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VOL. 10 | NO. 1 | Saturday, December 31, 2016

Daily Digest

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Germantown Park Offices Sell for Nearly $48 Million

A large office park near the intersection of Germantown Parkway and Walnut Grove Road in Cordova has been sold for nearly $50 million.

New York-based DRA Advisors LLC, acting as DRA CRT Germantown Center LP, sold six parcels to Real Capital Solutions, acting as EAT-1615 LLC, for $47.8 million.

The six-building, 535,000-square-foot office complex known as Germantown Park sits on 40 acres and was developed between 1987 and 1999, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

The warranty deed filed on Dec. 27 was signed by Valla Brown, who is the director of asset management for DRA Advisors LLC, and Linda G. Levy, who is listed as the manager of EAT-1615 LLC.

EAT-1615 also signed a mortgage with UMB Bank for $43.9 million that was filed on the same day. According to the deed of trust, the last payment is due Dec. 22, 2019, unless extended to Dec. 22, 2022.

According to Graham Riley, vice president of commercial acquisitions for Real Capital Solutions, the investment company was interested in Memphis because of the current strength of the office market.

Riley said the company has short-term plans to fix up the properties, but when it comes to long-term plans, everything from selling off the parcels individually to retaining them for the foreseeable future is on the table.

This marks the second acquisition by Colorado-based Real Capital Solutions in 2016. In October, the Horizon Business Center, a flex warehouse development on the north side of Interstate 40 near Wolfchase Galleria, was bought for $6.3 million.

In that deal, Real Capital Solutions bought the 23,750-square-foot building at 2525 Horizon Lake Drive and the 41,300-square-foot building at 2565 Horizon Lake Drive from MM Industrial Memphis LLC, according to a warranty deed filed on Oct. 25.

Riley also said Real Capital Solutions may look to acquire more properties in Memphis and is looking forward to working with local brokers, especially in the office market.

– Patrick Lantrip

Memphis Made Named ‘Bicycle Friendly Business’

Memphis Made Brewing has been awarded a bronze Bicycle Friendly Business, or BFB, award by the League of American Bicyclists.

The local brewery was one of 42 new and renewing BFBs announced last week, joining a group of 1,265 local businesses, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies in 49 states and Washington, D.C., to transform the American workplace.

“Cooper-Young is a bike-friendly neighborhood, and we want to make sure we fit in by placing an emphasis on biking,” said Memphis Made Brewing co-founder Andy Ashby in a written statement.

Memphis Made has bike racks so customers can ride to its tap room. The brewery has also worked with Bike Walk Memphis to have bike repair stations placed near both the I Love Memphis mural and the Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op at First Congregational Church.

It also has worked with Revolutions, Bike Walk Memphis, the Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club and others to raise funds for bike-related amenities and causes.

Memphis Made Brewing says that moving forward, it will have access to a variety of tools and technical assistance from the League of American Bicyclists to become even more bike-friendly.

– Daily News staff

Thirteen Local Nonprofits Awarded $2,500 Grants

Thirteen Memphis-area nonprofit organizations have been chosen to receive $2,500 grants from FirstBank.

FirstBank Memphis president Jeff Hudson invited several organizations to make grant requests and hosted a pre-holiday reception at FirstBank’s financial center at 6482 Poplar Ave. An independent three-person selection panel made the decisions on which organizations would receive a share of the grants.

Those selected are:

• Agape North, a Germantown cause-based custom clothing company with a nonprofit arm that donates school uniforms to local students in need.

ConnecTEFL, an educational program under the umbrella of the nonprofit Equipping Servants International Inc. of Memphis, which trains teachers of English as a second language to serve the region’s immigrant and refugee communities.

Crosslink Memphis, a faith-based organization that provides free medical supplies and small equipment to mission teams and local charity clinics and also offers medicines at deep discounts.

Dream Factory of Memphis, a Southaven-based group that helps make dreams come true for critically and chronically ill children ages 3 to 18 in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.

Agape Child & Family Services, a Memphis Christ-centered ministry that provides children and families with healthy, stable homes via services that include foster care, adoption and counseling, among others.

Family Promise of Memphis, a Memphis-based group that provides temporary shelter for families experiencing homelessness by partnering with local faith-based congregations.

Forever Young Senior Veterans, a Collierville group that honors veterans 65 and older by fulfilling wishes, returning them to places they fought and sharing stories of their sacrifices for the United States.

Kyle W. Kiihnl Memorial Foundation, a Collierville nonprofit raising awareness of the dangers of driving while drowsy and advocating for victims of drowsy-driving crashes.

