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VOL. 8 | NO. 19 | Saturday, May 2, 2015

Daily Digest

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Unemployment Drops To Lowest Point Since 2008

Memphis’ unemployment rate fell in March to its lowest point since 2008, according to figures from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The Memphis metro area’s jobless rate last month was 6.5 percent, compared to 7.9 percent in March 2014 and 7 percent in February.

The rate in Shelby County also fell, to 6.7 percent in March 2015 from 7.2 percent in February 2015. Shelby County’s unemployment was as high as 8.1 percent a year ago, in March 2014.

The city of Memphis saw its rate drop from 9 percent in March 2014 and 8 percent in February 2015 to 7.5 percent in March.

Overall, Tennessee’s jobless rate was 6.3 percent in March, still higher than the national rate of 5.5 percent.

– Daily News staff

Graceland Buys Jets, Will Keep Them at Graceland

Two jets once owned by Elvis Presley will remain at Graceland, according to a Tweet Sunday afternoon by the late entertainer’s daughter.

“I wanted 2 b the first to tell U: The Planes will remain at Graceland 4 ever!” tweeted Lisa Marie Presley. “We own them and have fun plans 4 them as well.”

The tweet comes just days after the Memphis City Council approved OKC Partnership’s plan to move the jets – “Lisa Marie” and “Hound Dog 2” – to 3850 Elvis Presley Blvd. and build a museum to go with them.

The site is just across Graceland’s southern border and land owned by Elvis Presley Enterprises. Graceland did not object to the planned development despite expressing earlier concerns.

OKC owned the jets and the jets have been part of Graceland tour packages since the mid-1980s. They sit in an open area in the Graceland Plaza across Elvis Presley Boulevard from the mansion’s gates.

But earlier this year, contract talks between OKC and Elvis Presley Enterprises reached an impasse. OKC announced it was putting the jets up for auction and EPE said it wanted them off Graceland’s campus.

Priscilla Presley, the entertainer’s ex-wife, reacted strongly on Facebook as the stalemated contract talks suddenly went public.

“Do you honestly think we want them sold?” she posted on her Facebook page in January. “Have you never thought that the owners are the culprits? That perhaps they are greedy, unwilling to be fair or are being totally unreasonable?”

No terms on the sale of the jets were immediately available, nor were specific details on the plan for the jets remaining at Graceland.

The plaza area where they currently are located is scheduled to change dramatically in the third phase of redevelopment of the 120-acre Graceland campus.

The overall project includes an archives building as well as a $90 million, 450-room resort hotel north of the mansion that will be the third largest hotel in the city.

General plans for the plaza area include restaurants, nightspots, new shops and a performance hall as well as demolition of the Heartbreak Hotel once the new resort hotel opens.

– Bill Dries

Germantown Parkway Sites Bought for $3.4 Million

Two parcels of rarely available land on Germantown Parkway have been purchased for $3.4 million.

Marketplace Monroe LLC acquired the parcels at 789 and 725 N. Germantown Parkway, according to two April warranty deeds.

Marketplace Monroe bought 789 Germantown Parkway from Steve Cooper’s Insomnia Inc. for $1.4 million, according to an April 27 warranty deed. Marketplace Monroe acquired 725 Germantown Parkway from Quality Concrete Products Co. Inc. for $2 million, according to an April 22 warranty deed. The two parcels total 4.7 acres.

Marketplace Monroe is a subsidiary of Marketplace Development, whose principals include J. Wise Smith and Hunter Smith.

The new owners will subdivide the property and plan to build several multi-tenant retail buildings. The new development will accommodate several national tenants’ growing demand for retail space on the busy Germantown Parkway corridor, according to the Shopping Center Group LLC, which represented Marketplace Monroe in the transactions. The Shopping Center Group also represented Quality Concrete in its sale.

The properties are located on the west side of Germantown Parkway between Fischer Steel Road and Moriarty Road.

– Amos Maki

Source: The Daily News & Chandler Reports

Memphis Chamber Hires Greenprint Coordinator

John Michels has joined the Greater Memphis Chamber as greenprint coordinator. Michels is responsible for transitioning the Mid-South Regional Greenprint Plan into the implementation phase.

