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VOL. 8 | NO. 43 | Saturday, October 17, 2015

Daily Digest

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Boyle Buys Ridgeway Center Office Building

Boyle Investment Co. has purchased the Vining Sparks headquarters building in East Memphis.

The Memphis-based real estate development company bought the 120,000-square-foot structure at 775 Ridge Lake Boulevard for $16.3 million.

Boyle developed the build-to-suit property for investment banking firm Vining Sparks in 2001. It bought the Ridge Lake building from Hub Properties Trust, a Maryland real estate investment trust.

Vining Sparks occupies about half of the six-story office building, which is located within Boyle’s 204-acre Ridgeway Center development. The real estate company owns, manages and leases about 2.2 million square feet of office space in Ridgeway Center.

Other building tenants include Informa Economics, Dickens Commodities and Financial Resource Management. About 25,000 square feet currently is available for lease; Boyle will handle leasing and management of the building.

Boyle purchased the building through the 775 Midsouth Investment LP entity.

– Jane A. Donahoe

Memphis Chamber’s Clifford Stockton Dies

Clifford Stockton, the senior adviser to the Greater Memphis Chamber, died Monday, Oct. 12, after 46 years of service to the organization.

Stockton joined what was then the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce in 1969, coming from Memphis City Schools, where he was a teacher.

Stockton brought a deep, rich classroom voice to his work at the chamber as well as a teacher’s sense of order and decorum. As someone born and raised in Memphis, his knowledge of the city was broad and deep.

He was the first African-American to serve in a senior management capacity at the chamber. He became vice president of business and industry services as he rose through the organization.

Stockton retired in 1999 but remained a senior adviser and a constant presence in chamber affairs after his retirement.

“Mr. Stockton inspired four generations of leaders and has been a calm voice of reason for our city,” said chamber president and CEO Phil Trenary. “Thousands of Memphians can thank Cliff for their jobs, and he has improved the quality of life for all of us.”

– Bill Dries

$2 Million Dorm Coming to Visible Music College

A new five-story dormitory is on the way for the Visible Music College campus at 200 Madison Ave.

On Oct. 12, Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. applied for a $2 million building permit for the school’s first on-campus housing.

Renderings by project architect Archimania show that the student housing building will sit at 202 Madison Ave., in the parking lot immediately to the east of Visible Music College. Typical living floors have room for 14 units and common gathering space.

– Madeline Faber

Poplar Krystal Gets New Look

A prominent Krystal location is getting a total remodel.

The recently demolished building across from East High School will open again in late December with an updated look, wood grain-like floors and high-tech options like an interior digital menu board.

The 1,700-square-foot location at 3227 Poplar Ave. was built in 1977, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

“This is a prototype that’s being built all over the area,” said project architect James Wilkerson. “We’re building this one all through Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.”

Stores within the Southeast market that aren’t razed will be remodeled, he said.

– Madeline Faber

Greenline Access on Perkins Snags $100K County Grant

The Shelby Farms Greenline is a step closer to a new access point at the neighborhood where the pedestrian and bicycle trail goes under Perkins Road.

Shelby County commissioners approved Monday, Oct. 12, a $100,000 grant toward the ADA-accessible trail, to run parallel to Perkins north of Princeton Road, that will offer greenline access to the surrounding Avon residential area.

A pathway of sorts currently connects to the greenway, but it is at an incline and has seen some erosion.

Commissioner Heidi Shafer, whose district includes the area, proposed the grant using her share of a fund commissioners established last year.

The Shelby Farms Park Conservancy is raising another $70,000 through an ioby crowdsourcing campaign and the conservancy’s website, shelbyfarmspark.org/perkins, to start construction on the access point.

Memphis-based Ritchie Smith Associates has already completed the design.

– Bill Dries

Clinton Campaign Names Tennessee Supporters

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and outgoing Memphis Mayor A C Wharton are among the Memphis Democrats who have formally joined former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Following the Tuesday, Oct. 13, CNN debate of Democratic presidential hopefuls, Clinton’s campaign named its Tennessee group.

It also includes state Sen. Sara Kyle and state Reps. G.A. Hardaway, Raumesh Akbari, Joe Towns, Larry Miller and Johnnie Turner as well as Tennessee Young Democrats president London Lamar of Memphis.