Mid-South Therapy Dogs & Friends, a Germantown volunteer organization that provides human-animal bond therapy teams that visit children at grief camps, literacy programs and health care facilities, and visit adults in health, memory care, rehabilitation and nursing home facilities

The Metal Museum, which advances the art and craft of fine metalwork through exhibitions, collections, studio practice and education programs.

Old West Special Trails, a full-service equine facility in Collierville dedicated to improving the lives of special-needs and at-risk youth who don’t have the financial resources to attend summer horse camps and take riding lessons.

Page Robbins Adult Day Center, an organization in Collierville that provides nonresidential care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss.

Service Over Self Inc., which coordinates volunteers who renovate homes of economically disadvantaged residents in Memphis. It also provides leadership and mentoring programs for urban youth in the Binghampton and Orange Mound neighborhoods and internship programs for college students.

– Andy Meek

Herenton, Cohen Keynote Dec. 31 Prayer Breakfasts

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton will be the keynote speakers at two New Year’s Eve Prayer Breakfasts on Saturday, Dec. 31.

Cohen will speak at former city council member Myron Lowery’s annual prayer breakfast at the Holiday Inn Memphis Airport, 2240 Democrat Road. The five-term Democrat re-elected in November to a sixth term is expected to talk about Washington’s change from the Barack Obama administration to the Donald Trump administration. Cohen was an early supporter of Obama in 2008 and a vocal critic of Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Herenton will speak at current Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s prayer breakfast at the Guest House at Graceland, 3600 Elvis Presley Blvd.

Herenton's speech at Strickland's prayer breakfast is expected to be about violent crime in Memphis and the city’s record homicide count in 2016.

Both events start at 9 a.m.

Lowery also hosts an annual Jazz Champagne Brunch at 1:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn.

– Bill Dries

Annual Ski Freeze to Benefit Dream Factory

The 40th Annual Ski Freeze on New Year’s Day Sunday, Jan. 1, will benefit The Dream Factory of Memphis.

The event’s spokesman this year is NHRA Top Fuel driver Clay Millican.

Water-skiers, bare-footers and wake-boarders will brave the cold water of the Mississippi River to raise funds for The Dream Factory of Memphis. Registration will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the Mud Island River Park boat ramp.

For a $30 donation, skiers will be pulled behind boats provided by Memphis Boat Center and will receive a long sleeve “Ski Freeze” T-shirt as a souvenir. Skiers are encouraged to solicit pledges to raise additional funds.

Proceeds from this year’s event will be used to grant Sarah’s dream. Sarah is a 16-year-old diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

The Dream Factory is a national, not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization granting the dreams of critically and chronically-ill children ages 3-18. Founded in 1980, The Dream Factory has grown into the second-largest wish-granting organization in existence, with 34 chapters in 17 states across the U.S. The Memphis chapter was formed in 1985 and has granted more than 565 dreams since its founding.

Visit www.skifreeze.com for more information about Ski Freeze, or follow it on Facebook. If you'd like to volunteer for The Dream Factory or know of a child who may be eligible to receive a dream, call the Memphis chapter at 901-751-9911 or visit www.dreamfactoryinc.org for more information.

– Daily News staff

MATA Alters Bus Schedule for Jan. 1-2

Memphis Area Transit Authority will operate an abbreviated schedule Sunday and Monday, Jan. 1-2, in observance of New Year’s Day.

In addition, MATA’s administrative offices and transit center customer service counters will be closed.

Fixed-route bus service, as well as MATAplus service and the trolley buses will run on a Sunday schedule both days. Trolley buses will not operate on Madison Avenue but fixed-route service is available at Madison and Cleveland on Route 2 and 42.

The lobbies of Airways Transit Center, 3033 Airways Blvd., will be open from midnight to 11:59 p.m.; American Way Transit Center, 3921 American Way, will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.; and the William Hudson Transit Center, 444 N. Main St., will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

MATA’s administrative offices, 1370 Levee Road, will be closed Monday.

The automated information line, 901-274-MATA (6282), will be available; however, the customer service center will be closed, so live operator calls will be answered on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

– Daily News staff

Tickets on Sale for New Memphis Wine Event

Tickets are now on sale for Vintage901, a new wine festival coming to Memphis March 10-12.

Each day of the event will represent a unique wine, food and music experience.

The March 10 event, Opening Toast and Perfect Pairings, will be hosted at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts, 225 S. Main St., from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event’s grand sommelier, Laurie Forster, will present the opening toast at the start of a three-course dinner provided by Restaurant Iris, and entertainment will be provided by international jazz sensation Monty Alexander.

The March 11 Grand Tasting will feature wine tasting with selections prepared by Forster.

Food demonstrations, food trucks and vendors will be on site at the Creative Arts Building on Tiger Lane from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and entertainment will be provided by Atlanta salsa group Willie Ziavino and the C.O.T. Band.