This week, the Greenprint Plan was the recipient of the American Planning Association Sustainable Communities Division’s award for “Excellence in Sustainability for a Plan.”

The Greenprint Plan will connect 95 percent of existing parks and will create 500 miles of off-street greenway trails and 200 miles of on-street bike lanes.

Michels previously worked as the director of communications and trail programs for the American Hiking Society.

– Don Wade

TNT Express Posts First-Quarter Loss

The Dutch logistics company FedEx Corp. has targeted for a takeover reported a first-quarter loss Tuesday, April 28, and indicated it is expecting a tough year leading up to the FedEx takeover.

TNT Express, citing pricing pressure in its core European markets, reported an operating loss of $21 million in the first quarter compared to a $1 million profit over the same quarter last year.

“Our guidance is unchanged: We expect 2015 to be a challenging year of transition, followed by year-on-year improvements from 2016 onwards,” said TNT CEO Tex Gunning.

On April 7, Memphis-based FedEx announced it had agreed to take over TNT, one of Europe’s largest delivery companies, for $4.8 billion.

FedEx officials said the deal would boost the package delivery giant’s European capabilities and accelerate global growth. The companies said the takeover should be completed in the first half of 2016.

– Amos Maki

New Burrito Shop Opens On Beale Street

Beale Street already boasts plenty of barbecue and beer, but burritos officially have been added to the mix.

Burrito Blues Mexican Grill opened earlier this month on Beale’s north side, between Second Street and Third Street. The menu features build-your-own burritos, tacos, salads and nachos, among other items.

The restaurant boasts a “local whenever possible” philosophy and noted its rice is freshly milled within days of delivery from Windmill Farms in Arkansas.

MaryRuth Jordan, Burrito Blues general manager, said the group is “excited to bring something different and fresh” to Downtown Memphis.

The restaurant plans to offer catering and delivery service within the Downtown area.

Burrito Blues’ dining room will be open Sunday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. A take-out and bar window located along Beale Street will stay open until 3 a.m. on the weekends.

– Daily News staff

Breathing New ‘Lyfe’ Into Existing Space

Construction is underway on Carlisle Corp.’s LYFE Kitchen in East Memphis and the restaurant should be dishing out its “fast, natural, chef-inspired” meals later this summer.

Located at 6201 Poplar Ave., in the former Sharky’s space near Poplar and Ridgeway Road, the restaurant aims to create a farm-to-table feel throughout the 6,000-square-foot space.

Memphis-based Hnedak Bobo Group is designing the LYFE Kitchen, which will be the largest restaurant the company has operated.

One of the most prominent features inside the new restaurant is a wall full of living herbs, a staple of the LYFE Kitchen brand. The restaurant will feature a total of 152 dining seats, including a 32-seat private dining room that is designed to create two separate meeting spaces. Other features include an open design with rustic, mismatched seating, sliding barn doors, an open “theater” kitchen, outdoor garden seating and an extensive bar and lounge.

The restaurant’s roofline will mimic the profile of iconic country barns. Designers also created a full window wall under the roofline, which will shower the interior dining space with natural light. HBG’s barn profile will be incorporated into other LYFE Kitchen locations going forward.

Originally launched in California, LYFE Kitchen reached an agreement with Memphis-based Carlisle Corp. to move its headquarters to Memphis and open two restaurants, the East Memphis location and one at the Chisca Hotel Downtown, which Carlisle Corp. is redeveloping. Chance Carlisle, president and chief operating officer of Wendelta Inc., Carlisle Corp.’s Wendy’s operator, was named LYFE’s new chief executive officer.

The Chisca’s LYFE Kitchen, also designed by HBG, launches in the fall.

– Amos Maki

Metropolitan Bank Tops $1 Billion in Assets

Metropolitan Bank, which is co-headquartered in Memphis, is now a $1 billion bank.

The bank reported strong first-quarter numbers this week, including profit up 58 percent from the same quarter in 2014 and passing the $1 billion asset mark for the first time. According to Metropolitan president and CEO Curt Gabardi, the bank’s performance during the quarter was fueled by loan, core deposit and non-interest income growth.

