VOL. 8 | NO. 42 | Saturday, October 10, 2015
AutoZone Board Authorizes $750 Million Share Buyback
AutoZone is adding another $750 million to its ongoing share buyback program, the Memphis-based car parts retailer announced after market close on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
The company said that including the new amount authorized by its board, AutoZone has since 1998 authorized share buybacks worth $16.4 billion.
AutoZone chief financial officer Bill Giles said in a release about the news that the company’s “continued strong financial performance” allows the company to buy back its stock while maintaining its investment grade rating.
“We remain committed to utilizing share repurchases within the bounds of a disciplined capital structure to enhance stockholder returns while maintaining adequate liquidity to execute our plans,” Giles said.
Meanwhile, AutoZone on Wednesday also announced a flurry of organizational changes effective immediately.
Mark Finestone, senior vice president of merchandising and store development, has been promoted to executive vice president over merchandising, supply chain and marketing.
Also, senior vice president Bill Graves has been promoted to executive vice president over Mexico, Brazil, IMC and store development. And Tom Newbern, senior vice president over store operations and loss prevention, has been promoted to executive vice president.
AutoZone currently has 5,609 stores.
– Andy Meek
Two Warehouses Acquired in Major National Deal
Denver-based Northstar Commercial Partners, a privately held commercial real estate investment company, purchased two warehouse storage facilities in south Memphis for $5.2 million, according to a special warranty deed signed Sept. 29.
The company announced Thursday, Oct. 8, that they, along with ALTO Real Estate Funds, acquired 24 properties across the U.S. for a total purchase price of $224 million.
Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Silagi Development and Management had owned the Memphis properties since 2006, when they purchased them for $3.5 million.
The 126,000-square-foot facility at 363 Burma Road and the 115,000-square-foot facility at 410 Burma Road are located in Southwide Industrial Park near the southeast corner of Latham Street and East Industrial Avenue.
A $4.8 million loan was filed at the time of sale issued by Chicago-based Prime Finance Partners.
The one-story warehouse storage facilities were built in 1973 and have a combined tax appraisal value of $2.2 million.
– Wendy Greenlaw, Chandler Reports
UPS Lobbies Against FedEx’s TNT Acquisition
TNT Express shareholders approved FedEx Corp.’s $4.9 billion acquisition of the Dutch delivery company TNT Express N.V., but United Parcel Service Inc. is angling to delay or prevent the takeover.
UPS tried to acquire TNT in 2013 but was blocked by the European Union due to concerns over “too little competition” in the market if TNT was to leave, according to Bloomberg.
UPS currently is appealing the EU’s rejection of its earlier, higher bid (UPS offered $6.9 billion) and is lobbying to block FedEx. According to analysts, the EU could be stuck between navigating its previous precedent and dealing with the current offer.
FedEx said that gaining necessary approvals and competition clearances are on track.
The acceptance period under the offer is set to expire Oct. 30, but FedEx noted that this could be extended if gaining clearance with regulatory agencies takes longer than expected.
“We believe the combination of these two great companies will provide significant value to the employees, customers and shareowners of both TNT Express and FedEx, and we continue to work constructively with the regulatory authorities around the world to obtain clearance of the acquisition,” said David Binks, regional president Europe with FedEx Express in a release.
The minimum acceptance condition of the offer is 80 percent of TNT’s share capital.
– Madeline Faber
Memphis City Council OKs One Beale Garage Financing
The Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, Oct. 6, $10 million in financing for a public parking garage at the $160 million One Beale development Downtown.
The $10 million comes out of rental payments or payment-in-lieu-of-taxes extension fees paid by business property owners to the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. The money is being transferred from the CCRFC to the Downtown Parking Authority. Both entities are part of the Downtown Memphis Commission.
CCRFC will own the garage and lease it to the Downtown Parking Authority. The parking authority will, in turn, sublease it to Carlisle Corp., developer of the ambitious project at Riverside Drive and Beale Street. The garage is the base for One Beale’s mixed-use twin towers.