The March 12 closing event, Sparkling Brunch, gives guests two locations to choose from, both from noon until 2 p.m. The first event features Memphis Stax Academy jazz instructor Stephen Lee and his trio at the FedEx Center at Shelby Farms, 415 Great View Drive E.

The second event will be hosted at Belle: A Southern Bistro, 117 Union Ave., and will feature Memphis pop/soul artist Nick Black and his band.

A three-day pass to Vintage901 is $375 and includes access to all three events. Tickets are also available a la carte for each day: $225 for Friday’s Perfect Pairing, $87.50 for Saturday’s Grand Tasting and $87.50 for Sunday’s Sparkling Brunch. Payment plans are also available.

Tickets can be purchased at vintage901.eventbrite.com, and proceeds will benefit the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis.

– Andy Meek

Rhodes Among Kiplinger’s‘Best Value’ Colleges

Rhodes College has landed at No. 43 on the list of 100 Best Values in Liberal Arts Colleges as ranked by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and it’s No. 74 among the 300 colleges ranked overall.

The overall list includes public, private and liberal arts colleges.

Kiplinger’s criteria for academic quality include a competitive admission rate, a high four-year graduation rate and a low student-faculty ratio. Cost criteria include sticker price, financial aid and average debt at graduation.

The rankings will appear in the February issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and are available online.

– Andy Meek

Humane Society Gets Grant for Anti-Cruelty Program

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has awarded the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County a $10,050 grant to fund a pilot program to help investigate local animal cruelty.

The pilot project is aimed at providing education and outreach to recognize and address animal cruelty.

J. Morgret, criminal investigator with the local humane society, will train and educate individuals that routinely visit Shelby County residents about the HSMSC anti-cruelty program.

Through this program, HSMSC plans to provide two on-site trainings with educational materials, increase cruelty investigation calls, and increase the number of animals removed and placed with HSMSC in 2017.

In addition to supporting the program, the ASPCA grant will fund the purchase of a bulletproof vest and body camera to increase the officer’s safety.

“This grant will allow us to expand our cruelty investigations and provide more resources to the general public, which ultimately benefits the animals within our community,” said HSMSC development manager Amanda Harris in a written statement. “We are grateful for the work the ASPCA does throughout the country and are excited to be awarded with such a generous gift for this anti-cruelty program.”

In 2015, the HSMSC’s Office of Criminal Investigations responded to 1098 calls for service, rescued 120 animals over the course of 620 investigations, and made 27 arrests. HSMSC takes appropriate action on every case of potential cruelty reported. Anyone wishing to report cruelty can use the report cruelty tab at memphishumane.org, email reportcruelty@memphishumane.org or call the cruelty hotline at 901-937-3910.

– Daily News staff

State Provides $20K For Collierville DUI Patrol

The Collierville Police Department’s roving DUI patrol program has $20,000 more in funding through a state grant awarded in October.

The directed patrol is aimed at deterring and detecting impaired driving as well as stopping drivers for traffic and equipment violations such as broken turn signals.

The funding is part of $17.1 million awarded to 384 agencies in all by the state. It is federal pass-through funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Those who received the grants had to apply for them.

– Bill Dries

Varsity Spirit Surpasses $4M in Funds for St. Jude

Memphis-based cheerleading and dance company Varsity Spirit reports it has raised more than $4 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since 2011.

The company, a division of Varsity Brands, is a leader in uniform innovation and educational camps, clinics and competitions, impacting nearly a million athletes each year.

Through the Team Up for St. Jude Spirited by Varsity letter-writing campaign, 350,000 teens who attend annual cheer and dance camps write letters asking their friends and family to donate to St. Jude. Varsity Spirit also sponsors the St. Jude Game Day campaign, which urges schools across the country to turn their football or basketball games into fundraising opportunities.

Among the company’s other fundraising efforts in 2016, Varsity Spirit announced in September it had signed on as the official training sponsor of The Sparkle Effect and pledged $50,000 to the national nonprofit, which helps schools train cheerleading and dance teams that bring together students with and without disabilities.

The company donated $15,000 to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and was its Finish Line sponsor.

The donation included proceeds from the “Let’s Go Pink” line of pink accessories and uniforms, which has raised more than $60,000 for the American Cancer Society in four years.

And it gave more than $50,000 to schools nationwide through the 2016 Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards.

The Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards recognize students, athletes, faculty and administrators who strive to foster school pride, student engagement and community spirit.

– Daily News staff

Memphis Branch NAACP Executive Director Retires

Madeleine Taylor, the executive director of the Memphis Branch NAACP, is retiring after 26 years with the organization, including six in her current position.

