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VOL. 8 | NO. 13 | Saturday, March 21, 2015

Daily Digest

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Eat Your Heart Out: Cheesecake is Coming

It’s official. The Cheesecake Factory will open one of its signature restaurants at the Wolfchase Galleria.

Wolfchase owner Simon Property Group has applied for a $4.2 million building permit to erect a Cheesecake Factory inside the Cordova Mall at 2760 N. Germantown Parkway. The application said it was for “tenant improvement” and lists the tenant as The Cheesecake Factory. The architect is listed as Craig D. Oka and the engineer is listed as James Lascola.

In February, Simon Property Group applied for a $480,000 building permit to relocate Milano’s Men’s Wear inside the mall. Milano’s is currently located near the main entrance to Wolfchase on its Germantown Parkway side, the same location where multiple sources have indicated Cheesecake Factory will open its first Memphis-area restaurant.

The California-based restaurant chain has been in talks with Simon for several months about opening a restaurant at the mall.

The Cheesecake Factory’s menu boasts more than 250 items, including appetizers, pizza, seafood, steaks, chicken, burgers, pastas, salads, sandwiches, omelets and desserts, including about 50 varieties of cheesecake and other baked desserts.

Founded in Beverly Hills in 1978, The Cheesecake Factory operates 189 full-service, casual-dining restaurants throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including 177 restaurants under The Cheesecake Factory banner, 11 restaurants under the Grand Lux Cafe brand and one called RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen.

The company has said it expected to open as many as 10 company-owned stores in fiscal 2014, including one relocation. It said it had opened six new restaurants through the third quarter.

– Amos Maki

Report: Memphis Touted As Top City for Millennials

A new national real estate report gives Memphis high marks for offering “the right live/work/play environment” for millennials.

The just-released annual report from Cushman & Wakefield said the top markets for that category include Memphis, Brooklyn, Portland, Ore., and Nashville.

Cushman & Wakefield is a privately held commercial real estate firm.

– Andy Meek

Average Airfares Falling At Memphis International

Thanks to the entrance of low-cost carriers, the average domestic airfare at Memphis International Airport dropped, according to figures released by the Department of Transportation.

The average airfare in Memphis continues to trend downward, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Memphis International experienced a 4.7 percent decrease in average fares in third quarter 2014, the fourth-largest decrease in the nation.

Nationwide, average fares increased by 1.6 percent.

The figures illustrate a downward trend in Memphis airfares since Delta Air Lines reduced its operations at Memphis International.

The airport’s average airfare for the third quarter was $456.63, compared to $487.24 in third-quarter 2013 and $499.16 in third-quarter 2012.

“We realize that we aren’t there yet, but these figures show that airline fares are trending in the right direction,” said Scott Brockman, President and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, in a statement. “In addition, since the third quarter of 2014, we’ve added more flights, more competition and another low-cost airline in Allegiant Air.

“We hope that these developments and our relentless pursuit of frequent and affordable air service will continue to push average fares down.”

– Amos Maki

Memphis Tigers Football Facility Nears Kick-Off

The long-awaited goal of an indoor practice facility for the University of Memphis football team is becoming a reality.

The U of M has applied through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for a $15 million building permit for the long-planned indoor facility at 1115 E. Getwell Loop. Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. is listed as the general contractor. Fleming Architects designed the facility.

The university has been running a $40 million capital campaign to raise funds for the 74,000-square-foot indoor practice facility, which will be located on the university’s Park Avenue campus, and a new basketball practice facility to replace the Finch Center.

The university’s football facilities have received major upgrades in recent years.

A gift from NFL player and former Tigers running back DeAngelo Williams in 2011 funded renovations to the team’s locker room in the Billy J. Murphy Athletic Complex, including new lockers for players, flat-screen televisions suspended from the ceiling and a lounge area with a four-in-one screen television.

