VOL. 8 | NO. 28 | Saturday, July 4, 2015
Ikea Takes $16 Million Step Toward Memphis Store
Ikea is moving forward with its massive retail store in Cordova.
The Swedish furniture retailer has applied for a $16 million building permit for its 269,000-square-foot store on a 42-acre site near Interstate 40 and Germantown Parkway.
Earlier this year, Ikea said it planned to close on the purchase of the site this summer, break ground in the fall and open for business in 2016.
In a December announcement at City Hall, Ikea announced it would build its first store in Tennessee in Memphis. The next month, the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine awarded Ikea an 11-year tax break for the project, which is expected to employ 175 people. The PILOT could save the company around $9.5 million over 11 years while producing a local tax benefit of around $15.6 million over the same period.
The Memphis store will feature nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 room settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 300-seat restaurant that would serve Swedish specialties. Ikea has estimated that up a third of the store's visitors would come from outside the Memphis area.
– Amos Maki
Grizzlies Spending $350,000 on Facilities Improvements
The Memphis Grizzlies have applied for a $350,000 building permit to upgrade facilities at FedExForum, 191 Beale St.
During the June 23 Public Building Authority meeting, the Grizzlies were granted permission to start construction on the first phase of capital projects at the arena.
Improvements will include the addition of a new state-of-the-art video and screening room for coaches and players to analyze game and practice footage, renovation of coaches’ offices and new space for front office personnel.
The PBA holds the title to FedExForum, and the authority’s board must approve any capital expenditures that exceed $500,000. The $350,000 in upgrades approved at the June 23 meeting are being funded by the Grizzlies.
“The Grizzlies organization and (controlling owner) Robert Pera’s commitment to maintain and enhance FedExForum for both fans and players is vital to the Public Building Authority and our community,” said PBA chairman of the board David Levine. “By providing the funding for these improvements, Robert continues to exhibit his long-term commitment to professional basketball in Memphis.”
Jason Wexler, the Grizzlies’ president of business operations, said the facilities improvements “represent another step towards creating the best-in-class basketball organization that Robert Pera envisions.”
The application field with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement lists Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC as the general contractor on the project. Construction is to begin immediately, according to the Grizzlies, and the initial phase is expected to be finished by the time the team reports for training camp in September.
– Don Wade
Volvo Group Unveils $70M Byhalia Distribution Center
Volvo Group inaugurated its new 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Byhalia, Miss.
The $70 million facility – located at 100 Global Gateway Drive inside Panattoni Development Co.’s Gateway Global Logistics Center – supports the company’s Mack and Volvo truck brands, as well as Volvo Construction Equipment and Volvo Penta.
Located 25 miles southeast of Memphis, the new distribution center employs 250 people. The facility is based near major transportation hubs and infrastructure, providing easy and efficient delivery for dealers and customers. The new distribution center resulted in the closure of a Volvo distribution center in Southeast Memphis.
“The (distribution center) will enable us to more efficiently handle an increased volume of parts distribution, while also significantly improving customer service,” said Christer Svärd, senior vice president of Volvo Group Logistics Services, in a statement.
The Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines. The Volvo Group employs about 100,000 people and has production facilities in 19 countries.
In 2014, the Volvo Group’s sales amounted to about $38.2 billion.
– Amos Maki
St. Jude Receives $4.3M in Federal Grants
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been awarded two federal grants totaling $4.3 million.
Of the $4.3 million from the federal Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health, $3.1 million will go to creating a new Center for Precision Medicine in Leukemia.
Precision medicine is a treatment created for a specific patient based on that patient’s unique genetic makeup. Patients in precision medicine often have their molecular make up tested and defined to determine the best course of treatment.
St. Jude is specifically working in the areas of next generation genome sequencing, pharmacogenomics and cancer predisposition.
The hospital also works with the Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project in St. Louis and is developing other clinical genomics programs.
The remaining $1.2 million is for a related Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Commission.
The funding was announced Tuesday, June 30, by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis, who is co chairman of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus.
– Bill Dries
Kuehne Nagel Acquiring Memphis Intermodal Firm
Kuehne + Nagel, a Swiss logistics company with a large local presence, is acquiring Memphis-based ReTrans Inc., an intermodal transportation management company with more than $500 million in annual revenue.
Kuehne + Nagel announced Thursday, June 25, that it had entered into an agreement to acquire 100 percent of ReTrans shares at an undisclosed price.