Taylor has been integral to the work of the civil rights organization that has been an essential part of the city’s history before, during and after the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

“I have had the opportunity to serve my community in a number of different venues whether voter empowerment, employment, criminal justice, health care, education or youth work,” Taylor said in a prepared statement. “This journey has been truly invaluable and I hope that I have been able to make a difference for the many who seek the help of the NAACP daily. It is more than a job. It is a passion. It is an experience.”

Taylor has also served as a Memphis City Council member.

She began her career as a social worker at MAP-South, a War on Poverty program in the 1960s. Taylor has also been a teacher with Memphis City Schools and marketing manager for South Central Bell and later AT&T.

– Bill Dries

Memphis Music Initiative Expands With Three Hires

The Memphis Music Initiative has announced an expansion of its team with new hires working with grantee organizations on funding and capacity building.

The new three-member team will be responsible for the stewardship of MMI’s support and investments, in partnership with its funded music engagement organizations.

Kiesha Davis will lead the team as director of grantmaking and capacity building. She brings experience in building and fostering grantee relationships, amplifying collaborations to address community level outcomes and expertise in developing large-scale, multimillion-dollar grantmaking frameworks.

Davis will manage Doug Waddill, program manager for the Memphis Music Initiative Institute for Nonprofit Excellence, and Tawanna Brown, program manager for the Community Music Programs Grants.

– Andy Meek

Redeemers Group to Open Little Rock Office

Redeemers Group, a Memphis-based specialty contractor, is preparing to expand with the opening of an Arkansas office in January.

Redeemers Group, which specializes in mold prevention, crawl space encapsulation, basement waterproofing and foundation repair, acquired 7,734 square feet of office and warehouse space at 224 W. 13th St. in North Little Rock on Dec. 1, according to a release.

The location will allow the company to increase its footprint in Arkansas while better serving their current customers in the area.

“Redeemers Group has serviced the state of Arkansas for many years, and the opening of a second office was motivated by many factors,” the company said in a written statement.

“The current number of customers in Arkansas alone warrants having a physical location dedicated to the area, and the company’s growth trajectory of 135 percent over the past three years shows no signs of slowing down.'

In addition to transferring staff members from the Memphis location, the company is also looking to hire multiple positions at the new location in Little Rock.

– Patrick Lantrip

Rhodes Professor Awarded Grant to Study WWI Effects

Dr. Tait Keller, an associate professor of history at Rhodes College, has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to continue research on the environmental effects caused by World War I.

The NEH announced funding Dec. 14 for 86 grants in the Fellowships category, and Keller’s grant is for the term of January through December 2017.

Keller has been investigating the war’s impact on and off the battlefields, and his book “A Global Environmental History of the Great War” is under contract with Cambridge University Press.

– Andy Meek

New Tennessee System Will ID Uninsured Drivers

The Tennessee Department of Revenue is encouraging Tennessee drivers to prepare for a new insurance verification system it’s launching in January.

The new system verifies drivers’ insurance coverage on a continual basis instead of only checking at the time they renew registration on their vehicle. It was developed as part of the James Lee Atwood Jr. Law, which was passed during the 2015 legislative session and is meant to reduce the number of uninsured motorists on Tennessee roadways.

Atwood, 30, of Memphis, was killed in an auto accident July 1, 2014, on Shelby Drive by an uninsured motorist.

“Tennessee already has a financial responsibility law that applies to Tennessee drivers,” Revenue commissioner David Gerregano said in a statement. “The goal of this new system is to efficiently and effectively check compliance in order to reduce the number of motorists who lack insurance or another form of financial responsibility.”

If the system is unable to confirm insurance coverage for a vehicle, a notice will be sent directing the owner to a website where he or she can provide proof of minimum liability insurance or other means of financial responsibility. If a customer does not respond, subsequent notices will be sent. Failure to comply with the notices could result in fines and eventual vehicle registration suspension.

The department says motorists should ensure that proper insurance coverage or other financial responsibility is in effect for their vehicles. In particular, they should make sure their vehicle identification number is correct on registration and insurance documents.

For more, visit DriveInsuredTN.com.

– Daily News staff

US Mortgage Rates Still Inching Higher

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported the rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans rose this week to an average 4.32 percent, up from 4.30 percent last week.

The 30-year averaged 3.65 percent for all of 2016 before these latest moves.

The average for a 15-year mortgage rose to 3.55 percent.

Rates began to climb after the Nov. 8 election of Donald Trump. Investors have bid rates higher believing the president-elect’s plans for tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending will increase economic growth and inflation.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 31 327 17,870
MORTGAGES 49 409 20,835
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 129 800 36,616
BANKRUPTCIES 51 243 11,925
BUSINESS LICENSES 21 117 5,677
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 175 12,208
MARRIAGE LICENSES 29 121 4,478

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