VOL. 130 | NO. 245 | Thursday, December 17, 2015
City Council Votes On Graceland, Liberty Bowl
The Memphis City Council approved the Graceland West planned development Tuesday, Dec. 15, the third phase of Graceland’s expansion to a 120-acre campus on both sides of Elvis Presley Boulevard.
The 45-acre Graceland West development is an expansion of the plaza area across the boulevard from Graceland mansion. It’s where visitors board buses to take mansion tours.
The plans call for an entertainment complex that includes restaurants, new Elvis-related exhibits and performance space.
The council voted down an appeal of a two-lot subdivision on the northeast corner of Williamsburg Lane and Village Road that it had approved earlier this year. Neighbors were seeking the appeal and Memphis Heritage and the Memphis Landmarks Commission joined them in the push.
The council again delayed a vote on a hotel with retail on the northeast corner of Jackson Avenue and North Front Street across from The Pyramid. The delay follows the council’s rejection two weeks ago of a gas station with convenience store in the same general area, at A.W. Willis Avenue and Third Street.
The council also delayed, to the first meeting in January, a vote on a tractor-trailer yard at Brooks and McCorkle roads.
The move to increase rates at the city’s on-street parking meters from $1 to $1.25 in the Downtown entertainment district, the Central Business District and the Medical Center will be one of the first issues the new council takes up.
The ordinance starts anew in January at the first of three readings after council members Tuesday effectively reversed its passage on first reading at the Dec. 1 council session. They took back the first reading vote because the item didn’t go through the council’s committee system.
City engineer John Cameron told council members in committee sessions that the rate hike was necessary to make up for revenue from the meters that is $176,000 short of projections.
The council also approved $4.8 million in city funding to put backs on more seats at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The funding for 4,000 new seats with backs is to be reimbursed by the University of Memphis under a contract agreement with the city.
And the council approved $2.2 million in city funding for public infrastructure around the Tennessee Brewery, which is being converted to apartments.
– Bill Dries
Tigers Football Coach Norvell To Earn $1.8M in First Season
New University of Memphis football coach Mike Norvell is getting a handsome raise from his previous salary as deputy head coach and offensive coordinator at Arizona State.
Norvell was one of the highest paid assistants in the country last season when he made $950,000. Now, according to multiple media reports citing a memo of understanding from the U of M, Norvell, 34, will earn $1.8 million in his first year coaching the Tigers.
His pay will escalate slightly through the term of the contract and in total he will earn at least $9.54 million through the end of the 2020 calendar year.
The contract includes a $500,000 buyout at its start with that figure increasing each year.
Former Tigers coach Justin Fuente made $1.4 million in his last season running the program and was offered a substantial raise but accepted the head coaching position at Virginia Tech.
– Don Wade
One Commerce Garners LEED Gold Certification
One Commerce Square’s renovation is both green and gold as it has achieved LEED Gold Certification, a green building accreditation through the U.S. Green Building Council.
The energy-efficient renovation spearheaded by Looney Ricks Kiss has resulted in a 45 percent energy reduction. This translates to a cost savings of $138,000 per year that is passed directly on to One Commerce tenants.
“Frequently, we hear a misconception that sustainability is an ambiguous, feel-good affair,” said Tony Pellicciotti, principal of Looney Ricks Kiss. “As a counterpoint, we achieved a tremendous energy savings for One Commerce Square that has a compelling 18-month payback, which in turn paints an indisputable financial benefit for both the owners and the tenants.”
Notable updates to the building’s core and shell include:
• 98 percent of regularly occupied spaces have direct views to the outdoors and 82.25 percent of regularly occupied spaces receive natural daylight.
• 33 percent water savings over the LEED baseline.
• A 20 percent parking rebate is offered to building patrons who have a qualified low-emitting or fuel-efficient vehicle.
– Madeline Faber
Athletic Retail Company Plans Sixth Memphis Location
Alabama-based athletic retail company Hibbett Sports Inc. is planning to open its sixth store in Memphis, the company announced this week.
It will employ about eight full- and part-time workers.
Hibbett and its subsidiaries operate more than 1,000 athletic retail stores in small to mid-sized markets, mostly in the South, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions of the U.S. The company’s main retail format is a 5,000-square-foot store. Hibbett offers a large selection of athletic equipment, footwear and apparel. Stores in each market also specialize in localized apparel and accessories.
– Andy Meek
Cancer Society Seeking Road to Recovery Drivers
The American Cancer Society is seeking Memphis-area volunteers to help cancer patients on their journey to recovery.
The Road to Recovery program drives cancer patients to and from their local treatment appointments. Anyone with a car and insurance, safe driving skills and the ability to drive as little as one morning or afternoon a month can participate.
Germantown resident Wanda Vallin, a cancer survivor who’s been volunteering with Road to Recovery for four years, points out the importance of appointments and the need to get there.
“One cancer patient requiring radiation therapy could need anywhere from 20 to 30 trips to treatment in six weeks,” Vallin said in a statement. “A patient receiving chemotherapy might report for treatment weekly for up to a year.”
Interested drivers can visit cancer.org/roadtorecovery for more information. To volunteer, contact the society’s 24-hour cancer information center at 800-227-2345, where a live representative can match individuals with Memphis-area opportunities.
– Kate Simone
Cotillion to Benefit Community Projects
The Memphis Chapter of The Links Inc. is preparing for its 26th Holiday Cotillion, which doubles as the organization’s signature fundraiser.
The chapter is expecting 450 guests for Saturday’s event, which marks the culmination of a nine-month program designed to develop leadership, social and personal skills for young women. The program includes experiential workshops, community service projects and activities that include business etiquette, financial literacy and a leadership awards luncheon.
During the six decades of its existence, the Memphis chapter has sponsored numerous community service projects and special events and has contributed to service agencies and educational institutions.
The local group sponsored its first debutante cotillion in 1988. Through the program, it has been able to sponsor a number of community projects, with gifts that include a $50,000 donation to the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library and a $100,000 endowment to Lemoyne-Owen College Scholarship Fund.
– Kate Simone
Still Time for Memphis MClub Toy Drive
The University of Memphis men’s basketball program, in conjunction with the Memphis MClub, still has a couple of days left in its annual Toy Drive.
For each toy brought to the Tigers’ Friday, Dec. 18, game vs. Ole Miss, donors will receive a voucher for a free ticket to any upcoming men’s basketball game.
The voucher can be redeemed at the Athletic Ticket office, located at 570 Normal Street. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Toys may also be brought by the Athletic Ticket office through Dec. 18. Fans wishing to use the voucher on the same day as the donation will exchange the voucher at FedExForum’s ticket office.
All toys must be unused, unopened and unwrapped. On Dec. 21, the Tigers men’s basketball team and staff will distribute all toys collected to less fortunate children in conjunction with the city of Memphis.
– Don Wade