“The transaction with ReTrans underlines our strategy to grow organically and through complementary acquisitions,” said Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel, in a statement. “Our customers will benefit from comprehensive end-to-end supply chain solutions in North America. Combined with our strong seafreight, airfreight and contract logistics operations, this transaction will accelerate our growth.”
Founded in 2002 by David H. Wedaman, ReTrans ranks among the leading U.S. non-asset brokerage providers of intermodal, full-truckload and less-than-truckload services in the U.S. and Canada, operating in 68 locations with more than 300 employees.
ReTrans is expected to open inroads for Kuehne + Nagel into intermodal rail markets, truckload and less-than-truckload brokerage and transportation management services at U.S. and Canadian shippers, extending the Swiss company’s reach past major U.S. ports.
Wedaman, the Memphis-based founder of ReTrans, will take over running the combined operation.
“Our customers will be pleased with the access to Kuehne + Nagel’s global network and to take advantage of the expanded range of services,” Wedaman said.
– Amos Maki
Senior Living Community in Frayser Files $6.5M Permit
Wesley Highland Meadows senior housing community located at 3517 Andy Way in Frayser filed a $6.5 million building permit on June 24.
The permit is for a complete interior and exterior renovation of the 200-unit, rental-assisted property that sits on 18 acres between Highland Road and Walnut Road.
Wesley Housing Corporation of Memphis purchased the facility in January 1990 for $4.6 million. The 2015 tax appraisal value of the property is $7.1 million, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.
Wesley Housing Corporation of Memphis is a nonprofit organization that offers senior housing, assisted living and home services to more than 2,200 residents in two assisted living communities and 28 senior housing communities in West Tennessee, Western Kentucky and Arkansas.
– Chandler Reports & Daily News Online
Arrow Transportation Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Arrow Transportation Inc., a Memphis cab company, has filed for federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
Arrow, which is headquartered at 901 Vance Ave., filed its petition Thursday, June 26, estimating assets and liabilities at up to $50,000 each and up to 49 creditors. The filing does not specify particular debts or creditors.
Under the terms of Chapter 11, Arrow will remain open and continue to operate during the process.
– Bill Dries
Nineteenth Century Club Owners Secure Loan
The owners of the Nineteenth Century Club in Midtown have secured a $2.35 million construction loan to begin transforming the historic home at 1433 Union Ave. in Midtown into a restaurant.
Shon and Dana Lin secured the construction loan from Bank of Bartlett, according to a June 26 deed of trust.
According to a story in The Commercial Appeal, the Lins hope the French and Japanese restaurant “will become a destination for Memphis and beyond, promising a magnificent meal” in a preserved landmark.
– Amos Maki
County Unemployment Rate Zigzags in May
The unemployment rate in Shelby County was 6.7 percent in May, which was higher than the previous month but lower than the year-ago month.
May’s Shelby County jobless rate was down from 7.5 in May 2014 but above April’s 6.1 percent rate, according to the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The statewide unemployment rate in May was 5.8 percent, and the U.S. rate was 5.5 percent.
Last month’s unemployment rate for the Memphis metropolitan area was 6.6 percent, compared to 5.9 percent in April and 7.3 percent in May 2014.
All four of Tennessee’s largest metropolitan areas saw their jobless rates rise in May when compared to April.
Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in May at 4.5 percent, up from 4.1 percent in April. Knox County was 4.7 percent in May, up from 4.3 the previous month. The Hamilton County May rate was 5.5 percent, up from 4.9 in April.
Statewide, 10 of Tennessee’s 95 counties had a rate of less than 10 percent.
– Amos Maki
Chelsea Floodwall Focus of Public Art Festival
More than 70 artists will display public art being painted along the Chelsea Greenline west of North Evergreen Street during a daylong festival July 18.
The festival is being organized by Paint Memphis with assistance from the UrbanArt Commission.
The gathering will include food trucks and family-friendly activities along the Chelsea Greenline’s floodwall, which stretches about a third of a mile. The goal is to promote the floodwall as a canvas for graffiti artists, with Paint Memphis serving as a monitor of the art and keeping the area free of litter.
The floodwall will get a primer coat of paint with 35 gallons of paint and paint sprayers donated by The Home Depot, a festival sponsor. Home Depot employees will also volunteer time to help paint the wall.
The UrbanArt Commission and the Greater Memphis Greenline got the permission of the city of Memphis and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the artwork.
The concept of graffiti on public walls is known in other cities as “permission walls.”