In other action, the council delayed a vote on a proposed gas station-convenience store at Third Street and A.W. Willis Avenue until its Oct. 20 meeting. A vote on a two-lot subdivision at Williamsburg Lane and Village Road was delayed to Dec. 1.
And council member Harold Collins delayed a vote on his resolution to beef up officer ranks with a return of recently retired cops to the Memphis Police Department’s reserve program.
– Bill Dries
Mallory Alexander Signs Pact With Old Dominion
Memphis-based Mallory Alexander International Logistics LLC will handle all ocean freight forwarding, back office and operational services for Old Dominion Freight Line Inc.
And Old Dominion will be a sales agent for Mallory Alexander.
The two companies announced the operational alliance Thursday, Oct. 8.
Mallory Alexander is a third party logistics provider with a global reach across all forms of transportation.
Old Dominion is an LTL, or less-than-truckload, carrier with that as its core services. It opened a new $30 million, 267-door Memphis facility in October 2014.
The Thomasville, N.C.-based company also does supply chain consulting, brokers truckloads and does container delivery, warehousing and ground and air expedited transportation.
“This strategic alliance will greatly enhance our ocean freight forwarding offering, enabling our customers to access Mallory Alexander’s extensive suite of services, including their state-of-the-art technology and operational systems,” said Wayne Bersch, vice president of Old Dominion, in a written statement.
Neely Mallory, president of Mallory Alexander described Old Dominion as the “premier LTL carrier in the industry.”
“We expect it will be mutually beneficial, expanding each of our businesses and enabling us to provide our best-in-class services to even more customers across the globe,” he added.
The Old Dominion partnership marks another expansion for Mallory Alexander. The Memphis-based logistics company told The Daily News in August that it was preparing to operate directly in China later this year with a highly coveted freight license from the Chinese government and the opening of the Mallory Asia Pacific division in Shanghai.
– Bill Dries
Morris Retires from Role At Shelby Farms Park
Laura W. Morris, the executive director of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy for the last five years, is retiring.
Morris announced her retirement Tuesday, Oct. 6, saying the organization needs new leadership now that it has completed a $70 million capital campaign with $15 million in projects within the park complete and open to the public.
The completed projects include the Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge and Woodland Discovery Playground as well as the Shelby Farms Greenline.
The Heart of the Park renovations, including an expansion of Patriot Lake, are underway and scheduled to open to the public in the late summer or early fall of 2016.
“The work I set out to do is wrapping up,” Morris said in a written statement. “The park’s future is secure. Its community support is strong and it is poised to become the next great park of our time.”
Morris came to the conservancy in 2007 after being chairman of the board of the Shelby Farms Park Alliance. She has been involved in the park for more than 15 years.
The conservancy will conduct a national search for a successor and Morris will remain through the transition.
– Bill Dries
New Daisy VIP Experience Named in Honor of Big Star
The New Daisy Theatre is unveiling a new VIP experience next week, named in honor of one of Memphis’ most iconic homegrown music acts.
The Big Star Room opens Oct.16 on the venue’s second and third floors, and in it guests will be able to enjoy multiple lounges: the 1970s-inspired Projection room, the Library Lounge and the 75-seat Mezzanine, designed for prime viewing.
Access to the Big Star Room is by membership only. Members will enjoy private servers as well as a concierge for ticket reservations. Complimentary tickets, exclusive member events and VIP parking also will be part of the Big Star Room experience.
Part of all membership proceeds will go to Musicians Healthcare, a resource for Memphis artists. According to New Daisy owner Steve Adelman, Ardent Studios CEO Jody Stephens – who’s also the last surviving original member of Big Star – was among the first people the New Daisy contacted when thinking through how it could provide a robust VIP experience with ties to the local music community.
– Andy Meek
Memphis Symphony Taps Robert Moody as Conductor
The Memphis Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Robert Moody as principal conductor, beginning with the 2016-2017 season.
Moody, who signed a two-year contract for the role, has served as a guest conductor for MSO since 2006, leading masterworks, chamber and pops performances.
