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VOL. 8 | NO. 41 | Saturday, October 3, 2015

Daily Digest

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Controversial Taser Contract Canceled

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton announced Thursday, Oct. 1, that a controversial contract between Taser International and The Carter Malone Group has been canceled by “mutual consent” of both parties.

Taser is the company providing the Memphis Police Department with body cameras. It had a community engagement and public relations contract with the marketing firm, which is headed by Wharton's campaign manager, and former Shelby County commissioner, Deidre Malone.

For the last week, Wharton has insisted the contract is legal and that the city has no part in Taser’s hiring of a subcontractor.

But some in Wharton’s inner circle were watching the subcontracting closely as Taser struggled to meet a goal of 10 percent involvement by minority- and women-owned local businesses.

Malone’s firm is both.

Wharton told reporters of the contract’s cancellation at a Thursday, Oct. 1, press conference on an unrelated topic.

– Bill Dries

Developers Officially Pull Out of Mall of Memphis Project

Developers of the former Mall of Memphis site said the fate of their proposed 1.1 million-square-foot industrial park couldn’t wait another month, and now they’re likely taking the property to sale.

That was the final word at a recent meeting of Economic Development Growth Engine board. On Sept. 16, the board decided to delay a vote for the second consecutive meeting regarding the developers’ payment-in-lieu-of-taxes application.

“It effectively turns the PILOT program from a job creation program to what I’m going to call a lease-up program,” said Steve Guinn with Highwoods Properties, who presented a counterview at the meeting.

EDGE CEO Reid Dulberger and others concluded that they were interested in working with the site’s developers, Huntington Industrial Partners and Johnson Development Associates, on an alternative program. However, a compromise couldn’t be reached.

“We’re disappointed the redevelopment plan for the former Mall of Memphis site has fallen through,” said Dulberger in a statement EDGE released Tuesday, Sept. 29.

At the September meeting, Huntington principal David McDaniel said that a table vote would be interpreted as a “no,” and his company would have to sell the 113-acre property, which JDA bought in 2012 for $2.7 million.

McDaniel added that he’d received an offer from a trucking company that wants to buy the property in a deal that would bring fewer jobs and less tax revenue than his proposed site.

Younger Associates, who analyzed the project for EDGE, projected that the 1.1 million-square-foot site could house as many as 851 jobs with an average salary of $60,600 and create $44 million to $66.5 million in new tax revenue.

“EDGE board members made it clear that while they supported the concept, they were not yet comfortable at how the first-ever PILOT for a speculative industrial project was structured,” Dulberger said. “Given the complexities of the tax incentive, its impact on other properties and the precedent it would set, the board asked for more time to insure a win-win scenario. Unfortunately, Johnson Development, which has owned the site since 2012, felt they could no longer wait.”

– Madeline Faber

FDIC Report: Little Change in Local Banking Market

The landscape of the Memphis-area banking market hasn’t changed much since last year, according to a newly released yearly report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The FDIC’s reporting that presents a ranking of banks based in the Memphis area by their percentage of the market’s customer deposit share shows the same three banks at the top this year compared to last year: First Tennessee, Regions and SunTrust. The ranking is current through June 30 of this year, so it doesn’t reflect the latest market realities and is instead a snapshot of a moment in time.

First Tennessee grew its customer deposit share over last year to within a percentage point of having 30 percent of the Memphis area’s roughly $27 billion in customer deposits. That growth equated to First Tennessee having $6.1 billion in Memphis-area customer deposits last year compared with a little more than $8 billion this year.

Regions Bank, meanwhile, has 16 percent, down from 18.2 percent last year, while SunTrust has 10 percent, up from 8.7 percent last year. The rest of the area’s banks all have single-digit percentages of the market’s customer deposits.

First Tennessee, Regions and SunTrust all shed Memphis-area offices over the past year, according to the FDIC report. First Tennessee went from 43 to 39; Regions went from 54 to 51; and SunTrust went from 32 to 30.

– Andy Meek

Haslam Makes Forbes 400 List of Wealthiest Americans

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has broken into the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans.

The new listing from the business magazine ranks Haslam at 327th on its list based on an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion from the Haslam family business – Pilot Flying J, the travel centers, travel plazas and truckstops that Haslam’s father founded in 1958.

Haslam has questioned the Forbes estimate of his wealth when he made the magazine’s list of the country’s wealthiest politicians, but he has declined to give his own specific estimate.

