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VOL. 8 | NO. 27 | Saturday, June 27, 2015

Daily Digest

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Developer of New Downtown Gas Station Tweaks Plan

The developer whose proposal for a new Downtown gas station and convenience store prompted a City Council member to call for a moratorium on new development in the Pinch District has tweaked his plan to make it more urban and comply with Uptown zoning guidelines.

David Bray’s new plan for the development at the northeast corner of A.W. Willis and Third Street places the brick-and-glass convenience store building close to the street facing the intersection, and the parking to the rear of the building, along the north property line.

Bray’s initial plans at 184 A.W. Willis Ave. caused councilman Berlin Boyd to call for a moratorium on new building permits in the Pinch District. Boyd said an unidentified “large landowner” had expressed concerns about the site.

On Tuesday, June 23, Boyd held his initial call for a 120-day moratorium but said he still plans to pursue it at the next council meeting July 7, saying he’s interested in a broader development plan for the area east of The Pyramid.

“We would very much like to talk with councilman Boyd before it gets to that point,” said Bray.

Bray, fresh off a meeting with area neighbors and stakeholders, said he thinks the gas station could provide much-needed competition Downtown. Currently, the only gas station in the area most people would consider Downtown is at A.W. Willis and Main Street, at 464 N. Main St., and it consistently has some of the highest gas prices in the city.

“I think people would like another gas station, an alternative,” Bray said.

Bray also said that if his gas station and convenience store were somehow not approved, he didn’t know what else could be located at the site, which was most recently home to a dog daycare business.

“The site’s much too small for anything else.”

– Amos Maki

Belz’s Industrial Portfolio Sells to MDH for $82 Million

The recent sale of Belz Enterprise’s industrial portfolio to MDH Partners LLC of Atlanta totals more than $82 million, according to four special warranty deeds filed on June 19.

The deeds, signed by Ronald Belz on June 11, are for the sale of 25 properties located in Shelby Oaks, Southridge, Democrat Square North and Meltech. The 25 parcels have a combined tax appraisal value of more than $85 million, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

The largest property in the sale is 6400 Shelby View Drive located in Shelby Oaks industrial park. The 460,000-square-foot building sits on 10.5 acres and is valued at more than $6.7 million.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., a New York corporation, issued a $58 million loan to MDH Partners on June 11, financing all of the properties listed in the sale.

Belz announced last week it had sold 3.1 million square feet of its industrial portfolio to MDH, which said it will “implement a significant capital improvement plan to position the assets for the future growth of the local and national economies.”

– Chandler Reports & Daily News Online

Developers Still Interested In Midtown Hotel

Yes, the development team that had proposed replacing the French Quarter Inn at Overton Square is selling the property to Ballet Memphis, which plans on building a new performance center there.

But they say they still want to build a hotel in Midtown, according to a statement they provided to Brenda Solomito Basar, owner of Solomito Land Planning.

“We feel this is a win-win for the community in assuring that this important corner receives the thoughtful attention it merits for the good of the neighborhood and the city, and the transaction will provide additional capital to NCE with which we can continue to pursue our hope of launching a first-rate development in the Midtown core,” said Brad Pope, business manager for NCE Realty & Capital Group LLC, in the statement.

After initially planning to redevelop the long-vacant French Quarter Inn, the company proposed replacing it with a five-story, 138-room Hotel Overton. NCE, which acquired the property in 2013 for $1.9 million, even entered into an agreement with Florida-based Artesano Hotel Group to develop the new hotel, but now it looks like the community have to wait and see what happens.

– Amos Maki

Archer Malmo Acquires Austin Ad Agency

Archer Malmo has acquired Tocquigny, an Austin-based digital marketing agency, and also will expand its Downtown Memphis office.

The Memphis-based agency has signed a 3,200-square-foot lease to expand in the Cotton Exchange Building, bringing its total footprint there to 48,000 square feet.