Several other Memphians are on the list, including Democratic National Committee member Gale Jones Carson; business leaders John and Ellen Vergos, Henry and Lynne Turley, and Jim and Lucia Gilliland; city attorney Herman Morris; and attorney Dale Tuttle.

– Bill Dries

Shiftgig Opens Memphis Office

A company that runs a mobile marketplace for gig-type jobs has opened a Memphis office.

Shiftgig uses a smartphone app to connect people with “on-demand” jobs, including bartending, serving and retail warehouse work that come up suddenly and have to be filled quickly. That includes jobs at sporting events and festivals. The company also filled positions at the recent Janet Jackson concert at FedExForum.

Shiftgig already has offices in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and New York. The Memphis office is at 5575 Poplar Ave.

– Bill Dries

Withers Collection Photos On Display at Crescent Club

Photos from the archives of the late Memphis photojournalist Ernest Withers will be on loan to the Crescent Club in East Memphis.

The images on the walls of the club will be museum-quality, silver gelatin prints made by the Withers Collection Museum & Gallery from the original negatives.

Rosalind Withers, the leader of the foundation that oversees the archives, and Ernest R. Sawyer, the grandson of Ernest Withers, selected the images.

The images are from Withers’ civil rights movement coverage as well as his photographs of entertainers and athletes.

“His artistry is obvious when you look at these pictures,” said Corrin Green, Crescent Club general manager. “More than that, though, they remind us how much was at stake here, just a little more than a generation ago.”

Tours of the exhibition for nonmembers are available by calling the club at 901-684-1010.

Rosalind Withers will speak at a Women On The Move luncheon at the Crescent Club Oct. 23 at 11:30 a.m.

– Bill Dries

Retailer Fred’s Reports September Sales Gain

Memphis-based retailer Fred’s Inc. has reported a 19 percent uptick in sales for the five-week fiscal month of September, excluding sales from stores closed in the last year.

Fred’s total sales for the month were up 15 percent, to $211.5 million from $183.5 million in September 2014. Excluding $6.2 million from last year’s September sales related to stores that are now closed, the increase was 19 percent.

Fred’s total sales for the year-to-date period increased 9 percent to $1.43 billion from $1.32 billion for the same period last year. Excluding sales of $51.3 million from stores closed mainly in late 2014, total sales increased 13 percent for the first eight months of 2015.

Fred’s CEO Jerry Shore said the numbers reflected strong growth in the retail as well as specialty pharmacy businesses.

Fred’s Inc. and subsidiaries operate 661 discount general merchandise stores and three specialty pharmacy-only locations in 15 states in the southeastern United States. Included in the store count are 19 franchised locations.

– Andy Meek

Memphis Symphony Taps Bradner as Interim CEO

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra has tapped a new interim leader following the resignation of president and CEO Roland Valliere.

Jennifer Bradner will serve as the symphony’s interim president and CEO. She moves to the position from her current role as COO, a position she has held since June 2014.

Bradner served as executive director of Opera Memphis from 2008 to 2014. She also has held positions at Blue Grace Music and Folk Alliance International, as well as teaching at Memphis College of Art and Southwest Tennessee Community College.

“Jennifer is experienced in arts leadership and management, she knows the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and she knows our Memphis community,” said the nonprofit’s board chair Gayle Rose.

Valliere will step down in November.

– Don Wade

U of M Extends Contract of AD Tom Bowen

Tom Bowen, director of athletics at the University of Memphis, has received a two-year contract extension that runs through at least June 2019.

Bowen was hired as athletic director in 2012. Athletics is nearing completion of its $40 million “Time to Shine” capital campaign to improve practice and training facilities for the football and men’s basketball programs.

“I’ve never felt there was a ceiling here,” Bowen told The Daily News late this summer. “I’ve never felt hampered or held back.”

Bowen began his tenure at Memphis with the athletics program poised to make a league move from Conference USA to the Big East. Despite the conference realignment carousel, Bowen was able to guide Memphis into becoming a charter member of The American Athletic Conference. In addition to his integral role in the formation of The American, Bowen was instrumental in bringing the league’s first men’s basketball tournament to the Bluff City in March 2014.

In Bowen’s third year here, Memphis football captured its first conference championship in more than 40 years and went on to win the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl in 2014, equaling a program record for victories with a 10-3 record.

In the classroom, Memphis also has had strong performances. In 2015, the NCAA announced its latest NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR) data and the numbers continued to reflect the success Memphis student-athletes are accomplishing. All of Memphis’ teams earned scores of 950 or better for the last four-year data, which encompasses through the 2013-14 academic year. Memphis had four athletic programs receive NCAA Public Recognition Awards.

