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VOL. 9 | NO. 22 | Saturday, May 28, 2016

Daily Digest

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Methodist Gets Approval For Hospital Modernization

The Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency has approved the certificate of need filed by Methodist Healthcare for the $280 million modernization of Methodist University Hospital, the Methodist system’s flagship.

Currently, high priority services offered at the hospital are spread across the campus, which spans six blocks. The modernization project will restructure the campus and centralize clinical services, creating a more easily accessible and navigable environment.

The $280 million plan will add 440,000 square feet to the hospital’s campus and will remove 240,000 square feet with the demolition of the Crews Building.

A new nine-story tower will be built above the emergency department extending above and over Eastmoreland Avenue. Construction is expected to begin in January 2017 and be completed in the spring of 2019.

Transplant services currently spread across the hospital will be consolidated on two floors in the tower. West Cancer Center’s Union Avenue clinic will be consolidated in the tower, with hospital-based inpatient and surgical services creating one comprehensive cancer center.

Outpatient care also will be consolidated in the new tower, making these services easily accessible from the parking plaza that will connect directly to the tower.

– Andy Meek

FedEx Completes $4.8B TNT Express Acquisition

FedEx Corp. has closed on its acquisition of TNT Express for $4.8 billion.

In a joint statement from the companies released Wednesday, May 25, FedEx CEO Fred Smith said that the acquisition will “revolutionize” the way customers around the world view FedEx.

“Adding TNT’s capabilities to our existing world-class suite of services, including GENCO and the recently relaunched FedEx CrossBorder, will further expand the ability of FedEx to support business connections around the world,” Smith said.

FedEx announced its offer to acquire the Dutch shipping company last April. It had to clear regulatory hurdles in China, the European Union, the U.S. and Brazil as well as pass a six-month anti-trust investigation leveraged by the EU.

With the acquisition, FedEx jumps ahead of competitor United Parcel Service Inc. in European market share.

TNT brings with it 56,000 employees worldwide, as well as more than 30,000 vehicles and a shipping volume of 1 million packages a day. By comparison, FedEx currently has 340,000 employees worldwide, more than 100,000 vehicles and 657 aircraft, and a daily volume of 11.5 million packages.

The process to integrate the companies will begin immediately

– Madeline Faber

Start Co. Expands Downtown Footprint

The venture development organization Start Co. is expanding its footprint.

The organization will now encompass the sixth floor of 88 Union Ave., increasing its current footprint by 50 percent to more than 13,000 square feet. The additional 4,500 square feet on the sixth floor will house Start Co. operations and offices for staff as well as startups, allotting the Start Lab significantly more space on the second floor for growing accelerator operations.

High-speed fiber will also be installed throughout the offices.

The space on the second and sixth floors will give startups dedicated co-working facilities so they can focus resources on other things before making a commitment to a long-term commercial lease.

The community meeting and educational space called The Start Lab is the headquarters for the Summer of Acceleration, which kicked off May 2 with joint programming for 18 accelerator teams from Start Co., Start MMT, ZeroTo510 and EPIcenter.

There the startups receive business development and strategy workshops, educational seminars, trainings, networking, office hours and more. The space also contains breakout areas, including conference rooms, a digital living room, other meeting spaces, and an outdoor patio for events and networking opportunities.

– Andy Meek

Paragon Bank Reports Another Record Quarter

For Paragon Bank, the first quarter of 2016 was the most profitable in the bank’s more-than-10-year history.

Total revenue increased to $4.2 million, up from the previous record of $3.5 million during the fourth quarter. Revenue is also up 40.7 percent from the first quarter of 2015.

The bank says the improvement in earnings was due in large part to increased loan volume, income from the Paragon Small Business Capital Group and interest recovered on a previously charged-off loan.

In addition to a stronger-than-budgeted revenue for the first quarter of 2016, the Small Business Capital Group continued to have an increased number of loan approvals from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Furthermore, the bank says the group’s recent Preferred Lenders Program status from the SBA will expedite loan approval and continue improving customer service.

During the first quarter, Paragon also started a specialty lending division, which makes short-term build-out loans to franchises, through which the borrower has a commitment for permanent SBA financing from another lender.

Other highlights from the first quarter include net income hitting $418,835, up from a loss of $152,839 during the year-ago quarter. Total deposits increased $13.1 million, or 5.2 percent, during the first quarter of 2016.

– Andy Meek

Tiger Dedric Lawson Withdraws From NBA Draft

University of Memphis rising sophomore forward Dedric Lawson has pulled out of the NBA Draft, according to multiple reports, following poor evaluations of his athleticism at the recent NBA Draft Combine.