Over the next several months, Tocquigny will be rebranded as Archer Malmo. Following the acquisition, Archer Malmo employs a total of 190 people.

Founder Yvonne Tocquigny and Tom Fornoff will continue leading the Austin office as chief creative and strategy officer and president, respectively.

“Austin is one of the most vibrant markets in the country for marketing and technology talent,” said Russ Williams, CEO of Archer Malmo, in a statement. “For over three decades, Tocquigny has been at the forefront of innovation, blending unique marketing strategies with strong creative to serve clients in a variety of industries. The leadership, talent and values at Tocquigny are a perfect fit with Archer Malmo.”

– Daily News staff

Tennessee Board of Regents Approves Tuition Hikes

Students at Memphis’ higher education institutions can expect to pay more this fall.

Tuition rates and fees at the University of Memphis will go up 3.7 percent in the 2015-2016 academic year, while Southwest Tennessee Community College will see a 3.4 percent increase. The two Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology in Memphis will both see a 4 percent increase.

The tuition and fee hikes were approved Friday, June 19, in a unanimous vote by the Tennessee Board of Regents, meeting in Columbia, Tenn.

The increases at the Memphis institutions were part of a slate of tuition hikes across state schools controlled by the Regents system, which does not include University of Tennessee campuses.

– Bill Dries

Commercial Advisors Lands Crosstown Concourse Duties

Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors has been tapped to handle property management and office leasing at the Crosstown Concourse development.

Under redevelopment now, the 1 million-square-foot Crosstown Concourse building will include 65,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor, 620,000 square feet of commercial/office space on floors two through six, and 270 apartments on floors seven through 10.

Crosstown Concourse’s main tenants, which the development team refers to as “founding partners,” include Church Health Center, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Memphis Teacher Residency and Crosstown Arts.

– Amos Maki

West Memphis Kitchen Incubator Is Cooking

A West Memphis kitchen incubator has found its first user.

Bluff City Barbecue Supply is the first group to use Delta Cuisine: A Southern Kitchen, the community kitchen housed at the new Jeremy Jacobs Hospitality Management Center at Mid-South Community College.

The ribbon on the new center was cut June 2, just in time for Bluff City to book 30 hours a month to ramp up production of their rubs and sauces to the demand of its newest customer – Kroger.

“When you’re dealing with Kroger, they expect you to have a certain number of cases, on demand,” said Pete Grumble, one of Bluff City’s partners, in a statement.

The Delta Cuisine project is a product of the combined efforts of Arkansas Delta Rural Heritage Development Initiative, the city of West Memphis, the Delta Regional Authority, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, state Sen. Keith Ingram and MSCC. The $2.2 million, 10,000-square-foot center – which provides food preparation space and equipment, including a bottling lab, storage area and bakery – will be home to MSCC’s food service, culinary arts and hospitality programs.

– Amos Maki

Robert Montague Leaving Binghampton Development

After 11 years of leading the charge to revive the Binghampton community, Robert Montague is leaving the top post at the Binghampton Development Corp.

Montague is stepping down as executive director of the BDC to “develop technology workers and jobs” in Memphis, according to a statement from the nonprofit community development agency.

Noah Gray, who has served as property manager for BDC for the last six years and lives in Binghampton, will slide into the executive director position on July 1.

Montague’s departure comes as BDC pursues a grocery-anchored neighborhood commercial center at Sam Cooper Boulevard and Tillman Street.

– Amos Maki

Yolanda Kight is Newest Judicial Commissioner

Attorney Yolanda Kight is the newest Shelby County Judicial Commissioner.

The Shelby County Commission chose Kight Monday, June 21, on the 12th round of voting to fill the vacancy.

Judicial commissioners hold bond and release hearings for those arrested and taken to the Shelby County Jail at the Criminal Justice Center. The hearings determine who should remain in jail and who can be released and on what conditions pending their first court appearance.

