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VOL. 131 | NO. 235 | Thursday, November 24, 2016

Daily Digest

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Memphis Botanic Garden Names New Director

Michael D. Allen is the new executive director of the Memphis Botanic Garden, the nonprofit institution’s board of directors announced Tuesday, Nov. 22.

Allen comes to MBG after six years as president and CEO of Catholic Charities of West Tennessee and nearly 25 years with International Paper before that. Allen also serves as director of the Memphis Land Bank.

Allen succeeds Scott McCormick, who stepped down as executive director in May. McCormick, a Shelby County Schools board member and former Memphis City Council member, became director in February 2015 following the retirement of longtime director Jim Duncan that year.

Memphis Botanic Garden features 29 specialty gardens spanning 96 acres. It hosts 232,000 visitors and serves nearly 37,000 students each year.

– Bill Dries

Morris Auction Group Adds New Services in Destin, Fla.

Six months after Memphis-based Morris Auction Group expanded into Destin, Florida, the company is expanding the scope of its services there.

Morris’ Destin branch, Luxury Estates Auction Co., has added a new arm focused on traditional real estate services. Called Luxury Estates Realty Group, the arm will focus on showcasing and selling high net worth properties in the Destin/30A area and the Northwest Florida region.

The new realty group is comprised of LEAC’s current agents – Chris Camp, Vicki Stokes and Allie Stokes – plus the addition of five Realtors across two teams.

The Jourdan team, which has been in the traditional real estate business since 2008, includes former Memphians Debra Jourdan, Jeff Jourdan Sr. and Jeff Jourdan Jr. The Jenkins team, Heather and Tyler Jenkins, has been in real estate since 2006 and specializes in the Destin, Santa Rosa Beach and 30A areas.

Founded in 2007 by Jeff Morris, Morris Auction Group sells all types of real estate – including residential, commercial, investment, industrial and agricultural – in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida, along with personal property on request.

– Daily News staff

Freewheel Bike Rides To Keep on Turning

Due to the success of its fall program, Freewheel, a slow-ride bicycle program that offers tours of the Memphis Medical District, announced it will return for the spring.

In September and October, more than 250 cyclists showed up for the five biweekly bike rides offered by the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and Downtown Memphis Commission.

During its inaugural season, riders from more than 20 ZIP codes in the Mid-South met at 600 Monroe Ave. to explore everything from Victorian Village to the Pinch District, cumulatively logging 1,435 miles in the process.

“By showcasing the neighborhoods by bicycle, riders can see how connected we are to Uptown, Downtown and Midtown,” program and data director of the MMDC Abby Miller said.

Freewheel is just one of the latest efforts the city has taken to enhance Memphis’ reputation as a bike-friendly metropolis.

“Since being ranked one of the worst cities for biking in 2008, Memphis’ bicycle culture has become nationally known for its diversity and growth,” Anthony Siracusa, president of Bike Walk Tennessee and leader of the Carpenter Street Bike Shop’s Freewheel fleet restoration, said in a statement. “Freewheel is both the fruit of these longstanding local efforts and a road map for the future.”

Visit facebook.com/WeFreewheel for more information about the free program.

– Patrick Lantrip

Major Violent Crime Increase Continues Through October

The major violent crime rate in Memphis and across Shelby County remained higher year to date through October compared to the same period a year ago, according to the latest crime statistics from the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission.

The statistics, released Tuesday, Nov. 22, show a 3 percent increase from a year ago in Memphis’ major violent crime rate, a category that consists of murders, rapes, aggravated assaults and robberies.

Countywide, the major violent crime rate increased by 4.2 percent from the first 10 months of 2015.

The rate of murders in the city and countywide were responsible for most of the increase in the overall violent crime rate. In Memphis, the 21.5 murders per 100,000 population in the city marked a 23.7 percent increase from a year ago. Countywide, the 16 murders per 100,000 population amounted to a 28.2 percent increase from a year ago.

That is expected to continue when the November figures are tallied. The city logged its 200th homicide for 2016 before Thanksgiving, ahead of the homicide pace for 2015.

2016 began with a spike in the murder rate that has since slowed but still remains above the 2015 rate of 161. The city’s record is 213 homicides in 1993.

Meanwhile, the new numbers through October show increases in aggravated assaults and robberies year to date – up 3 percent and 4.7 percent respectively in Memphis from a year ago, and up 4.5 percent and 5 percent respectively countywide.

“Our big challenge is to develop and maintain a downward trend in our major violent crime rate,” said Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich, chair of the Operation: Safe Community anti-crime coalition, in a prepared statement.

The crime commission recently unveiled its new five-year plan for Operation: Safe Community.

Meanwhile, major property crime countywide is down 3.5 percent from the first 10 months of 2015 and down 1.7 percent citywide by the same comparison.

Motor vehicle thefts in the city spiked 14.5 percent compared to 2015 and went up 13.3 percent countywide. Burglaries dropped by 10.1 percent in the city compared to a year ago and dropped 11.4 percent countywide.

– Bill Dries

Lead Attorney Tapped For State AG’s Memphis Office

Attorney James Newsom has been tapped as lead attorney in the Memphis regional office of the Tennessee attorney general.

In his role as special counsel for the Memphis office, Newsom will assist on a range of cases. Most recently, he served as chancellor in the 30th Judicial District, which serves Shelby County.

His prior experience includes serving as special master of the Chancery Court for the 30th Judicial District as well as more than 30 years in private practice. Newsom was a member of the Memphis law firm Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh PLLC from 2005 until his appointment by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to the Chancery bench in 2015.

– Andy Meek

Pinnacle Financial Adds To Memphis HQ Staff

Andy Watkins has joined Pinnacle Financial Partners as a financial adviser assistant, based at Pinnacle’s Memphis headquarters on Quail Hollow Road.

Watkins brings 25 years of experience to the bank. He comes from Orion Real Estate Services, where he was the senior vice president of accounting. Previous roles included serving as the director of accounting with Centaurus Investments, chief financial officer and controller of LEDIC Management Group and financial analyst with Mid-America Apartment Communities.

Frank Stallworth, Pinnacle’s commercial real estate manager, said Watkins’ experience in property management, operations and accounting will be valuable as he provides service and advice for the bank’s Small Balance Loan Program.

– Andy Meek

Jernigan Capital to Invest $12.6M in Florida Facilities

Jernigan Capital Inc. is investing $12.6 million in two storage facilities in Florida, the Memphis-based real estate investment trust has announced.

Jernigan Capital, which provides debt and equity capital for the self-storage industry, reports it committed to invest $7.5 million in a proposed 784-unit facility in east Jacksonville that is being developed by Georgia-based PLG Properties LLC.

The company also is investing $5.1 million to add 256 units to its storage facility in Ocoee, Florida, a suburb of Orlando. The facility, which is managed by CubeSmart, opened in May and is 65 percent leased. Construction is expected to begin by the first week in December.

Jernigan Capital, which reported earnings in early November, posted third-quarter net income of $5 million, or 84 cents a share. The company also raised its full-year guidance to a range of $2.40 to $2.52 per share, up from its earlier estimate of $1.93 to $2.23 per share.

– Daily News staff

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 97 282 19,395
MORTGAGES 113 315 22,365
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 24 86 2,922
BUILDING PERMITS 278 550 39,866
BANKRUPTCIES 55 204 12,452
BUSINESS LICENSES 24 73 6,339
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 31 102 7,374
MARRIAGE LICENSES 13 72 4,433