The list also include FedEx Corp. founder Fred Smith at No. 171 with an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion.

Jimmy Haslam, the governor’s brother, ranks 234th with an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion. Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera, whose estimated net worth is $2.2 billion, ranks 307th on the list.

– Bill Dries

West Memphis Facility Gets $15M Expansion

Sterigenics International LLC plans to triple its West Memphis facility in a $15 million expansion.

Illinois-based Sterigenics, which provides sterilization and ionization services to the medical, high-performance materials, pharmaceutical and food safety industries, said the move is due to the increased global demand of medical devices.

“Our West Memphis location is experiencing increasing demand for sterilization services,” said Sterigenics International president Philip Macnabb in a statement. “Given the importance of Memphis as a major U.S. logistics hub, it is a critical piece of our global network that we will continue to build upon and expand in order to best serve customers.”

When completed in 2017, the expansion will bring 20 new jobs and grow the facility’s gamma sterilization capacity from 2.5 million to 7.5 million cubic feet.

Opened in 1999, the West Memphis facility is located at 1700 N. Airport Road.

Sterigenics serves more than 2,500 customers with 47 facilities in 13 countries worldwide.

– Madeline Faber

UTHSC Professor Wins $1M Grant

Dr. Junling Wang, a professor in the department of clinical pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has won a grant of almost $1 million.

The funds will go toward research of more equitable and effective eligibility criteria for medication therapy management for Medicare beneficiaries.

The $987,562 grant was awarded by the National Institute on Aging, one of the National Institutes of Health, and will be funded over the next three years.

Medication therapy management services encompass a range of health care efforts, including things like comprehensive medication review, prescriber intervention for care coordination, and monitoring and following up of medication therapies, all of which aim to improve therapeutic outcomes for patients.

For 2015, patients with at least three chronic conditions, eight covered drugs, and a drug cost of $3,138, are eligible.

– Andy Meek

Wright Medical Group Completes Tornier Merger

Memphis-based Wright Medical Group has completed its previously announced merger with Tornier N.V.

Upon completion of the merger, the company has been renamed Wright Medical Group N.V.

Wright Medical Group Inc. shares were set to cease trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market at the close of business Thursday, Oct. 1. Wright Medical Group N.V. ordinary shares will begin trading under the symbol WMGI on the Nasdaq Global Select Market Friday, Oct. 2.

The combined company will be based in Memphis and will leverage the global strengths of both product brands as a pure play extremities and biologics business, according to the company. That effort will be further enhanced by the recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration premarket approval of the Augment Bone Graft product.

Wright says the amount of cost savings is expected to be in the range of $40 million to $45 million. Those savings should be fully realized within three years and will come from overlapping support function and systems costs, as well as process and vendor consolidation opportunities across the business.

– Andy Meek

Early Vote Tops 34,000 Going Into Final Weekend

More than 34,000 Memphians had voted early through Wednesday, Sept. 30, in advance of the Oct. 8 Memphis election day.

The 34,715 early voters, as reported by the Shelby County Election Commission, represent 8.8 percent of the city’s 395,336 voters.

At the same point in early voting in the 2011 Memphis elections, 22,005 had cast ballots, marking an increase of 65 percent. At the same point in 2007, 47,303 had cast early votes.

Twenty-two percent of the 2015 early vote so far is among voters in the Midtown-East Memphis City Council District 5, followed by 17.4 percent in District 6, which is made up of Whitehaven and southwest Memphis.

The early voting period continues through Saturday, Oct. 3.

– Bill Dries

Orpheum Taps Halloran’s Successor

Brett Batterson is the new president and CEO of the Memphis Development Foundation, which operates the Orpheum Theatre and Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education.

He succeeds Pat Halloran, who’s retiring at the end of this year after 35 years in the position.

Batterson joins the Orpheum from the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago. Prior to his work in Chicago, Batterson served for 10 years as chief operating officer for the Michigan Opera Theatre and also has experience as a theatrical designer.

– Andy Meek

Hutchison Breaks Ground On New Athletic Center

Leaders and students of The Hutchison School, 1740 Ridgeway Road, break ground Friday, Oct. 2, on a new athletic training center.

The groundbreaking for the Brenda and Lester Crain Center is part of the girls school’s annual Black and Gold spirit day.

The two-story building will include a training center for school athletes, which will be used by all students in health and fitness programs. It also will include an aerobics/dance area and a balcony overlooking Dobbs Field, home field for Hutchison’s soccer and lacrosse teams.