Lawson, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder as a freshman last season (15.8 points and 9.3 rebounds), did not score so well in agility and other measurements.

The following assessment from CBSSports.com was typical: “Lawson put up the worst vertical score, the worst shuttle score and second-worst lane agility score. In the games, Lawson was highly ineffectual, struggling to do anything at even a marginal level.”

Meantime, the Tigers also will be getting a new player in 6-2 guard and graduate transfer Christian Kessee, who played last season at Coppin State and led the team in scoring, averaging 14.6 points per game, while making 88 three-pointers and making 39.5 percent of his three-point field goals.

– Don Wade

Archer Malmo Acquires Creative Firm Combustion

Archer Malmo has acquired Memphis-based boutique creative agency Combustion.

Archer Malmo CEO Russ Williams said his brand communications agency gets to add “considerable creative strength” as a result of the Combustion combination. The latter will remain in its Midtown location through next July, when its lease expires.

At that point, the Combustion team will the Archer Malmo team Downtown.

The Combustion team will report to Archer Malmo’s chief creative and strategy officer Gary Backaus. The acquisition also adds several clients to the Archer Malmo roster, including International Paper, Memphis College of Art and Brother Industries.

The acquisition is expected to close at the end of May and will push Archer Malmo’s total staff to 205 across all offices in Memphis and Austin, Texas.

– Andy Meek

City Council to Wrap Up 2016-2017 Budget Sessions

The Memphis City Council’s budget committee meets Tuesday, May 24, for wrap-up sessions on the operating and capital budget proposals from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

The committee, chaired by council member Edmund Ford Jr., began its line-by-line review of both proposals April 26.

Strickland proposed a $667 million operating budget and an $85 million capital budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

In committee sessions, council members have rearranged some of the funding proposals but made no recommendations for major changes to either proposal.

And the sessions have drawn a majority of the 13 council members.

Ford’s plan is for the council to take final votes on all budget and city property tax rate matters at its June 7 session. The city property tax rate is expected to remain at $3.40.

The budget committee has a May 31 date on its calendar in case an extra wrap-up session is needed after Tuesday’s meeting.

– Bill Dries

University of Tennessee Partners With 901Drones

University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’s Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science program is researching the use and benefits of aerial data collection using drones in precision agriculture. Michael F. Buschermohle has partnered with 901Drones, located at Agricenter International, to collect remote sensing data on cotton and soybean research plots during the 2016 growing season using the research fields at Agricenter International.

Objectives of the studies are to use drones effectively to measure soybean plant population for determining replanting decisions and to monitor soybean plant growth throughout the growing season. Another objective is to monitor cotton plant moisture stress throughout the growing season with thermal imagery. Results of these studies will be presented to crop producers at agricultural field demo days and made publicly available.

“We see direct application of how the technology of unmanned aerial vehicles applies to agriculture in allowing farmers to do a better job of providing more abundant, safer food and fiber,” said Agricenter International president-elect John Butler in a statement.

Brandon Turk, president of 901Drones, added that the company will test multirotor and fixed-wing drones equipped with various sensors to capture data at different altitudes, then compare them for best results.

– Don Wade

HomePlus Store Opens 3rd Area Store In Southaven

Conn’s HomePlus, a Houston-based furniture and home goods retailer, opens this week in Southaven.

The 45,762-square-foot store will be the third Memphis-area location for Conn’s HomePlus, which also has stores in Raleigh and Hickory Hill.

The Southaven store at 570 Main St. will create 25 jobs. Conn’s HomePlus sells appliances, furniture and related accessories, consumer appliance and home office goods in more than 100 retail locations in 12 states.

– Madeline Faber

Tubby Smith Receives Mannie Jackson Award

First-year University of Memphis head men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith has been honored with the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award, joining 12-year NBA veteran Chris Paul and ABC/ESPN basketball analyst Jalen Rose as 2016 honorees.

The winners will be recognized Sept. 8 at the reunion dinner on the Hall of Fame’s center court during Enshrinement Weekend.

Established in 2007, the award honors individuals who have found the game of basketball to be a contributing aspect of their personal growth and accomplishment, a place to develop an understanding of others and an avenue that has helped shape his or her growth into a recognized visionary leader. Winners must reflect the values of former Harlem Globetrotter Mannie Jackson, whose lifelong mission has been to overcome obstacles and challenge the status quo, while taking responsibility for his or her actions and seeking the highest standard of excellence.

In 1998, Smith and his wife, Donna, established the Tubby Smith Foundation in Kentucky and raised more than $1.5 million in the first five years.

