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VOL. 130 | NO. 241 | Friday, December 11, 2015

Daily Digest

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New Holiday Inn Express Rising Near Graceland

Holiday Inn Express and Suites is ready to shake up the Graceland area with a $4.8 million construction loan recently arranged by the Memphis office of Financial Federal Bank.

The four-story, 85-bedroom hotel at 3411 Elvis Presley Blvd. will be the first nationally franchised property to enter the Memphis International Airport and Graceland area in more than a decade.

The owners are planning on clientele ranging from Graceland tourists to Medtronic, Smith & Nephew and FedEx corporate guests.

“It’s no secret that the submarket has experienced a major void in quality hotels,” said Rick Wood, executive vice president of Financial Federal Bank, in a release.

Elvis Presley Enterprises currently is constructing the $90 million, 450-room Guest House at Graceland, which is scheduled to open in October. The Guest House is being built along Elvis Presley Boulevard, north of the Graceland mansion.

Hospitality Builders of America applied this month for a $14.2 million permit for the Whitehaven-area Holiday Inn. A representative told The Daily News Thursday, Dec. 10, that the figure was inaccurate, and the construction group is building on an earlier $3.5 million permit.

The hotel is along the west side of Elvis Presley Boulevard between Hernando and Winchester roads, just a few blocks north of Graceland.

– Madeline Faber

Jack Sammons Back At Airport Authority Board

The Memphis City Council confirmed it last week, and the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority made it official Thursday, Dec. 10.

Jack Sammons is returning to the airport authority board, beginning a new seven-year term on Jan. 1.

Sammons previously served on the MSCAA board from 2010 until May 2015, when he took on the role of outgoing Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s chief administrative officer. He served as chairman of the MSCAA board from 2013 until he stepped down.

Sammons’ role as chairman of the airport authority made him the chief salesman and booster of Memphis International Airport as the airport began making the transition from a Delta Air Lines hub to an airport that primarily relies on origin-and-destination passenger traffic.

Sammons will fill J.W. Gibson’s expiring post.

– Madeline Faber

Local Institutions Win Grant To Improve Cancer Disparities

Methodist Healthcare Foundation, in partnership with the University of Memphis and West Cancer Center, has received a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to create an innovative approach where patients, researchers and health care providers work together to improve cancer disparities.

The goal of the project is to build trust and lasting partnerships with hard-to-reach populations who have traditionally faced disparities in cancer care and outcomes. It’s also meant to engage those individuals in research efforts.

Dr. M. Paige Powell, assistant professor in the Division of Health Systems Management and Policy at the University of Memphis School of Public Health, and Cynthia Tankersley, director of care support services at West Cancer Center, will lead the engagement project in conjunction with Methodist Healthcare Foundation.

Patients, family members, health care providers and researchers will be involved in developing a counsel to study ways to improve the coordination and quality of health care required to reduce the prevalence of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers in the target populations in Memphis and beyond.

– Andy Meek

Jeff Johnson Leases Midtown Restaurant Space

Jeff Johnson, the restaurateur behind Local, Oshi Burger Bar and Agave Maria, is bringing a new concept to a Midtown restaurant space.

Jeff Johnson Restaurant Group last month signed a 2,212-square-foot lease at 1545 Overton Park Ave. The property most recently housed the Evergreen Grill. Carson Claybrook, vice president of Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors, represented the tenant.

In other retail news, MidSouth Med LLC recently signed a 2,600-square-foot lease at 9160 Highway 64 in Lakeland. Carson Claybrook represented the tenant and Roger McLemore, vice president of commercial property services with Makowsky Ringel Greenberg, represented the landlord in the deal.

EZ Wireless of Memphis Inc. signed a lease for a 678-square-foot bay at 5865 Summer Ave. Carson Claybrook and Conner Walker, a senior associate at Commercial Advisors Asset Services, represented the landlord.

– Madeline Faber

Grizzlies Plan Gospel Night, Faith & Family Night

Memphis Grizzlies fans who purchase tickets to the Grizzlies matchups on either Feb. 19 or April 1 will also get a postgame concert as part of the Grizzlies’ annual Gospel Night and Faith & Family Night, respectively.

Discounted group tickets, starting at $12, are available to both Gospel Night and Faith & Family Night for parties of 15 or more and can be purchased by calling 901-888-HOOP. A limited number of hospitality suite packages are also available that include 16 suite tickets, four parking passes and 20 terrace-level tickets.

First on the calendar is Gospel Night on Friday, Feb. 19, when the Grizzlies face the Minnesota Timberwolves. Pastor Beverly Crawford, a standout on the gospel scene for more than 20 years, will give the concert that night.

Crawford is best known for her tenure with the New Life Singers on BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel, and she has received multiple Stellar Awards, and Dove and Grammy Award nominations.

Faith & Family Night will highlight the Grizzlies matchup against the Toronto Raptors on Friday, April 1, with a postgame concert from former Newsboys standout Peter Furler.

After 22 years as the main creative force behind Newsboys, Furler returned to the solo scene with the album “Sun and Shield.” The artist behind 27 No. 1 radio singles teamed with longtime producer/lyricist Steve Taylor to create a collection of new songs with a stronger, band-driven sound.

– Don Wade

Three Penguin Chicks Born at Memphis Zoo

Three African penguin chicks have hatched at the Memphis Zoo.

The three chicks, which were hatched between Oct. 17 and 21 to two sets of penguin parents, are the first penguin chicks to be reared at the zoo in two years, according to zoo leaders. The sexes of the chicks have not yet been determined.

After spending the first few weeks with their parents, the chicks are now being hand-reared off exhibit by the zoo’s penguin keepers. The chicks will grow to full size at about two months but aren’t fully mature until they shed their juvenile gray feathers at about a year old.

African penguins, which are considered “warm weather” penguins, have been part of the zoo’s collection since 1987. The zoo hatched its first chick in 1990 and has raised 37 additional chicks since then.

The new chicks, still wearing their juvenile plumage, will make their march into Penguin Rock next spring, where they will join the Memphis Zoo’s 21 adult penguins.

– Kate Simone

Valenti Management To Open New Office

New office space is coming to Germantown, as Valenti Management has filed a $1.2 million building permit application for a “new single-story corporate office” on Crestwyn Hills Drive.

Valenti owns and operates Wendy’s and Chili’s franchises across Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Missouri and has more than 4,500 employees. The vacant site at 9185 Crestwyn Hills Drive is east of Forest Hill-Irene Road and south of Crestwyn Hills Drive.

According to the company website, Valenti has a Memphis office at 1775 Moriah Woods Blvd., which is at this point still operational.

– Madeline Faber

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