In addition to driving new deposits into the bank, Metropolitan’s total gross loan originations for the quarter were $82 million, compared to $46 million for the same period in 2014. Among other highlights of the quarter, net income was $1.5 million, compared to $928,000 for the same period in 2014.

– Andy Meek

Conley Assists Memphis With 500 Free Tickets

Mike Conley may be hurt, but he’s still helping how he can.

To thank fans for the support they showed after his latest injury – he underwent surgery Monday for facial fractures suffered in Game 3 in Portland – Conley wanted to buy 500 tickets for Game 5 of the Grizzlies’ first-round playoff series vs. Portland.

The tickets were given away Wednesday, April 29, in the Grand Lobby at FedExForum on a first-come, first-served basis; a line to receive the tickets had wrapped around the block by 10 a.m.

“My spirits were immediately lifted after all of the support I received from fans around the world, but especially those right here in Memphis,” Conley said in a team statement. “As a way to say thank you, I’d like them to be cheering us on at Game 5 because there’s no greater experience than the NBA Playoffs in Memphis.”

– Don Wade

Jewell Joins Orpheum's Development Foundation

Ron Jewell is joining the staff of the Memphis Development Foundation, which operates the Orpheum Theatre, as vice president of operations at the forthcoming Centre for Performing Arts Education.

The Orpheum’s $14.5 million center is expected to open in August.

Jewell, a native Memphian, has served as director of the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center since 1999. His initial responsibilities for the new Orpheum Centre include determining additional uses for the property’s many marketable spaces. He’ll also partner with Alice Roberts, vice president of education, as they continue to develop and expand the facility’s program initiatives for the Memphis community.

Jewell will begin his new role at the Orpheum in May.

– Andy Meek

Wright Reports Net Loss, Global Sales Growth

Wright Medical Group Inc.’s first-quarter earnings report was a mixed bag, with the medical device maker recording a net loss while seeing an increase in global sales.

Memphis-based Wright, which released its earnings after the markets closed Wednesday, April 29, reported a first-quarter net loss of $49.7 million, or 98 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $30.4 million, or 63 cents per share, in first quarter 2014.

Adjusted for discontinued operations from the sale of its hip and knee business to MicroPort Medical B.V., the loss was $46.2 million, or 91 cents per share, compared with a loss of $30.3 million, or 52 cents per share, in first quarter 2014.

Net sales for the quarter ended March 31 totaled $77.9 million, 10 percent higher than the same time a year ago. U.S. sales accounted for $57.5 million, compared with $49 million in U.S. sales in the year-ago period.

The company also provided an update on its Augment Bone Graft, saying it expects the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to give its final approval to Augment in the second half of 2015.

Meanwhile, Wright is waiting on word from the Federal Trade Commission on its proposed merger with Tornier. The FTC in January requested more information on lower-extremity products that accounted for global revenue of about $21 million and U.S. revenue of about $14.9 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30.

Wright said Tornier is actively pursuing divestiture of the lower-extremity products cited in the FTC’s request and that it intends to schedule shareholder votes in mid-June. The company said the deal could still close in the second quarter but that a third-quarter close is more likely.

– Daily News staff

‘Party in the Park’ Coming To Court Square May 6

If you’re in need of a mini-staycation, the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau has you covered.

In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week, the CVB is throwing a “Party in the Park” in Court Square Wednesday, May 6, that I Love Memphis blogger Holly Whitfield is billing as “a sampling of uniquely Memphis people and things all in one place on one day.”

The party, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. will feature food trucks, plenty of live entertainment, and booths and giveaways from local attractions and organizations.

The Metal Museum mobile forge and the Amurica Photo Booth will both set up shop during the event, and the Peabody Duckmaster, Beale Street Flippers and Rockey the Redbird are all set to make appearances.

For more information, visit ilovememphisblog.com.