“Robert already has a wonderful rapport with our orchestra and is well-known and liked among our patrons,” said Memphis Symphony board chair Gayle Rose. “He is deeply committed to extending the MSO’s bond with the community.”
Moody previously was music director of the Winston-Salem Symphony (North Carolina) since 2005, artistic director of Arizona Musicfest since 2007, and music director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine) since 2008.
He will be reintroduced to the Memphis community as conductor of the “Flocktoberfest Fireworks” concert and fireworks show at The Pyramid Oct. 23, part of the Bass Pro World Hunting and Waterfowl Expo.
Moody will conduct four of six First Tennessee Masterworks concert weekends, one pops concert and one of the Paul & Linnea Bert Classic Accents performances during the 2016- 2017 season.
– Don Wade
Arlington Car Wash Sells for $3 Million
The Boomerang Carwash located at 9809 Highway 64 in Arlington sold for $3 million on Sept. 30.
Scottsdale Ariz.-based Spirit Master Funding X LLC purchased the 3,150-square-foot property located on Highway 64 just west of North Houston Levee Road.
Bailey’s Tunnel Wash LLC of Little Rock sold the facility, along with three others, to the same investment company earlier this year.
Bailey’s purchased the property in 2012 for $2 million and still owns the Boomerang Carwash located at 4831 Poplar Ave. in East Memphis.
The facility will be leased to Drive Clean Carwash Operations LLC of Little Rock.
The carwash was built in 2010 and has a tax appraisal value of $1.2 million.
– Wendy Greenlaw, Chandler Reports
Hopson Fills Three Positions in County Schools Cabinet
Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson announced Friday, Oct. 2, that he has filled three open position in his cabinet.
John Michael Williams is the new chief information officer for the school system. He served in the same position with Metro Nashville Public Schools as well as similar positions at Atlanta Public Schools and Orange County Schools in Orlando, Fla.
Lin Johnson is the school system’s new chief financial officer and comes to SCS from being director of special initiatives at the Tennessee Department of Education as well as being director of finance and operations for the D.C. Public Charter School Board before that.
Leon Pattman is the new chief of internal audit, coming from the city auditor’s position for the city of Memphis.
None of the positions are newly created.
– Bill Dries
Building Permit Filed for I-55 Welcome Center
The Interstate 55 Memphis Welcome Center is on the road to completion with a $2.1 million building permit.
According to the permit applied for Oct. 2 by Jaycon Development Corp., construction will start on a new visitor center and storage building to serve northbound drivers.
The state demolished the old welcome center in spring 2012. The new building is expected to open in fall 2016.
The Whitehaven property at 3910 S. Interstate 55 is one of 14 welcome centers owned by the state of Tennessee.
Archimania is the architect of the state’s first net-zero building. Through the use of sustainable features and solar panels, it is projected that the building will create more energy than it consumes.
– Madeline Faber
First Horizon Closes on TrustAtlantic Acquisition
First Horizon National Corp., the parent company of First Tennessee Bank, has closed on its acquisition of Raleigh, N.C.-based TrustAtlantic Bank.
Under terms of the deal, TrustAtlantic’s systems convert to the First Tennessee system the week of Oct. 16 with all five TrustAtlantic branches becoming First Tennessee bank branches Oct. 19.
Four of the branches are in the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area and one is in Greenville, N.C.
TrustAtlantic Financial and its subsidiary, TrustAtlantic Bank, reported approximately $368 million in total deposits, $317 million in gross loans and $430 million in total assets, as of June 30.
First Horizon has 26 FTN Financial Group offices in the U.S. and more than 170 bank locations in and around Tennessee with 4,200 employees.
First Horizon chairman and CEO Bryan Jordan said the TrustAtlantic acquisition will “enhance our ability to serve the growing Research Triangle region of North Carolina.”
“We have a great team in North Carolina and the rest of our Mid-Atlantic region, and we’ll build on that by welcoming TrustAtlantic employees and customers,” he added.
