VOL. 9 | NO. 2 | Saturday, January 9, 2016
Lamar Buys Clear Channel Billboards in Memphis
Lamar Advertising Co. has acquired Clear Channel Outdoor’s billboards in Memphis and four other cities in a $458.5 million deal.
Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc., sold what it termed “non-strategic outdoor markets,” which, in addition to Memphis, included Reno, Nevada; Seattle/Tacoma, Washington; Des Moines, Iowa; and Cleveland, Ohio.
The five markets together generated $76.5 million in net revenue in the year ended Sept. 30.
“Lamar made a very attractive offer that makes sense for CCOA, given our focus on core markets where we have a strong presence and scale,” said Scott Wells, CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, in a statement.
– Kate Simone
7-Building Century Center Sells For $48.3 Million
A light industrial business park in Northeast Memphis has sold for $48.3 million.
Boston-based Taurus Investment Holdings LLC acquired the seven-building Century Center Business Park on Dec. 30 from GID Investment Advisers, which had owned it for a decade. Miami-based Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP marketed the park on behalf of GID.
The park – which includes four industrial buildings and three office buildings – is located along Century Center Parkway, northwest of the Whitten Road-Macon Road intersection. Its major tenant uses include pharmaceutical, hospital, advertising and distribution.
“We are pleased to have made our third investment in the Memphis market with the acquisition of Century Center Business Park,” said Taurus Investment Holdings CEO Peter A. Merrigan in a statement.
Cushman and Wakefield/Commercial Advisors will retain leasing and management for Century Center Business Park.
– Kate Simone
Fred’s Grows December Sales 10 Percent
Fred’s Inc. total sales for the five-week fiscal month of December rose 10 percent to $231.9 million from $210.7 million in December 2014, the Memphis-based discount retailer reported this week.
Excluding $8 million from last year’s December sales related to 47 subsequently closed locations, total sales increased 14 percent for the month. Comparable store sales for the month rose 2.4 percent, compared with a decline of 1.4 percent in the year-earlier period.
Fred’s total sales for the first 11 months of 2015 increased 9 percent to $1.99 billion from $1.83 billion in the same period last year. Excluding sales of $71.7 million from stores closed mainly in late 2014, total sales increased 13 percent for the first 11 months of 2015.
On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales increased 1.5 percent versus a decline of 1 percent in the year-earlier period.
Fred’s CEO Jerry shore said the results reflect “the success of our merchandising programs designed for the holiday season and, in the case of total sales, recent growth in our specialty pharmacy department,” adding that pharmacy sales were hit in December by low incidences of cold and flu activity.
– Andy Meek
Iberiabank Opens Memphis Branch
Iberiabank has opened the doors to a new branch in Memphis, at 2504 Poplar Ave. next to Rachel’s Flowers and across the street from Service over Self.
The new location continues the bank’s expansion in Memphis less than a year after opening its Medical Center branch at 1296 Union Ave.
Back in August, Iberiabank Memphis market president Greg Smithers said the bank decided instead of pursuing a strip center end-cap approach with the newest branch, that it would be a standalone full-service location that’s attractive and will “adhere to our high architectural standards.”
“We’re continually looking at opportunities to expand our retail franchise in Memphis,” he said.
– Andy Meek
Ballpark Digest Lauds AutoZone Park Renovations
Extensive improvements before last baseball season earned AutoZone Park Ballpark Digest's Best Ballpark Renovation Award (over $6 million category) for 2015.
"AutoZone Park has always been one of the leading venues in Minor League Baseball, but there's no doubt it had become a dated facility," said Kevin Reichard, Ballpark Digest publisher. "With the St. Louis Cardinals coming on board as owners, it was clearly important to Cards team leaders and the Redbirds front office that the fan experience be significantly enhanced."
The offseason renovation stressed an enhanced fan experience, including installation of a state-of-the-art LED videoboard in left field, LED ribbon board displays, 31 table four tops, a right-field destination BBQ food area, a new left field bar, new berm seating, an expanded and upgraded club level, AutoZone Park's first all-inclusive club in right field, and a new playing surface.
As part of the 2014 long-term lease agreement between the St. Louis Cardinals and the city of Memphis, $4.5 million in bond proceeds were set aside to make capital improvements to AutoZone Park. The St. Louis Cardinals added more than $2 million in additional capital improvement money. Construction was overseen by Montgomery Martin Contractors of Memphis. Architecture designs were provided by Pendulum Studio II LLC of Kansas City.
