VOL. 10 | NO. 17 | Saturday, April 22, 2017
Plans For Cement Silos On River Withdrawn
Plans for two 145-foot tall dry cement storage silos at the foot of the Mississippi River where Chickasaw Heritage Park and the National Ornamental Metal Museum sit atop the bluff have been withdrawn by the applicant, American Commercial Barge Line.
The Jeffersonville, Indiana, barge line with a Memphis riverside facility at 427 W. Illinois Ave. withdrew its application for the silos from the April 26 agenda of the Shelby County Board of Adjustment, according to a post from the Metal Museum Wednesday, April 19, on its Facebook page.
The museum and others had been rallying opponents of the plans to attend the Board of Adjustment meeting, with renderings showing the silos rising higher than the bluff top.
ACBL formally outlined its plans March 27, citing damage to 23 above-ground storage tanks at its Memphis facility from the 2011 flooding that reached the highest levels since the all-time highest recorded river level of 1937.
ACBL is a direct barge-to-truck facility and the tanks stored numerous products from petroleum to molasses. The storage tanks were damaged “beyond repair” in the flooding six years ago, according to the company.
Alternate sites were explored elsewhere in Memphis and in West Memphis, Arkansas, but all required building a new river terminal.
The company, in its application to the board for a zoning variance, said the existing terminal – which it believes has been in business under different owners for 100 years – is ideal because of its proximity to the interstate and the deep draft on that section of river, which means no interruptions in barge deliveries regardless of how high or low the river might be.
The industrial use clashes with long-held plans for residential development of the old Marine Hospital by Chickasaw Heritage Park where several ceremonial Indian mounds are located at the bluff’s edge.
The park is next to the French Fort neighborhood of single-family homes. French Fort homeowners had also expressed opposition to the proposed silos.
– Bill Dries
ServiceMaster May Pay Fizdale’s Fine for Ranting
Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale’s postgame rant about the officiating after losing Game 2 of a first-round playoff series in San Antonio resulted in a fine of $30,000.
But a tweet from ServiceMaster indicated the Memphis-based company might be willing to pay Fizdale’s fine, at least $25,000 of it. Fizdale’s closing line at his press conference, after he detailed the free throw disparity between one Spurs player – Kawhi Leonard – and the entire Grizzlies team was memorable: “Take that for data.”
The Grizzlies tweeted out a T-shirt design, with the words “Take That For Data,” that included Fizdale’s trademark black-rimmed glasses.
– Don Wade
Memphis Commute Challenge Begins in May
On average, Memphians spend $10,817 per year maintaining a vehicle and driving to work. The Commute Challenge, May 1 to 31, is a monthlong chance to try other commuting options and win prizes.
Employees and teams that join the Commute Challenge use public transit, biking, carpooling and walking to commute to work as often as they choose. Each trip to or from work earns points that qualify participants for commute-related prizes.
The Commute Challenge is sponsored by Commute Options, an initiative of Innovate Memphis, to promote transportation choices that improve economic and community health.
Employees who ditch drive-alone commuting may do so to improve their health, save money on car expenses, make productive use of travel time, support public transit and biking infrastructure, improve air quality, and reduce their impact on climate change, say the event organizers.
“As a bike commuter, I get almost an hour of exercise each day while others are stuck behind the wheel,” said Suzanne Carlson, transportation and mobility project manager for Innovate Memphis. “It’s a great way to get around.”
Business benefits from encouraging commute options can include tax savings, increased employee health and morale, and enhanced corporate image.
Local employers including the city of Memphis, Shelby County Health Department, creative consulting firm DCA, Memphis Medical District Collaborative and Church Health have already signed on to encourage co-workers to participate.
Doug McGowen, chief operating officer for the city of Memphis, is encouraging the team at City Hall.
“We support transit with free employee bus passes and May is the perfect month to support and challenge our employees to try healthy commute options, whether it’s taking the bus for the first time, bicycling or walking,” he said. “We’re looking forward to great participation from City Hall.”
Registration is happening now. Go to commuteoptionsmemphis.com to register and for more information.
– Don Wade
Memphis Made Brewing Starts Concert Series
This month, Memphis Made Brewing Co. is starting up something to showcase its love of the Bluff City’s music and community: the Memphis Made Community Concert Series.
Each month, the Cooper-Young brewery is booking a local band and choosing a local nonprofit to spotlight and support.
“We’re very focused on making Memphis a better place, and this is a small way to do that while enjoying local beer and music,” said Andy Ashby, co-founder of Memphis Made.