– Bill Dries
Discovery Park of America Celebrates 500,000th Visitor
Less than two years after opening in a rural Tennessee cornfield, Discovery Park of America has celebrated its 500,000th visitor.
The park has been described as a mini-Smithsonian Institution, with its exhibits about natural history, dinosaurs, Native Americans, energy, transportation, science, the military and space flight. But Ashleigh Hartman ended up there as an afterthought on Saturday.
The Dyersburg resident told park officials her family had planned to attend a Reelfoot Lake arts and crafts festival but couldn’t find parking.
Hartman was greeted with confetti, banners and noise makers as she entered with her husband Shane Hartman, and their 6-month-old son Logan, according to the park. The family received free annual membership passes and a basket full of goodies from the gift shop.
When the park opened Nov. 1, 2013, its founders said they expected it to draw about 150,000 visitors in its first year. They exceeded that goal by 120,000. School groups and repeat visitors have led attendance figures to blow past expectations.
Attractions include an earthquake simulator that causes the floor to tremble, a 120-foot glass observation tower offers stunning views, and a 50-foot metal replica of the human body that includes a 32-foot slide.
The 50-acre complex also offers a glimpse of what life was once like in rural America with an old train depot, a century-old church, a rotating grist mill, antique tractors, log cabins and flower gardens.
– The Associated Press
Grand Island Owners File $22.5 Million Loan
The owners of Grand Island Apartment Homes, a high-end apartment community on Mud Island, have filed a $22.5 million mortgage on the property with backing from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Grand Island Partners took out the 35-year loan through Greystone Funding Corp., according to a Sept. 18 multifamily deed of trust. Thomas Kelly Derryberry with Franklin, Tenn.-based Peaseley & Derryberry PLC is listed as the trustee.
The 204-unit Class A community, which is situated on 10.2 acres on Mud Island’s southern end, was developed by Keith and David Grant under the Grand Island Partners name. The Center City Revenue Finance Corp. awarded the project a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes in April 2009; construction began the next year and was completed in November 2011.
Grand Island features one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with rents ranging from $1,035 to $1,895. The community also contains a clubhouse with theater, rental garages, swimming pool, meeting space, a fitness center and a sales office. The Shelby County Assessor’s appraisal of the property, which uses the address 300 Grand Island Drive, is a little more than $19 million.
– Madeline Faber
DRA Announces $21 Million West Tennessee Investment
The Delta Regional Authority and its partners plan to invest $21 million in nine projects to support small-business owners and workforce development across West Tennessee.
The investments are made through the DRA States’ Economic Development Assistance Program, the agency’s main federal funding program.
The largest Memphis-area project is the Boilermakers and Welding Institute, which will offer national credentials and career placement to 500 workers in the greater Memphis region. The investment totals nearly $1 million, including DRA funds as well as private capital and leveraged public investments.
Other highlights include: $200,000 to help expand project partnership with the Mid-South Minority Business Continuum to reach seven states and train 10 entrepreneurs; $129,600 toward a Germantown satellite incubator for the Entrepreneurship-Powered Innovation Center with a goal to train 125 entrepreneurs; and $130,250 to fund an Agricenter Regional Training Center Waterline Extension. The Agricenter project will “loop back” a waterline extension to increase volume for the expansion of the Case NewHolland Regional Training Center at Agricenter International. The project will create 47 jobs and retain 98.
– Madeline Faber
Memphis CEO to Go Bald for Cancer
Universal Asset Management Inc. is going beyond putting its money where its mouth is.
The Memphis-based aviation company announced its Shave2Save fundraising campaign to support the fight against breast and childhood cancers.
UAM’s chairman and CEO Keri Wright – along with several UAM employees – has committed to shave her head upon reaching the $50,000 goal by the end of October.
The UAM team will track the campaign’s progress with a Boeing 747 – painting it pink in parallel with the amount of donations collected. The airplane is located at the UAM Aircraft Disassembly & Recycling Center in Tupelo, Miss.
Shave2Save.com will serve as the campaign’s donation portal. Proceeds will be split evenly and benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and The Dainty Warrior Project.