For the spring, 2015 semester, 34 percent of Memphis student-athletes earned 3.5 or higher grade point averages and institutional Dean’s List honors. Memphis’ cumulative student-athlete GPA was 3.07 and the school’s freshman student-athlete GPA was 3.15.

In terms of development, the Time to Shine campaign is just the latest fundraising success. In his first year, Bowen secured a multi million-dollar gift from the Helen and Jabie Hardin Charitable Trust to support women’s athletics at the University of Memphis.

The U of M has completed the construction of a new track and field complex on the Park Avenue campus. A new clubhouse for Memphis softball will soon be completed.

– Don Wade

Archer Malmo Continues Growth in Memphis, Austin

Archer Malmo has announced eight recent new hires in its Memphis office and seven in its recently acquired office in Austin, Texas.

The agency now employs 185 people.

New hires in Memphis, in alphabetical order, include:

• Cassie Becker, public relations specialist. Becker previously served in a similar role at GROWMARK Inc., a regional agricultural cooperative.

• Jennifer Blome, account coordinator on the agency’s account service team. Blome is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi and previously interned at Terminix and Signature Advertising in Memphis.

• Jordan Crump, senior public relations specialist. Crump previously served in a similar role at ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

• Geoff Davis, junior digital developer. Davis recently served as an Archer Malmo intern after graduating from Harding University earlier this year.

Fred Nichols, vice president and account director for the agency’s agriculture division. Nichols has more than 25 years’ experience and was previously an account director and senior strategist at the McCormick Co. and account director at DDB/Chicago.

• Lucas Peterson, part-time operations coordinator. Most recently, Peterson was an independent recording producer and sound engineer.

• Elyse Pickle, senior digital marketing specialist. Pickle previously served as digital managing producer for the St. Louis Rams and as digital strategist and project manager for FleishmanHillard.

Monica Smith, accounting coordinator. Previously, Smith provided administration and billing support and facilitated new hire orientations for both Lyons Cleaners Enterprises and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Additionally, Christina Comas on the agency’s retail team, as well as Jordan Pegram and Leigh Eisenberg on the account service team, were all promoted to account executive from account manager.

– Don Wade

Quire Unveils Technology for Predictive Analytics

Memphis-based Quire has announced the launch of new technology that provides health care organizations with a unique approach supporting value-based care.

The technology uses artificial intelligence algorithms to quickly and flexibly develop predictive models from unstructured text in clinical notes and electronic medical records. Quire’s approach enables providers to significantly increase the odds that their limited intervention resources are directed to the patients where care management teams can have maximum impact on the health and cost of a population.

Quire, according to CEO Brad Silver, can quickly search through millions of doctors’ notes and automatically make inferences based on that information.

“Quire’s technology makes it much faster and easier to pinpoint the patients most likely to have hospital admissions and readmissions,” said Dr. Scott Fowler, president and CEO of Holston Medical Group, in a release. “It’s a big advance over structured data analytics because it lets you identify what’s under the metrics. With Quire, we can get a handle on root causes, which can include behavioral and social issues in addition to medical complexities of chronic illnesses.”

– Andy Meek

Memphis No. 2 for Home Affordability

Memphis ranks as the second most affordable city for homebuyers among the 100 largest metro areas.

According to a recent study by NerdWallet, an average Memphis family making $81,200 annually can comfortably afford a $283,998 home. Those homes come in at 3,663 average square feet, or about $78 per square foot.

Houses in Memphis are 1,000 square feet bigger than what families making the same amount could afford in Nashville and Knoxville.

Memphis and Raleigh, N.C., are the only two cities in the top 10 list that are not in the Midwest.

– Madeline Faber

Facing History Gets DMC Grant

The Center City Development Corp. on Wednesday, Oct. 14, approved a storefront improvement grant of $8,478 to Facing History and Ourselves.

The nonprofit professional development and education organization recently moved to 115 Huling Ave., occupying 4,000 square feet across from the National Civil Rights Museum.

Facing History intends to leverage this proximity in a partnership with the museum in designing a 300-square-foot mural depicting “upstanders” in the community.

The largest portion of the project, $10,500, is allotted to the mural, with other funds going toward a window graphic installation, building sign and spot lighting, and graffiti removal.