The foundation has followed Smith on his coaching journey and had a positive impact in several communities by funding youth initiatives such as playgrounds, children’s hospitals, schools and youth camps.

– Don Wade

County Commission Accepts Disparity Study Findings

Shelby County Commissioners on Monday, May 23, accepted the findings of a study that confirm a racial disparity in the number and dollar amount of county government contracts that go to minority-owned businesses.

The study by Mason Tillman and Associates is a first step toward building a program that will involve setting percentage goals for minority business participation in county government contracts.

The commission voted to accept the study results without debate.

But there was considerable debate on a follow-up $80,000 contract with Mason Tillman to help county government formulate its minority business program.

“It can all be done in-house,” said commissioner Steve Basar, who argued that with the results of the study and county attorneys, the county doesn’t need to spend more money with the firm.

Commissioner Van Turner, however, argued that any program is likely to be challenged in court.

“This can’t be a cookie-cutter plan,” he said. “You are dealing with a race-based plan, which will likely incur a constitutional challenge.”

The commission also approved a $1.9 million contract with Campbell Contracting Co. Inc. to build a new fleet maintenance facility for the Shelby County Fire Department. The commission delayed approval of the contract two weeks ago in a debate about whether to hold the spending until a minority business plan is in place.

– Bill Dries

Funding for Southbrook Repairs Delayed

A Shelby County Commission resolution seeking $2.1 million in qualified energy conservation bonds to make roof and HVAC repairs to Southbrook Mall was sent back to committee Monday, May 23.

The owners of the Whitehaven mall sought $1.5 million from the city of Memphis during former Mayor A C Wharton’s administration for the same purpose but never got it.

County CAO Harvey Kennedy said the bond funding the mall owners are seeking would incur county debt for what would “essentially turn into a grant.”

Some commissioners expressed the same concerns several council members had about the funding being public money going for a private purpose.

The commission also approved a $2 million contract with Petroleum Traders Corp. for gas and diesel fuel in the new fiscal year.

And commissioners approved grants to four nonprofits totaling $10,800. The funding comes from a grant fund of $1.3 million with each of the 13 commissioners getting an allocation of $100,000 to make in grants. The grants must be approved by the full commission.

The four grants Monday leave the commission’s grant fund with a balance of $71,000 for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

– Bill Dries

GameStop Collecting Funds for St. Jude

The GameStop video game retailer announced this week that customers of GameStop and its affiliated ThinkGeek brand can donate at the point of purchase for children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital beginning Memorial Day weekend.

From Friday, May 27, through June 30, guests can donate at any GameStop or at gamestop.com. To thank guests who donate $1 or more, GameStop is offering triple PowerUp Rewards points on the donation amount. Guests also can donate at any ThinkGeek retail store.

A limited-edition T-shirt benefiting St. Jude will be available for purchase on thinkgeek.com. GameStop’s mobile gaming division, kongregate.com, as well as the gaming magazine Game Informer also will support St. Jude through an online awareness campaign, “Give for the Kids of St. Jude.”

Since first partnering with St. Jude in 2013, the company has helped raise more than $4.3 million.

– Andy Meek

PRSA Memphis Accepting VOX Awards Entries

The Memphis Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America has opened the entry period for the 2016 VOX Awards. VOX, Latin for voice, is PRSA Memphis’ annual awards event highlighting the work of communications industry professionals across the Mid-South.

This year, the chapter is introducing several new features, including online entry submissions meant to streamline the application and judging process. Also, three new awards have been added to recognize individual excellence in the PR profession. The new awards will spotlight a young professional, a practitioner with mid-range experience, and a top executive or chief honored for career leadership excellence.

Communications professionals from all business sectors are invited to submit their best work produced and used from April 1, 2015, to April 1 of this year. The majority of work must be created and overseen in the Mid-South/Memphis metro area. The regular entry deadline is July 8, and the late entry deadline is July 22, and membership in PRSA is not required to enter.

Information about award categories, entry guidelines and submission details can be found prsamemphis.secure-platform.com. The 2016 VOX Awards ceremony date and location will be announced soon

– Don Wade

First Tennessee Tweaks West Tennessee Leadership

First Tennessee Bank has announced some Memphis-area executive changes.

Louis F. “Bo” Allen Jr., executive vice president and manager of commercial banking for First Tennessee’s West Tennessee region, will be promoted to West Tennessee president on June 30.

Bruce Hopkins, who has been First Tennessee’s West Tennessee president since 2011, will become chairman of the region.

Allen will report to David Popwell, president of banking for First Tennessee’s parent company, First Horizon National Corp. Hopkins will provide community leadership, mentoring and business development in his role as West Tennessee chairman.