“UAM strongly believes in the importance of giving back and supporting our communities. With September marking childhood cancer awareness month and October focusing on breast cancer awareness, it just seemed like a natural fit to focus our fundraising efforts on both extraordinary causes,” Wright said. “We are making a committed choice to shave our heads in solidarity with those that don’t have the choice. We hope this small gesture will signify our dedication and support to those fighting these difficult illnesses.”
Visit Shave2Save.com to learn more and track the fundraising progress.
– Don Wade
Repair Days Raise $82,000 for Metal Museum
The annual Repair Days fundraiser and its associated activities raised $82,000 for the Metal Museum.
Repair Days alone raised $13,000. The annual event is a multiday celebration with many events that center on metalsmiths from around the country who travel to Memphis and donate their talent to make repairs for anyone who brings something in. All proceeds benefit the museum.
Gold sponsors included Montgomery Martin Contractors and Valero. Silver sponsors included The Turley Foundation, Lawler Foundry, Southern Steel and Baptist Memorial Health Care. FirstBank was a copper-level sponsor.
The Metal Museum, 374 Metal Museum Drive in Memphis, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. From Oct. 24-26, the museum will hold the program “Foundry Fundamentals.”
Visit metalmuseum.org to learn more.
– Don Wade
Just City Taps Spickler as Executive Director
Josh Spickler is the first executive director of the nonprofit criminal justice reform group Just City, which was formed earlier this year.
Spickler most recently served as director of the Defender Resource Network at the Shelby County Public Defender’s office, where he worked on community engagement initiatives and with the special litigation team.
He also worked on the Jericho Project, a diversion program for special-needs inmates.
Spickler also has helped found the Street Court program that helps clear old criminal court debts. And he helped create the Clean Slate Fund, a private fund that helps those released from prison on nonviolent offenses and who have had no further offenses for five years pay the cost of having their criminal record expunged.
Spickler was chosen executive director by the Just City board Monday, Oct. 5. The board also selected Allison Gibbs as Just City’s program manager.
Gibbs has been a community organizer for Stand For Children and the manager of community outreach for Freedom Preparatory Academy.
– Bill Dries
Raleigh Walgreens Sold for $1.3 Million
A Raleigh Walgreens has sold for $1.3 million, according to a Sept. 30 warranty deed. Tennessee-based M&M Yale L.P. sold the property to Utah-based Trinity Point LLC.
The transaction includes a 13,370-square-foot building with an address of 3489 Ramill Road and a parking lot and accessory parcel with an address of 4075 Yale Road.
– Madeline Faber
University of Memphis Hosts Cyber Security Summit
Next week’s eighth annual Mid-South Cyber Security Summit at the University of Memphis will feature FBI special agent and cyber supervisor Timothy Marsh, among other speakers.
The University of Memphis Center for Information Assurance is hosting the summit, to be held Oct. 16 at the FedEx Institute of Technology.
On Oct. 15, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service will host Federal Emergency Management Agency training in one of several pre-summit events.
This year’s theme is social engineering attacks, which rely on hackers using non-technical means to gain access.
Other presenters at the summit include Memphis attorney Vincent Perryman, who will speak on cyber law, and Texas A&M cyber security training coordinator Natalie Sjelin.
– Bill Dries
Tennessee Whiskey Festival to Support Artspace
The inaugural Tennessee Whiskey Festival is set to take place Oct. 23 with proceeds going toward South Main Artspace Lofts and H*Art Gallery Tennessee in Chattanooga.
The festival will take place on the property of the Artspace lofts at 138 St. Paul Avenue in Downtown Memphis. Early bird tickets, found at tnwhiskeyfestival.com, are $20 and include tastings to eight featured Tennessee distillers. There also will be a cash bar for signature cocktails and a High Cotton Brewery featured beer.
The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
– Madeline Faber
Memphis Outdoor Festival to Benefit Shelby Farms
The second annual Memphis Outdoor Festival returns Oct. 17-18 at Shelby Farms Park.
