watt announced Jambor’s resignation in an email to members, saying that the organization thanks Jambor for his service “building an excellent slate of programming and growth. Our organization is fully committed to continuing our first-class festival and year-round events. Erik will always part of the Indie Memphis family.”

Watt went on to say the organization is beginning the search for a new executive director, with the volunteer board running events in the meantime.

“I can confirm we will be having our festival this year, and some exciting announcements are coming soon,” Watt said.

– Andy Meek

Sugarlands Distilling Teams Up With Memphis in May

Sugarlands Distilling Co., a producer of craft moonshine and whiskey, has teamed up with Memphis in May to be the exclusive moonshine for the 2015 International Festival.

Sugarlands will offer signature Sugarlands Shine cocktails for the second year in a row during Memphis in May events.

In the weeks leading up to the festival, Sugarlands will give away ticket packages to the Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest and the AutoZone Sunset Symphony on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SugarlandsDistillingCompany.

– Andy Meek

Sprouts Hiring 125 for New Store in Lakeland

Sprouts Farmers Market is in hiring mode for its new Lakeland store.

The grocery store at 9050 U.S. 64, set to open May 13, is looking to hire 125 people in the bakery, meat, produce, vitamin and cashier departments. Applicants can schedule an interview online through Snagajob by visiting www.snagajob.com/lakelandsprouts. Sprouts is a neighborhood grocery store with the feel of an old-fashioned farmers market.

– Andy Meek

Memphis Chamber Unveils Board of Directors

The Greater Memphis Chamber recently unveiled its 2015 board of directors, which includes six individuals in leadership positions and 45 additional members.

The chamber’s 2015 board chair is Leigh Shockey, chairman and CEO of Drexel Chemical Co. Calvin Anderson, senior vice president of corporate affairs and chief of staff with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and Duncan F. Williams, president of Duncan-Williams Inc., both serve as vice chairmen.

Lodie V. Biggs, shareholder with Baker Donelson, is secretary and general counsel while Carolyn Hardy, president and CEO of Hardy Logistics Solutions LLC, is vice chair of finance and treasurer.

– Daily News staff

Silicone Arts Closes on $1.5 Million Funding Round

Memphis-based Silicone Arts Laboratories has closed on $1.5 million for its Series A funding round.

The round was led by GPG Ventures, a venture capital firm with a consumer health focus out of Dallas, with Memphis-based Innova following as the largest investor.

Silicone Arts Laboratories manufactures Dermaflage, a cosmetic synthetic skin that was launched in 2011. It’s a topical filler used to conceal scars and wrinkles. The company will use the funding to grow its direct-to-consumer site, www.dermaflage.com, with the use of videos from customers.

Resources will also be used to grow medical sales channels with a new synthetic skin product the company says will redefine expectations for Band-Aids.

– Andy Meek

Memphis Company Nabs $1 Million Health Grant

Memphis-based Translational Sciences Inc. has been awarded a $1 million federal grant via the National Institutes of Health’s Small Business Innovation Research awards.

The grant is intended to be used for the company to study “Novel Methods for Dissolving Blood Clots.” Translational Sciences will attempt to treat dangerous blood clots while still in the body by dissolving them through molecular engineering.

The project’s goals include reducing death, disability and cost of service.

– Andy Meek

Arizona REIT Buys Three Properties for $6.4 Million

An Arizona-based real estate investment trust has snatched up three Memphis-area car wash facilities for $6.4 million.

Store Master Funding VII LLC, an affiliate of Scottsdale-based STORE Capital, acquired the properties at 1565 N. Germantown Road, 5795 Raleigh Lagrange Road and 4234 Hacks Cross Road from Little Rock, Ark.-based Baileys Tunnel Wash LLC, according to three March 16 warranty deeds.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s combined appraisal for the three properties is $3.6 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Orpheum Theatre Unveils 2015-16 Broadway Season

The Orpheum Theatre raised the curtain on its upcoming Broadway season with a slew of Tony Award-winning musicals coming to Memphis for the first time.

