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VOL. 8 | NO. 35 | Saturday, August 22, 2015

Daily Digest

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New Logistics Accelerator Gets Under Way

A new logistics-focused business accelerator has launched in Memphis.

Five teams are participating in the 14-week 2015 EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, which is sponsored by FedEx and got under way Monday, Aug. 17.

The accelerator focuses on technologies and products that enable and enhance logistics, leveraging the region’s strengths as the world’s distribution hub.

The participating companies received $25,000 in initial seed capital from Innova, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that’s invested in more than 35 early-stage companies. It also co-founded the ZeroTo510 medical device accelerator with Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

At the end of the 14-week program, the participants will pitch to a group of investors, business leaders and community supporters at Demo Day, on Nov. 19, for the opportunity to secure additional funding.

The five teams are:

• Burro, from Austin, Texas: a father-son team leveraging the popularity of ridesharing and applying it to local deliveries.

• LiLoE, from Washington, D.C.: founded by a U.S. Navy veteran working on a solution to the doorstep delivery of unattended packages.

• L7, of Memphis: developing an online marketplace for consumer-to-consumer shipping options.

• One Click Ship, from San Francisco: developing a website that aggregates available shipping options and costs for freight forwarders.

• Thaddeus Medical Devices, founded by a former Mayo Clinic researcher from Rochester, Minn.: developing a device that regulates package temperature.

– Andy Meek

PILOT Decision Delayed for Mall of Memphis Site

The board of the Economic Development Growth Engine delayed a vote Wednesday, Aug. 19, on a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes application from the developers of the old Mall of Memphis site.

Huntington Industrial Partners and Johnson Development Associates were seeking a $24 million property tax abatement to develop what they said would be the first speculative industrial site built in Memphis in the last eight years.

The proposal is a combination of five buildings over several years with uses ranging from warehousing to office space.

The EDGE analysis of the applications notes that the board usually doesn’t grant tax breaks for speculative development.

Because of questions from the staff and the EDGE board, EDGE president Reid Dulberger pulled the item from Wednesday’s agenda.

The EDGE board approved a set of new policies effective in January that create four new tax incentives, including PILOTs for jobs, small-business expansion, destination retail and a “community builders.”

The board also approved PILOTs for Solae LLC and State Systems Inc., two Memphis businesses that are expanding and had been considering moving to Fayette County.

– Bill Dries

Center City OKs Front Street Loan Extension

The Center City Development Corp. has given developers of the 266 Memphis project a six-month extension on the start of construction.

Under terms of the development corporation’s $325,000 loan, construction on the lofts, apartments and retail space at 266 S. Front St. was to start by September.

But the last remaining tenant had a lease clause that allowed six months to move out; that six-month period ends in September, according to Vince Smith Jr., one of the partners in 266 Developer LLC.

Developers expect to begin demolition in October with construction on the $18 million project now slated to begin in November. The project is located on the southeast corner of Front and Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard.

– Bill Dries

First Tennessee Reopens Orange Mound Branch

At the end of this week, First Tennessee Bank is hosting a grand reopening of its updated Orange Mound branch, at 2284 Lamar Ave.

Bank spokesman Jack Bradley said the company updated it to make it “more modern and flexible in delivering banking services.”

“It’s significant,” he told The Daily News, “because it renews our commitment to the Orange Mound community. First Tennessee has had a presence there for 70 years, most of those at the Lamar location.”

The reopened branch also will house a new First Tennessee HOPE Inside location to provide free credit counseling services. The bank will host an Orange Mound-themed art contest to find art for the walls of the branch.

– Andy Meek

Burke’s Book Store Celebrates 140 Years

One of the last of the city’s independent bookstores celebrates a milestone birthday this year.

2015 marks the 140th anniversary of Burke’s Book Store, which Walter Burke opened on Main Street in 1875. The store is celebrating with a variety of events this year leading up to a fall open house.

Currently on view in the front window is a display showcasing the store’s first 100 years, when it was owned by a succession of Burke family members. Also on loan from the family is a historic cash register.

– Andy Meek

CBHS to Build $10M Athletics Facility

Christian Brothers High School is building a $10 million athletics complex on its East Memphis campus.

The Brothers Development Center is part of a series of major renovations at the 5900 Walnut Grove Road campus.

CBHS launched the silent phase of a $25 million capital campaign in November 2014. School alumni David Popwell, president and COO of First Tennessee Bank; Bob McEniry, NexAir chairman; and Tim McCarver, retired Hall of Fame broadcaster and two-time World Series champion, chaired the campaign.

Linkous Construction is the general contractor, and Fleming Architects is the project architect. Construction on the Brothers Development Center is expected to last more than a year.

The 50,000-square-foot, multipurpose athletics facility will house a variety of amenities to rival the quality of collegiate athletic programs, according to a press release from the all-boys high school.