Facing History will match the grant to reach the total project cost of $17,000.

“I see this as an opportunity to bring more young people Downtown as well as we think about growing our impact and who’s coming Downtown,” said CCDC treasurer, and soon-to-become Downtown Memphis Commission president, Terence Patterson.

The project is anticipated to be completed in June 2016.

– Madeline Faber

FDA Accepts Application for GTx Clinical Trial

Memphis-based GTx Inc. has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted the company’s investigational new drug application for a Phase 2 clinical trial to treat postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence.

The application enables GTx to initiate a Phase 2 proof-of-concept trial of enobosarm. The company plans to initiate the trial by the first quarter of 2016 and anticipates top-line data later in 2016.

– Andy Meek

Nine Apply for Tennessee Supreme Court Vacancy

Nine attorneys have applied for the vacancy on the Tennessee Supreme Court created by the September retirement of Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade.

The applicants to the Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments include Memphis attorneys Larry Scroggs and Robert Meyers as well as Matthew Cavitch of Eads.

Scroggs is chief administrative officer and chief counsel of Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court.

Meyers is an attorney with the Glankler Brown law firm and is chairman of the Shelby County Election Commission.

There are six other applicants to be interviewed by the council, which will send a list of three finalists to Gov. Bill Haslam.

– Bill Dries

Huey’s Cordova Set to Get New Patio

Huey’s Cordova location at 1771 N. Germantown Parkway has broken ground on a new patio, expected to be finished early next month.

The new design that Huey’s and Traditional Construction have come up with expands the existing patio by more than 20 seats. It will have garage doors that roll up or down depending on the season, and also will include several new TVs, four bar tables and an open lounge for socializing.

Huey’s says the vision for the new patio originated during the Huey’s Cordova 20th anniversary party in May 2014. The party was held on the existing patio and in the parking lot, and that event brought to life the potential of the space.

– Andy Meek

Wolf River Conservancy Schedules Greenway Forums

The Wolf River Conservancy will hold a series of five public forums starting Tuesday, Oct. 20, on the Wolf River Greenway project, the $40 million pedestrian and bicycle trail system that will follow the Wolf River through Shelby County.

Each forum runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will offer more information and solicit public comments about the greenway.

The hearings are:

• Oct. 20: The Office at Uptown, 495 N. Second St.

• Oct. 21: Hollywood Community Center, 1560 N. Hollywood St.

• Oct. 22: Ed Rice Community Center, 2907 N. Watkins St.

• Oct. 27: Raleigh Community Center, 3678 Powers Road

• Oct. 28: Bert Ferguson Community Center, 8505 Trinity Road.

– Bill Dries

St. Jude Taps New VP of Communications

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has appointed Dr. Barry Whyte as vice president of communications and public relations.

Before joining St. Jude, Whyte was the head of public relations and communications for the European Molecular Biology Organization in Germany, where he was responsible for a communication program to promote excellence in life sciences.

Whyte also serves as an advisory panel member for the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, where he advises on public relations activities.

– Andy Meek

Crosstown Brewing Founders Turn to Kickstarter

The founders of the forthcoming Crosstown Brewing Co. have turned to Kickstarter to raise money.

Funds will go toward the brewery Will Goodwin and Clark Ortkiese want to open in the Crosstown neighborhood next year. So far, 116 backers have pledged $13,969 toward the $20,000 goal.

From the crowdfunding page:

“By placing our brewery in the Crosstown neighborhood, we really want to help build a new and exciting community in this city. Turning our dream into a reality is a daunting task, though, and we really need some support from our fellow Memphians to take care of some of the initial expenses of our adventure. By contributing to Crosstown Brewing Company, you’re helping to the ensure the success of a business that will always focus on giving back to the community that we call home.”

– Andy Meek

Mayor-Elect Jim Strickland Names Transition Co-Chairs

Three business and community leaders are set to lead Memphis Mayor-elect Jim Strickland’s transition team in the 10-week run-up to when he takes office.

Strickland announced Wednesday, Oct. 14, that the co-chairs of the transition team will be Rosie Phillips Bingham, vice president of student affairs at the University of Memphis; Emily Greer, chief administrative officer of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and Mitch Graves, CEO of HealthChoice LLC.

Still to come are other members of the transition team, whom Strickland has said will likely be broken down into committees to make recommendations to him in specific areas.

