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VOL. 132 | NO. 71 | Monday, April 10, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Restless Off Season, Memphis Open Closes and Single-Family Rentals

By Bill Dries

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This is proving to be a restless off-season for Tigers basketball and it is not even summer yet. Add freshman guard Keon Clergeot to the Tigers players exiting the program with word still to come from Markel Crawford. Meanwhile, the Tigers have signed their second junior college recruit – Kyvon Davenport -- at forward.

Meanwhile, Tigers coach Tubby Smith turns up in a Forbes piece from last week on the recurring question of paying players.

And the ghost of John Calipari will come calling this week in a new documentary for ESPN that includes the season that wasn’t at the U of M.

As the weekend started, another piece of bad news on the sports front with word that the Memphis Open tennis tournament is moving to Long Island, New York – a sports tradition for more than 40 years. Some of you will remember when organizers of the Memphis Open talked of moving it to the then-newly constructed Pyramid in the early 1990s before settling in to remain at the Racquet Club.

The “Gateway” project – a revitalization of the area around the convention center and including the convention center as well as the nine blocks between the Pyramid and St. Jude – is becoming more specific with word as the weekend began of the sale of the city’s largest hotel and also its convention center hotel to a new joint venture. New owners for what is now the Sheraton will come with some expectations that there will be some renovations at the hotel to at least go with the coming renovations of the convention center.

A total of 265 people had cast early votes Friday and Saturday in the special primary elections in state House District 95. This is the race for the seat that Republican Mark Lovell resigned from less than a month into the legislative session in Nashville. It is still very early with early voting running through April 22 and April 27 being election day, but turnout is about twice as much at the Collierville location as at the Germantown location. And while we are waiting for a breakdown of turnout by which side of the partisan divide voters are voting on, we expect much of this turnout is in the Republican primary because there are seven contenders in that primary and Julie Byrd Ashworth, the long Democrat in that party’s primary, is already in the June general election by virtue of being unopposed.

If you want an idea of how deep the real estate crater is from the recession of eight to nine years ago, just take a look at how much of the city’s single family stock has been bought by investors and is being rented out by those investors.

The numbers from Chandler Reports, the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc., show 25 percent of home sales countywide last year were to investors and of the sales to investors, 42 percent were to out-of-town investors.

This is a number we explored a couple of weeks ago on “Behind The Headlines” on WKNO-TV and you heard some discussion about it as well on this week’s show which we will have more about in the Tuesday edition.

Here is a more detailed look at the phenomenon – where it is most prevalent and a detailed report on one neighborhood in particular.

First quarter numbers from the industrial real estate market in the Memphis area show a vacancy rate of 8 percent and CBRE, which compiled the first quarter numbers, says the low inventory of industrial real estate means developers should be building more speculative space. Just over 1 million square feet of new space came on line in the first three months of 2017. DeSoto County led the way for the area and its leasing activity is above the southeast market’s performance.

The CEO of Regional One Health says it is no accident that you probably don’t associate start-ups with health care. You probably associate them with medical research, but the health care industry away from research – no.

“The nation’s health care system as a whole is resistant to change,” is one of the things Dr. Reginald Coopwood told us for our weekly cover story by Andy Meek on the Med’s plans for an innovation center there – a 15,000 square foot center at the city’s public hospital. And the nature of innovation there is not about coming up with ideas out of thin air. It’s about innovation around problems and solutions that employees up and down the ranks come through the door with every day. This is where start-ups meet the world of the reddest of regulatory red tape – the federal brand of red tape. And because of that it may be the real proving ground for innovation that gets at patient care separate from medical break throughs.

Scott Vogel, who leads the innovation effort at Regional One is the keynote speaker for our Newsmakers Series seminar Thursday at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art on start-ups in general.

The local task force on de-annexation recommends de-annexation referendums in the three most recently annexed areas of the city, automatic de-annexations in three other areas and keeping a section of Raleigh as part of the city. And Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland who proposed the seven areas is backing the findings of the group of city and county leaders. There is certain to be more discussion of this by the full city council which includes some members who think a de-annexation of some areas is inevitable and some members who believe it is unthinkable.

A new five-year plan for Memphis International Airport.

Chamber music coming to Broad Avenue as First Baptist on Broad hosts the second week of the PRIZM Music Camp and International Chamber Music Festival in June. The first week will remain at Shady Grove Presbyterian. Last year, the festival was at capacity at Shady Grove and is looking to stretch its legs as well as its reach.

The Memphis News Almanac: Ford Acquitted, Wimpy’s Gives Way to the Rendezvous and Nike Expands in Frayser.

PROPERTY SALES 105 193 8,028
MORTGAGES 120 239 9,024
BUILDING PERMITS 192 445 17,512
BANKRUPTCIES 27 69 5,228