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VOL. 8 | NO. 34 | Saturday, August 15, 2015

Daily Digest

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Georgia-Pacific Invests $20M in Memphis Mill

Two years after Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific acquired Memphis-based Buckeye Technologies in a $1.4 billion deal, the combined company, GP Cellulose, has invested $20 million in capital construction and maintenance projects at its Memphis facilities.

The Memphis operation, which is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary, is one of the world’s largest cotton cellulose mills. It engineers cotton pulp that is used to make a variety of material from high-end stationary to pharmaceutical coatings. The pulp also is processed to thicken paints and some foods.

GP Cellulose employs 200 people, including research and development personnel, at the Memphis Cellulose Mill and the Cellulose Technology and Innovation Center, which is located at 1001 Tillman St.

The company estimates it will have donated more than $1.5 million to local charities by the end of 2015. The total includes donating the old Buckeye Technologies headquarters building, at 1005 Tillman St., to United Way of the Mid-South.

– Bill Dries

Loeb Properties Buys Shops of Chickasaw Gardens

Loeb Properties has purchased the three commercial real estate parcels that compose the Shops of Chickasaw Gardens along Poplar Avenue for $3 million.

Memphis-based Loeb, working as Loeb Bros. Realty LP, bought the property from 3181 Poplar Avenue Holdings LLC, an affiliate of CWCapital Asset Management LLC, according to an Aug. 5 special warranty deed.

The mixed-use portfolio – located at 3137 Poplar, 3163 Poplar and 3181 Poplar – foreclosed in May 2014 after former owners Castle Chickasaw LLC and 129 Chickasaw LLC defaulted on a $25.6 million loan through Lehman Bros. Bank FSB dated Oct. 31, 2007. The loan secured other properties as well.

The property, which is on the south side of Poplar between Lafayette and Marne streets, totals 53,969 square feet. It includes a four-story, 40,342-square-foot office building and a single-story, 13,627-square-foot retail building. The retail component of the property was built between 1946 and 1997, with the office component completed in 1960.

The three properties have a combined 2015 tax appraisal value of $2.6 million, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

– Wendy Greenlaw, Chandler Reports

Memphis Search Marketing Firm Nabs Spot on Inc. 500

Search marketing firm HigherVisibility LLC was the highest-ranked Memphis company on the annual Inc. 5000 list, which ranks the nation’s fastest growing companies.

At No. 265, it also was the only Tennessee company included among the top 500.

The Inc. 5000 measures percentage revenue growth from 2011 to 2014; HigherVisibility saw its revenue balloon 1,710 percent in that time.

HigherVisibility was founded in 2008 and offers search engine marketing services to clients across the country.

A total of 14 Memphis companies were recognized on the Inc. 5000. They include:

• No. 587, Premier Realty Group
• No. 991, Clarion Security
• No. 1019, Universal Asset Management
• No. 1694, Matrix Achievement Group
• No. 2622, Memphis Invest
• No. 2900, Premier Property Management Group
• No. 2933, Bowman’s Works
• No. 3336, Logical Systems
• No. 3411, Monogram Food Solutions
• No. 3549, Mahaffey Fabric Structures
• No. 4029, Evolve Bank & Trust
• No. 4146, Archer-Malmo
• No. 4773, International Sourcing Co.

– Jane A. Donahoe

Indie Memphis Doubles Length, Adds Downtown

The Indie Memphis Film Festival will extend its presence back Downtown this year – for the first time since 2006 – with a series of events scheduled on top of its Midtown offerings.

This year’s festival, set for Nov. 3-10, will also be bigger – up from four days in previous years. In addition to hosting screenings and events in Overton Square, this year’s festival will offer programs Downtown at the new Halloran Centre for Perfoming Arts & Education next door to the Orpheum Theatre.

The festival’s presenting sponsor is again Memphis investment firm Duncan-Williams Inc.