Included in the center’s list of amenities are: two state-of-the-art training and weight rooms; a sports medicine and therapy area; a film and reception area that offers panoramic views of the school’s athletic campus; a multifunction wrestling arena; and expanded locker rooms for football and lacrosse.

The two-story building also will include a gymnasium, according to a $9 million building permit application filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement.

Dr. Fred Azar, Campbell Clinic chief of staff, provided input on the design of the medicine and therapy area.

– Jane A. Donahoe

Retailer Fred’s Discloses Information Breach

Fred’s Inc. has disclosed a breach of two company servers through which payment card data is routed.

In a recent regulatory filing, the retailer said it made the determination after an investigation by a third-party cybersecurity firm. According to Fred’s, that investigation uncovered the presence of malware on the two servers starting March 23, operating on one server through April 8 and on the other until April 24.

“The malware was designed to search only for ‘track 2’ data – data from the magnetic stripe of payment cards that contains only the card number, expiration date and verification code,” Fred’s notes in its filing. “During this time period, track 2 data was at risk of disclosure; however, the third-party cyber-security firm did not find evidence that track 2 data was removed from the company’s system. No other customer information was involved.”

Memphis-based Fred’s says the malware has been removed from the company’s system, and the company has implemented enhanced security measures to prevent similar events from occurring in the future. Fred’s also says costs related to the incident “may have a material adverse effect on the company” and that cooperation with law enforcement and efforts to enhance its security measures are ongoing.

– Andy Meek

City Council Rejects Summer-Graham Retail

Memphis City Council members voted down Tuesday, Aug. 18, a planned development on the northeast corner of Summer Avenue and Graham Street that would have been a retail center anchored by a coin-operated laundromat.

The laundromat in particular drew opposition from neighboring homeowners and merchants. They cited several other laundromats within a two-mile radius.

Following the council rejection, developer Harry Skefos indicated he will probably amend his application at the Sept. 1 council meeting to remove the laundromat.

The council also approved a rezoning of both sides of Cleveland-North Watkins between Larkin Street and North Parkway in the Crosstown area.

The change – affecting 36 parcels of land, 35 businesses and one apartment building – means those properties can retain their distance from the sidewalk, including allowing parking in the front, unless there are substantial changes to the structures or they are demolished to build new structures. In that event, the buildings would have to comply with Midtown development guidelines that require buildings be against sidewalk borders with parking on the side or in the rear.

The council approved on the second of three readings a pair of ordinances involved in the push for a $57 million facade and interior renovation of the Memphis Cook Convention Center and a still-tentative, longer-range center expansion.

– Bill Dries

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. in the Binghampton neighborhood.

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

FedEx Trade Networks Taps Udo Lange as New COO

FedEx Trade Networks has appointed a new chief operating officer to help lead the freight forwarding and customs brokerage division of FedEx Corp.

Udo Lange will take over as COO and executive vice president at FedEx Trade Networks. He will be responsible for overseeing all global air and ocean freight forwarding and customs brokerage operations for the company.

Lange comes to FedEx Trade Networks from a 20-year career at various international transportation providers.

– Daily News staff

Memphis Surgeon Performs Cutting-Edge Procedure

Dr. Daniel Lee of the Memphis Obstetrics and Gynecological Association has successfully performed a single-site robot hysterectomy.

The surgical procedure is one that only requires a single, small incision hidden in the navel and offers patients a significant reduction in pain, recovery time and scarring when compared to multiple, small incisions for laparoscopic surgeries or a large incision for an open hysterectomy.

The da Vinci robotic surgery system is used to accomplish this minimally invasive surgery. It’s controlled by the surgeon, and by incorporating a high-definition camera that presents the surgeon with a magnified, three-dimensional image of the operating field.

The da Vinci robotic surgery system gives patients benefits that include potentially less blood loss and a shorter inpatient hospital stay.

– Andy Meek

Tanger in Southaven to Hold Job Fair For 900 Positions

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. will hold a job fair Sept. 16 to fill 900 jobs at the new Southaven mall in advance of its November opening.

The job fair is at Landers Center, 4650 Venture Drive in Southaven, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The jobs are full- and part-time positions with more than 70 retail outlets that will be part of the Tanger Outlets Southaven. Applicants should bring multiple copies of their resumes to the job fair.

– Bill Dries

Cloverleaf Shopping Center Sells for $4.8 Million

The popular Cloverleaf shopping center, located at the corner of Summer Avenue and White Station Road, has sold according to a special warranty signed Aug. 13.

WS Summer LLC purchased the multi-unit retail center for $4.8 million. The addresses in the sale include 5071 Summer Ave., 5079 Summer Ave., 5150 Summer Ave. and 761 N. White Station Road.

Junior Realty, a Tennessee general partnership, managed by Memphis-based Loeb Realty Co Inc., had owned the property since December 2006. Current tenants include Sherwin-Williams, Cash Saver and Hobby Shops.