In other action Monday, the commission approved a $1.5 million contract with Wagner General Contractors Inc. for Shelby Farms Greenline’s eastern extension. The extension would take the greenline from Shelby Farms Park across Germantown Parkway and to a trailhead at the old Cordova Train Depot.

The commission also approved the use of Center City Revenue Finance Corp. PILOT Extension funds for the construction of a public parking garage next to the Tennessee Brewery, which is being redeveloped as apartments. The funding is not taxpayer money but is an interfund loan involving the Downtown Parking Authority, which like the CCRFC is part of the Downtown Memphis Commission.

– Bill Dries

Wright, Tornier Shareholders Approve Merger Proposals

Wright Medical Group Inc.’s planned merger with Tornier N.V. is one step closer to completion.

Memphis-based Wright and Tornier announced Thursday, June 18, that both companies’ shareholders approved all proposals related to the merger. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to clearance by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Wright, a specialty orthopedics company, and Tornier, a Netherlands-based medical device company that makes and markets joint replacement and soft tissue repair devices, announced plans for the merger last October.

The combined company, if approved, will be based in Wright’s current Memphis headquarters, 1023 Cherry Road.

– Daily News staff

Jason Eagle to Lead MIFA’s Advancement Department

Jason Eagle has been appointed vice president of advancement for MIFA. Eagle will oversee the vision and execution of engaging the Memphis community to advance the nonprofit organization’s mission. He will lead a team to increase and enrich public awareness, volunteerism, outreach and stewardship to meet annual and long-term fundraising goals.

Eagle comes to MIFA from the Sacred Heart League, where he served as manager of the department of gift planning.

His previous experience includes fundraising positions at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. An attorney, he also has held positions in trust administration at Union Planters National Bank, Bank of America and SunTrust Bank.

– Don Wade

UTHSC Gets Independent University Accreditation

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges board of trustees has approved the accreditation of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as a separate university, according to an announcement from the school.

UTHSC is now independent from the conglomerate that had previously included UTHSC and still consists of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, the University of Tennessee Space Institute and the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service. As an independent university, UTHSC will be required to complete its first reaccreditation compliance certification in five years, after which the university’s accreditation will be evaluated and reaffirmed every 10 years.

The university has been working toward independent accreditation as a standalone university for several years. The SACSCOC leadership determined that UTHSC should be accredited separately within the UT system after examining “its governance structure, resources available, annual budget, geographic location, and relative autonomy from UTK.”

– Andy Meek

Senior Living Community In Hickory Hill Sells for $10 Million

Legacy IL Property Co. LLC purchased two properties comprising the Residences at Lenox Park senior living community in Hickory Hill on June 11 for $10 million.

The 152,706-square-foot, 168-unit independent living facility located at 6539 Knight Arnold Road sold for $6.7 million. The facility was built in 1988 and sits on 11.6 acres on the south side of Knight Arnold west of Kirby Parkway. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2015 tax appraisal value is $4.4 million.

The 35,411-square-foot, 52-unit assisted living facility located at 6551 Knight Arnold Road sold for $3.3 million. The one-story facility was built in 1988 and sits on 4 acres on the southwest corner of Knight Arnold and Kirby Parkway. The 2015 appraisal is $2 million.

The seller, Greenfield Independent Living of Memphis LLC, purchased both properties in 2011 for $5.6 million.

Legacy IL Property Co. is an affiliate of Cumming, Ga.-based Beacon Communities Inc., a senior housing management group.

– Chandler Reports & The Daily News Online

Man Pleads Guilty In FedEx Shipping Fraud Case

The founder of a Pittsburgh-based shipping company that created fake businesses to open FedEx shipping accounts pleaded guilty Friday, June 19, to a mail fraud charge in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

Andrew Grizzle admitted that his company, LDM International, was part of a scheme that set up accounts in the names of legitimate businesses and individuals without their knowledge, costing FedEx more than $600,000 in shipping costs.

LDM would bid in an online marketplace to ship items and would solicit FedEx customers. Once it got a contract, LDM would use one of the bogus FedEx accounts to ship the merchandise.