Among other recent news about the festival, the organization recently announced that Starz Digital has signed on as a Spotlight sponsor, joining the sponsorship of Duncan-Williams. The Starz agreement, according to Indie Memphis, is significant not only because of its support of the festival, but up to 30 of the company’s digital partners will attend festival events and tour destinations around Memphis.

– Andy Meek

Domino’s to Raise $35M for St. Jude

Domino’s Pizza has committed to raise $35 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, starting this year.

The announcement came in tandem with the grand opening of the Domino’s Event Center at St. Jude, a flexible event space on the hospital campus that can be used for hospital fundraising events, patient and family activities, and entertainment.

“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been part of the Domino’s family since 2004 and to date, we’ve raised more than $25 million to support the hospital’s life-saving efforts,” said Patrick Doyle, Domino’s president and chief executive officer. “Last year we decided to get even more serious with our $35 million, eight-year commitment to the children of St. Jude. The Domino’s Event Center is a magnificent facility that will be put to good use raising funds and awareness for St. Jude.”

During last year’s St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign, Domino’s completed a three-year, $10 million commitment made to the hospital in 2012 – one year early.

– Andy Meek

Memphis Medical Org Acquired By Global Group

A Memphis-based medical organization that specializes in procuring human tissue specimens for research purposes has been acquired by a global entity pursuing similar work.

Asterand Bioscience, which has offices in Detroit as well as in the U.K. city of Royston, announced a deal Tuesday to acquire Memphis-based AdeptBio.

AdeptBio’s mission, according to its website, is to address the underserved needs of the pharmaceutical and diagnostic R&D communities. In a statement about the acquisition, AdeptBio founder Dr. Lee Schwartzberg said the companies joining forces will help that goal.

“The development of new targeted therapies and companion diagnostics rely on availability of tissues, and increasingly biofluids, linked to deep clinical data,” he said.

Per the terms of the deal, AdeptBio’s people and supply network will be incorporated into Asterand Bioscience’s existing custom procurement offering, expanding its global network of more than 80 collaborating donor institutions. That setup allows Asterand Bioscience to deliver human tissues, biofluids and accompanying clinical information in a way that’s the most convenient for the specific experimental needs of the pharmaceutical and diagnostic community, the organization said.

Asterand says its mission is “to provide human-based solutions to accelerate the identification and validation of drug targets and enhance the selection of drug candidates with increased likelihood of clinical success.”

It was formed in 2006 through the merger of Asterand, a human tissue biorepository, and Pharmagene, a human tissue-based drug discovery company.

– Andy Meek

Grizz Owner’s Ubiquiti Hit With $46.7M Fraud

Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera’s technology company has been hit by fraud, saying in a regulatory filing it lost $46.7 million.

In the filing, Pera’s Ubiquiti Networks Inc. described the incident as both a “business email compromise fraud loss” and involving the impersonation of an employee. The company also pointed to “fraudulent requests from an outside entity targeting the company’s finance department.”

The company realized what happened June 5, that the fraud had “resulted in transfers of funds aggregating $46.7 million held by a Company subsidiary incorporated in Hong Kong to other overseas accounts held by third parties. As soon as the Company became aware of this fraudulent activity it initiated contact with its Hong Kong subsidiary’s bank and promptly initiated legal proceedings in various foreign jurisdictions.”

The company goes on to explain in its filing that it’s recovered $8.1 million, and an additional $6.8 million is currently subject to legal injunction, an amount the company expects to recover. It’s continuing to pursue recovery of the remaining $31.8 million, which the company says is the subject of a multi-agency criminal investigation involving U.S. federal and overseas law enforcement authorities.

Pera’s Ubiquiti says it might not be able to obtain insurance coverage for the loss but believes the incident was isolated, and that its technology systems haven’t been compromised nor has company data been exposed. The company also doesn’t think the incident will have a material impact on the business.

In its regulatory filing, Ubiquiti said it had $446.4 million in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30.

