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VOL. 130 | NO. 52 | Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Daily Digest

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California Group Buys Memphis Storage Business

A California-based national operator of storage facilities has acquired a Hickory Hill mini-storage facility for $3.4 million.

Westport Memphis Self storage LLC, which is affiliated with Irvine, Cali.-based U.S. Storage Centers Inc., acquired the storage facility at 3455 Hickory Hill Road from Hickory Hill Self Storage LLC, according to a March 9 warranty deed.

A total number of units at the storage facility on Hickory Hill between Knight Arnold Road and Winchester Road was not listed in public records, but it sits on seven acres and includes 89,370 square feet of space.

The Shelby County Assessor Property’s 2014 appraisal for the Class B property is $1.9 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Impact Innovations to Bring Giftwrap Production Back

The Minnesota company that bought some assets from the old Cleo Inc. giftwrap company four years ago wants to once again make wrapping paper in Memphis.

Impact Innovations Inc. is seeking a three-year, $296,841 payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, agreement for a $7.3 million expansion of its Memphis operations. The request goes to the Economic Development Growth Engine board Wednesday, March 18.

Impact makes seasonal and commercial paper products carried by national retailers.

The Clara City, Minn., company in 2011 bought Cleo Inc. assets that included Christmas giftwrap designs, licenses and related intellectual property. Impact also bought most of Cleo’s giftwrap converting equipment, but not the printing equipment, which was judged to be too old and in some cases obsolete.

The assets were sold when Philadelphia-based CSS Industries decided to close the Memphis Cleo plant in late 2011, citing a decision to make the giftwrap in Asian plants.

Like CSS, Impact’s giftwrap has also been printed at factories in Asia.

But with the company’s $7.3 million investment, it would expand to again print giftwrap in the U.S., and if the PILOT is granted, in Memphis.

In its application, Impact executives say they made the decision to push ahead with the expansion project when a large, unidentified customer made a multiyear commitment to buy specific amounts of giftwrap from Impact.

The commitment became a formal agreement in 2014, with a goal of Impact beginning to print wrap in the summer of 2015.

Impact already has a PILOT agreement with the former Memphis-Shelby County Industrial Development Board on the books from 2011. That incentive covered Impact’s purchase of the Cleo assets and its current Memphis facility at 6269 Shelby Drive.

The expansion would create 18 new jobs with an average annual pay of $45,956.

– Bill Dries

Wharton to Move Uptown, Highland Row to EDGE

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. told City Council members in a Friday, March 13, letter that he wants to move the agency governing the Uptown and Highland Row redevelopment effort to the Economic Development Growth Engine – also known as EDGE – from the city-county Office of Planning and Development.

The Community Redevelopment Agency promotes inner city redevelopment and with that has the ability to buy and sell properties in the two areas as well as access to one of three tax increment financing state statutes.

The letter to council chairman Myron Lowery from Wharton says he and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell will be making the proposal to the council and Shelby County Commission that would also involve changes to the EDGE board. EDGE is a joint city-county entity.

Wharton indicated the council will probably see his specific proposal this month or next month with a request for a vote by the council.

If the CRA becomes part of EDGE, some state laws would also have to be amended to account for the larger EDGE board that would replace the existing CRA board. Those changes would also allow the agency to access other tax increment financing statutes instead of being limited to just one as a way of financing projects.

Wharton said he and Luttrell are seeking the change because administrative support for the agency from the Office of Planning and Development is currently one full-time employee.

“(OPD) Director (Rick) Copeland is very supportive of this proposal,” Wharton wrote, “believing the CRA needs to be incorporated within a broader economic development agency whose staff can make better use of the CRA’s abilities.”

– Bill Dries

MIFA Participates in National March for Meals Campaign

During the month of March, MIFA is participating in March for Meals, a national campaign initiated by the Meals on Wheels Association of America to raise public awareness of senior hunger.

Several community events organized by MIFA will support the Memphis March for Meals effort.

During Community Champions Week (March 16-20) Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner, Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Lutrell Jr. and Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins will serve meals at congregate nutrition sites.

Walkers, runners and philanthropists are invited to join Belly Acres restaurant owner Ben McLean in the FitBen Challenge step-a-thon. During March, McLean is soliciting donations to MIFA for every step he takes in his FitBen Challenge. Donations and pledges are being accepted at Belly Acres and Lettuce Eat as well as online at mifa.org/fitben. Others participating are seeking donation pledges and recording their steps to raise funds for senior hunger.

Nearly 3,700 Shelby County seniors are food insecure. With the help of up to 100 volunteers each weekday, MIFA provides over 1,200 hot, nutritious lunches for seniors in their homes and at congregate meal sites. MIFA’s Meals on Wheels program has been awarded the highest possible accreditation conferred by the Meals on Wheels Association of America.

– Don Wade

Ribbon-Cutting for Pyramid Vodka Distillery Tuesday

A ribbon cutting celebration for Big River Distilling Co.’s North Memphis vodka distillery – which is making and marketing Pyramid Vodka – will be held Tuesday, March 17.

The event, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., will take place at the craft distiller’s facility at 802 Royal Ave. Along with a tour of the facility, special giveaways and samples of Pyramid Vodka will be available.

Earlier this month, Big River won a silver award in the overall vodka category at the Denver International Spirits Competition.

– Andy Meek

Deadline for SBA Program for Business Leaders Approaches

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Recruitment for Emerging Leaders program is now under way in Memphis, with the application deadline extended to March 20.

The initiative is designed to help take established businesses to the next level of growth and is looking for 17 small business owners who have been in business for at least three years, have average annual revenue of $400,000 and have at least two employees. Business owners can express their interest in the 2015 class, at www.sba.gov/EmergingLeaders, by the application deadline of March 20.

– Andy Meek

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396