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VOL. 8 | NO. 11 | Saturday, March 7, 2015

Daily Digest

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Arizona Real Estate Firm Buys Storage Facility

An Arizona-based real estate firm has acquired a Memphis mini-storage facility for $3.8 million.

Phoenix-based AMERCO Real Estate Co. bought the American Mini Storage facility at 7399 U.S. 64 from 7399 US Highway 64 Holdings LLC, which is affiliated with Florida-based LNR Partners Inc., for $3.8 million, according to a Feb. 24 warranty deed.

Built in 1999, the mini-storage site sits on 5.2 acres on the south side of U.S. 64 between Appling Road and Dromedary Drive. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $2.7 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Jindal in Memphis for March Republican Event

Louisiana Governor and possible presidential candidate Bobby Jindal will speak to Shelby County Republicans next month as part of a “leadership series” of events for the Tennessee Republican Party.

Jindal is the keynote speaker at the March 20 party fundraiser at the Racquet Club of Memphis.

Jindal is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

The Tennessee Republican Party is hosting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, another political figure weighing his chances in 2016, at the March 30 Statesman’s Dinner in Nashville, the state party’s largest annual event and fundraiser.

– Bill Dries

Qsource Merging With Indianapolis Firm

Qsource, a Memphis-based nonprofit regional health care consultancy, is planning to merge with Indianapolis-based Network Strategies & Innovations Inc.

NSI focuses its health care quality improvement activities on chronic kidney disease, dialysis and kidney transplant care for patients with end-stage renal disease.

The agreement expands Qsource’s health care services portfolio and creates a new corporate infrastructure for NSI while retaining its name and recognition as a leader in end-stage renal disease care, performance management and patient outcomes analysis.

Under terms of the agreement, NSI – along with its three end-stage renal disease networks – will become an independent subsidiary of Qsource by the end of 2015.

– Andy Meek

Adams Keegan Launches New Recruiting Division

Memphis human resources and employer services firm Adams Keegan has launched a recruiting and executive search service, AK Recruiting Solutions.

AK Recruiting will provide a full suite of recruiting services, including job description development, telephone screening and reference checks. It will use advertising and job posting as well as a proprietary database and professional organizations to gather candidates.

“It’s long been a goal of Adams Keegan to provide this first-line service in human resources consulting,” said Jay Keegan, Adams Keegan CEO, in a statement.

“Many of our clients do not have the time or internal resources to successfully vet applicants, as it can be a very time consuming process no matter the position or the level.”

Kristin Lockhart, who is based in Adams Keegan’s Memphis office, will lead the division.

Lockhart comes to AK Recruiting from a 10-year background in the permanent placement industry. Most recently, she was owner and principal of Lockhart Associates, a personnel consultancy for full-time, permanent placements.

Lockhart added that screening and interviewing takes not only time but also experience and consistency.

“AK Recruiting Solutions performs this heavy lifting for our clients so they can focus on their business,” she said in the statement. “We will send only the very best applicants that fit the vacancy – and not just in skillset but also in personality and cultural fit for the company.”

– Daily News staff

Fogelman Partners with City on Summer Camp

Memphis businessman and philanthropist Avron Fogelman is partnering with the city of Memphis to send more than 1,000 children to summer camps free of charge.

The summer camp program is part of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s initiative through the city’s Parks and Neighborhoods division.

– Bill Dries

Highland Row Developer Approved for $11M Permit

The developer of the mixed-use Highland Row project won approval for an $11 million building permit from the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement.

Highland Row LLC, an Indianapolis-based Milhaus Ventures affiliate, received the permit to construct a four-story, wood-framed building at 395 S. Highland St. The permit lists Milhaus Construction LLC as the general contractor.

The $61 million Highland Row project is slated to include 354 apartments, 34 townhomes, a parking garage and 26,000 square feet of retail space. The 395 S. Highland parcel has been the heart of the development since a church on the land was demolished several years ago. At the time, Highland Row was a project of Memphis-based Poag Shopping Centers, then operating as Poag & McEwen Lifestyle Centers, but its plans were shelved following the recession.

Milhaus has filed multiple permits since reviving the project last year. In October, the company applied for a $20 million building permit for construction of a four-story apartment building at 387 S. Highland. The next month, it applied for a $6.8 million permit toward the project.

Then, in late November, Milhaus acquired several vacant parcels totaling 13 acres along Highland and Ellsworth Street from an affiliate of Worthington Hyde Partners for $4.3 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Sweet Potato Baby Wins SCORE Championship

Sweet Potato Baby is a winner of the American Small Business Championship by SCORE, a national organization that provides mentorship to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The local boutique catering and baked-goods company was one of 102 companies to receive the award, which is supported by a $700,000 grant from Sam’s Club.