– Andy Meek

Feathers Spa Flies in to The Peabody Next Month

On the heels of announcing in July that the Gould’s Day Spa & Salon is leaving The Peabody, the Downtown hotel announced today the forthcoming arrival of a new full-service spa – Feathers Spa at The Peabody – opening next month.

The hotel says Feathers will offer upscale spa and salon treatments, including massages, body wraps, loofah scrubs, facials and facial enhancements, wax treatments, manicures and pedicures, hair styling and makeup application. Also among the offerings will be Ashiatsu barefoot massage, involving a practitioner who uses their feet rather than their hands to perform a massage.

By opening its own spa, Peabody general manager Doug Browne says, it provides the opportunity to offer things like spa vacation packages, Peabody signature treatments, resort-style experiences like couples massages, and spa products that tie in to guest room toiletries.

Feathers will offer a full line of high-end spa and salon products from both Zents and Pevonia. Feathers also will include a team of nearly 30 associates, including nail technicians, estheticians, massage therapists, stylists, cosmetologists, receptionists and a spa manager.

– Andy Meek

Rock for Love Adds Bands, Announces Expansion

Rock for Love is expanding a bit, with just three weeks to go until the ninth annual concert-fundraiser for the Church Health Center kicks off.

Among the latest news, the University of Memphis Music Industry Division will curate and manage a stage at the Friday, Sept. 4, Crosstown Block Party. Lauren Moscato, Drew Erwin, Kyndle McMahan and Jeffery Jordan also will perform that night at Midtown Crossing Grill, at 394 N. Watkins St., starting at 6 p.m.

There’s also a new addition to the Saturday night lineup, with Big Don & The Hollywood All-Stars set to bring some music to Lafayette’s Music Room.

Josh McLane is hosting a night of comedy at the Hi-Tone Sept. 3. Among other ways to get involved with the event and supporting the Church Health Center, rockforlove.org is hosting an online auction featuring everything from a Mark Edgar Stuart house concert to original works by Memphis artisans.

Last year, Rock for Love raised $50,000 for the Church Health Center.

Visit rockforlove.org for the full lineup.

– Andy Meek

New Graceland Hotel Sets Opening Date

The new $90 million, 450-room resort hotel Elvis Presley Enterprises is building in Whitehaven is scheduled to open Oct. 27, 2016.

The Guest House at Graceland, located on Elvis Presley Boulevard north of the Graceland mansion, will open with a four-day event including concerts and other activities as well as the traditional ribbon cutting.

Graceland also announced Thursday, Aug. 13, that the resort will begin booking guests for the grand opening celebration this September, 13 months in advance. The reservations are open to Diamond-level members in the new “Founders” program. Diamond-level status is limited to 250 members.

Opening events will include the Oct. 26 formal closing of Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, the Graceland-owned hotel on Elvis Presley Boulevard's west side.

– Bill Dries

Wolf River Conservancy Earns Accreditation

The Wolf River Conservancy has “earned a mark of distinction” from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

The commission accredited the organization after a two-year, three-month evaluation process. It ensured that the conservation work is permanent, upholds the public trust and meets efficiency standards.

Wolf River Conservancy is one of 317 land trusts in the U.S. to earn the accreditation in the last seven years. The accreditation commission is based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and is made up of land conservation and nonprofit management experts.

“Through accreditation, land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” said Tammara Van Ryn, the commission’s executive director.

Wolf River Conservancy executive director Keith Cole called the accreditation a “mark of distinction.”

“Protecting our watershed and area wetlands assures we’ll have a clean, safe and plentiful water supply for generations to come,” he added.

The conservancy is more than 30 years old and currently is undertaking a $40 million plan to build the Wolf River Greenway. Seven of its 16 segments are under design and set to begin construction in 2016.

The greenway will link up with the Shelby Farms Greenline in some segments and follow the Wolf River on a separate journey north of the Greenline in Shelby County. Its route will include the north end of Mud Island, where the Wolf River meets the Mississippi River.

