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VOL. 130 | NO. 25 | Friday, February 6, 2015

Daily Digest

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Fogelman Moves Forward With Poplar Retail Center

A company affiliated with Robert F. Fogelman II is moving forward with plans to build a new retail center on a key piece of land in the heart of East Memphis.

Crown Centre LLC has applied for a $3.2 million building permit to build the “shell” of a 29,000-square-foot, single-story retail building on the site of the old Cozymel’s Mexican Grill site at 6544 Poplar Ave., near International Paper’s campus in East Memphis.

Linkous Construction Co. Inc. is listed as the general contractor on the project.

The old Cozymel’s restaurant was razed in 2013. A 2012 plan approved by the Land Use Control Board indicated Fogelman, who is listed as manager of Crown Centre LLC, was seeking to develop a three-story mixed-use building with retail on the ground floor and office space on the upper floors, but the project is now firmly retail-oriented. The site is just east of International Paper’s expanding headquarters at Poplar and International Drive.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal for the property is $1.9 million. In December, Crown Centre LLC filed a $6.1 million loan on the property with Financial Federal Bank.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Shelby Farms Conservancy Goes Over Capital Goal

The Shelby Farms Park Conservancy topped its goal of raising $100,000 by the end of January, with an ending total of $115,000 raised from contributors who made their donations online and at several businesses during January. The donations ranged from $4 to $5,000 and help trigger a $1 million challenge contribution from an anonymous benefactor.

During February, the conservancy is seeking to raise another $160,000 on the way to the challenge contribution and to close out a capital campaign totaling $70 million to fund park improvements.

Those improvements include an expansion of Patriot Lake that is already underway as well as a new visitors center and other facilities.

– Bill Dries

Forensic Center to Collect Data on Sudden Deaths

The West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center, which is managed by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, is one of four Tennessee locations participating in the new Sudden Death in the Young Case Registry, a national data collection project to learn more about the reasons for sudden and unexplained deaths of those under the age of 20.

The Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have funded the project in 10 states or regions. The Tennessee Department of Health will oversee data collection at the four centers in the state.

After consent is obtained, data from deaths that meet specific criteria will be collected using nationwide standards of practice. This will include information from death certificates, medical records, death scene and pathology reports, as well as DNA samples that will be stored in a national biorepository. All information will be entered into a database to provide a nationwide registry of information that can be analyzed.

It is estimated that more than 260 young people die each year in Tennessee without a known cause. Conditions such as heart disease and epilepsy may contribute to these numbers.

– Don Wade

Council to Preview Budget at Saturday Session

Memphis City Council members get a look at what might be ahead in the spring budget season at a Saturday, Feb. 7, “working session” at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

The budget and financial outlook is the first item on the agenda for the 9 a.m. to noon nonvoting session that is a scaled-down version of a retreat council chairman Myron Lowery had been planning.

Council members will also discuss council rules and procedures.

– Bill Dries

Archer-Malmo Starts 2015 With Batch of Hires

Memphis-based advertising agency archer-malmo has added 10 new hires to its ranks.

They include Samantha Blake and Dianna Davis on the account service team; Ben Colar, Megan Schmitt and Barry Wolverton on the creative side; Jeff Janovetz, Madeline Otto and Jonah Westbrook to digital; Cheryl Mathis to accounting; and Lisa Hawkins to media.

Russ Williams, archer-malmo’s CEO, said 2014 was a banner year for growth at the company, with more than 40 hires across agency disciplines and the firm’s second spot on the Inc. 5000 ranking. The firm also was named to Ad Age’s Best Places to Work and the Agency Post’s Top Agencies for Startups.

In 2015, according to Williams, the firm will continue to focus on attracting strong marketing, creative and technology talent.

– Andy Meek

Collins Files Campaign Finance Report

Memphis City Council member Harold Collins, who is weighing a bid for Memphis mayor this year, has a campaign finance account with a balance of $23,034 as of mid-January.

That’s according to a campaign finance report Collins filed this week with the Shelby County Election Commission under the account name “Harold Collins for Memphis 2015.”

Collins is expected to announce next week whether he will enter the race as a challenger to incumbent mayor A C Wharton Jr.

Collins raised $26,234 during the reporting period between July 1 and Jan. 15 and spent $3,200 during that same period, leaving the balance of $23,034.

His largest expense was $1,500 for political polling, which will be a factor in the decision Collins announces next week.

The campaign finance report compares to a $201,088 balance Wharton reported for his campaign and $181,595 on hand in the campaign account of fellow council member Jim Strickland, who announced in January he will challenge Wharton in the October election.

– Bill Dries

Lawsuit Challenges Use of Tennessee Standardized Test Scores

The state’s largest teachers union has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s use of standardized test scores to evaluate teachers.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Nashville says more than half of the public school teachers in Tennessee receive evaluations that are based substantially on standardized test scores of students in subjects they do not teach. The Tennessee Education Association and other plaintiffs want the practice stopped.

The TEA has long argued that the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, or TVAAS data, shouldn’t be relied upon because it’s a statistical estimate and could lead to a flawed evaluation of a teacher.

Last year, state lawmakers passed legislation that prohibits standardized test scores from being tied to teacher licensing. Gov. Bill Haslam signed the measure.

– The Associated Press

Bill Would Use Traffic Camera Revenue to Fund Scholarships

Democratic state Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis has filed legislation that would use revenue from municipal red light cameras to send students to college.

Harris said the proposal filed this week will create a new scholarship opportunity for students. Under the proposal, all revenue generated by new red light camera contracts after July 1, 2015, would go to the Drive to College scholarship.

According to a report by The Commercial Appeal, red light cameras have generated $3.1 million in camera-related fines in Memphis alone, but the Arizona-based contractor earned $4.8 million.

Last month, Republican state Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden said he plans to file legislation that seeks to ban speeding and red-light cameras in Tennessee.

– The Associated Press

Average 30-Year Mortgage Rate Falls to 3.59 Percent

Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week, resuming their downward trend of this year after rising slightly last week. Rates are near historically low levels.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage declined to 3.59 percent from 3.66 percent last week. The average rate is at its lowest level since May 2013.

The rate for the 15-year loan, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, eased to 2.92 percent from 2.98 percent last week.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 76 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 83 131 1,047
BUILDING PERMITS 190 277 3,028