– Andy Meek

Dermatology Practice Building Arlington Office

Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Associates, which has offices in Germantown and Olive Branch, is building a new office in Arlington.

The 14,500-square-foot building will house skin cancer treatment services, cosmetic dermatology procedures and spa treatments.

The $2.4 million building will open this fall at 5349 Airline Road, at the corner of Milton Wilson Boulevard.

Ledford Engineering and Planning LLC is the architect on the project.

– Madeline Faber

Violent Crime Rises In Latest Local Statistics

The major violent crime rates in Memphis and countywide were up from a year ago, according to new crime statistics released Thursday, May 26, by the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission.

The numbers for the month of April show the major violent crime rate in Memphis for January through April was up 9.2 percent compared to the same four months of 2015. It was up 10.8 percent countywide from a year ago.

The category includes murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery.

The city’s 8.1 murders per 100,000 people was an increase in homicides of 55.9 percent compared to a year ago. Countywide, the murder rate was 5.6 per 100,000, which was also a 55.9 percent increase from a year ago.

Reported rapes decreased by 19.4 percent in Memphis from a year ago and by 15.7 percent countywide.

Aggravated assaults were up 8.6 percent in Memphis and 10.7 percent countywide.

Robberies in the city increased 14.7 percent over a year ago and 14.3 percent countywide.

Incoming Crime Commission president Bill Gibbons termed the violent crime statistics “unacceptable.”

Gibbons takes the president’s post in September after leaving his current post of Tennessee Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security.

During his tenure with the state, Gibbons has remained part of the crime commission and Operation: Safe Community, the coalition of local law enforcement and criminal justice system leaders.

Gibbons said the leaders should remain committed to the statistics-driven strategy of Operation: Safe Community, “including data-driven deployment of police, vigorous prosecution of convicted felons who persist in toting guns, effective drug treatment and breaking the cycle of domestic violence.”

“We have planned our work,” he said in a written statement. “We need to keep working our plan.”

The major property crime category saw a 4.5 percent decrease January-April in Memphis compared to the same four months in 2015. The property crime category saw a 6.8 percent drop countywide over the same period from a year ago.

That category includes burglaries, thefts and car thefts.

– Bill Dries

Tony Allen Selected to NBA All-Defensive Second Team

Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen has been named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team for the 2015-16 season, the NBA announced.

This marks the fifth career All-Defensive selection for Allen, who previously received First Team honors in 2014-15, 2012-13 and 2011-12 and a Second Team selection in 2010-11. Allen has now been recognized on the NBA All-Defensive Teams five times in his six seasons with the Grizzlies.

Allen averaged 8.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists and a team-leading 1.72 steals in 64 games (57 starts) for Memphis this season. The 34-year-old was tied for the NBA lead with Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio in steals per 48 minutes (3.3) among players with a minimum of 1,500 total minutes played. The Grizzlies’ defensive rating was 2.2 points better with Allen on the floor (104.1) than with him off the floor (106.3). And he reached 1,000 career steals on March 7 at Cleveland.

The NBA All-Defensive First Team is comprised of unanimous-selection Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs; forward Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors; center DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers; and guards Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics and Chris Paul of the Clippers.

Joining Allen (121 points, 44 First Team & 33 Second Team votes) on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team is Atlanta’s Paul Millsap (97 points), Indiana’s Paul George (48 points), Miami’s Hassan Whiteside (126 points) and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler (62 points).

–Don Wade

Collierville Shopping Center Sells for $3.5 Million

2140-2150 Poplar Avenue Holdings LLC, a company of Maryland-based CW Capital Asset Management LLC, sold a Collierville shopping center in a May 20 warranty deed to PHC Country Club Collections LLC for $3.5 million.

The shopping center, which stretches from 2140 to 2150 W. Poplar Ave., includes Bangkok Alley and Chiropractic Memphis among its tenants.

According to the Shelby County Assessor of Property, the center was built in 2004 and bears 24,480 square feet. It was most recently appraised at $2.6 million.

In conjunction with the sale, PHC Country Club Collections signed a $1.4 million mortgage for the property with Wells Fargo Bank. The loan was signed May 23, 2016, and matures June 15, 2026.

– Madeline Faber

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 143 381 16,005
MORTGAGES 148 432 18,480
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 14 48 2,453
BUILDING PERMITS 184 635 33,149
BANKRUPTCIES 59 237 10,250
BUSINESS LICENSES 37 110 5,288
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 16 108 6,256
MARRIAGE LICENSES 16 79 3,492