– Bill Dries

Explore Bike Share Builds Community Support

The effort to build a bike-sharing system in Memphis is seeking public support at various community events.

The move by Explore Bike Share includes street teams asking citizens to sign statements supporting the concept and make other calls for public support.

The month-long effort follows the first phase that started in June, when Explore Bike Share founder Doug Carpenter began seeking input on what the system might look like. That has also included an online survey.

The still-forming bike share plan also involves external market research and national distribution of a request for proposal to potential partners.

By the fall, Carpenter and project manager Sara Studdard hope to have research data ready and a list of supporters for the specific effort.

– Bill Dries

Orpheum Art Installation Unveiled Later This Month

Later this month, the Orpheum Theatre will unveil its newest art installation – “Orpheus Ascending” – by world-renowned sculptor Richard MacDonald.

MacDonald will be present at the event Aug. 29 and be honored for his work.

The dedication will coincide with the Orpheum’s 21st Annual Art Sale, taking place the same day. Sponsored by Versant Supply Chain, the art sale celebrates the local creative community and offers attendees a variety of styles and artistic genres. Artists will host on-site booths where they will showcase their work and arrange pricing directly with buyers.

The event will take place on the Orpheum stage, and admission includes a sampling of hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks. A cash bar also will be available.

With each sale, 75 percent of the proceeds go directly to the artist with the remaining 25 percent being donated to the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education. General admission to the art sale is $10 per person. Tickets are on sale now; visit orpheum-memphis.com.

– Andy Meek

Ardent to Host Two Days of Recording Sessions

Ardent Studios is preparing to host “16 Over 48,” a series of 16, two-hour recording sessions over 48 hours Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15-16.

The way it works: 16 Memphis bands will bring their instruments and voices to record in Ardent’s renovated Studio C. Ardent will have everything the artists need to make a professionally produced recording, including a backline of drums, guitar and bass amps, bass, piano and organ, all set and ready to track through a new state-of-the-art SSL Duality console.

Ardent also will have a set of cymbals and a kick pedal, but drummers are encouraged to bring their own.

Each group will walk away with two CD copies of their in-studio performances, mixed on the fly. Any groups inspired to continue work on their session will be able to do so at a special studio rate of 50 percent off, as long as the session is booked within one year of the “16 Over 48” session.

The two-hour recording blocks will take place over two days, with one hour between the sessions. The first session will start at midnight Aug. 15, and the last session will end at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 16. Each block will include studio and engineer time, all equipment, instrument rentals and studio gear, as well as food and drink for all participants.

– Andy Meek

Germantown, Others Adopt Greenprint 2015/2040 Plan

Germantown, Olive Branch and Walls, Miss., are the latest municipalities to adopt Greenprint 2015/2040 as the regional vision for green space and connectivity.

Greenprint 2015/2040 is a regional plan that recommends the establishment of 500 miles of greenway trails and 200 miles of bicycle lanes in the Memphis area by the year 2040. More than 4,000 local residents, organizations, businesses and agencies gave input on the plan, which was developed over a three-year period by the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability and a consortium of more than 300 people representing more than 80 organizations and jurisdictions.

Funding for the plan was provided by a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. To date, 11 jurisdictions have adopted the plan, including counties and municipalities in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.

– Andy Meek

River City Capital Gets Key Certification

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund has certified River City Capital Investment Corp. in Memphis as a Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

Through monetary awards and the allocation of tax credits, the CDFI Fund helps promote access to capital and local economic growth in urban and rural low-income communities across the nation. The CDFI Fund enables locally based organizations to further goals such as economic development, affordable housing and community development financial services.

River City Capital, an affiliate of Community LIFT, aims to increase economic development in underserved neighborhoods by attracting and leveraging investment capital for community revitalization.

– Andy Meek

Disney Store Distribution Center Sells for $27.5M

DDC Investment Inc., a Colorado nonprofit corporation, has acquired The Disney Store’s Memphis distribution operation.