Each winner will receive a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expenses-paid trip to a training event, a year of SCORE mentoring, and promotion throughout the year to showcase its story.

Sweet Potato Baby, owned by Aryen Moore-Alston, offers items ranging from seasonal pastries and cakes to international cuisine and full-service catering. The company also was recently selected among the Greater Memphis Chamber’s “10 to Watch” in 2015, a list of 10 companies and organizations that stood out in 2014 for leadership in the community, whether through driving the local economy, inspiring innovation or embracing change.

SCORE, a nonprofit that started as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, has an active Memphis chapter that serves entrepreneurs in Shelby, Fayette and Tipton counties, as well as adjoining counties in Arkansas and Mississippi.

– Kate Simone

Community Foundation Scholarship Deadline Set

There is still time for students to apply for college scholarships from Community Foundation of Greater Memphis

In 2014, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis made 93 scholarship awards from 26 different scholarship funds, totaling $124,205 to 89 students. Awards supported young people ranging from community volunteers to string musicians.

In 2015, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis is accepting scholarship applications from area students in a variety of categories. The application deadline for the Don Poier Memorial Scholarship has been extended to March 13. All others are due on April 1.

Scholarship award amounts average between $500 and $1,500. There are opportunities for graduating seniors from Shelby County Schools, charter schools, Achievement School District schools, the municipal high schools, and independent schools.

Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement, economic need, and be attending an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational program. Students may apply for more than one scholarship, and there is no application fee. As with all charitable grants, recipients are not required to pay back the funds. All scholarship awards are for one year only but several funds allow recipients to re-apply.

For a complete list of 2015 funding opportunities and more information about the Community Foundation’s scholarship program, please visit cfgm.org/scholarships.

– Don Wade

Nimoy Cut Check to St. Jude Before Passing

A month before he died last week at age 83, Leonard Nimoy – the actor famous for his role as Spock on “Star Trek” – sent a $10,000 check to St. Jude.

That’s according to Marlo Thomas, who serves as St. Jude’s national outreach director. She acknowledged the donation on her Facebook page.

“We got to know him a little bit through our friends, the Pogrebins,” Thomas wrote. “Always warm and gentle, good company. Just a month ago he sent me $10,000 for the kids of St. Jude. Even in his very hard, last days he was thinking of how to help others.”

– Andy Meek

Hickory Hill Nightclub Remains Closed As Nuisance

A Hickory Hill nightclub where undercover police officers allegedly bought marijuana – and with a history of recent violence including a murder – remained closed as the week began.

A-Game Bar and Grill, 6642 Winchester Road, near Kirby Parkway, was closed under terms of a court order from General Sessions Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter declaring it a nuisance.

The Shelby County District Attorney General’s office filed the petition with Potter for an injunction that took effect Saturday, Feb. 28, at the club operated by Otis Braxton.

Undercover officers with the Memphis Police Organized Crime Unit allegedly bought marijuana at A-Game Thursday, according to the petition for an injunction. The petition claims club employees watched the drug deal and took no action.

Prosecutors also cited police calls recently at A. Game to break up large fights as well as robberies, assaults and shootings including a homicide and another shooting in which police found 41 shell casings in the parking lot.

Braxton was due in Environmental Court Monday, March 2, for a preliminary hearing on the injunction.

The preliminary hearing is usually followed by negotiations between the owner of a business declared a nuisance and prosecutors toward an agreement on measures the owner will take to reduce crime on his or her property.

– Bill Dries

AutoZone Reports Higher Sales, Profit in Q2

AutoZone’s company operating theme for 2015 is “Wow every customer, everywhere.”

Tuesday morning, the company extended that to Wall Street and to analysts, laying out how the Memphis-based car parts retailer ended its fiscal second quarter with a profit of $211.7 million, up 9.8 percent over the same period in 2014.

The company also said net sales were $2.1 billion for the quarter, up 7.7 percent from the same period last year. And domestic same store sales – sales at stores open for at least one year – rose 3.6 percent.

The company also reported its 34th straight quarter of double-digit earnings per share growth (15.6 percent), with earnings per share rising to $6.51 from $5.63 during the year-ago quarter.

During his earnings presentation to analysts Tuesday, AutoZone chairman, president and CEO Bill Rhodes said the company still sees plenty of opportunity for future growth, in terms of things like store count and same store sales.

After new store openings, closings and relocations during the quarter, as of Feb. 14 the company had a total store count of 5,476.

– Andy Meek

Two Memphis Teachers to Serve on Blue Book Panel

Two Memphis teachers are serving on a seven-member statewide task force developing lesson plans and aids for teachers built around information in the Tennessee Blue Book.

The two Memphis teachers on the panel appointed by Secretary of State Tre Hargett are Lain Whitaker, an American history teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, and Erika Ashford, who teaches U.S. government, contemporary issues and African-American history at Ridgeway High School.

