VOL. 132 | NO. 79 | Thursday, April 20, 2017
Trolley Buses Exit Main Street Mall
The trolley buses the Memphis Area Transit Authority has been using on the Main Street Mall since the rail trolleys were shut down in June 2014 are about to go back to the garage.
The transit authority plans to end the use of the buses on the mall May 8 as it prepares for the return of the rail trolleys to service.
Cobblestone pavers and tracks on the mall between Exchange Avenue to the north and Peabody Place to the south will be replaced and repaired.
Trolley buses will continue to run southbound on Second Street and northbound on Front Street, parallel to the mall, between Exchange and Peabody Place with fixed route bus stops.
For more information on routes, call 901-274-MATA.
– Bill Dries
Southeast Memphis Office Sells for $8.3 Million
A Nashville-based company has purchased its second Memphis office property in a week.
Priam Capital, doing business as 8700 Trail Lake LLC, bought the 60,000-square-foot Tournament Trails building in southeast Memphis from Tournament Trails Office Building I LLC for $8.3 million, according to a warranty deed filed with the Shelby County Register of Deeds Wednesday, April 17.
William Batt, the CFO of Kemmons Wilson Cos., signed the deed as vice president of Tournament Trails Office Building.
In conjunction with the purchase, Priam Capital took out a $5.4 million mortgage with RGA Reinsurance Co. that will mature on May 1, 2024. Priam co-founder and partner Abhishek Mathura signed the paperwork.
Sitting on four acres at 8700 Trail Lake Drive West, the Class A office space was built in 2002, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property. It was last appraised for $5.4 million in 2016.
This marks the second purchase by Priam in a week.
The company bought Primacy II, a 123,265-square-foot East Memphis office building located at 6055 Primacy Parkway near the intersection of Ridgway Road and Park Avenue, from The Southland Cos. for $16.6 million, according to a warranty deed filed April 11.
In conjunction with that purchase, Priam took out a $10.6 million mortgage on the property, also through Missouri-based RGA Reinsurance Co.
– Patrick Lantrip
Major Violent Crime Drops, Car Thefts Rise in Q1
Major violent crime in Memphis and countywide through the first quarter of 2017 remained at basically the same level compared to a year ago.
The new March statistics from the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission show violent crime in general increased 0.3 percent countywide and 0.2 percent in Memphis from January through March compared to the same three months of 2016.
By the four categories that make up major violent crime, murders were down 26 percent citywide and countywide compared to the first quarter of 2016. But reported rapes were up 22 percent countywide and 23.5 percent in Memphis.
Major property crime for the first three months of 2017 was up 12.9 percent countywide and 14.6 percent in the city compared to a year ago.
The spike was driven by a 53.9 percent increase countywide in motor vehicle thefts and a 52.3 percent increase in the city compared to the first three months of 2016.
The car theft rate began to spike earlier in the year.
Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said arrests for car theft increased in the first quarter, rising by 68 percent compared with a year ago.
The number of juveniles charged with auto theft in Memphis has increased 81 percent from a year ago, according to Rallings.
Crime Commission president Bill Gibbons says the spike is a concern.
“It is encouraging that law enforcement is responding through aggressive enforcement as reflected in the increase in arrests,” Gibbons said in a written statement. “Hopefully, this will send a clear message to perpetrators and serve as a deterrent going forward.”
– Bill Dries
Soulsville Community Center Files $3 Million Building Permit
A $3 million building permit for Tom Shadyac’s new Soulsville community center has been filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement.
The permit application for 879 E. McLemore Ave. was filed by Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. and lists the nonprofit organization Foundation for I Am as both the tenant and owner.
The permit also calls for the construction of a rock climbing wall, one of the community center’s features Shadyac originally told The Daily News about in April 2016.
At the time Shadyac, who is best known for directing “Patch Adams” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” said he plans to revive the pair of buildings with a climbing wall and recreation center, a 400-seat performing arts center and a “pay-what-you-can” restaurant.
Shadyac purchased the South Memphis site, a 77,000-square-foot community anchor that a local community development corporation tried and failed to develop, in September 2015 for $1.9 million.
The Foundation for I Am is a California-based nonprofit organization connected to Shadyac and a film he directed called “I AM,” which explores what is wrong with the world and ways to improve it, according to its website.
“The specific purpose of this corporation is to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those impoverished in our society,” its mission statement reads in part. “We will use our resources to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and comfort the sick.”
The philanthropic Hollywood filmmaker-turned-University of Memphis professor, however, is no stranger to Memphis.
His brother, Richard Shadyac Jr., is the current CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising arm for St. Jude. Their father, Richard Shadyac Sr., was a former ALSAC CEO.
– Patrick Lantrip
NCAA Men’s South Regional Returns to Memphis in 2021
The University of Memphis will play host to the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball South Regional with games set to be played at FedExForum on March 26 and March 28, 2021.
“The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is one of the most prestigious events in American sports, and we are extremely excited and proud to partner with the University of Memphis to once again host a South Regional here at FedExForum,” said Eric Granger, vice president of arena operations at FedExForum. “After a successful 2017 Men’s South Regional this spring, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to again showcase the Mid-South’s famous hospitality and bring attendees another unforgettable experience.”
This marks the fifth time FedExForum has served as the official competition venue for an NCAA Regional.
FedExForum previously hosted the NCAA’s 2009, 2014 and 2017 Men’s South Regional and the 2010 Women’s South Regional.
Ticket information will be released at a future date.
– Don Wade
Engineering Firm Owner Pleads to Taking Rival’s Info
For nearly two years the owner of a Memphis-based engineering firm was accessing and taking proprietary information from the computer servers of a rival firm where he once worked.
Jason Needham of Arlington, the co-owner of HNA Engineering, pleaded guilty this month to a federal charge of unauthorized access and is scheduled to be sentenced July 14 by U.S. District Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr.
Needham worked for the engineering firm Allen & Hoshall before forming his own company.
In the federal criminal information he agreed to, dated April 14, Needham admitted he accessed the servers of Allen & Hoshall and took digital renderings of engineering schematics and more than 100 documents with proposals and budgets for projects.
He also admitted accessing the company’s email files for marketing plans, proposals and fee structures.
The FBI, prosecutors and Allen & Hoshall executives estimate the value of the proprietary information he took at $425,000.
A criminal information is a process in which someone is charged with a federal crime and pleads guilty all in the same action.
– Bill Dries