FedEx would bill the shipping cost to a false bank account number and/or routing number. Within a few days the payment would come back as a fraudulent payment charged back to FedEx.

The fraud case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.

Grizzle faces up to 20 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 24 by Federal Judge Sheryl H. Lipman.

– Bill Dries

Brim’s Snacks Expands Production in Bartlett

Brimhall Foods formally opened a $6 million expansion Wednesday, June 24, of its Bartlett production lines.

Construction on the project at 3045 Bartlett Corporate Drive began last fall with financing from Renasant Bank.

The new lines are used to make Brimhall’s popcorn and corn snacks under the Brim’s Snack Foods brand.

Brimhall began in Bartlett in 1982 making pork rinds at a plant on Highway 70. The company moved to the Bartlett Corporate Drive facility in 1987 and added popcorn and corn snacks to the product line.

Brimhall has 150 employees.

– Bill Dries

Airline Checked Bag, Change Fees Set First-Quarter Record

U.S. airlines continue to collect record fees from passengers who check suitcases or make changes to their reservations. In the first three months of this year, airlines took in $1.6 billion in such fees, up 7.4 percent from the same period last year.

That’s the highest amount for the first quarter since bag fees started in 2008, according to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. January through March is traditionally the slowest period for air travel.

The fees climbed, in part, because more passengers flew at the start of the year – 3.2 percent more seats were filled. The airlines also increased some fees and forced more passengers to pay them.

While the standard fee for the first checked suitcase remains $25, fees have been going up for the second or third checked bag or for overweight luggage. And more passengers are now subject to those fees, which can be as high as $200 per bag. For instance, United Airlines recently reduced the number of bags some elite frequent fliers can check for free.

And JetBlue Airways announced in November that it will soon start charging for checked baggage for its cheapest fares, although it has to disclose the amount of the fee and when it would apply to passengers.

– The Associated Press

McNeill Moving Forward With Germantown Hampton Inn

McNeill Commercial Real Estate is launching a 108-room Hampton Inn & Suites in Germantown, part of a much larger mixed-use project under development in the Memphis suburb.

Germantown-Neshoba Hotel Partners LLC, an affiliate of McNeill, has applied for an $8.6 million building permit through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for the four-story hotel that is part of the $150 million Thornwood community at the northeast corner of Germantown and Neshoba Roads.

Pride Construction LLC is listed as the general contractor.

Thornwood will include 282 luxury apartment units and around 70,000 square feet of retail space situated around the Germantown and Neshoba intersection, including a 5,000-square-foot space for Rolex dealer Bob Richards Jewelers. The Hampton Inn & Suites is planned for the northeastern part of the site.

In addition to the mix of uses, the Thornwood plan adheres to New Urbanism principles, such as buildings situated close to the street and wide sidewalks.

– Amos Maki

Home Medical Products Opens New Memphis Office

Home Medical Products Inc. has opened a Memphis office by acquiring a local respiratory therapy business.

Jackson, Tenn.-based Home Medical Products provides medical equipment to patients in their homes. It acquired HomeLife Oxygen in Memphis, previously owned by respiratory therapist Greg Foust who will stay on with the business.

“Greg has taken great pride in patient care during his 20 years with HomeLife Oxygen,” said David Steele, vice president of HMP, in a statement. “We welcome Greg and thank him for his service to the respiratory community in the Memphis area.”

With the addition of its Memphis office at 1675 Shelby Oaks Drives, HMP now operates 10 locations, most of which are concentrated in West Tennessee.

– Daily News staff

State Gives Environmental Award to Agricenter’s Wilson

Agricenter International president John Charles Wilson has received a lifetime achievement award from the state of Tennessee.

Wilson was named the Robert Sparks Lifetime Achievement winner at the annual Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards ceremony.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation commissioner Bob Martineau presented the award to Wilson Tuesday, June 23, at the event in Nashville.