Ashford said for educators it is “imperative” to “educate our students on not only the content of our government, but on how to be politically astute as it relates to the well being of their own families and communities.”

The task force is working toward a June 30 deadline to come up with two sets of materials that will become part of the state’s social studies curriculum.

The Blue Book, which is an online and print almanac of Tennessee government, is updated every two years by the Secretary of State’s office.

The book includes not only a listing of current members of the Tennessee General Assembly but a history of the state and its governors. It also explains how state government works and the different roles of its institutions. And it explains the relationship of state government with local governments and the federal government as well as offering election results that put the state’s political history in context.

– Bill Dries

Methodist Le Bonheur Program Wins Award

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare’s Congregational Health Network recently was named a Program of Excellence during the Hospital Charitable Services Awards, presented by Jackson Healthcare.

The Congregational Health Network was chosen out of 208 nominations submitted from across the country. It, along with other winning programs, was awarded $10,000 through the Hospital Charitable Services Awards.

Since its establishment in 2004, the Congregational Health Network has grown to cover 580 church partners, 11 navigators, more than 700 trained congregational liaisons and more than 20,000 patient members.

– Andy Meek

Tigers Hike Football Season Ticket Prices

The University of Memphis football team raised its win total to 10 games last season and in 2015 ticket prices are being raised.

Price increases have been implemented for all seating categories. However, the Tigers will still boast the second-lowest season ticket prices in the American Athletic Conference and remain one of the few FBS schools with no donation requirement for individual seats.

Lower sideline (formerly known as prime) seats have increased from $150 to $200 and end zone/upper sideline seats have increased from $55 to $89 for season tickets. The Tigers also will offer a limited number of Family FunZone packages which include four season tickets in the north end zone for $299.

Box (chairback) seats have increased from $250 to $300 and indoor club seats have moved from $600 to $750.

Despite the increases, all season tickets for 2015 remain at or below the pricing structure that was in place for Memphis Football from 2008 to 2011.

Fans that purchased 2014 season tickets can complete the renewal process online at www.gotigersgotix.com. The deadline to complete renewals and ensure priority seating is May 15. New season ticket buyers can also secure their tickets and select their seats online from all available inventories in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

– Don Wade

REIT Pays $32.4 Million for East Memphis Hotel

A Dallas-based hotel real estate investment trust has acquired the Marriott Memphis East hotel in East Memphis for $32.4 million.

Ashford Memphis LP, which is affiliated with Dallas-based Ashford Hospitality Trust, bought the 232-room hotel, located at Poplar and I-240, from Noble I Memphis LLC, according to a Feb. 25 warranty deed. The purchase price breaks down to roughly $139,655 per room.

Built in 1986, the hotel includes 133,932 square feet of space, including six meeting rooms with approximately 8,960 square feet of meeting space. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $7 million. Ashford Trust’s affiliated property manager, Remington Lodging, will manage the property.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Council OKs Beale Street Tourism Authority

The Memphis City Council approved on third and final reading Tuesday, March 3, an ordinance to create a Beale Street Tourism Development Authority to guide future development in the entertainment district and hire a day-to-day manager of the district between Second and Fourth Streets.

The council amended the proposal to make the nine-member authority board an eleven-member board to include two merchants in the district.

The members of the board are to be appointed by the mayor and the appointments confirmed by the city council.

Meanwhile, the council rejected plans for a cemetery at the site of the old Moose Lodge at 4033 Raleigh Millington Road south of Tessland Avenue after several homeowners showed up to oppose it. The homeowners argued the cemetery would hurt property values.

The Sinai Memorial Gardens Cemetery failed to get a single vote on the council.

“What comes to mind is this movie where people were in this neighborhood and there was this cemetery,” council member Janis Fullilove said. “And then the dead people came to get the people in the house. How far would the cemetery be from the living conditions in the residential area?”

The distance between the nearest plot and nearest back door would have been about 60 feet.

The council delayed for two weeks voting on a special use permit for a used car lot at 1780 Getwell Road. It was the second delay for the car lot.

And the council approved a special use permit for a scrap dealer at 1808 Chelsea Avenue on Kilowatt Lake.

– Bill Dries

UTHSC Researchers Part of Global Brain Study

In the largest collaborative study of the brain to date, researchers from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center are part of a global consortium of 190 institutions working to identify eight common genetic mutations that appear to age the brain an average of three years. The discovery could lead to targeted therapies and interventions for Alzheimer’s disease, autism and other neurological conditions.

An international team of roughly 300 scientists known as the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis (ENIGMA) Network pooled brain scans and genetic data worldwide to pinpoint genes that enhance or break down key brain regions in people from 33 countries. This is the first high-profile study since the National Institutes of Health launched its Big Data to Knowledge centers of excellence in 2014.