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium underwent major renovations in 2012 that included a $2.5 million video board, new turf and a new sound system, among other things. And the $15 million Tiger Lane project, which includes greenspace, additional parking and a western pedestrian gate into the Liberty Bowl, opened in 2010.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

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

U of M to Honor Distinguished Alumni

Hilliard Crews, Wink Martindale and Diane Vescovo are among the individuals receiving 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards from the University of Memphis Alumni Association.

The U of M will present the awards at an April 11 gala.

Crews will receive the Legacy of Visionary Leadership award, Martindale the Lifetime Achievement award and Vescovo, the J. Millard Smith Illustrious Service to the Association award.

Crews, who graduated in 1971, is chair of Shelby Group International Inc., which manufactures and distributes industrial gloves, safety glasses and safety garments worldwide. He is an avid U of M supporter and one of the founders of the Crews Center for Entrepreneurship.

Martindale is a 1957 graduate known for his career as a radio and television host and producer.

Vescovo, who received a law degree in 1980, is a magistrate judge for U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee. She has served on the U of M’s Board of Visitors and on the National Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Andrew Bailey, a 2000 graduate, will be honored as Outstanding Young Alumnus.

Bailey is a marketing principal with FedEx Services who served as president of the Student Government Association in 1999 and earned the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award for creating a week of volunteerism.

Michael Cook, Pitt Hyde and Dave North also will be recognized as honorary alumni.

Cook is founder, CEO and CIO of SouthernSun Asset Management. Hyde is founder of AutoZone and of Hyde Family Foundations. North is president and CEO of Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc.

– Jane A. Donahoe

Christ Community Services Awarded $3.6 Million Grant

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $3.6 million grant to Christ Community Health Services Inc.

The funding comes through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center Cluster grant program.

Christ Community Health Services has focused on fulfilling the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of the poor, the uninsured and the homeless in Memphis since 1995. Through health care centers and outreach programs, the group provides high-quality health care and other services to thousands of patients, caregivers, students and families every year.

– Andy Meek

Grizzlies Go Green With Environmental Events

The Seventh Annual NBA Green Week is March 22-29 and Memphis Grizzlies players, staff and volunteers will play their part in the league-wide initiative to shed light on a brighter, greener future for the Memphis community.

Grizzlies Green Week, presented by International Paper and associate sponsor MLGW, tips off Thursday, March 26, when Grizzlies players Jon Leuer and Kosta Koufos will be at Shelby Farms Park from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. assisting in material preparations for the Wolf River Conservancy’s 10th Annual Tree Planting event. The planting is scheduled for Saturday, March 28, at Shelby Farms Park.

The Grizzlies’ “Go Green Night” presented by International Paper is on Friday, March 27, when the Grizzlies play Golden State. Prior to tip-off, the Grizzlies will host the Go Green Expo on the FedExForum plaza from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. where fans will have the opportunity to learn how to live “greener.”

The first 5,000 fans at the game will receive a tree seedling. Fans are invited to join Grizz, the Grizz Girls and other volunteers at the Shelby Farms tree-planting event the next day from 9 a.m. to noon. Those who received the seedlings are encouraged to bring them to the park and plant them.

All Grizz fans are invited to take part in the Grizzlies Go Green week event. To register, visit wolfriver.org.

NBA Green Week is presented by Sprint and the National Resources Defense Council.

– Don Wade

Argent Financial Adds to Executive Ranks in Memphis

Argent Financial Group and its Argent Trust Co. subsidiary have added David Franks to executive ranks as senior vice president and relationship manager.

Franks, who joins market president of Argent Trust Ed Brundick as the firm’s local executives, will manage client relationships for individuals and institutions.

Also providing support to Memphis-area clients along with Franks will be Argent Trust Co. CEO Howard Safer and Ardent Trust chief investment officer Frank Hosse.

– Andy Meek

Prosecution Team Named For Jackson Retrial

Preliminary hearings in the case of a Memphis woman who received a new trial in the stabbing death of her mother continue in Shelby County Criminal Court.

Mike Dunavant, the special prosecutor in the second-degree murder case against Noura Jackson, announced in a Monday, March 17, hearing before Judge Chris Craft that he has assigned assistant district attorneys Walt Freeland of Tipton County and Mark Davidson of Fayette County to the case.