The event features everything from craft beer and local food to mountain bike races, trail running, stand-up paddle boarding, music, yoga, zip lining and dock dogs.
The festival runs each day from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It was created to celebrate the active lifestyle alongside a friendly and competitive series of off-road races. These races take place on the re-launched Tour de Wolf mountain bike trail. All of the festival’s components are intended to benefit and provide continued maintenance and support for the Tour de Wolf trail system at Shelby Farms.
Saturday features mountain bike races, and the 5K and 10K trail runs will be Sunday. A beer garden and three bands will be part of the festivities.
The festival proceeds benefit Shelby Farms. A portion of every ticket also goes to the park’s nonprofit conservancy. Prices range from $10 to $65.
Visit memphisoutdoorfestival.com for a complete lineup of events.
– Don Wade
Public Meeting Set for Chelsea Avenue Greenline
The city of Memphis will host a public meeting Monday, Oct. 26, on the city’s plan to develop the Chelsea Avenue Greenline.
The project covers 2.5 miles between Uptown’s Washington Park on Second Street and the Chelsea and North Evergreen Street intersection.
The meeting at Dave Wells Community Center, 915 Chelsea Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will include a formal presentation of the plan and a question-and-answer session.
City officials also will take written statements and comments.
The greenline segment follows on old rail line and intersects with a segment of the Wolf River Greenway that takes in McLean Boulevard between Nedra Avenue and Chelsea.
– Bill Dries
Overton Park Fundraiser Planned for Oct. 17
The Overton Park Conservancy has announced the return of its signature fundraising event, A Magical Night at Overton Park, on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the park’s formal gardens.
The event will include drinks, dancing, heavy hors d’oeuvres and live music from the Marcella Simien Trio. It will also feature a silent auction with local items and experiences such as original art of Overton Park, use of the Memphis Grizzlies practice court, and a hot-air balloon ride over the city.
A Magical Night has raised tens of thousands of dollars for improvements to Overton Park, such as the Bike Gate sculpture and plaza, Rainbow Lake Playground and daily operational costs. This year’s fundraising focus will be on the Old Forest, which will be enhanced in early 2016 by new artistic gateway entrances. Funds are needed to maintain the trail system, conduct research studies and plant inventories, remove invasive plants and conduct regular maintenance.
– Don Wade
Security Measures Added for Grizzlies Games
Walk-through magnetometers (metal detectors) have been installed at all entrances to FedExForum, and will be standard practice for entering fans starting with the Memphis Grizzlies’ first preseason game Tuesday, Oct. 6, vs. the Houston Rockets.
The new security measure, mandated by the NBA during its annual security meetings, will remain a standard operating procedure at all Grizzlies games, including the entire preseason and postseason, and at all NBA teams’ arenas.
The walk-through metal detectors are believed to enhance security and will replace handheld devices as the primary tool at FedExForum.
The Grizzlies are stressing that fans should arrive earlier at games and bring only necessary items. Separate express lanes will be available for those without bags to be inspected.
Fans will have to place their cell phones, cameras and keys on a security table prior to walking through the metal detector, but they will not need to remove their hats, shoes, belts, watches or jewelry as with airport security.
Expectant mothers and ADA guests are not subject to the magnetometers and will instead be screened through handheld devices.
– Don Wade
Millenials College Guide Reviewed in Forbes
A new guide to college for millenials and their parents – cowritten by Memphian Amy Howell and Anne Deeter Gallaher – gets a good review from Forbes.
“The Future Belong To Students in High Gear” was reviewed for the business publication by contributor Dave Chase, an entrepreneur and startup capitalist.
Chase writes that the book is “chock full of practical tips” on how students can bridge gaps in their readiness to enter the workforce after graduation.
“Students in High Gear” is the second book for Howell, CEO of Howell Marketing Strategies, who teamed with Gallaher in 2013 to write “Women In High Gear.”
Gallaher of Mechanicsburg, Pa., is owner of the Deeter Gallaher Group LLC, a marketing firm.
– Bill Dries