– Bill Dries

Germantown Hotel Moves Forward

A multiuse property, and specifically its hotel anchor, continues to move forward at the northeast corner of Germantown and Neshoba roads.

In a Sept. 22 deed, Neshoba Exeter Real Estate Partners sold Lot 2 of the Thornwood Planned Urban Development to Germantown Neshoba Hotel Partners LLC, an affiliate of McNeill Commercial Real Estate, for $1.8 million. Site plans approved by the city of Germantown identify the four-story hotel as a Hampton Inn & Suites.

Germantown Neshoba applied for an $8.6 million building permit for the hotel in June.

Dubbed Thornwood, the total 17-acre site will house office, retail, restaurant space, civic green space; a 108-room hotel; and a 258-unit multifamily property.

– Madeline Faber

Brooks Museum Unveils Free Wednesdays

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is kicking off new hours in October that include a full free day every Wednesday.

The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, providing 10 hours of free access to everything the museum offers. Some of the museum’s ticketed evening programming, including Brooks Films, will also move to Wednesdays starting in October.

In addition to new hours, the Brooks also is making more changes in preparation for its 2016 centennial. They include a new welcome experience, including improvements to the rotunda such as a new welcome desk designed by archimania. The Brooks team also is working to rearrange and enhance the presentation of the museum’s permanent collection, a 9,000-piece collection spanning 4,500 years.

Initiatives including new paint, updated flooring and the repositioning of the permanent collection, as well as the reintroduction of pieces that have been in storage. Among other changes, the Brooks is relaunching its website in November.

– Andy Meek

Germantown’s Belmont Grill Gets New Ownership

The Belmont Grill at 9102 Poplar Pike in Germantown has a new owner.

Forest Hill Partners LLC, a new entity owned by Catherine Barzizza, Steve Barzizza, Chris Sadler and Triple Z Development Inc., bought the restaurant and has plans for it that include updating and refurbishing both inside and out.

Other changes are in the works, with the new owners saying they plan to reopen it under a new brand once the city of Germantown approves their proposed improvements. They’re also looking to hire kitchen and wait staff.

Catherine Barzizza will act as operating manager, Sadler will oversee the physical operations of the restaurant and Steve Barzizza will oversee promotional activities as well as entertainment programming.

The transaction was facilitated by Gene Barzizza, president of Triple Z Development Inc. He’ll help in the organization of the new entity through the development of the new brand.

Gene Barzizza was a partner in Southwestern Beverage Distributing for more than 30 years.

– Andy Meek

Komen Race for the Cure Finalizes Downtown Course

The Memphis-MidSouth Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, slated for Oct. 31, has finalized the route for its first Downtown 5K race, certified by the Road Running Technical Council.

Starting and finishing at AutoZone Park, the route will lead more than 15,000 participants to Front Street, passing the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and Raymond James tower. It then will continue to Riverside Drive and up Beale Street, passing Beale Street Landing, The Orpheum Theatre, the new Hard Rock Cafe and BB King’s Blues Club.

A glimpse of South Main is included between Talbot and Huling, showcasing the new Stock & Belle retail store and restaurants such as South of Beale and Spindini. The race will continue down the newly dedicated BB King Boulevard and around FedExForum, with the final stretch passing The Peabody.

“We are thrilled to share the attractions and restaurant & retail offerings of Downtown Memphis with thousands of participants on Halloween,” said Leslie Gower of the Downtown Memphis Commission in a statement. “Though the race itself presents a preview of the neighborhood, we look forward to hosting race attendees during the Race for the Cure and afterward as the Memphis Grizzlies take on Lionel Hollins at the FedExForum Saturday evening.”

Komen Memphis-MidSouth executive director Elaine Hare said it’s not too late to join in.

“Whether as a racer, donor, sponsor, or restaurateur, all are welcome to participate in the first-ever Downtown Race for the Cure experience this October,” Hare said in a statement.

Parking information for participants is available at downtownmemphis.com.

In addition, special rates for race participants are available at Downtown hotels – including The Peabody, DoubleTree and Residence Inn – through Wednesday, Sept. 30.

For details and race registration, visit komenmemphis.org.

– Daily News staff

Memphis-Based EdR Sees Strong Leasing Season

Memphis-based EdR, which owns, develops and manages collegiate housing across 23 states, saw a strong 2015-16 lease term with a total rental revenue growth of 3.8 percent over last year.