– Don Wade
Four Memphis Taco Bell Properties Sell for $7.2M
A Memphis-based owner of fast food properties has sold of a hefty part of its portfolio to California-based Realty Income Properties 22 LLC in four separate transactions totaling $7.2 million.
RGT Foods Inc. sold the Taco Bell property at 1447 Union Ave. to Realty Income Properties 22 for $1.5 million, while the location at 7964 Winchester Road sold for $2 million.
The store at 826 S. Third St. went for $1.9 million, and the one at 5320 Knight Arnold Road was sold for $1.8 million.
All four stores were leased back to RGT and Taco Bell for a period of 20 years with the option to extend the least up to five years.
– Madeline Faber
UTHSC Graduate Assistant Awarded $100,000 Grant
Kevin Hope, a graduate assistant in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has received a grant totaling $100,000 from the Dup15q Alliance.
The award will be used to study 15q Duplication, a syndrome that is caused by duplications in a chromosomal region that typically results in cognitive impairments, autism spectrum disorder and sometimes seizures.
This project will help to identify molecular and genetic mechanisms of Dup15q syndrome so effective therapies can be developed to improve the lives of individuals affected by this disorder, and perhaps individuals with difficult-to-manage epilepsy.
– Andy Meek
Gas Prices Drop to Lowest Level Since 2009
2016 brings a positive change as the national average fuel price is the lowest it has been since 2009.
According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, the national average will be under $2 for the start of 2016. The average price of a gallon of gas on Jan. 1, 2015, was $2.24 nationally and $2.08 in Tennessee.
Prices in Memphis are falling as well. A year ago, gas averaged $2.04 per gallon. On Dec. 28, the figure came in at $1.76 – lower than Nov. 20’s price of $1.84.
– Madeline Faber
Rhodes Colleges Hires New Football Coach
Jim Ryan, who has served as the defensive coordinator at Washington University (St. Louis) the past four years, has been named head football coach at Rhodes College.
Ryan recently earned the NCAA Division III Assistant Coach of the Year award from the American Football Coaches Association. Ryan replaces Dan Gritti, who served as the Lynx head coach from 2011-15.
Ryan was named Washington University’s defensive coordinator in 2012 and helped lead the Bears to University Athletic Association (UAA) titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Ryan’s 2013 Bear defense ranked 5th nationally and Washington University played in the 2013 NCAA Division III national playoffs.
Ryan earned his B.A. in kinesiology from Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2000. He has also served on the football staffs at Illinois College, Colorado College, North Alabama and Delta State. Ryan just completed his 8th year on the Washington University staff.
– Don Wade
Pilot Distribution Center Sells for $11.9 Million
The 605,000-square-foot Pilot Distribution Center in Southeast Memphis has sold for $11.9 million.
Sealy Strategic Equity Partners LP, working as Sealy Pilot LLC, purchased the industrial warehouse at 4221 Pilot Drive from Pilot Distribution Center Inc. on Dec. 22, according to a warranty deed.
Hank Martin, vice president with NAI Saig Co., represented Sealy in the acquisition. Kurt Nelson with Hillwood Investment Properties represented the seller.
Built in 1973, Pilot Distribution Center is situated on 25.2 acres at the southeast corner of Pilot Drive and B.F. Goodrich Boulevard in Memphis’ Southeastern submarket. Nearby amenities include Memphis International Airport and the BNSF intermodal yard.
The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s most recent appraisal is $7.6 million.
The Pilot acquisition marks Sealy’s third in the Memphis market, bringing its total investment to more than $20 million. In conjunction with the purchase, Sealy filed a $10.7 million loan through Keybank N.A.
Sealy & Co., a fully integrated commercial real estate investment and operating company, operates corporate offices in Dallas and Shreveport, La. The company is the sponsor of Sealy Strategic Equity Partners, a private equity offering and diversified limited partnership primarily comprised of industrial real estate assets.
– Kate Simone
PMC Biogenix Expanding South Korean Production
PMC Biogenix announced plans Tuesday, Jan. 5, to invest in expanding its capacity to produce fatty amide slip agents at its plant in Gyeongu, South Korea.
The agents are used in making plastics and other consumer products as well as electronics and paints. The company’s Memphis plant is one of its two world scale manufacturing sites; the other is the plant in South Korea.
Both plants make integrated fatty acids and are regional distribution centers.
PMC Group, the parent company of PMC Biogenix, is a global chemical and plastics company. The Memphis operation is part of a wholly owned subsidiary of PMC Group.
PMC Biogenix executives said Tuesday they plan to increase manufacturing capacity in South Korea by 30 percent and be operational by the end of June.