Dunavant is the district attorney general for the 25th Judicial District, which covers parts of West Tennessee outside Shelby County. He was sworn in as special prosecutor last week after Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich recused her office from Jackson’s retrial.

Jackson was found guilty of stabbing her mother, Jennifer Jackson, more than 50 times in their home in 2005. She was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years and months in prison.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ordered a retrial last year, ruling that prosecutors didn’t turn over evidence to the defense they should have and that Weirich, then an assistant district attorney, made improper statements to the jury in her closing arguments.

Jackson’s attorney is seeking her release from prison pending the retrial. So far, Craft has not set a hearing on the request.

– Bill Dries

State Medical Association Taps New President

Sutherland Cardiology Clinic interventional cardiologist Dr. Keith Anderson is the new president-elect of the Tennessee Medical Association.

He’ll serve as president of the association for 2016-17.

Dr. Anderson is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, and interventional cardiology. He, along with other newly elected officers and committee members, will be installed during TMA’s annual meeting in April.

– Andy Meek

Marco’s Pizza Eyes More Memphis Locations

With one Germantown location under his belt, Marco’s Pizza owner Peter Morgan is eyeing at least three more locations in the Memphis area.

Morgan’s franchise operation Marco’s Franchising LLC in January opened Marco’s Pizza of Germantown at 7685 Farmington Blvd., suite 103. Morgan plans on opening locations in Bartlett, Cordova and Collierville by the end of the year.

Looking ahead, Morgan plans to expand to 13 additional locations through strategic franchise partnerships over the next five years, a move he says will create around 260 new jobs.

– Amos Maki

River Mayors To Attend UN Climate Change Meeting

A delegation of mayors from cities along the Mississippi River will be at the United Nations Climate Change conference later this year in Paris.

The Mississippi River Mayors coalition, co-chaired by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., announced the delegation as part of an “international sidebar conversation” at the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 conference.

The conversation would include leaders along other major river basins including the Amazon, Rhine, Volga, Ganges, Danube, Euphrates and Tigris and Yellow Rivers.

The Mississippi River mayors have been meeting in Washington this week for talks on President Barack Obama’s budget proposal. The budget plan includes $200 million for a pre-disaster mitigation grant program designed to fund measures in advance of natural disasters.

The mayors have argued that their cities are too reliant on federal funding once such disasters have already happened. And the federal funding usually reimburses local and state governments for money they spend in the immediate aftermath of such a disaster.

– Bill Dries

Graceland Moves for TDZ As Jets Prepare to Move

The city of Memphis and Elvis Presley Enterprises plan to seek approval of a Graceland Tourism Development Zone in April before the Tennessee Building Commission, according to an attorney for Graceland.

The building commission is scheduled to meet April 9 in Nashville in what will be a busy few months for Graceland’s expansion and redevelopment plans in Whitehaven.

Attorney James McLaren in a Tuesday briefing for Memphis City Council members said Elvis Presley Enterprises should close by early May on its financing of the $90 million, 450-room resort hotel it’s building south of the mansion. It expects to sign construction contracts soon.

The council also will be asked to approve an ordinance creating the 5 percent tourism surcharge on all items sold on the 120-acre Graceland property. That revenue would assist in financing the overall Graceland redevelopment plan. The first of three readings is expected to appear on the April 7 council agenda.

Council members also discussed briefly a zoning request coming to the council April 7 seeking to move the two jets once owned by Elvis Presley a block south on Elvis Presley Boulevard. The request will come from OKC Partnership, the company that owns the jets, and a new partner.

OKC Partnership has had an agreement with Elvis Presley Enterprises to offer tours of the jets on Graceland property. But the two parties couldn’t agree on a contract extension, and EPE gave OKC notice to remove the jets from Graceland’s grounds.

The new site would be off Graceland’s property, but near its southern border. Elvis Presley Enterprises has indicated it will oppose the zoning request when it reaches the council next month in what council member Harold Collins, whose district includes Graceland, described as a “copyright” issue.