The theater’s 2015-16 Broadway season will kick off with the 2013 Tony Award-winning lush new production of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” followed by the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Musical Revival “Pippin,” Disney’s “Newsies,” “Matilda The Musical,” the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” and “Bullets Over Broadway.”

By popular demand, “The Book of Mormon,” which played a record breaking one-week run in 2014, returns to Memphis for a limited engagement March 15-20, 2016, as an option. Ticket package holders receive priority ticket opportunities to all shows, so adding “The Book of Mormon” to a season package is the best way to guarantee seats.

For the first time, the Orpheum also will offer a “Pick 4” season ticket holder option in addition to its full season ticket package. Season ticket holders may choose four or all six shows to complete a customized package.

Season ticket packages go on sale to the general public in May.

– Don Wade

Art Fights Blight With Public Art Project Near Midtown

Students from the Memphis College of Art completed a public art project near Midtown.

The project was made possible by a grant from ArtsZone, a collaboration between AutoZone and ArtsMemphis to support public art projects in underserved areas of the city.

The Memphis College of Art was one of 17 organizations funded through this collaboration.

At Memphis College of Art, the ArtsZone grant funded scholarships for five students from Shelby County. The scholarship offers students opportunities for professional development and equips them with skills and experiences for the future.

Freshmen Ashley Wells, Madison Petri and Jacob Lambert, sophomore Sylvester Fair, and senior Glen Chase Hunter were named 2015 ArtsZone Scholars.

Under the direction of MCA assistant professor Cat Normoyle and project assistants Bailey Brocato and Annie Kominek, the students painted a mural to beautify the Chelsea floodwall located at the corner of North Evergreen Street and Chelsea Avenue, just north of Midtown Memphis. The mural is part of a larger, ongoing art project with other local artists that will evolve over the next two years.

Eventually the floodwall will be covered with 70 panels, each measuring six feet tall by 20 feet long.

“The Chelsea Floodwall mural centers on the theme of revival,” Normoyle said. “As artists, we believe in the power of art to lift people’s spirits, to transform lives and neighborhoods.”

– Amos Maki

International Paper Sells Carolina Brand

Memphis-based International Paper Co. is selling its Carolina brand printing paper business to MeadWestvaco Corp. as it converts the Riegelwood, N.C., mill that makes the Carolina products.

MeadWestvaco and International Paper announced their agreement Tuesday, March 31, but disclosed no terms of the deal which both sides expect to close by the end of April.

Carolina products include the paper used for annual reports, book covers, brochures, signs and greeting cards.

The deal doesn’t include the Riegelwood factory which International Paper is converting to do nothing but fluff and softwood pulp production.

With Carolina leaving the IP fold, the company plans to focus its coated paperboard products in food service and packaging markets.

– Bill Dries

NexAir Acquires Georgia Welding Supply Company

NexAir has announced an acquisition that doubles the Memphis-based company’s existing footprint in Georgia.

The atmospheric gas and welding supply distributor acquired the assets, branches and operations of M&A Welding Supply Co., which is a distributor for welding and safety supplies with locations in Calhoun, Cartersville, Douglasville and Jasper, Ga.

All 15 M&A employees will join nexAir’s Georgia’s operations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

– Daily News staff

Laurelwood Brings Back Outdoor Concert Series

Laurelwood Shopping Center is bringing back its outdoor concert series, Laurelwood Unplugged.

The free, family-friendly live music event will take place in the shopping center’s courtyard from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday night in April.

On the docket this season are acts whose genres range from bluegrass to folk.

First up is American Fiction on April 2, followed by Mason Jar Fireflies April 9, River Bluff Clan April 16, Vanessa and Scott Sudbury April 23, and Side Street Steppers April 30.

– Andy Meek

Engineers to Inspect Main Street Property

Both sides in an Environmental Court lawsuit over a long-vacant property will hire their own structural engineers to inspect the building at 107 S. Main St.

