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VOL. 10 | NO. 35 | Saturday, August 26, 2017

Daily Digest

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Emerald Park Apartments To Get $7 Million Upgrade

The Emerald Park Apartments in Southeast Memphis are undergoing nearly $7 million in renovations.

Crane Contractors LLC is handling a $6.9 million “general repair” of the property at 5958 Hickory Hill Square, according to a building permit application filed with the Office of Construction Code Enforcement.

The 15-acre apartment complex is owned by Emerald Properties LLC, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

The townhome-style apartment complex was built in 1974 and was last appraised for $2.2 million.

– Patrick Lantrip

Lips Are Smacking For Front Porch Oyster Roast

Chargrilled oysters, fresh-shucked raw oysters, oyster po’boys and more are on the menu for The Front Porch’s Oyster Roast that begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3.

The Front Porch, located at 251 Riverside Drive, is a pop-up dining experience on the banks of the Mississippi River that began in June. It is the brainchild of Patrick and Deni Reilly, owners of The Majestic Grille, and is operated in partnership with Majestic Hospitality Consulting and the Riverfront Development Corp.

The event will feature both East Coast and Gulf oysters, Milou wines by Valkyrie Selections and local beers. Local music by vocalist Marcella Simien and others will provide entertainment for the day. A limited menu will also be available from The Front Porch kitchen.

No reservations are required.

Oysters will be available for sale by the half dozen until sold out. A limited number of VIP tickets are available by calling 901-524-0187.

A $50 package comes with a cheese & game sausage platter, half-dozen raw oysters, half-dozen chargrilled oysters, low country corn and potatoes, two drink tickets for beer or featured wines, and reserved, shaded seating with waiter service. VIP tickets will not be available the day of event.

Go to the event calendar at frontporchmemphis.com for more information.

– Daily News staff

Appliance Company Inks Memphis Industrial Lease

CE North America, a subsidiary of appliance maker CEM Global, recently signed a lease to occupy a 45,000-square-foot facility in Southeast Memphis.

Hank Martin, NAI Saig Co. vice president and business manager, represented the tenant in the deal, while Tim Mashburn, vice president of Collier International’s Industrial Division, represented the landlord, DP 73 LLC.

Located at 4770 Malone Road, the 74,736-square-foot warehouse was built in 1994 and appraised this year for $1.5 million by the Shelby County Assessor.

– Patrick Lantrip

Memphis Meats Startup Raises $17M in Funding

A San Francisco-based startup with local connections and which is developing methods to produce meat directly from animal cells – without the need to breed or slaughter animals – has raised $17 million in funding from some big-name investors.

The Series A round for the company, Memphis Meats, was led by DFJ, a venture capital firm that is backed Tesla, SpaceX and Skype.

Cargill and other food-industry giants also invested as part of the round, as did Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk.

Memphis Meats co-founder Will Clem is a biomedical engineer whose family owns the local Baby Jack’s barbecue restaurant chain.

Memphis barbecue also helped inspire the meat-focused company’s name.

– Andy Meek

Paragon Bank Reports Strong Second Quarter

Paragon Bank has announced second-quarter earnings that included a 15 percent jump in net income over the second quarter of 2016.

During the first six months of 2017, net income grew 33 percent compared to the same period in 2016.

Among other highlights, the bank said gross loans grew at an annualized rate by $9.3 million, or 13 percent, to $297 million during the second quarter. Total deposits have increased by $9.1 million, or 6.5 percent, since Dec. 31, 2016.

Paragon CEO Robert Shaw said the bank is bullish on continuing that pace as the bank settles in to the third quarter.

– Andy Meek

Joy Touliatos Will Run For Shelby County Mayor

Juvenile Court Clerk Joy Touliatos formally announced Thursday, Aug. 24, she is running for Shelby County mayor in the May 2018 Republican primary.

Touliatos is serving her second term as clerk, elected in 2010 and 2014, and has been a county employee for 22 years.

In announcing her candidacy, Touliatos emphasized her experience as an administrator.

“I know down to the paperclip where cuts can be made and I’m prepared to make them,” she said in a written statement. “Real leadership is not about scoring cheap political points or positioning yourself for another office. Real leadership is about being ready to tackle the challenges before you now and having the wisdom and determination to make a difference.”

In the Republican primary, Touliatos joins Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir and Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland. Former Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism is running in the Democratic primary for mayor.