– Wendy Greenlaw, Chandler Reports

St. Jude Taps Perry as New Chief Information Officer

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has a new chief information officer.

The hospital has tapped Keith Perry to fill the role, in which he’ll provide strategic counsel and leadership for the hospital’s information technology initiatives.

Perry joins St. Jude from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he served as associate vice president and deputy chief information officer.

– Andy Meek

Cummins Continues Memphis Expansion

Cummins Inc. continues to expand its new distribution center in Memphis.

Dan Walker Associates Inc. applied for a $2.7 million building permit to renovate the existing 400,000-square-foot building at 5800 Challenge Drive in Southeast Memphis just across the street from the existing Cummins distribution facility on Quest Way.

Prologis Macquarie Tennessee II LLC has owned the property since 2002.

Cummins and the state confirmed the expansion in May.

The board of the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine in February granted Cummins a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive to retain 897 local jobs and create 70 new jobs. The PILOT would save the company $12.9 million while producing a local tax benefit of $59.6 million. The company received the PILOT after saying it was exploring relocating operations to Mississippi.

Cummins has multiple operations in Memphis and has been involved with the Memphis community for more than 30 years.

– Wendy Greenlaw, Chandler Reports

Former Transportation Official LaHood Joins OneJet

Former U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood is the newest member of OneJet’s senior advisory team.

LaHood’s appointment to the board of the light jet air carrier focused on regional business travel was announced this week.

OneJet debuted this spring and in June began service between Memphis and Indianapolis. Indianapolis is OneJet’s “focus” city. The carrier is set to announce a second focus city, for which Memphis is in the running, in September.

LaHood will be an adviser to OneJet on government policy. He was transportation secretary from 2009 to 2013.

– Bill Dries

Memphis Symphony CEO to Leave in November

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s president and CEO is preparing to step down in November.

Roland Valliere is taking a new job in Cape Cod, Mass., as president and CEO of the nonprofit arts organization Cape Arts & Entertainment. He’s staying on here through Nov. 9 and will continue to serve as an adviser to smooth the leadership transition.

When Valliere departs, it will have been exactly two years since the native New Englander’s acceptance of the Memphis symphony’s top job in November 2013. Symphony chair Gayle Rose said the organization will continue working over the next six months to bring its long-range plan to fruition, and that Valliere will help lead that process.

“The Memphis Symphony Orchestra has experienced a remarkable revitalization under Roland’s leadership,” Rose said in a statement about Valliere’s departure.

– Andy Meek

Shelby County Tourism Spending Tops $3 Billion

Tourists coming to Memphis and surrounding Shelby County spent $3.1 billion in 2014, up 4.6 percent from 2013, according to Tennessee tourism figures released Tuesday, Aug. 18.

The state total of direct domestic and international travel expenditures was $17.1 billion last year, a 6.3 percent increase from the prior year and a record Tennessee tourism.

The direct tourism spending in Shelby County generated $149.9 million in state tax revenue and $87.7 million in local tax revenue. By the state’s count, 19,874 Shelby County citizens worked in the tourism industry or in related fields.

Statewide, 152,900 people worked in the state’s tourism industry or related fields, 2.8 percent more than a year ago.

Shelby, Davidson and Sevier counties were the top three counties in the state in terms of tourism’s economic impact. The three counties each had more than $1 billion in tourist spending; Shelby ranked No. 2 in Tennessee.

Knox and Hamilton counties rounded out the top five.

Tennessee state government collected $1.5 billion in state and local sales tax revenue from tourists in 2014, up 7 percent from the previous year.

– Bill Dries

Connexion Point Plans Memphis Grand Opening

Health care services company Connexion Point is preparing to open its Memphis contact center, which is slated to employ nearly 400 people.

The Salt Lake City-based company will cut the ribbon on its 38,000-square-foot office – located at 1769 Paragon Place, suite 100, in Nonconnah Corporate Center – Thursday, Aug. 20, at 11:30 a.m.

Connexion Point develops programs to help health plans and providers communicate with members about their benefits and health care options.

It announced plans for the Memphis contact center in June, citing the city’s location in the heart of the country, which is closer to many East Coast insurance providers; the area’s low cost of doing business; and the high number of licensed health care agents.

Christina Sears, chief marketing officer of Connexion Point, said the company would hire about 350 contact center agents and 40 to 50 managers and support members.

– Daily News staff

Parkway Village Hotel Sells for $4.8 Million

The Campaige Place extended-stay hotel has sold for $4.8 million, according to a special warranty deed signed Aug. 14.

The hotel is located at 2705 Cherry Road, just north of American Way between Getwell and Perkins roads, in Parkway Village.

TN Campaige LLC and WI Memphis LLC as tenants in common purchased the five parcels assigned to the property.