“Giving these artists a palette, time and materials can help them to find a safe and legal space to showcase their talents,” said Karen Golightly, a coordinator of the Paint Memphis event. “Graffiti is the most prominent form of public art.”
– Bill Dries
GTx Stock Performance Pleases Analysts
Memphis-based biopharmaceutical company GTx is making investors and analysts happier these days.
A recent Zacks Equity Research note said it was "pretty encouraging" that estimates for GTx's stock have moved higher in recent weeks, with the analyst sentiment rising in tandem with a 37 percent stock price gain over the past month. Shares were up 2 cents to $1.49 during afternoon trading Wednesday, July 1.
News also has come at a steady clip out of GTx this year. The company in March, for example, announcing it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation to develop the foundation’s proprietary selective androgen receptor degrader technology.
The company also named former Johnson & Johnson executive Rob Wills as GTx's new executive chairman recently. He joined the GTx board effective March 2.
– Andy Meek
New Fitness Zone to Open in Audubon Park
The city of Memphis is getting a permanent outdoor adult fitness zone at Audubon Park.
The park is a result of a year-long partnership between the city and Meta, a Procter & Gamble product line led by Metamucil. The fitness area of the park is expected to be open for public use by mid to late summer.
After Memphis was dubbed the unhealthiest city in the U.S. in 2014, Meta joined with city to encourage residents to take small steps to make healthy changes via a number of initiatives throughout the year.
The adult fitness zone will give Memphis residents an opportunity to continue their healthy journey.
To kick-off construction, a groundbreaking event was held Tuesday, June 30. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell Jr., and Latreal “La” Mitchell, personal trainer to Meta spokesperson Michael Strahan, hosted the event.
Meta kicked off the partnership last summer with the help of Memphis’ Common Table Health Alliance, a regional health improvement collaborative, and they co-hosted health-related events throughout the year offering free resources, fitness classes, health screenings, fitness education and product samples.
– Don Wade
Timberlake Buys Property in Williamson County
A newspaper reports that pop music star and actor Justin Timberlake has purchased about 126 acres of land in Williamson County.
According to The Tennessean, Timberlake paid $4 million for the land on Old Highway 96 in the Leiper's Fork community through an entity with his Los Angeles-based certified public accountant as the trustee.
The newspaper reports that preservationist Aubrey Preston was the seller. Preston is known for leading efforts to preserve the historic Studio A building on Nashville's Music Row.
Sonia Muckle, a spokeswoman for Timberlake, declined to comment to the newspaper.
Timberlake told The Tennessean in 2013 that he has friends in the Williamson County area and that he spends more time in Nashville than people realize.
"I admire this town a lot. They take care of their own," the Memphis native said. "There's not a lot of places in the world, much less America, that do that. It's just a great place."
Celebrities Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, Alan Jackson, Michael McDonald and Trisha Yearwood also own property in Williamson County.
– The Associated Press
Replica Rings, Bobbleheads Part Of Redbirds Promos
The Memphis Redbirds have added four premium St. Louis Cardinals giveaways to the 2015 promotional schedule.
Beginning in late July, Redbirds fans can come away with a pair of replica championship rings and bobbleheads celebrating former and current stars of the St. Louis Cardinals.
On July 30, the first 1,500 fans can get a bobblehead of Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith. On July 31, the first 1,500 fans will receive 1982 World Series replica rings.
On Aug. 16, the 30th anniversary of the 1985 National League pennant will be celebrated with replica rings. And on Aug. 31, the first 1,500 fans get Matt Carpenter bobbleheads.
– Don Wade
DHG Memphis 'Count The Cans' Program Tallies 6,000
The Memphis office of DHG LLP is donating nearly 6,000 canned goods to the Mid-South Food Bank.
The cans were collected through the firm’s annual community service initiative, “Count the Cans.”
DHG’s 40 local volunteers enabled the Food Bank to distribute 8,967 meals across the Mid-South. The Food Bank serves more than 300 charitable feeding programs in 31 counties.
Charlotte-based DHG is a public accounting firm with more than 1,800 employees. In three years of “Count the Cans,” DGH offices in 12 states collectively have raised more than 2.5 million pounds of food for food banks across its footprint.
– Daily News staff
Whitehaven Retention Pond Construction Begins
Memphis crews began work Monday, June 29, on a $450,000 retention pond in the Days Creek area of Whitehaven.
The wooded area south of Southland Mall borders several Whitehaven subdivisions that have flooded recently, most notably on Sept. 11 when some homes were heavily damaged.