DDC purchased the building at 4795 Imagination Drive in Southpoint Distribution Park for $27.5 million, according to a special warranty deed filed Aug. 5.

The Disney Store has leased the property since 1996. The 660,000-square-foot distribution center was built in 1997 by Clayco for Disney’s direct marketing division.

The facility includes 35,000 square feet of Class A office space and 625,000 square feet of distribution space. It sits on 46.4 acres at the southwest corner of Imagination Drive and Pleasant Hill Road.

The seller, PanCal Shelby 126 LLC, purchased the property in January 2011 for $20 million. The Shelby County Assessor of Property lists a tax appraisal value of $18.7 million.

– Wendy Greenlaw, Chandler Reports

Discount Tire Opens First Memphis-Area Store

Discount Tire, the world’s largest tire and wheel retailer, has opened its first Memphis-area store.

The new tire store is located at at 438 Goodman Road in Southaven, near Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto and Interstate 55.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based retailer sells a wide selection of leading tire brands, including Michelin, Goodyear, BFGoodrich, Pirelli, Falken and GT Radial.

As a service to the Memphis-area drivers, Discount Tire offers customers free tire air-pressure checks and fill-ups at its new Southaven store.

Discount Tire, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010, operates more than 900 stores nationwide.

– Daily News staff

Chiwawa Closes, Will Be Replaced by New Concept

It would seem that Chiwawa, the Overton Square restaurant at 2059 Madison Ave. that opened in 2013, is closed and in the midst of a transition.

A sign posted on the door as of Monday afternoon said the business is undergoing repairs. Chiwawa owner Daniel Flanagan gave the following statement to several news outlets, including The Daily News:

“After two and a half successful years, Chiwawa’s tenure in Overton Square has come to an end. We are tremendously grateful for the support Memphis and our frequent Midtown patrons have given us ...

“We have an opportunity to make improvements to the existing space at 2059 Madison Ave. and look forward to bringing something unique and exciting to the Square. We are thoroughly committed to its vibrant revival and the energy it brings to the city. Specific details to follow in coming weeks.”

– Andy Meek

Ballet Memphis Closes On French Quarter Inn

Ballet Memphis has closed on its purchase of the French Quarter Inn in Overton Square for $4.2 million.

The seller, NCE Realty and Capital Group LLC of California, had owned the 34,0000-square-foot hotel at the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and Cooper Street since December 2013, when it purchased the property for $1.9 million.

Ballet Memphis, working with Memphis-based architecture firm archimania, will transform the property into its new headquarters. The design features an abundance of glass as a way to bring space to the building and draw in passersby.

Ballet Memphis plans to keep its Cordova location at 7950 Trinity Road as a satellite.

The Overton Square addition comes after the square’s developer, Loeb Properties, talked earlier this year of a cultural addition to its theater district, which includes Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Theater, Theatreworks and Hattiloo Theatre.

The property has a tax appraisal value of $1.8 million.

– Wendy Greenlaw, Chandler Reports

McMath is Named CIO of Methodist Le Bonheur

Mark W. McMath is the new chief information officer at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.

McMath began his duties Monday, Aug. 10, and comes to Methodist from being CIO and vice president of information technology at Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital.

Among his accomplishments there was a reduction in MRI flow times from 55 to 40 minutes that allowed more appointment slots and generated $1 million in net revenue.

– Bill Dries

Hulsey, Hunt & Parks Opens Memphis Office

The law firm of Hulsey, Hunt & Parks has opened a Memphis office at Clark Tower, 5100 Poplar Ave.

The Austin, Texas-based firm, which practices intellectual property law, including copyrights, patents and trademarks, also has offices in San Antonio, Texas; Palo Alto, Calif.; and Rochester N.Y.

The firm’s principals are attorneys William Hulsey, William Parks and Jeffrey D. Hunt. Hulsey and Parks earned their undergraduate degrees at Rhodes College in Memphis.