– Bill Dries

Nike Applies for $2.2 Million In Building Permits

Nike Inc. has applied for two building permits totaling $2.2 million for alterations to its distribution center at 3100 New Frayser Blvd.

Elk Grove, Ill.-based Wynright Corp. filed the applications with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for the $1.8 million and $450,000 permits, which are part of Nike’s massive expansion in Frayser.

In 2012, the board of the Memphis and Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine approved a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with Nike for the expansion. According to the approved PILOT, the expansion would retain 1,600 jobs and add 250 more once the larger facility opens.

Nike says the $276 million, 1.7 million-square-foot addition should be complete later this year.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Potter Rules Against Billboard Lawsuit Dismissal

General Sessions Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging three inner-city billboards in residential areas.

Potter ruled Thursday, March 12, denying the motion filed by Clear Channel Outdoors, the billboard company that owns two of the three billboards.

Residents in each of the neighborhoods are challenging the billboards as illegal, saying they went up after a Unified Development Code for Memphis and Shelby County banned billboards in residential areas.

The billboard companies contend the billboards were exempted from the ban or grandfathered in because they were in place before the UDC took effect.

Potter’s ruling sets up a future hearing on the central issue which will be a dispute over whether the date the billboards were erected relies on records kept by local code enforcement officials or whether it can include other evidence.

Attorneys for the residents claim they have proof the billboards were erected at dates later than those indicated in code enforcement records.

– Bill Dries

City Council Approves Downtown LaQuinta

The Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, March 17, a special use permit for a four-story, 104-room LaQuinta Inn and Suites hotel on Union Avenue at Danny Thomas Boulevard.

Gopal Govan will build and own the new hotel.

The council also delayed until April 7 a vote on a convenience store with gas pumps for tractor trailer rigs on Lamar Avenue near Winchester Road.

And after two delays, the council turned down a special use permit for a used car lot at 1780 Getwell Road.

Meanwhile, the council removed its approval of the King’s Pointe planned development from the minutes of its March 3 meeting. The council will reconsider the item at its April 7 meeting. Council member Harold Collins moved to take the item off the minutes citing concerns expressed by area homeowners about the plan for 220 units of townhomes and apartments.

In other action, the council delayed for two months action on a resolution allowing an annual spring turkey shoot on Presidents Island. The use of guns would be an amendment to the existing 2001 agreement between the local Port Commission and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency that currently permits bow and arrow hunting in the industrial area.

– Bill Dries

BankTennessee Makes New Hires, Promotions

BankTennessee has announced several new hires and promotions.

Traci Stewart has been promoted to assistant branch manager for the bank’s East Memphis office, at 5540 Poplar Ave. She started as a teller in 2007 and was later promoted to customer service representative in 2013.

The bank also promoted William Norris to assistant branch manager of the bank’s Downtown Memphis office. Norris has about six years of banking experience and has worked with the bank for two years as teller supervisor and in customer service support.

Meanwhile, Coleen Sumner recently joined BankTennessee in the loan operations department, and Charlene Looney joined the bank as loan processor.

Prior to joining BankTennessee, Looney was in the loan administration department at First Tennessee Bank for 15 years.

Jessica Campbell also recently joined BankTennessee as mortgage specialist. Prior to joining the bank, she was mortgage loan manager at First South Credit Union for almost nine years.

– Andy Meek

Boyle-Affiliated Company Buys Schilling Farms Land

A company affiliated with Boyle Investment Co. has sold vacant land inside the Memphis-based company’s Schilling Farms development in Collierville to another Boyle-related entity.

Schilling Apartment Investors LLC, which is affiliated with Boyle, bought the vacant land from Schilling Farms LLC, another Boyle-related entity, for $1.1 million, according to a March 2 warranty deed. Charles Claiborne, the treasurer of Schilling Farms LLC and chief financial officer for Boyle, signed the warranty deed.

Schilling Farms is Boyle’s 443-acre mixed-use development in Collierville.

The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783