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VOL. 130 | NO. 139 | Monday, July 20, 2015

Daily Digest

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Crowne Plaza Downtown Getting $7 Million Facelift

The new owners of the Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown are launching a top-to-bottom renovation of the property.

Memphis-based Architecture Inc. will lead the $7 million renovation, which will include guest room upgrades, public space improvements and the relocation of some amenities to maximize space.

A group of out-of-state investors recently purchased the Downtown hotel, located at 300 N. Second St. in the Pinch District, for $12.6 million.

The renovation project, which is expected to begin in September and take about seven months to complete, comes as the northern end of Downtown experiences a bit of a renaissance, including the recent opening of Bass Pro Shops and a potential major expansion by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“The hotel is in a prime location near the Cook Convention Center and Bass Pro, but it unfortunately appears outdated alongside the numerous new options and recently renovated hotels in Memphis,” said Joey Hagan, principal of Architecture Inc., in a statement “This renovation will make Crowne Plaza a destination hotel for travelers, benefiting the Downtown area and showcasing the return on investment from renovating and adapting existing spaces in the Mid-South.”

The restaurant will also receive significant upgrades, including a relocated bar and lounge and a larger, more open dining room and buffet area.

The hotel’s front entrance will be reconfigured and relocated. A number of “back-of-house” changes will be made, including the relocation of the administration offices and upgrades to employee areas.

Plans for the building include a complete renovation of all 230 guest rooms, including new fixtures, furniture, finishes and accessories

Investors and owners are clearly trying to take advantage of the arrival of Bass Pro, which officials believe will bring more overnight visitors to Memphis.

The nearby Sheraton Hotel, located at 250 N. Main St., recently underwent a major renovation.

– Amos Maki

Campbell Clinic Opens New Spine Center

Campbell Clinic recently opened the Campbell Clinic Spine Center, located at 8000 Centerview Parkway in Cordova. This facility offers comprehensive care for both common and complex disorders of the neck and back.

The Campbell Clinic Spine Center opened in late spring 2015 in response to regional demand for specialized treatment for spine-related issues. The clinic is located in the Germantown Park business complex and was specially designed to treat the needs of back and spine patients. The space houses three spine surgeons, five physiatrists, a midlevel provider and a team of physical therapists who focus on issues of the back. The facility also includes an X-ray suite and procedure room.

In addition to general spinal health issues, Campbell Clinic Spine Center treats herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, spinal tumor, stenosis, neck and arm pain, and back pain. Treatment options include physical therapy, injection therapy, physical medicine and rehabilitation, spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery.

– Don Wade

Grizzlies’ Gasol, Green to Play in NBA Africa Game

The Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol and Jeff Green will play in the first NBA game in Africa, the National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association has announced.

The game will be played Aug. 1 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa. The sold-out NBA Africa Game 2015 will feature a Team Africa vs. Team World format and will be played in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The game will air live in the U.S. on ESPN at 8 a.m.

Team Africa, comprised of players born in Africa and second-generation African players, will be coached by five-time NBA champion Gregg Popovich and will feature team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat).

Team World, comprised of players from the rest of the world, will feature team captain, eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), and include Marc Gasol, brother Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls) and Green. Former Grizzlies and current Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins will coach Team World.

“When I heard about the NBA Africa Game I jumped at the chance to participate,” said Pau Gasol. “The continent of Africa has a special meaning for me through my Foundation. I look forward to putting on a great show for the fans and taking part in activities in the local community.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will attend the game along with NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria).

– Don Wade

Filing Deadline Shapes Field in Memphis Elections

Now that they’ve made the filing deadline for the Oct. 8 Memphis elections, candidates have until Thursday, July 23, to withdraw if they wish before the ballot is set later that day in the 15 city races.

The biggest surprise at last week’s filing deadline was Shelby County Commission chairman Justin Ford withdrawing from the race for Memphis mayor and instead filing to run in the race for City Court Clerk.

“But I’m still going to run citywide,” Ford told reporters as he signed a withdrawal form and submitted a new petition for clerk.

At the noon deadline, the race for mayor was a field of 14. The busiest council races were among the eight contenders for Council District 4, the seat incumbent Wanda Halbert is giving up to run for City Court Clerk, and the eight contenders for Council District 7, where interim appointee Berlin Boyd is seeking a full four-year term. There were seven contenders for Districts 3 and 5, the seats incumbent council members Harold Collins and Jim Strickland are leaving to run for mayor.

There were six contenders at the deadline for the Super District 9 Position 2 seat now held by interim appointee Alan Crone, who is not running in October.

The six do not include former County Commissioner Joe Cooper, who filed his petition even though his citizenship rights have not been restored from a 2007 federal money laundering conviction and prison sentence.

The Shelby County District Attorney General’s office opposed a restoration of Cooper’s citizenship rights, including his right to vote and to run for elected office.

Cooper couldn’t get a hearing by Wednesday’s filing deadline to seek a delay in the deadline until a court could rule on the issue.

“You can’t appoint a treasurer. You can’t collect signatures. You can’t go to the bathroom in this process until you’ve got your citizenship rights restored. I understood that,” an irate Cooper told Shelby County Elections Administrator Richard Holden. “But I was told that I can’t turn this in. So, what now? Are you accepting my petition?”

Holden advised Cooper to file the petition and let the five-member election commission determine whether he will go on the ballot.

– Bill Dries

Auburn Picked to Win SEC Championship

HOOVER, Ala. – Only once in the previous six years did the media correctly pick the Southeastern Conference champion in the annual voting that is part of SEC Media Days. That was last year, when media accurately projected Alabama as conference champion.

But a high failure rate didn’t stop the media from voting again. And historically, the odds are the media will be wrong. Which is bad news for Auburn, which received 96 SEC Championship votes to 80 for Alabama and 28 for Georgia.

In the previous 23 years, the media correctly predicted the eventual champion just five times.

Alabama, however, was picked to win the SEC Western Division with 1,405 total points, while Auburn was second with 1,362. Alabama received 92 first-place votes in the West, while Auburn collected 108. The Crimson Tide won the Western Division vote due to receiving just three votes for fourth place or lower in the Western Division, while Auburn received 26 such votes. Points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.

Georgia was selected to win the SEC Eastern Division with 1,498 points, including 166 first-place votes. Tennessee was second with 1,231 points and 36 votes to win the division, while Missouri was third with 1,196 total points. The Tigers, the two-time defending East representative in the SEC Championship game, also received 20 votes to win a third consecutive division title.

Vanderbilt was the only school that did not receive a single vote for winning a division title.

– Don Wade

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 81 277 20,909
MORTGAGES 85 329 24,074
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 39 3,086
BUILDING PERMITS 219 672 43,265
BANKRUPTCIES 64 238 13,418
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 56 6,678
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 82 7,871
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 59 4,702