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VOL. 131 | NO. 214 | Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Beale Street Blues, Feds Review MPD and Midtown Kroger

By Bill Dries

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It’s the Grizz season opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves at FedExForum Wednesday. But there was plenty of drama in the Grizzlies office Tuesday afternoon of the non-Grizz variety but nevertheless a shade of Beale Street blue.

The office is where the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority meets. And Tuesday the authority made a big decision to end its contract talks with the 21 Beale group to manage the entertainment district on a day-to-day basis. That means the Downtown Memphis Commission will remain the manager into the new year – entering its third year as the “interim” manager – a longer stay in the job than anyone involved anticipated.

At the Federal Building Wednesday morning, we hear more about a Justice Department investigation of the Memphis Police Department – specifically why it does what it does. It is an investigation the city is cooperating in. The part of the Justice Department doing this has done similar studies in other cities that called into question police department policies and pointed toward community policing. There is also a federal component that will likely involve federal funding of hiring officers to give the MPD the numbers it needs to undertake a renewal of community policing, which Mayor Jim Strickland has backed. Up to this point, the administration’s response to the idea of changing police policies has been that they are hearing more from the public about law and order than changing how police do their jobs

You know FedEx Express, Ground and all of the other parts of the FedEx portfolio – but you may not have heard of another FedEx subsidiary – Genco – a warehouse company specifically for health care manufacturers. Genco and FedEx announced Tuesday that they are opening a 1.1 million square foot warehouse next to its global super hub here as well as another one in Ontario.

FedEx bought the 3PL in 2015.

And to give you an idea of the size of this warehouse. Crosstown Concourse is 1.5 million square feet.

More details on Monday’s Germantown Board of Mayor and Alderman vote on a PILOT for Mid-America Apartment Communities to move just a bit further east on Poplar to the TraVure mixed use development, which now has an anchor in the process.

Gill Properties plans to finish the five-story office building that MAA will occupy most of by January 2018. And you might call TraVure, the first piece of the “western gateway” the city has planned as part of its “smart growth” strategy.

Orion has the newest and probably most visible bank in the Memphis Medical Center with the opening this month of their new branch at Poplar and Dunlap. But it’s not the only financial institution in the city’s competitive banking environment in the district.

Also in the financial world, The Memphis News Economic Overview for the third quarter finds 5.6 percent of the employers polled by Dixon Hughes Goodman for our economic indicator survey plan to increase staff and 7.1 percent expecting an increase in revenue. The results are grouped by the size of the employer and these percentages are overall among the four sizes of employers. The overall results show 7 percent of the employers see economic improvement of the city and 7.3 percent see an economic improvement in their company.

ServiceMaster reports a net income rise Tuesday in its third quarter earning call.

The Shelby County District Attorney General’s office is not investigating the Justin Timberlake polling place selfie taken Monday at New Bethel Church. That is despite earlier word from the prosecutor’s office that made news far beyond Memphis.

District Attorney General Amy Weirich was out of town at a conference where word reached her of the controversy. So Tuesday afternoon she weighed in decisively, calling the earlier statement “incorrect” and “released without my knowledge.”

“No one in our office is currently investigating this matter nor will we be using our limited resources to do so,” her written statement reads.

In other early voting development, the Shelby County Election Commission has added an hour to the early voting hours starting Thursday. From then through Nov. 3, the 21 early voting sites in Shelby County will be open starting at 9 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. This was on the recommendation of Election Administrator Linda Phillips.

In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he might make some post-election moves toward medical marijuana legalization if two pot proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot there fail.

The Midtown Kroger reopens Nov. 2. Actually this is not a reopening but an opening of the new version of what was one of the city’s oldest existing supermarkets and also one of its quirkiest. Not quite as small as the supermarket in “Double Indemnity” but close and its parking lot was its own quirkiness. That Seesel’s turned Seesel’s by Albertsons turned Schucks turned Kroger is now the new parking lot. The carillon at Idlewild Presbyterian Church remains.

Lots happening along the Wolf River Wednesday and Thursday – Wednesday it’s a new boat access point in Piperton by the TWRA and Thursday it’s a federal grant to be used in the trailhead that is expected to transform Kennedy Park in Raleigh where the Wolf it at its northernmost point in Shelby County. This is the trailhead that will also include Greenway facilities on the other side of the river in what was once the Epping Forest development.

Don Wade with a College Football Notebook featuring a “baker’s dozen” of observations.

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173