– Daily News staff

Beretta Gallery Included In Pyramid’s Bass Pro Shops

Among the dignitaries in Memphis this week for the opening of Bass Pro Shops at The Pyramid were executives from Beretta USA, the U.S. division of the internationally known Italian firearms manufacturer.

Beretta has a 1,250-square-foot gallery on the second level of Bass Pro Shops. It is the third such gallery in the United States and the seventh in the world. The Pyramid location sells Beretta pistols including the M9 as well as shotguns for hunting and sporting.

The storefront has the look of an apparel store at first glance with outdoor apparel prominently displayed up front A secured rack of rifles takes up a wall behind a counter.

– Bill Dries

Fieldstone Apartments Files $15M Construction Loan

Fieldstone Apartments III LLC filed a $15 million construction loan with SunTrust Bank for the development of a new phase of Fieldstone Apartments in Southeast Memphis.

Fieldstone filed the loan on April 14. It’s an add-on to two existing loans filed in 2014 and 2013. The total amount for all three construction loans is $29.8 million.

Michael Lightman Realty Co. is developing a third phase of Fieldstone Apartments, located near Tournament Drive and Hacks Cross Road. In October, Lightman applied for six building permits totaling $6.4 million through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for 66 new apartments in the 901-unit Fieldstone complex at 3333 Hacks Cross Road. Patton & Taylor Construction Co. was listed as the general contractor.

Earlier in 2014, Lightman acquired 24 acres for the expansion, which will take place in phases and include a total of over 300 units.

Source: The Daily News & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Riverfront Restaurant Will Open for Memphis In May

Riverfront Bar & Grill at Beale Street Landing will remain open during the Memphis In May International Festival activities in Tom Lee Park.

The restaurant, which opened last June, is just outside the gates for the festival’s park events including the Beale Street Music Festival, International Barbecue Cooking Contest and the Sunset Symphony.

The restaurant will remain open Tuesday through Sunday during the festival.

Meanwhile, several overnight cruise boats that would normally dock at Beale Street Landing will instead dock at either Mud Island River Park or the Mud Island Greenbelt Park during the festival’s three busiest weekends.

The decisions reflect how recent changes in the park and on the riverfront are affecting the festival and vice-versa.

The festival still includes the annual closing of Riverside Drive. But this year the street closing also marks the end of the city’s year-long experiment with turning the southbound lanes of auto traffic on Riverside Drive into bicycle and pedestrian lanes.

When Riverside Drive reopens in June, it will be to auto traffic in all lanes at least until the city repaves Riverside Drive in 2016.

– Bill Dries

Dick Vitale to Receive Liberty Bowl Award

College basketball’s most spirited ambassador and a long-time analyst with ESPN will be the guest of honor at the kickoff event of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Golf Classic, a benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Dick Vitale will receive the AutoZone Liberty Bowl’s Distinguished Citizen award. The dinner will be held June 21 at the Memphis Hilton Hotel. A cocktail reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the award presentation at 6:30 p.m. A live auction and silent auction will be held during the evening with all proceeds going to St. Jude. The golf tournament will be held Monday, June 22, at Ridgeway Country Club.

Individual seats for the dinner may be purchased for $75 or a table of 10 for $750. The dinner includes a buffet, cocktails and wine. To reserve a table or an individual seat, call the AutoZone Liberty Bowl at 901-795-7700.

– Don Wade

Collierville Warehouse Sells for $400,000

A Jacksonville, Fla.-based investment company has acquired a Collierville warehouse.

CC Acquisition Co. LLC purchased the warehouse at 636 Chaney Drive in Collierville from Browning Construction Co. Inc. for $400,000, according to an April warranty deed.

The 7,800-square-foot Class C warehouse sits on just under an acre on Chaney, in an area just east of U.S. 72 and north of Tenn. 385.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $375,400.

– Amos Maki

Source: The Daily News & Chandler Reports

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 86 393 21,159
MORTGAGES 94 424 24,785
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 93 8,703
BUILDING PERMITS 173 1,010 43,347
BANKRUPTCIES 52 292 14,194
BUSINESS LICENSES 15 90 6,491
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 28 167 13,678
MARRIAGE LICENSES 12 89 5,158

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