Homeowners in the area complained about the city’s response compared to flood relief in areas of Southaven, Miss., on the other side of the state line that experienced the same flooding.
The damage estimates to the area were below the threshold in terms of dollar amounts for federal disaster assistance.
The city has worked to remove trees and other brush from the floodways built into the area long ago so they can handle heavy rains.
– Bill Dries
New Website, Logo for Walker & Associates
Memphis ad firm Walker & Associates has rebranded, launching a new website and logo.
The new look for the 50-year-old advertising, public relations, marketing and digital firm speaks to its longevity and innovation. It was founded in 1965 by late political connoisseur and ad man Deloss Walker.
“It’s essential for your brand to remain relevant as industry trends are constantly influx,” said president and CEO Ceil Walker, wife of founder Deloss Walker. “It is an exciting time to be in this industry and a great honor to be celebrating 50 years for our clients, for our supporters and especially for Deloss.”
The new website features new work and historical footage. Visit www.walker-assoc.com for more information.
– Daily News staff
CBIZ Adds Tax Practice Leader in Memphis
CBIZ MHM LLC has added Lloyd Grissinger as tax practice leader in the firm’s Memphis office.
He’ll be responsible for practice growth, financial management, quality control, risk management, and operational matters as well as personnel development. He’ll also maintain active client service and engagement management responsibilities.
In a statement about his appointment, CBIZ senior managing director Eustis Corrigan said, “The role of tax practice leader is critical to our overall success in growing our people and meeting the needs of our clients. We continue to drive our focus on areas of specialization for growth and tax services is a high priority service line.”
Grissinger is taking over the role from Corrigan, who served in that capacity since January 2014. Corrigan will continue as senior managing director for the Memphis office.
CBIZ provides professional business services that help clients better manage their finances and employees.
– Andy Meek
Enviro-Master Franchise Opens Memphis Location
Public restroom cleaning service Enviro-Master has expanded its presence to Memphis.
Operated by Thomas Whitley, the franchise will serve restaurants, businesses, schools and organizations throughout the Memphis area as far east as Jackson, Tenn., and stretching west to Jonesboro and Wynne, Ark., north to Ripley, Tenn. and south to Tunica and Senatobia, Miss.
The new Memphis franchise is Enviro-Master’s third in Tennessee. Whitley is one of six new franchisees joining the Enviro-Master fleet in 2015.
– Daily News staff
Consumer Sentiment Up to Highest Level Since January
Consumer sentiment rose this month to the highest level since January, suggesting that spending will strengthen this year.
The University of Michigan says its consumer sentiment index rose to 96.1 this month from 90.7 in May. The June reading was the highest since January’s 98.1. The index is up from 82.5 a year ago.
For the first six months of 2015, consumer optimism improved at the fastest pace since 2004, three years before the Great Recession, said Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Michigan survey.
Curtin says the readings are consistent with a 3 percent increase in consumer spending this year. That would be the fastest pace since 2006. The Commerce Department reported this week that consumer spending rose at an annual pace of 2.1 percent from January through March.
– The Associated Press
Dayco Picks Memphis Distribution Center Locale
A Michigan-based belts and hose manufacturer has settled on a location for its North American distribution center.
Dayco Products LLC has selected Centerpoint III at 3530 E. Raines Road.
Dayco had been considering multiple locations for the new, 400,000-square-foot facility, which will be the company’s primary North American distribution center.
In addition to Centerpoint III, Dayco also considered the facility at 4755 Southpoint Drive.
The company was granted a five-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive from the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine in May. The tax break will save the company around $1.2 million while producing roughly $3.6 million in new tax revenue, or $3.08 for every $1 abated.
Dayco said it will create 174 new jobs, with an average salary of $26,753.
– Amos Maki
FedEx Express Nabs Award
FedEx Express has been garnered a prestigious award.
FedEx Express was recently named Best Express Operator at the 2015 Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain Awards in Hong Kong.
Held annually, the industry awards honor the organizations that demonstrate leadership and consistency in service quality, innovation, customer relationship management and reliability in their fields. FedEx had to overcome competition from two other shortlisted providers, but ultimately garnered more online votes to net the award.
Two months ago, FedEx was named among the most reputable companies in the world in the Reputation Institute’s annual Global RepTrak 100 list published in Forbes magazine.
Earlier this year, the company was ranked highly in Fortune magazine’s “Most Admired Companies” survey, as well as coming first in the delivery industry category.