The agreement to the inspections resolved a move Thursday, April 2, by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit to have General Sessions Court Judge Larry Potter order such an inspection.

Attorney Steve Barlow, representing the city and the Downtown Memphis Commission, told Potter that a structural engineer needed access to the inside of the building to determine if moisture and other water leakage has caused any permanent damage to it or to the buildings on each side of it in the block south of Union Avenue.

“We don’t know, but we suspect that structural failure is possible,” Barlow told Potter.

Attorney Adam Nahmias disputed that and whether the possibility represented an emergency.

After Nahmias and Barlow conferred with the property owner, Allan Long, both sides reached an agreement for the dual inspections.

The lawsuit seeks to have the building declared a public nuisance, a status in which Potter would then order remedial measures. All side are due to report back to Potter on April 23.

– Bill Dries

Memphis Airport Hires New Vice President of Operations

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority announced this week a new vice president of operations.

Terry Blue brings 18 years of aviation experience, most recently as the deputy airport director for General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wis., to his new role at MSCAA.

Blue, who starts his new job April 27, was selected from a field of 49 candidates. He replaces John Greaud, who retired in January after 25 years with the airport.

– Daily News staff

Brewfest on Tap for April 18 at AutoZone Park

Want to sample fine American craft beer as well as beers from around the world and raise money for a good cause? That’s what’s happening at the Sixth Annual Memphis Brewfest on Saturday, April 18, at AutoZone Park.

The event runs from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and all net proceeds benefit Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. General admission tickets in advance are $42; after April 11 tickets are $45. VIP tickets are $75. A valid ID will be required at Memphis Brewfest.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.memphisbrewfest.com.

– Don Wade

Memphis Farmers Market Kicks Off New Season

The Memphis Farmers Market opens its 2015 season Saturday, April 4.

The Downtown market also announced it has promoted Allison Cook to MFM executive director. Cook previously served as market director and has been with the organization since 2012.

Jim Keras Subaru is the market’s season sponsor, Orion Federal Credit Union is the special events sponsor and Bluff City Coffee is the coffee cart sponsor.

MFM is open on Saturdays through the middle of November.

– Daily News staff

South Main Property Fetches $1.5 Million

A mixed-used property in the booming South Main area has traded hands for $1.5 million.

An entity operating as 266 Lofts LLC bought the Class C building at 266 S. Front St. from Southfront Partners, in care of Ted Martin, according to a March 27 warranty deed. Built in 1957, the 33,318-square-foot building is located on the east side of Main between Beale Street and Pontotoc Avenue.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Girls Inc. Searching for Luncheon Sponsors

Girls Inc. of Memphis has scheduled its annual celebration luncheon and is looking for sponsors to partner with on the event.

The 27th annual Celebration Luncheon will be June 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Winners of the 2015 Strong, Smart and Bold awards are still being decided. Last year’s winners were: Terri Clarke and DJ Watson, coordinators of Women Run Walk Memphis; Meri Armour, president and CEO of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital; and Leigh Anne Tuohy, founder of the Making it Happen Foundation and inspiration for “The Blind Side” book and movie.

To find out more information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Emily Sharpe at 901-870-8877 or esharpe@girlsincmemphis.org.

– The Daily News staff

Shelby County Disparity Meeting Set for April 7

Shelby County government moves toward an updated disparity study with a public meeting Tuesday, April 7, at the Vasco Smith Administration Building, 160 N. Main St., from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The business community session is a first step toward the evaluation of whether minority and women-owned businesses in Memphis and Shelby County have had equal access to county government contracts. The commission authorized the study last year as part of a new move to increase minority and locally owned business participation in government as well as in private sector contracting.

The April 7 session is specifically an opportunity for business owners to talk about their experiences competing for county government contracts.

– Bill Dries

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 89 312 16,192
MORTGAGES 86 293 18,685
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 332 655 33,126
BANKRUPTCIES 50 237 10,737
BUSINESS LICENSES 26 112 5,198
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 127 11,344
MARRIAGE LICENSES 19 94 3,867

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