“This is a great example of how international collaboration can jumpstart high impact science and genetics. We needed a pool of 30,000 willing subjects and their DNA to drill down to these five new genes,” said Dr. Robert W. Williams, a co-investigator of ENIGMA and chair of the UTHSC Department of Genetics, Genomics and Informatics, as well as the UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair in Computational Genomics.

The study could help identify people who would most benefit from new drugs designed to save brain cells, but more research is necessary to determine if the genetic mutations are implicated in disease. The UTHSC team is renowned for its work on brain structure in mice. This is their first entry into the world of human genetics.

– Don Wade

American Kidney Fund to Host Action Day

The American Kidney Fund will host its second annual Kidney Action Day at The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Memphis on March 14.

The event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is free and open to the public. It will include kidney health screenings (including blood glucose and blood pressure), interactive fitness demonstrations, children’s activities, healthy food samples and local entertainment.

The American Kidney Fund is the nation’s largest nonprofit serving people with and at-risk for kidney disease. In 2014, the American Kidney Fund provided $1.4 million in grant assistance to 500 dialysis patients in the Memphis metropolitan area.

– Andy Meek

U of M Adds ‘Materials Science’ to Physics Name

The University of Memphis Department of Physics is now the Department of Physics and Materials Science.

The name change reflects the department’s status as offering the only materials science program in West Tennessee.

The program deals with the discovery as well as engineering and design of new materials.

The university has had a materials science concentration since 2010.

– Bill Dries

Midtown Warehouses Fetch $1.2 Million

Two Midtown warehouses have been sold for $1.2 million.

A group operating as BBC LLC bought the warehouses at 324 and 340 S. Hollywood Street, located on the east side of Hollywood just south of Milton Avenue near Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, from Hollywood Partners, according to Feb. 25 warranty deeds.

The seller, Hollywood Partners, is a partnership that includes Laurence M. Bloch and James E. Rasberry. Hollywood Partners acquired the properties for a total of $870,000.

Built in 1965, the Class C warehouse at 324 Hollywood totals 29,399 square feet and has been used by Whitt Tile & Marble Distribution Co. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $311,300.

Built in 2006, the Class B warehouse at 340 Hollywood totals 12,000 square feet. The 2014 appraisal for that property is $281,100.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Scripps Newspaper Revenue Continues Decline

The newspaper unit of The E.W. Scripps Co., parent company of The Commercial Appeal, saw its profit tumble in the fourth quarter to almost half of what it was a year earlier.

That’s according to Scripps’ quarterly results announced Wednesday which show the company’s newspaper segment with a $6 million profit for the period from October through December.

Newspaper unit revenue for the quarter was $95.1 million, and expenses were $89.1 million. Both of those were down for the quarter – expenses fell 1.2 percent, partly because of reduced employment levels, and revenue dropped 7.9 percent. The company said subscription revenue was flat, and advertising and marketing services revenue was down 9.7 percent

Company-wide, Cincinnati-based Scripps reported a fourth quarter profit of $15.7 million, up from $7.9 million one year earlier.

Meanwhile, the company is nearing completion of a transaction that will spin off its newspaper properties including The Commercial Appeal along with those of Journal Communications into a new publicly traded entity called Journal Media Group. That will coincide with the merging of Scripps’ and Journal Communications’ broadcast operations, to create separate, pure-play broadcast and newspaper companies.

Shareholder votes related to the deal are scheduled for March 11, and Scripps said today it’s hoping for an early second-quarter close of the deal.

– Andy Meek

Baker Donelson On Best Companies To Work For List

Fortune magazine has named Memphis law firm Baker Donelson among the 100 best companies to work for in the U.S.

This is the sixth consecutive year Baker Donelson has landed on the publication’s Best Companies To Work For list.

It ranked 30th among the 100 companies, its highest ranking to date. It also is the highest ranked law firm on the Fortune list that recognizes companies with exceptional workplace cultures.

“We remain focused on the development and morale of our people so that they are empowered and motivated to serve our clients, our communities and each other,” Baker Donelson chairman and CEO Ben C. Adams said in a statement. “Baker Donelson is proud to once again have those efforts recognized by Fortune and to continue to be named among the country's best workplaces."

Fortune highlighted the firm's Daily Docket, a five- to 10-minute meeting that is held every morning across its 19 offices to keep everyone on the same page and focused on client service.

Applicant companies opt to participate in the selection process, which includes an employee survey and an in-depth questionnaire about programs and company practices.

– Daily News staff

PROPERTY SALES 28 290 16,197
MORTGAGES 33 165 10,087
BUILDING PERMITS 184 608 38,544
BANKRUPTCIES 33 125 7,597