– Amos Maki
New Laws Include 48-Hour Waiting Period for Abortion
A mandate for a 48-hour waiting period before an abortion is one of many new Tennessee laws taking effect on Wednesday, July 1.
The abortion measure affects all seven of the state’s abortion clinics. Another law will require abortion facilities performing more than 50 abortions a year be held to the same health and safety standards as other outpatient surgical facilities.
The 48-hour requirement would be waived if there’s a medical emergency. Both measures aim to restore abortion laws that were struck down by a state Supreme Court decision in 2000.
Another new law boosts the state’s efforts to combat human trafficking. The Legislature has approved multiple bills over the past several years addressing the problem after a 2011 Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report showed 73 of the state’s 95 counties have reported the crime within their borders.
The new law gives authorities more training to identify, investigate and prosecute human trafficking. The TBI has hired four new agents to help train local law enforcement on how to recognize human trafficking.
Two other new laws pushed by Gov. Bill Haslam aim to encourage Tennesseans to get a postsecondary education.
Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect were launched as part of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” initiative, which aims to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with a degree or certificate beyond high school, help improve overall job qualifications and attract employers to the state.
Of the state’s 74,000 high school graduates, as many as 18,000 are expected to utilize Tennessee Promise in the fall, according to Mike Krause, who oversees Tennessee Promise. The program offers free tuition at any of the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology.
Tennessee Reconnect allows adults to attend one of the state’s 27 colleges of applied technology for free by paying tuition and fees not covered by existing grants and scholarships. So far, nearly 11,000 Tennesseans have applied to the program.
– The Associated Press
Grizzlies Make Qualifying Offer to Nick Calathes
The Memphis Grizzlies have extended a qualifying offer to guard Nick Calathes. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
By extending a qualifying offer to Calathes prior to the June 30 deadline, Memphis holds the right to match any offer sheet he may sign with another team after becoming a restricted free agent July 1.
Calathes averaged 4.2 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.09 steals in 14.4 minutes in 58 games (zero starts) for Memphis last season. The 26-year-old posted a 92.2 defensive rating, leading all NBA players who appeared in at least 55 contests. He was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round (45th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft following a two-year career at the University of Florida.
– Don Wade
University of Memphis to Relaunch GoTigersGo.com
The University of Memphis Athletic Department is relaunching its website, GoTigersGo.com, to provide a user-friendly experience across all platforms – including smartphones and tablets.
The updated site includes media walls on each sport page where previews, recaps and features can be found along with digital content such as photo galleries and video. A social wall encompasses both Instagram and Twitter, including content provided by fans.
Imagery of Memphis’ athletic facilities is featured throughout the site via sliders as is additional sport-centric material available on each athletic program’s main page.
The site will still offer links to schedules, rosters, news and ticket information.
As the new site comes online and with the beginning of fall sports seasons, users will have access to enhanced student-athlete and coaching staff biographies, improved displays of sport statistics and additional schedule content, and new video and photography elements.
– Don Wade
US Probing Airline Collusion to Keep Fares High
The U.S. government is investigating possible collusion between major airlines to limit available seats, which keeps airfares high, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.
The civil antitrust investigation by the Justice Department appears to focus on whether airlines illegally signaled to each other how quickly they would add new flights, routes and extra seats.
A letter received Tuesday by major U.S. carriers demands copies of all communications the airlines had with each other, Wall Street analysts and major shareholders about their plans for passenger-carrying capacity.
Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce confirmed Wednesday that the department was investigating potential "unlawful coordination" among some airlines. She declined to comment further, including about which airlines are being investigated.
Thanks to a series of mergers starting in 2008, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United now control more than 80 percent of the seats in the domestic travel market. During that period, they have eliminated unprofitable flights, filled a higher percentage of seats on planes and made a very public effort to slow growth in order to command higher airfares.
It worked. The average domestic airfare rose 13 percent from 2009 to 2014, when adjusted for inflation, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. And that doesn't include the billions of dollars airlines collect from new fees: $25 each way to check a bag and $200 to change a domestic reservation. During the past 12 months, the airlines took in $3.6 billion in bag fees and another $3 billion in reservation change fees.
All of that has led to record profits for the industry. In the past two years, U.S. airlines earned a combined $19.7 billion.
This year could lead to even higher profits thanks to a massive drop in the price airlines pay for jet fuel, their single highest expense. In April, U.S. airlines paid $1.94 a gallon, down 34 percent from the year before.
– The Associated Press