– Bill Dries
PRSA Honors Armstrong As Top Communicator
The Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America has named Memphis Police Department director Toney Armstrong as its 2015 Communicator of the Year.
Armstrong will receive the annual award, given since 1976, at a Jan. 14 luncheon at the University Club. Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich and U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton will join him.
Armstrong has been Memphis Police director since April 2011 and is the youngest leader to come from the ranks of the department. His time in the position will end Jan. 31 as he leaves to take a job at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
– Bill Dries
GameStop Collects Almost $3 Million for St. Jude
The video game-based retail chain GameStop has collected almost $3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
GameStop raised $2.8 million as part of support of the annual St. Jude “Thanks and Giving” campaign.
During November and December, GameStop – along with its Spring Mobile AT&T, Simply Mac, ThinkGeek, Kongregate and Game Informer brands – invited customers and associates to donate to the cause through its annual in-store and online donation program.
Collectively, GameStop and its family of brands exceeded its $1 million 2015 fundraising goal for the hospital.
Since first joining the annual holiday fundraising event in 2013, GameStop’s brands have raised more than $4.2 million.
– Andy Meek
NxStage Kidney Care Opens Germantown Dialysis Center
NxStage Kidney Care Inc. said this week it’s opening a dialysis center in Germantown.
NxStage Kidney Care Memphis is focused on providing home dialysis training and education for people with kidney failure and their families. The facility also welcomes existing home dialysis patients seeking short-term respite care, as well as patients who are traveling.
The facility is located at 8040 Wolf River Boulevard, Suite 101.
NxStage Kidney Care Inc. is a Massachusetts-based medical device company that develops, manufactures and markets products for the treatment of end stage renal disease and acute kidney failure.
– Andy Meek
Entac Medical Announces Funding Round
Memphis-area predictive analytics company Entac Medical Inc. has surpassed initial funding objectives for its Series A funding round.
Memphis-based venture capital firm Innova Memphis leads the round. Co-investors include Angel Syndicates Central, an angel syndicate in Huntsville, Ala., and the Angel Round Table of Johnson City, Tenn.
The round remains open until Jan. 31, 2016.
The funding is to complete development of PrevisEA, Entac’s noninvasive, patented technology which detects a biological signal that is highly correlated with the development of gastrointestinal impairment.
Entac is planning additional applications of the platform technology in gastrointestinal predictive medicine and diagnostics.
“Innova is delighted to partner with Entac to expeditiously bring PrevisEA and related devices to market based on this novel platform technology,” said Innova partner Jan Bouten. “There are currently no devices or tests available to predict a patient’s risk of developing (gastrointestinal impairment). PrevisEA will transform postoperative care of patients, improving patient outcomes and dramatically reducing the overall cost of care.”
– Andy Meek
GiVE 365 Grant Applications Being Accepted for 2016
GiVE 365, the dollar-a-day philanthropy initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, is accepting grant applications from area nonprofits.
The theme for this year’s grant cycle, as voted on by the GiVE 365 membership, is “Memphis 2020: programs that will have a tangible impact on Memphis in the next five years.”
All grant applications must respond to this theme. Grant application details are available at give365memphis.org. Key dates in this year’s grant cycle: Feb. 8, applications due online at give365memphis.org; April 14, The Finals event where members hear pitches from the finalist applicants; April 22, member voting closes; May 10, grant awards announced.
Formed in 2010, GiVE 365 unites and informs emerging philanthropists to make a collective impact on greater Memphis. Members donate $365 a year, pool their money with others, and vote on both an annual grant-making theme and grant recipients.
GiVE 365 hosts social and educational events and gives members the chance to actively participate in the grant making process. Volunteer grant review teams read applications and narrow down the list to finalists.
In 2015, 42 organizations applied for $40,000; 10 groups were selected as finalists. Of those, the following received funding: A Step Ahead Foundation, The Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, HARC, Knowledge Quest, Memphis Library Foundation, Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services and St. Columba Episcopal Conference & Retreat Center.
GiVE 365 members have distributed more than $325,000 in five years. In addition to the grant pool, GiVE 365 has grown its endowment to more than $440,000. Membership currently stands at more than 250 individuals, couples, families and businesses.
– Don Wade
Memphis Council Approves Recycling Cart Loan Effort
The city of Memphis could close the gap in outfitting its households with new and larger recycling carts if a no-interest loan comes through.
The Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, Jan. 5, the plan by the Public Works division to pursue the $5.2 million loan that would allow the city to buy 105,000 recycling carts.