Strickland also said in an interview for an upcoming Memphis News cover story that those seeking appointments as division directors in the new administration will be vetted not only by him but also by the transition committee.

“I will lean on the expertise of each of my co-chairs to recruit a full transition team and an administration that is representative of the diverse talent that Memphis deserves,” Strickland said in the written statement announcing the appointments. “I am confident that this team will be a critical component of my mission to serve as everybody’s mayor.”

This week Strickland also has his first face-to-face meeting since the Oct. 8 election with outgoing Mayor A C Wharton and city chief administrative officer Jack Sammons to discuss details of the transition.

– Bill Dries

Peabody Tops List of Historic Hotels

The Peabody Memphis has been named Best Historic Hotel in the more than 400 guestrooms category by Historic Hotels of America.

The 2015 Awards of Excellence were announced at a ceremony at the West Baden Springs Hotel at French Lick Resort in West Baden Springs, Ind.

The prestigious Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence honor “the most exemplary historic hotels, hoteliers and leadership practices. The awards are presented to historic hotels demonstrating the highest contribution to furthering the celebration of history and demonstrating leadership and innovation.”

There were more than 200 nominees in the 17 award categories.

The Peabody Memphis opened in 1869 on the corner of Main Street and Monroe Avenue. The original hotel was torn down and a new larger Peabody was built on its present location at 149 Union Ave., opening in 1925. Known for its twice-daily duck marches, the Peabody is on the National Register of Historic Places.

– Don Wade

March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction Set for Oct. 22

The 28th annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction is happening later this month at the Memphis Botanic Garden.

The event, set for Oct. 22 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., is a fundraiser that offers guests the opportunity to sample fare from some of the area’s best restaurants, mingle with local celebrity chefs, taste wines and spirits, and bid on an array of auction items.

The evening pays tribute to local chefs and caterers and is geared toward people who enjoy fine dining, fine wine, auctions and entertainment. This year’s special night of giving also supports the mission in Memphis to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

This year’s event chair is Frank Cianciola, of Metropolitan Bank. Culinary chair Erling Jensen, owner of Erling Jensen The Restaurant, represents this year’s extravaganza, which will showcase some of the top restaurants in Memphis, including Erling Jensen The Restaurant; Relevant Roasters; Itta Bena; Central BBQ; Cafe 1912; and others.

– Andy Meek

Flying Saucer to Grow ‘Stumbling Santa’

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium has teamed up with Porter-Leath to launch a fundraiser on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

The goal? To raise $7,000 to fund a heated tent that can accommodate the more than 1,200 participants expected at this year’s 11th annual Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl.

The event has grown so large that Flying Saucer needs the extra space for the 1,200 or more “santas” it has each year. To sweeten the deal, Flying Saucer is planning a special beer tasting Nov. 12 for donors pledging $100 or more to the cause.

That event will feature a variety of rare beers, some never before served in Memphis. Donors may give online at indiegogo.com. Funds raised above the $7,000 goal will be donated directly to Porter-Leath.

– Andy Meek

Graceland Lighting Ceremony to Feature Trisha Yearwood

Elvis Presley’s Graceland will officially begin the holiday season when Trisha Yearwood “flips the switch” on the traditional lights and decorations during the annual lighting ceremony Friday, Nov. 20, at 6 p.m.

Patients from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis will assist Yearwood in lighting up Elvis Presley’s iconic home for the season.

The extensive Christmas display includes hundreds of blue lights along the driveway, a life-size Nativity scene and Santa and his sleigh, all originally displayed at Graceland by Elvis and the Presley family.

The interiors of Graceland mansion will feature the Presley family’s Christmas decor starting Nov. 20 for seasonal holiday tours through his birthday celebration in January. Included will be his traditional red velvet drapes.

Yearwood, a life-long Elvis fan, is one of the biggest-selling female performers in country music history.

– Don Wade

Germantown Horse Show Raises Funds for Exchange Club

An area nonprofit dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse and domestic violence received $35,800 from the 67th annual Germantown Charity Horse Show.

Held every June, the event has supported the Exchange Club Family Center for 17 years by raising funds for the nonprofit’s programs and services. This year, the horse show made a $25,000 donation to the center, which was in addition to $10,800 raised by staff and volunteers through program sales.

– Don Wade

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 3 40 1,289
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108
BUSINESS LICENSES 20 154 3,939
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 31 124 2,892
MARRIAGE LICENSES 21 111 2,021