The 2015-16 lease term opened with 97 percent occupancy compared with 96.6 percent last year.

Same-community net rental rates increased 3.4 percent, a result of EdR's strong same-community growth trend. Over the past five years, EdR generated a same-community compounded annual revenue growth rate of 3.9 percent.

"And with favorable supply trends in our markets for 2016, the backdrop for the next leasing cycle remains favorable," said Christine Richards, executive vice president and chief operating officer in a statement.

– Madeline Faber

Alleged Gang Members Face Federal Racketeering Charges

Six alleged members of the Gangster Disciples street gang have been charged with attempted murder to aid racketeering, federal prosecutors announced Monday, Sept. 28, as they unsealed the indictments returned Sept. 24 in Memphis federal court.

The alleged gang members are charged in the June 21, 2014, attack that critically injured five teenagers at the Hillview Park Apartments, 2119 E. Alcy Road. The teenagers, who are referred to only by their initials in the indictment, were shot and wounded as a car drove into the complex, stopped, several people got out and opened fire.

At the time, police said they believed it was an escalation of an ongoing dispute with someone in the apartment complex.

The federal grand jury indictment returned last week accuses Robert Mallory, Ranito Allen, Florence Anthony, Edwin Carvin, Brandon Milton and Erik Reese all worked with each other in the attack “for the purpose of gaining entrance to and maintaining and increasing position in the Gangster Disciples, an enterprise engaged in racketeering activity.”

All six are also accused of firearms violations, specifically for using and carrying a gun in a crime of violence. In addition, Mallory, Allen and Carvin are charged with being felons in possession of firearms.

The grand jury also indicted Candies Wesley for being an accessory after the fact for allegedly helping the others “in order to hinder and prevent the apprehension, trial and punishment of the defendants.”

The new charges replaces an original federal indictment that charged only Mallory in the attack.

– Bill Dries

Memphis Made Expands Taproom Hours to Sunday

Memphis Made Brewing will now open its taproom on Sundays.

Starting this weekend, the Cooper-Young brewery, 768 S. Cooper St., will be open Fridays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturdays 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sundays 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Co-owner Andy Ashby said that the expanded hours reflect demand.

“We think it’ll be a good place for people to stop by after having brunch in Cooper-Young and Overton Square, or just for those who don’t want the weekend to end so soon,” he said in a statement. “This will also give restaurant people who work on Fridays and Saturdays a chance to visit our place.”

– Madeline Faber

GTx Enrolls First Patient in Enobosarm Clinical Trial

Memphis-based GTx Inc. has enrolled its first patient in the company’s phase 2 clinical trial of enobosarm, the company’s lead product candidate used to treat women with certain types of breast cancer.

The open-label, multi-center, multinational trial will assess the efficacy and safety of orally administered enobosarm in up to 88 evaluable patients with certain types of breast cancer.

The lead investigator for the trial is Dr. Beth Overmoyer from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

– Andy Meek

Memphis College Prep Pulls $1.4M Permit for New School

The building previously known as Dunn Avenue Elementary is getting ready for its first group of students since 2013, according to several permits and deeds recently filed by Memphis College Preparatory School Inc.

Metro Construction LLC applied Sept. 30 for a $1.4 million building permit for a school renovation to the 333,669-square-foot property at 1500 Dunn Ave.

On Aug. 27, Memphis College Prep signed on to a $2.1 million construction promissory note with Renasant Bank.

The Shelby County Board of Education transferred the school to Memphis College Prep for $660,000, according to a quitclaim deed filed Aug. 28. The terms of the sale are “as is,” meaning Shelby County Schools will make no improvements to the property.

The 1950s-era property in South Memphis closed as a public school in 2006. It was most recently leased by City University School of Liberal Arts, a charter school that moved its operations to Whitehaven after purchasing the old Bishop Byrne High property.

– Madeline Faber

Jones Re-Elected Board Chair for Shelby County Schools

Teresa Jones was elected Tuesday, Sept. 29, to a second one-year term as chairwoman of the Shelby County Schools board. She had no opposition.

Shante Knox Avant was elected board vice chairman for the next year, also running unopposed.

The school board also approved accepting a $10 million grant over three years from Teacher Town Memphis Inc. for the school system’s Innovation Zone schools.

The I-Zone schools are among the bottom 5 percent statewide in terms of student achievement.

