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VOL. 131 | NO. 31 | Friday, February 12, 2016

Daily Digest

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Best Buy Raises All-Time High for St. Jude

Electronics retailer Best Buy celebrated having raised an all-time high of $10.2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with a technology-focused event for patients this week.

ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Best Buy executives and its local Geek Squad agents hosted the event Wednesday, Feb. 10, designed to spark patients’ imaginations through things like Star Wars-themed coding activity and other hands-on technology experiences.

The importance of St. Jude’s funding partners like Best Buy is a function of the fact that 75 percent of St. Jude’s funding – it will cost nearly $1 billion to run the hospital this year – comes from public contributions.

Best Buy launched the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign in stores in 2013 and is now the campaign’s second-largest fundraising retailer. Funds raised come from Best Buy customers who donate to St. Jude during the holiday season to support the St. Jude mission of finding cures and saving children.

– Andy Meek

Early Voting Opens With More Than 800 Ballots

Absentee and early voting in Shelby County in advance of the March 1 presidential primary election day topped 800 ballots by the end of the first day of the period.

Most of the early votes – 645 of 822 – were absentee ballots at area nursing homes cast before the Wednesday, Feb. 10, first day of the voting period.

Another 177 citizens voted early on Wednesday including 79 who voted at the Shelby County Office Building Downtown.

That is the only early voting location until Monday when the balloting expands to 20 additional sites across Shelby County.

The Democratic and Republican presidential primaries top the short ballot, which also includes an uncontested one-candidate Republican primary for Shelby County General Sessions Court Clerk and a two-candidate Democratic primary for clerk.

Early voting runs through Feb. 25.

– Bill Dries

Varsity Spirit, ESPN to Build Cheer Venue in Orlando

Memphis-based Varsity Spirit is teaming up with ESPN Wide World of Sports at the Walt Disney World Resort to break ground on a new state-of-the-art cheerleading and dance team competition venue.

Varsity Spirit is recognized as a top-tier cheerleading organization.

The venue is being billed as the first in the world specifically designed for cheerleading and dance team competitions and will include a flexible design for one large competition space that can be set up for as many as four competition areas. Additional areas are being tailored for warm up and practice, along with areas for judges and officials.

With the ability to seat more than 8,000 guests, plus performance and warm-up space, the new multi-use sports and entertainment venue will also have the ability to host six regulation basketball courts, six regulation volleyball courts and concert configurations. There will be concessions throughout the building, and an additional box office and entry to the complex.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Varsity Spirit will continue to host well-known cheerleading events at the complex, including Varsity Spirit’s annual National High School Cheerleading Championships. This event draws more than 650 teams from more than 30 states. Winning a white satin National Champion jacket is seen as the pinnacle of success for thousands of cheerleaders from across the country.

Construction is slated to begin in February 2016, and is expected to be complete by mid-2017.

– Don Wade

Holiday Art Sale Returns To Memphis College of Art

The annual Holiday Bazaar art sale returns to Memphis College of Art this fall.

The 66th Annual Holiday Bazaar is set to take place Nov. 18-19 in Rust Hall, at 1930 Poplar Ave. in Overton Park.

The event has drawn thousands of people to the college’s campus since its inception in 1949, when the college was still known as the Memphis Academy of Arts and housed in the historic James Lee House. Eventually the bazaar moved with the college in the 1950s to its current site in Overton Park.

After 65 years of staging the art sale, the college placed the event on a brief hiatus for 2015 so faculty and staff could reinvigorate the event for future years. One change coming is that a faculty committee will jury artwork submissions.

In addition to supporting local artists in the MCA community, a portion of the proceeds from each sale will also benefit the college’s scholarship fund, which gives out nearly $5 million in scholarships each year.

– Andy Meek

276-Unit Cordova Apartments Sell for $29.2 Million

The 276-unit Orleans at Walnut Grove apartment community has sold for $29.2 million.

PC Orleans LLC, an entity of Provo, Utah-based investment firm Peak Capital Partners, paid an equivalent of $105,731 per unit to buy the property at 317 Royal Chartres Square E. from Orleans Apartment Community LLC, according to a Feb. 4 warranty deed.

Wes Misenhelter, managing principal of Orleans Apartment Community, developed the Orleans at Walnut Grove in two phases – 180 units completed in 2012, followed by 96 units in 2013. The Class A community is situated on roughly 18 acres north of Walnut Grove Road, between Gray’s Creek and Houston Levee Road, with amenities that include a 20-acre lake, screened-in patios and a saltwater pool with palm trees and cooking area.

The Shelby County Assessor’s 2015 appraisal of the two-parcel community totals $24.8 million.

In conjunction with the purchase, PC Orleans LLC assumed a $22.2 million loan through Transamerica Pacific Insurance Co.

Peak Capital Partners and its affiliates own and manage multifamily properties in growth markets in the U.S., with assets that span conventional, affordable and student apartments.

– Kate Simone

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