Campaige Place Memphis One LLC, a Tennessee limited liability company, has owned the 286-unit hotel since 2004. Built in 1988, the property has a combined tax appraisal value of $2.8 million.

A $3.9 million loan was filed at the time of sale through Triumph Bank. The five-year loan matures in August 2020.

– Wendy Greenlaw, Chandler Reports

Hollywood Feed Providing Gift Cards for Pet Adopters

For the month of August, when a pet is adopted through the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County, local pet food and product retailer Hollywood Feed will reimburse the adoption fees by providing the new pet parent with a Hollywood Feed gift card valued up to $150.

“We refer to this as our ‘Adoption Relief’ program,” said Shawn McGhee, president of Hollywood Feed. “We understand that when you bring home a new pet, there are many items you need to keep your pet comfortable and healthy. We wanted to do our part to encourage adoptions so that these pets can have a better chance of finding permanent homes.”

Pets available for adoption through the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County may be viewed online at www.memphishumane.org.

– Don Wade

Memphis Chamber Hires Member Services Head

The Greater Memphis Chamber has added Andre Gibson as member services coordinator, the primary liaison for the organization’s members.

Gibson will engage with members, 80 percent of which are small businesses, connecting them to chamber resources, tools and contacts.

He also will assist with programs to recruit and retain chamber members as well as provide support on member programs and the Small Business Council task forces.

Gibson previously worked as the community engagement coordinator for Heifer International in Memphis, leading grassroots advocacy efforts and recruiting volunteers to meet targeted goals. He has also worked as the systems integration administrator for Buckman USA

– Don Wade

Weirich Gets TBI Report on Darrius Stewart Shooting

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation delivered a 600-page report Thursday, Aug. 20, to Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich on the July 17 fatal shooting of Darrius Stewart by a Memphis police officer.

Weirich did not disclose any details of the report as she announced its arrival Thursday. But she termed it “thorough and exhaustive” and she asked for “patience” as she and her office determine if they will seek charges against officer Connor Schilling in the incident.

“I will begin the process of reviewing that report and making a determination under the laws of the state of Tennessee whether criminal charges are warranted,” she said. “I ask for patience from the community.”

Weirich said her office could decide that further investigation is warranted. She has no timetable for when her review might be completed.

– Bill Dries

Iowa Energy to Hold Open Tryout Oct. 10 in Memphis

Want to play in the league just below the NBA?

The Memphis Grizzlies’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, will hold their annual open player tryouts for the upcoming 2015-16 season on Saturday, Oct. 10.

The tryouts will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Memphis University School, 6191 Park Ave.

“Open tryouts have always been a major component of our process,” said Grizzlies director of minor league operations Chris Makris. “Last season, three open-tryout players made the Iowa Energy’s 10-man opening night roster.”

– Don Wade

Elvis Auction Bids Total $950,000

Collectors and Elvis Presley fans bought 160 lots of Elvis-related artifacts from private collectors last week during what was billed as the largest-ever Graceland auction.

The winning bids for the auction, which was part of Graceland’s Elvis Week events, totaled more than $950,000, according to Graceland Auctions.

The highest price at the auction was $62,500 paid for a Walther Model PPK/S 9mm Kurz handgun owned by Presley with “Elvis” and “TCB” engraved on it. Its auction estimate was between $100,000 and $125,000.

A jacket and leather pants ensemble Presley owned in the 1960s sold for $32,500. Before the auction, it was valued at $6,000 to $8,000.

The auction was held Thursday, Aug. 13, at the Graceland Archive Studio; Graceland authenticated the items.

– Bill Dries

Porter-Leath, Memphis Health Center Get Grants

Porter-Leath and the Memphis Health Center are getting federal funding boosts.

Porter-Leath was awarded $1.1 million for its Early Head Start programs, which provide early, comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants, toddlers, pregnant women and their families.

Memphis Health Center got $541,667 to open a new access point in the Whitehaven community, which will provide health care services to neighborhood citizens.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen announced the Porter-Leath grant Tuesday, Aug. 18, and the Memphis Health Center grant Thursday, Aug. 20.

– Daily News staff

Hollis Price Middle College Makes Newsweek Rankings

Hollis F. Price Middle College High School made the recent Newsweek ranking of the nation’s top 10 high schools “beating the odds.”

The rankings – from Newsweek and Westat, a research firm that developed the rankings’ methodology – include a list of 500 public high schools doing an exceptional job of preparing students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Hollis Price, which is part of the Shelby County Schools system, was eighth on that list. The school is at 807 Walker Ave. on the campus of LeMoyne-Owen College.

– Bill Dries

PROPERTY SALES 50 389 12,758
MORTGAGES 21 248 8,003
BUILDING PERMITS 295 813 29,934
BANKRUPTCIES 35 164 6,064