The Touliatos campaign team includes campaign co-chairs John Bobango, an attorney and former Memphis City Council member, and Paula Sedgwick, a Bartlett alderman. Former Memphis City Council member Brent Taylor is her campaign treasurer.

Touliatos was a campaign co-chair for Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s 2015 campaign.

– Bill Dries

TVA Efforts Related To Contamination Continue

The Tennessee Valley Authority has installed new monitoring wells near shallow coal ash groundwater monitoring wells at its Allen Fossil Plant that recently showed high levels of arsenic, lead and other contaminants.

The new wells are part of an effort to find the source of the contamination and ensure the Memphis drinking water remains safe, according to TVA.

While the coal ash ponds showed higher levels of contaminants, testing by Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division has shown no contamination of the water supply to date.

TVA has contracted with experts from the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Memphis to map the underlying geology and learn more about the movement of groundwater at the site.

The new, permanent monitoring wells being installed around the coal ash storage area will vary from 20 to 160 feet underground. Information from these wells will show how far down any contamination has penetrated, according to the TVA, which said the remedial investigation will take several months.

Local officials have feared the higher level of contaminants found in the Allen ash ponds have been the result of wells that TVA dug to cool water while it is constructing its new natural gas-fired power plant near the Allen plant in Southwest Memphis.

MLGW president Jerry Collins is on record saying he wished the TVA had purchased the cooling water from MLGW from existing MLGW wells rather than install new wells.

State Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis have been among the local officials asking for further investigations into the water wells to ensure there is no broaching of the drinking water supply.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is the regulating body over such matters and has been involved throughout the process. Results of the latest TVA efforts and any information gleaned throughout this remediation process will be reported to the TDEC, TVA said.

– Daily News staff

Highland Strip Lands New Pottery Studio

Belltower Artisans, a pottery studio and coffee shop founded in 2016 by college students Micah Dempsey and Christopher Galbreath, has inked a deal to move into a 2,788-square-foot space in the Highland Strip.

Aaron Petree represented landlord Loeb Properties in the deal.

Belltower Artisans offers a full range of pottery classes, from “Date Night” classes to multi-week beginner, intermediate and advanced level courses.

Dempsey and Galbreath first met in art class while attending Harding Academy, where they were studying pottery making. Eventually the pair relocated to Memphis and opened their first location in Minglewood Hall, before deciding to relocate to the Highland Strip to be nearer to the University of Memphis.

The new location will serve as a wholesale production facility for several local businesses and will include a retail/gallery space. Meanwhile, the coffee house portion of the venue will host live events, gatherings and will serve light snacks and locally sourced coffee.

Construction is expected to begin soon and wrap up before the end of the year.

– Patrick Lantrip

First of 4 Potbelly Shops To Open in Olive Branch

Potbelly Sandwich Shop has signed an agreement to bring four shops to Memphis and the surrounding area, with the first shop set to open in Olive Branch by the end of 2017.

The restaurant chain, which started in Chicago in 1977, features toasted sandwiches, salads and soups, along with hand-dipped milkshakes and live music.

Fabian Nelson, who is franchising the four Memphis-area locations, says he was first intrigued by how Potbelly stood out from other sandwich concepts with its distinctive atmosphere and commitment to the local neighborhood. He adds that he plans to make his Potbelly shops reflective of the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” with local style and live music from Memphis musicians.

“I wanted to bring a restaurant here that compliments the local Memphis vibe, and it was clear Potbelly is the perfect match for the funky qualities that make the area so unique,” Nelson said in a release.

With the newly signed agreement, Nelson plans to open his first sandwich shop by the end of the year at 5400 Goodman Road, in Olive Branch, Mississippi, with three more to follow in Memphis, Shelby County and the surrounding areas over the next three years.

Potbelly operates more than 400 shops across the United States. In addition, franchisees operate more than 35 shops in the U.S. and abroad, with more franchise growth planned. Currently, the closest Potbelly location is in Little Rock.

– Daily News staff

Study: Memphis Cellulose Has $50M Annual Impact

A new economic impact analysis conducted by the University of Memphis’ Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research shows Memphis Cellulose, one of six Georgia-Pacific Cellulose manufacturing facilities, contributes nearly $50 million to the local economy annually.

The company directly and indirectly employs about 300 people locally to support its Memphis Cellulose mill and Technology & Innovation Center, both of which were owned by Buckeye Technologies Inc. before being acquired by Georgia-Pacific in 2013.