The city has 130,000 households without the new carts, according to Memphis Public Works director Robert Knecht.
The city is seeking the loan from the Closed Loop Fund, a social impact fund whose investors include Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Keurig Green Mountain and Goldman Sachs. The fund invests specifically in products and packaging recycling efforts with a goal of diverting 20 million cumulative metric tons of waste from landfills by 2025.
If the Closed Loop Fund loan is not approved, Knecht said he would pursue financing through the city’s solid waste fund and pay back the money with the savings from Memphis’ move to more recycling.
The council also approved Tuesday a quitclaim deed that makes Handy Park on Beale Street city property as opposed to property of the Memphis Housing Authority.
In planning and zoning items, the council again delayed voting on a hotel with retail on the ground floor at Jackson Avenue and Front Street, across Front from The Pyramid.
The council approved a tractor-trailer terminal and drop yard at Brooks and McCorkle roads.
And the new council put to rest the last of the old council’s contract impasse proceedings from 2015.
A council impasse committee last year sided with the last final offer of Memphis Light Gas and Water Division in the contract impasse with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
The dispute was over a step pay increase for utility linemen that the union contended should have been a two-step pay increase for linemen and cable splicers. Councilwoman Janis Fullilove moved to veto the impasse committee’s decision, which would have made the union’s last final offer the settlement. The council rejected the veto and the settlement is MLGW’s final offer.
– Bill Dries
Collierville Assisted Living Facility Sells for $17M
Culpepper Place of Collierville, an assisted living facility at 601 Wolf River Blvd., has a new owner and a new name following its $17 million sale.
Collierville TN Owner LLC acquired the 58,834-square-foot facility from Collierville Assisted Living LLC in a Dec. 29 special warranty deed. The buyer shares an address with CNL Healthcare Properties Inc., an Orlando, Fla.-based health care real estate investment trust.
The assisted living home has been renamed Hearthside Senior Living of Collierville.
Built in 2013, the facility is situated on 6.7 acres on the west side of Wolf River Boulevard, south of the street’s intersection with Byhalia Road. The Shelby County Assessor’s most recent appraisal is $6.6 million.
The Culpepper Place name will live on in Bartlett, where a facility is being built at 7480 U.S. 70, according to the parent company’s website and Facebook page.
Culpepper Place of Bartlett will be licensed as an assisted living community and is expected to open early this year.
– Kate Simone
Community Coffee Co. Expands Memphis Presence
Community Coffee Co. has opened a new 15,500-square-foot Memphis sales and distribution center that will serve St. Louis, Nashville and surrounding areas.
The warehouse/sales office at 4400 S. Mendenhall Road expanded from 5,000 square feet to 15,500 square feet. The company employs 14 sales team members at that location.
Community Coffee products have been available in Tennessee for almost 15 years. The company says the larger Memphis location can handle more volume for the area – it will serve all local grocery stores, convenience stores, office accounts and restaurants – and joins 23 other Community Coffee Co. sales locations across the country.
Company president and CEO David Belanger said Memphis “is a strategic location to help continue Community Coffee Co.’s explosive growth across the United States.”
– Andy Meek
Dunavant Expands In Houston, Texas
Dunavant is continuing to grow in Texas.
The Memphis-based company has expanded its Houston distribution presence with an additional 212,000 square feet of chemical warehousing space in Pasadena. The facility brings Dunavant’s Houston operations up to 577,000 square feet, and 20,000 square feet of the recent expansion space already has been leased.
The warehouse, located in Pasadena’s Bay Area Business Park, sits within five miles of both Barbours Cut and Bayport terminals.
“Our growing warehousing capacity and capabilities give us the opportunity to be responsive to virtually any warehousing needs, from consumer goods to retail and chemical supplies,” said Dunavant COO Richard McDuffie.
The Houston expansion comes less than two months after Dunavant grew its Dallas-area operations with a new warehouse in Fort Worth. The 148,000-square-foot facility, which initially is being used for cotton storage, joined the company’s existing Dallas container drayage terminal.
Founded in 1928, Dunavant gained more than 50 years of experience in logistics and supply chain management as one of the largest global commodities distributors in the world. In 2010, the company expanded beyond commodities to other industries, including the automotive aftermarket, chemical, food and beverage, paper and packaging, and retail.
– Kate Simone
Pinnacle Financial Partners Adds to Ranks in Memphis
Pinnacle Financial Partners is growing again at its Memphis headquarters on Quail Hollow Road.
