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VOL. 130 | NO. 116 | Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Daily Digest

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Dayco Seeks Tax Break for Memphis Distribution Center

A Michigan-based manufacturer of belts and hoses is seeking local tax incentives for a Memphis distribution center.

Dayco Products Ltd., which has filed a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes application with the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine, says the center would employ 174 workers.

Other cities under consideration for the project include St. Louis, Louisville, Ky., Indianapolis and Nashville. Consideration is also being given to Southaven and Byhalia, Miss.

Dayco Products is a global leader in the research, design, manufacturing and distribution of a broad range of belts, hoses and hydraulics equipment for the automotive, trucking and industrial markets as well as the automotive aftermarket.

Dayco operates a fully integrated global network of manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, technical centers and sales offices. The firm’s North American headquarters is in Troy, Mich., while its European/African headquarters is in Torino, Italy.

The EDGE board is scheduled to vote on the company’s PILOT request on Wednesday, June 17.

– Amos Maki

Christian Brothers University Preserves Kenrick Hall Cupola

Work crews demolishing Kenrick Hall on the campus of Christian Brothers University removed the building’s cupola Monday, June 15, for preservation as they prepare to bring down the rest of the historic structure.

The circa-1939 building is giving way to a new school of the arts to be named for Rosa Deal, Christian Brother’s first woman faculty member.

The cupola was carefully braced and lifted off the roof of Kenrick Hall by workers with Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. for repurposing in a future project.

Woodland Tree Service also is collecting wood materials from the building and a tulip poplar tree near the hall to recycle as furniture.

– Bill Dries

Truck Stop Restaurant Plan Hits End of the Road

The developers behind the proposed Truck Stop restaurant on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Cooper Street have pulled the plug on the project after a year and a half of regulatory hurdles and different standards involved in using intermodal shipping containers.

Taylor Berger and Michael Tauer went public with the idea in late 2013 for a restaurant built from the shipping containers and an area for food trucks to park to provide the food at a key intersection between the Overton Square and Cooper-Young districts.

The first indication of the hurdles the project would face was the underground fuel tanks on the property, which originally was a gas station and later became the site of Midtown Nursery.

Tauer said it was the first in what he likened to “death by a thousand paper cuts.”

“It was a novel concept for Memphis, and it was to be designed out of nontraditional building materials,” he said. “We were faced with a sort of continual trickle of increased unanticipated costs and restrictions and obligations as we went through the permitting process and as we continued to refine the project.”

The changes were an attempt to bring the overall cost of the project down and it didn’t work.

“At the end of the day, the long and short of it is it just got too expensive.” Tauer added, saying it got “to a point that it was simply no longer economically feasible to do, which frankly is a huge punch in the gut.”

The idea of a restaurant surfaced shortly after changes in city ordinances that permitted food trucks. The positive public response led to food truck rodeos and similar events.

Meanwhile, Tauer and Berger were trying to make a fixed location with what amounted to rotating kitchens work financially. Tauer said he learned from the experience but “that education came at a very steep cost.”

“This was a special one to us, and we had already spent a lot of money to get it to this point,” he said. “Right now, the thought of trying to gear back up at another location is just not in the cards.”

– Bill Dries

Green Projects in Memphis, Millington Get State Grants

A 50-kilowatt solar array at Lichterman Nature Center and an upgrade of lighting and HVAC systems in the Millington police and court buildings were both funded by Tennessee state government Clean Tennessee Energy grants announced Monday, June 15.

The $80,000 grant to the Memphis Parks Division is for the Lichterman solar array, which will be the first solar installation on city property. It will save the city an estimated $7,200 in annual energy costs.

The $240,000 grant to the city of Millington will upgrade inadequate systems by replacing them with more efficient units. The lighting and HVAC improvements will reduce the amount of electricity used by 35 percent and natural gas by 29 percent.

The more efficient units will save the city of Millington $14,000 a year.

The two grants were part of a total of $3.1 million awarded by the Clean Tennessee Energy grants program.

– Bill Dries

Zacks Expects FedEx to Beat Earnings Estimates 

Zacks said it is “impressed by FedEx’s efforts to control costs in a bid to boost the bottom line.”

Consequently, Zacks expects FedEx to achieve its fiscal 2015 earnings per share outlook in the band of $8.80 to $8.95. The investment research firm also said it was encouraged by the Memphis-based company’s “focus on share buybacks and regular dividend payments to enhance shareholder value.”

– Amos Maki

New Nursing College Dean Named for UTHSC

Dr. Wendy Likes is the new permanent dean for the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

In that role, she’ll serve as the lead administrator for the college, with responsibility for managing a team of more than 105 faculty and staff members.

The college serves some 400 nursing students each year who acquire degrees at all levels. Likes’ appointment became effective on June 10.

During her tenure at UTHSC, Dr. Likes has worked in the Colleges of Nursing, Medicine and Graduate Health Sciences, first as an assistant professor for several years, then as an associate professor in the same three colleges from July 2009 to the present.

– Andy Meek

US Homebuilders’ Confidence in Sales Surges in June

U.S. homebuilders are feeling more confident about their sales prospects than they have since last fall, while their outlook for sales over the next six months is at the highest level in 10 years.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday climbed to 59 this month, up five points from 54 the May reading.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The latest reading is up 10 points from a year ago and is at the highest level since September.

Measures of current sales conditions and traffic by prospective buyers also surged. Builders’ outlook for sales of single-family homes over the next six months also rose sharply.

– The Associated Press

US Factory Output Down In May, Hurt by Oil Refining Cuts

U.S. factory output slipped in May, hurt by a decline in oil refining that overshadowed solid gains by automakers.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that manufacturing output declined 0.2 percent last month, as productivity has basically been flat since January.

Manufacturing has been hurt the stronger dollar, higher oil prices reducing equipment orders and activity at refiners, and previously by cold winter weather at the start of the year.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 81 201 16,108
MORTGAGES 40 104 10,026
BUILDING PERMITS 130 336 38,272
BANKRUPTCIES 28 56 7,528