They are the school system’s companion to the state-run Achievement District Schools that also target schools in the bottom 5 percent.

The Teacher Town funding is to be used for a support team within the schools as well as an extended school day and for teacher professional development and retention programs.

Teacher Town is a recently chartered nonprofit funded by private and philanthropic donors.

The school board approved Tuesday a $304,270 contract with Barnes and Brower Inc. for the demolition of Orleans Elementary School. The school, at 1400 McMillan St., was closed two years ago.

– Bill Dries

Symphony Highlights Bass Pro’s ‘Flocktoberfest Fireworks’

Though the Sunset Symphony’s 39-year run is over, Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid is carrying on the tradition with a free blockbuster event this month.

Flocktoberfest Fireworks will take place at dusk on Friday, Oct. 23, directly outside The

Pyramid as part of the 10-day World’s Hunting & Waterfowl Expo at Bass Pro Shops. A special performance from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra will kick off the fireworks and will feature bird-themed musical selections such as Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” and Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz from Swan Lake.”

The symphony performance is sponsored by Bank of America, and the fireworks are sponsored by AutoZone Liberty Bowl and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Bass Pro has also added an Oct. 24 concert by country superstars Big & Rich to the festival’s calendar.

Both concerts are free, and guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs.

The concerts build on an already full lineup of activities planned for the expo, including the inaugural Duck Dash 5K, Super Retriever pool-diving dog competitions, Taste of Memphis, Monster Energy Supercross Show, expert-led seminars and the Big Cypress National Duck Calling Championship among others.

Visit basspro.com/waterfowlexpo for a full list of events and activities.

– Daily News staff

ProTech Systems Group Opening Renovated HQ

ProTech Systems Group is set to officially open its renovated and expanded headquarters at Southwind Business Park, 3350 Players Club Parkway.

ProTech president Dan Weddle said the renovation was necessary, as the company had outgrown its old space.

Following an Oct. 8 ribbon cutting with the Greater Memphis Chamber at 10:30 a.m., ProTech will hold an open house for its customers and invited guests, offering tours of the new space followed by a fish fry on the grounds.

ProTech offers talent acquisition, outsourced solutions and management consulting, all designed to offer expertise with personalized customer service.

– Andy Meek

Shelby County Commission Adopts New Procedure Rules

A year after taking each other to court, Shelby County commissioners have resolved with little debate a dispute over their rules of procedure.

The commission approved Monday, Sept. 28, new rules that require a two-thirds majority of the 13-member body to overrule the chairman.

The existing rules required only a simple majority, and the simple majority of mostly Democrats used it a year ago to challenge new chairman Justin Ford.

– Bill Dries

Lipscomb & Pitts Retains Industry Honor

Memphis-based Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance LLC has retained its status as part of an elite group of independent insurance agencies around the U.S. participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America best practices study group.

Each year since 1993, IIABA and Atlanta-based management consulting firm Reagan Consulting have joined forces to study the country’s leading agencies in six revenue categories. The agencies comprising the study groups are selected every third year through a comprehensive nomination and qualifying process, and awarded a “Best Practices Agency” designation. The selected “Best Practices” agencies retain their status during the three-year cycle by submitting extensive financial and operational data for review each year.

This year concludes the current three-year study cycle in which more than 1,100 independent agencies throughout the U.S. were nominated to take part; only 217 agencies qualified for the honor.

Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance LLC was founded in 1954 and offers commercial, professional, group, life and health insurance.

– Andy Meek

Common Table Health Alliance 5K Dedicated to Calorie Burn

An October 5K is all about the calorie burn.

Hosted by Common Table Health Alliance, the third annual Million Calorie Burn will be held Saturday, Oct. 10, in the Cooper-Young neighborhood.

The race will begin and end at First Congregational Church, 1000 Cooper Ave. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with the race at 9 a.m.

Event proceeds will support nine different organizations’ commitments to making Memphis and Shelby County a healthier community, especially in regard to calorie reduction and physical activity for children and families. In addition to the race, there is a family fun run for children, a post-race awards ceremony, live music and food.

Memphis and Shelby County childhood obesity rates are among the nation’s highest, and a key indicator of early diagnosis of juvenile diabetes.

Visit commontablehealth.org for more information.

– Don Wade

PROPERTY SALES 38 38 12,796
MORTGAGES 27 27 8,030
BUILDING PERMITS 137 137 30,071
BANKRUPTCIES 44 44 6,108