The series starts Sunday, April 23, and will benefit the Citizens to Preserve Overton Park.
Cash donations will be taken at the door and Memphis Made will be donating a portion of sales to CPOP.
The doors open at 1 p.m. with Brandon Taylor starting the music at 2 p.m. The Moon Glimmers perform at 3 p.m. and Turnstyles play at 5 p.m.
Food trucks Arepa 901 and MEMPopS will be on site all day.
– Daily News staff
FedEx Files $3.2M Permit for Renovation
FedEx has filed a $3.2 million building permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for building renovations at 3140 Tchulahoma Road.
That is the current location of FedEx Health Center West.
Grinder Haizlip Construction is listed as the contractor on the permit application while A2H is listed as the architect.
The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority is listed as the property owner.
The 62,022-square-foot building sits on 6.2 acres located near the FedEx Memphis World Hub.
It is appraised at $4.1 million.
– Patrick Lantrip
Trolley Buses Exiting 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 after May 8.
Trolley buses will continue to run southbound on Second Street and northbound on Front Street, parallel to the mall, 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 Ridgeway Road, 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 juvenile 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 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 '21
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.
– Bill Dries
Izakaya Ceasing Operations In Nineteenth Century Club
Izakaya, the once-promising Asian fusion restaurant located in the recently renovated Nineteenth Century Club building, announced it will be closing for good just four months after its grand opening.
Chef Jimmy Gentry made the announcement that operations would cease on Saturday, April 22, citing a lack of capital to continue operations.
“I am completely shocked by this announcement as I had signed a multi-year agreement and had great aspirations for the grandeur of the fully restored historic building,” Gentry said in a release. “We implemented standards of excellence for the operations and were making great headway under my team’s creativity and management. However, after only two months, the decision was made to close which, unfortunately, is out of my control.”
Owners Shon and Dan Lin, who invested $3.5 million to renovate the historic 16,000-square-foot mansion at 1433 Union Ave., made the switch to Gentry as head chef two months after beginning operations, and told Gentry Monday that the restaurant would be closing.
The Lins said they are seeking alternatives for the historic building.
“I am extremely grateful for all of the trust the staff has placed in me, following me for what they thought would be a long-term role,” Gentry said. “I am committed to working with all of the staff to try to get them placed in other restaurants or continue to work within my other ventures. I’m saddened by this turn of events as my team is my family and I’ll do all I can to help them.”
Gentry will continue working on his other projects, which include Paradox Catering and Consulting Co., pop-up dinner concept Paradox Underground Experience, and Café Brooks at the Brooks Museum.
– Patrick Lantrip
Commission OKs Design For Orgill Clubhouse
Shelby County Commissioners approved Monday, April 17, a $24,000 contract with John Pruett Architects for design of a roof replacement at the Orgill Park golf course clubhouse, 9080 Bethuel Road.
In other action, commissioners approved a $23,000 federal Homeland Security grant to upgrade monitors for the county Emergency Operations Center and for a three-year license for software that will allow local emergency responders to better track barge and cruise line traffic on the Mississippi River at Memphis.
And the commission voted 9-0 in favor of a resolution by commissioner David Reaves urging the state to stop evaluating teachers based on the TNReady student achievement tests, which got underway across the state this week.
Reaves, a former Shelby County Schools board member, described the testing as “onerous” and “a punitive measure.”
– Bill Dries
SCO to Renovate Student Areas, Diner
The Southern College of Optometry has announced plans for a significant expansion and renovation of the school’s diner, student lockers and study areas, which are housed on the fourth floor of SCO’s 11-story campus in the Memphis Medical District.
The renovation plans will add 1,000 square feet by closing in the balcony spaces, moving the lockers to the sixth floor, and upgrading the Blink Diner with a new kitchen and new furnishings that can serve both dining and studying functions.
“This project is part of Southern College of Optometry’s long-term commitment to its students and to the local medical district as a whole,” said SCO president Dr. Lewis Reich. “SCO is strongly invested in the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and its efforts to improve the area.”
During the renovations, the Blink Diner will temporarily relocate to the sixth floor. The second- floor lobby, third-floor breezeway and the breezeway between the tower and The Eye Center will be completely closed off, and one of the tower’s four elevators will be dedicated to construction use.
Formus Inc. will handle the architectural work and Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. will handle construction, which is scheduled to begin this month and wrap up in the fall.
Last week, Southern College of Optometry filed a $982,562 building permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for interior renovations at its 1245 Madison Ave. location.
– Patrick Lantrip