Matt Buyer and Ashley Preskenis are the latest additions, from SunTrust and First Tennessee Bank, respectively.
Buyer joins Pinnacle as a senior vice president and trust services adviser. He was at SunTrust for 16 years and was a regional trust adviser there in its private wealth management group.
Preskenis is a senior vice president and financial adviser. Before joining Pinnacle, she spent 10 years with First Tennessee Bank, where she had roles included serving as financial center manager and a financial services representative.
– Andy Meek
'Undefeated’ Courtney to Speak at Tigers Baseball Banquet
The University of Memphis baseball program has never been shy about swinging for the fences when booking speakers for its annual Meet the Tigers Banquet. Past speakers include Hall-of-Famer George Brett, best-selling author John Grisham, and pitcher Jim Morris, who inspired the movie “The Rookie.”
This year’s speaker not only is an author and was the subject of the documentary film, “Undefeated,” he can swing the lumber – all over the world.
Famed Memphis businessman, author and football coach Bill Courtney will be the featured speaker at the 2016 Meet the Tigers Banquet to be held Jan. 29 at the Landers Center in Southaven.
Courtney founded Classic American Hardwoods Inc. in 2001 and today still operates as the president and CEO of the business, which also has sales offices in China and Vietnam and boasts revenue in excess of $40 million annually.
Courtney, a Memphis native, is best known for the story of his work as a volunteer football coach at Manassas High School in 2003. He helped engineer a dramatic turnaround to the program and the tale of his work with players who mostly came from difficult circumstances became an Academy Award-winning documentary in 2012.
Visit gotigersgotix.com and click ‘booster clubs’ to purchase tickets for the program, which will be held in the Landers Center convention hall at 7 p.m.
– Don Wade
New Mobile-Only Grizzlies Smart Pass Unveiled
The Memphis Grizzlies are introducing a new, mobile-only “Grizzlies Smart Pass,” which goes on-sale Friday, Jan. 8, at grizzlies.com and will be accessible for use exclusively through the official Memphis Grizzlies mobile app.
The Grizzlies Smart Pass provides one “pass” (ticket) for seven games for $49, including matchups against the New York Knicks on Saturday, Jan. 16, and the Grizzlies’ 14th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day game on Monday, Jan. 18, vs. the New Orleans Pelicans.
Seat locations will vary on a per game basis, but the Grizzlies Smart Pass guarantees a Terrace Level ticket at minimum for all 7 games. There are no printed tickets with the pass and admission to FedExForum, seat assignments and available upgrades will be managed through the official Memphis Grizzlies mobile app.
Fans can purchase the smart pass at grizzlies.com through midnight on Wednesday, Jan. 14, while supplies last. Other games that are part of the package: Jan. 25 vs. Orlando; Jan. 28 vs. Milwaukee; Jan. 30 vs. Sacramento; Feb. 6 vs. Dallas; and Feb. 8 vs. Portland.
Fans can purchase up to six passes per account. All passes purchased in one transaction will have seats together each game.
– Don Wade
College of Art Names Next Artist in Lecture Series
Memphis College of Art presents John Medwedeff, a nationally recognized metal sculptor and owner of Medwedeff Forge & Design, as the next artist in the college’s Visiting Artist lecture series.
Medwedeff will present a lecture titled “The Business of Surviving as an Artist” Jan. 26 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Callicott Auditorium of Rust Hall, 1930 Poplar Ave. The lecture will provide information about business practices for artists and applying for public art commissions, and will be followed by a brief question-and-answer session.
– Andy Meek
Memphian To Play Title Role In Orpheum’s ‘Matilda’ Run
When the first national tour of “Matilda The Musical” comes to The Orpheum Theatre later next week, a Memphian will be one of the three actors playing the title role.
Lily Brooks O’Briant, a 9-year-old Memphis native, is making her national tour debut as Roald Dahl’s schoolgirl with a vivid imagination and fierce determination.
O’Briant had a busy 2015 with parts in the TV series “Unnerving,” TV movie “The Line” and motion picture “Shark Lake.” She’s also in the upcoming 2016 movie “Restoration.”
O’Briant asked her parents, Allen and Hope O’Briant, at the age of 4 to be in a play and worked in numerous productions at Germantown Community Theatre, according to her biography on the website Internet Movie Database. From there she and her parents began pursuing film and television roles as well.
O’Briant will share the role of Matilda during the Memphis run with Sarah McKinley Austin and Savannah Grace Elmer.
It is common practice for children in stage productions to alternate playing such roles because of the rigorous schedule.
– Bill Dries