– Bill Dries

Onyx Equities Expands Operations to Memphis

A New Jersey-based real estate investment, management and development firm has added a Memphis office to accommodate its growing management portfolio of real estate owned (REO) and receivership properties.

Onyx Equities LLC, which was formed in 2004, has already opened management offices this year in Atlanta, Crofton, Md., and Charlotte, N.C. The company projects it will have extensive asset management operations up and running in 15 states by the end of 2015.

The Memphis office will be led by Claudia Woods, who has more than a decade of experience managing distressed and stable assets across the office, retail, industrial, flex and residential sectors. In her most recent role at Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors, Woods managed a 2.9 million-square-foot distressed property that consisted of 25 industrial, flex and retail buildings.

Working alongside Woods will be April Sexton and Frances Bell. Sexton comes to Onyx from Colliers International, where she was a property manager for more than 1 million square feet of office, retail and flex warehouse space. Bell has more than 13 years of property management experience. Previously she served as a senior property manager for PDC Properties Inc., where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of more than 7 million square feet of industrial, office and retail space.

– Daily News staff

Collierville Referendum Try On High School Falls Short

There won’t be a special election later this year in Collierville.

An effort to force a referendum on the $95 million bond issue for the new Collierville High School fell short of the 3,281 signatures it needed to take it to the ballot.

Critics of the project had until Aug. 4 to gather the necessary signatures. Shelby County elections administrator Richard Holden said those opposed to the bond issue didn’t turn in a petition.

Because they didn’t, the Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen‘s July vote to issue the bonds becomes the final word on the matter.

– Bill Dries

Memphis Hires Associate Athletic Director

Courtney Vinson, who has served as an assistant athletic director at the University of Central Florida for the past four years, has been named the associate athletic director for sport services and senior woman administrator at the University of Memphis following a national search.

At Memphis, Vinson will oversee the operations of the athletics office of compliance, including certification, scholarships and the scholarship book process. Among her other responsibilities, she will also serve as administrator for several sports.

– Don Wade

National Baptist Convention Returns To Memphis

The National Baptist Convention will return to Memphis for its annual convention starting Sept. 7 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The 135th annual session of the convention will run Sept. 7-11 and is expected to draw 50,000 people to the city. The gathering was last in Memphis in 2009.

– Bill Dries

Masson Appointed Interim Crime Commission Leader

Former city of Memphis chief administrative officer Rick Masson is the new interim director of the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission, the independent organization that tracks city and county crime rates and oversees the Operation: Safe Community strategy for fighting crime.

Masson’s interim appointment was announced Wednesday, Aug. 12, by Ben Adams, chairman of the commission’s board and CEO of Baker Donelson law firm.

Masson’s chief task will be to assist the board during the commission’s leadership transition, including the recruitment and placement of a new CEO and president following the July 1 retirement of executive director Michelle Fowlkes.

– Bill Dries

University of Memphis Gets Grant for Student Veterans

The University of Memphis is one of 11 higher-education institutions statewide to receive a grant aimed at recruiting and improving the success of student veterans.

The U of M will get $93,374 from the state of Tennessee’s Veteran Reconnect Grant. The money will fund the creation of a Student Veteran Support Team to serve as a single point of contact for student veterans.

The university will focus on increasing the use of its Prior Learning Assessment program, including experiential learning credit.

The Veteran Reconnect funds also will support dedicated internships for student veterans, increased marketing to veterans and training for faculty and staff on improving services to veterans.

The 11 colleges across Tennessee received a total of $1 million in veteran-program funding. The U of M was the only Memphis-area college to receive the grant.

– Daily News staff

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Blog News, Training & Events
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 61 331 19,904
MORTGAGES 80 391 23,305
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 83 8,387
BUILDING PERMITS 0 338 40,366
BANKRUPTCIES 35 231 13,335
BUSINESS LICENSES 28 76 6,213
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 125 13,120
MARRIAGE LICENSES 21 94 4,936

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