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VOL. 131 | NO. 168 | Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Busy Council Day, Crosstown High and Local Democratic Post Mortem

By Bill Dries

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There aren’t any terms yet. But it would appear that there is enough common ground between the owners of Wiseacre Brewing and the administration of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland to take what amounts to a letter of intent on the Mid-South Coliseum to the City Council Tuesday.

It doesn’t commit anyone to anything other than more discussions. And more importantly, Wiseacre begins to pursue an answer to the basic question of whether the idea of a brewery in the moth-balled arena is even feasible. Will it work?

The council talks this over at a 2 p.m. executive session at City Hall on what is a busy day for the body. They have discussions about minority business, what kind of trouble less than half an ounce of pot should get you into and probably a residency requirement debate.

Another late addition to the committee agendas is a resolution asking the council to urge the Tennessee Valley Authority to abandon a possible move to tap the city’s aquifer for water to be used in the natural gas TVA plant that is replacing the Allen Fossil Plant.

As the council session itself is underway – or maybe the council session will move quicker than I am estimating – the Shelby County Schools board votes on a Crosstown High charter school in the Crosstown Concourse. That’s one of eight charter school applications the board votes on at a special meeting to get in under the state’s wire for the school board to either act on the proposal or see all eight charters approved automatically.

All eight of these applications were denied by the school board in May for various details the school system found lacking in the applications. The expectation was that most if not all would reapply and fix the deficiencies, often with more detail.

As a result, SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson and his staff are recommending the school board approve five of the charter applications including Crosstown High and deny three others including two charters who operate schools in the state-run Achievement School District.

The Shelby County Democratic Party is no more – at least for now. Politics can be like that – tricky.

What looks dead isn’t really dead. It’s just been holding its breath for a while but still watching everything that goes on, especially at the funeral.

While pulling the plug on the Democratic party organization in the state’s largest county and one of only two blue spots politically in the state might seem like a big deal, it’s not. Although it is likely that some familiar faces from the local party’s executive committee may not be back.

Meanwhile, one of Tennessee’s Democratic electors has been bolstering the party’s cause with some of the money he got two years ago when he won the Tennessee Powerball lottery.

Two Shelby County Election Commissioners and the new county elections administrator on Behind The Headlines on WKNO talk about new voting machines in four years and say you will probably have a wait when you go to vote in the November Presidential general election.

In our Commercial Real Estate Emphasis:

Second quarter office leases include some easy come, easy go for Downtown. And declining vacancy rates in the region are prompting out of town investors to weigh in. Patrick Walton of Cushman and Wakefield Comnmercial Advisors tells us there are a few waiting in the wings to provide more supply. Boyle announced 155,000 square feet of Class A in the Ridgeway Center office park and also has opened 52,000 square feet of office space at Schilling Farms, further east in Collierville. Also in Collierville, Orgill has started work on a new 120,000 square foot corporate headquarters.

We have a q-and-a with Matt Hayden, the new chief financial officer at Boyle who comes from an investment banking background.

Among the companies helping to build the new commercial space is A1 Electrical Contractors, which emerged from a crowded residential market after the housing bubble burst. Its projects since then have ranged from the recent renovation of the National Civil Rights Museum to Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid.

In Digest, Memphis-Nashville air service is back with Southern Airways.

The big story out of the capitol Monday was about TDEC cutting fees gas station and truck stop owners pay into a cleanup fund for toxic spills from the underground gas tanks at those businesses. The department has also raised the amount of state money gas station and truck stop owners can get from the fund. Gov. Bill Haslam’s family owns the Pilot chain of truck stops and in the last 26 years, Pilot has gotten $10 million from the fund.

What comes after the Olympics? You would think Major League Baseball as we head toward the World Series. Pretty hard to find MLB on a screen in places that have a lot of them. I actually saw Little League baseball in my weekend adventures. Sometimes it is softball or college baseball. But a weekend ball game at Wrigley or Busch (National Leaguer here. None of that designated hitter league) is really the lowest priority. The attention now is switching to pre season NFL, which brings us to Paxton Lynch in Denver where there are several quarterbacks competing for the job.

It’s called the Memphis Regional Megasite. The site is near the town of Stanton and after a lot of years of no movement, approval in Nashville Monday for a wastewater line to the Mississippi River – a Hatchie River wastewater line being abandoned by the state after some very vocal objections. The Haslam administration pushing for the wastewater line to the Mississippi but not saying much that is definitive about the tire company it has been talking with as one of several tenants for the site.

PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783