Wilson has been Agricenter’s president since 2001. During his tenure, two global agricultural corporations have invested $20 million in facilities on Agricenter property; a startup company is operating one of the first commercial-scale sweet sorghum processing facilities in the U.S.; and a one-megawatt solar farm produces 1.6 gigawatt-hours of energy annually.

– Daily News staff

Arts Build Communities Grant Program Deadline is July 1

Arts organizations have until July 1 to submit applications for ArtsMemphis’ community-wide grants program.

The Arts Build Communities grants are state-funded and go toward artistic and cultural projects that have a community-wide benefit. They range from $500 to $2,000 and are administered by ArtsMemphis in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission.

ABC grants are available to nonprofit organizations or government entities that must provide a dollar-for-dollar match toward the proposed project seeking funding. Applications are available at www.tn.gov.

The grants offer financial support for projects in all arts disciplines including dance, music, theater, visual arts, literature and photography, among others. Organizations in Shelby, Fayette, Lauderdale and Tipton counties are eligible for the ABC program.

– Daily News staff

Level Nine Partners With Memphis Event Planner

Level Nine Services and Salt Style & Events, two Memphis companies that aim to make clients’ lives easier, have announced a formal partnership.

Level Nine provides business and lifestyle-management services, helping clients with anything from mundane tasks to elaborate trips and events. Salt specializes in creating custom events, working closely with clients to produce an event design that allows them to entertain in style and leave a lasting impression on guests.

Salt will assist Level Nine with the events side of its business, helping Level Nine clients plan and coordinate birthday parties, Christmas parties and corporate dinners, to name a few.

The two companies have joined forces on events before, including Cirque du CMOM 2015, the Children’s Museum of Memphis’ largest annual fundraiser, which boasted attendance of more than 1,000.

– Daily News staff

Memphis Grizzlies Enter Into Partnership With FanDuel

The Memphis Grizzlies have announced a new partnership with FanDuel, a daily fantasy sports company.

The marketing alliance makes FanDuel the exclusive and official Daily Fantasy Gaming Partner of the Grizzlies, and will include an interactive in-arena presence, access to unique Grizzlies experiences for FanDuel users, out-of-arena activations, and integration throughout Grizzlies media channels.

The Grizzlies join an early group of professional sports franchises who have partnered with FanDuel, including 12 other NBA teams and 16 NFL franchises

Launching next season, fans will be able to compete in free FanDuel leagues while cheering on the Grizzlies at FedExForum from a specially redesigned in-bowl area.

“Creating an immersive experience for fans, where they can live and breathe Grizzlies basketball, is important,” said Jason Wexler, Grizzlies president of business operations. “Having a second-screen interaction in partnership with FanDuel that builds our fans’ daily connection to the Grizzlies will only enhance that.”

– Don Wade

Chef Shuttle Adds Restaurants To Memphis Delivery Network

A restaurant take-out delivery company has added 22 Memphis-area restaurants to its roster, including Jim’s Place Restaurant & Bar, Abner’s Famous Chicken Tenders, El Toro Loco and Exlines.

The newly available restaurants are for delivery to customers in Collierville, Cordova, Germantown and East Memphis. Visit www.chefshuttle.com for a full list of participating restaurants.

Chef Shuttle was established in 2014 and offers restaurant delivery services to 16 cities in Arkansas and Tennessee.

– Daily News staff

First Tennessee Bank Boosts Hiring in Nashville

On the heels of another nod to its workplace environment, First Tennessee Bank is looking to fill about 40 positions in the Nashville market.

Most of the 40 First Tennessee job openings have been created as a result of internal promotions.

The Memphis-based bank recently was named a 2015 top workplace by The Tennessean, as determined by employee survey responses. First Tennessee has a long record of workplace accolades: Forbes, American Banker and Working Mother magazine have said First Tennessee and parent First Horizon National Corp. are among the country’s best employers.

– Daily News staff

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173