Since 2013, Memphis Cellulose has given more than $2 million in monetary and in-kind donations to local charitable organizations through the GP Foundation, which has four community investment priorities – education, enrichment, entrepreneurship and environment. This includes the donation of the former Buckeye Technologies headquarters building to United Way of the Mid-South.

The Memphis Cellulose mill produces cellulose-based pulp from cotton linter. The pulp is used to make a variety of products, including LED displays, technical papers, paints, currency papers and filtration, among other products. The Memphis Technology & Innovation Center, meanwhile, delivers research and development support to all GP Cellulose facilities.

The Greater Memphis Chamber says the economic impact analysis underscores the value of a robust manufacturing sector in Memphis. In 2014, Memphis’ gross metro product – a monetary measure of the value of all final goods and services produced within a metropolitan statistical area during a specified period – topped nearly $8 billion with 900 manufacturing firms employing more than 44,000 people.

“The manufacturing sector is a vital component of our local economy, providing living wage jobs across the region. We’re thankful to have companies like Memphis Cellulose who not only employ people throughout the Mid-South but also give back to our community,” said Phil Trenary, president and CEO of the chamber.

– Daily News staff

Emancipation Exhibition Coming to Chucalissa

A traveling exhibition that opens at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa on Sept. 10 examines the relationship between two great people’s movements that resulted in the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the March on Washington in 1963.

One hundred years separate the two events, yet they are linked in a larger story of liberty and the American experience – one that has had a profound impact on the generations that followed.

The exhibition, “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963” is presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History, in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office.

The exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities and is part of NEH’s Bridging Cultures initiative. That initiative, “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” (createdequal.neh.gov), is bringing four films on the civil rights movement to communities across the United States and encourages communities to revisit and reflect on the long history of civil rights in America.

The exhibition will travel to 50 venues across the nation, accompanied by public programming that will help audiences understand and discuss the relationship between the two movements.

The museum is sponsoring free programs in connection with the exhibition, which will be on display through Oct. 20. For more information, visit www.memphis.edu/chucalissa, call 901-785-3560 or email chucalissa@memphis.edu.

– Daily News staff

Chamber Launches New Website With Contest

The Greater Memphis Chamber has launched a new website designed to provide a more user-friendly experience with improved navigation and functionality throughout.

MemphsChamber.com, sponsored by First Tennessee, offers users from all over the world a first look at Memphis with a focus on business and talent.

Memphis-based inferno was hired to create the new look and feel of the chamber’s website.

MemphisChamber.com serves a range of audiences – from Memphians looking for resources for their business to outside site selection consultants or businesses looking for information for possible relocation. Users will have access to content such as:

• Data for site selectors looking at Memphis for possible new economic development projects

• Videos, photos and information promoting Memphis as a place for talented and young professionals to live

• Resources for starting and growing your business in Memphis

• Finding commercial real estate properties through the site’s interactive Real Estate Search feature

• Opportunities to make connections with other business leaders by applying for the Ascend program or getting Advice on Tap

• Data on the Memphis economy

• Updates on chamber activities, member news and events, and business opportunities

• Blogs from local industry experts

Those who explore the new website could be awarded prizes in a contest over the next four weeks, including Memphis Grizzlies opening night tickets in the lower level and box seats for the Memphis Redbirds’ last home game. Users will go on a virtual scavenger hunt on the website to answer questions and be entered to win. One entry per week, per individual. Entries for this week’s contest must be completed by midnight CST on Aug. 25.

– Daily News staff

Blue Moon Estate Sales Enters Memphis Market

A national franchise with niche in real estate sales has opened an operation in the greater Memphis area.

Rick and Lori Blanton are operators of the new Blue Moon Estate Sales business that is the first in the Tennessee and Mississippi markets. They opened for business out of their home on July 24 and are serving Memphis, Germantown, Collierville, Arlington, Eads, Cordova, Millington, and Bartlett in Shelby County; Oakland and Rossville in Fayette County; and Southaven, Nesbit, Olive Branch and Hernando in Mississippi.

The Blantons own and operate Blue Moon Estate Sales of Memphis out of their home. The duo worked in the transportation industry for nearly 30 years before going into semi-retirement and then deciding to launch the Blue Moon franchise. They plan to involve their three children, ages 24, 19 and 16.

Blue Moon Estate Sales offers an extensive list of services provided during the liquidation process: from determining a convenient timeline to sweeping up after the sale, Blue Moon also offers a complimentary evaluation of the home, appropriate pricing from antiques to everyday items, categorization and staging of the home, marketing, hosting and staffing of the sale.

For more information, call Blue Moon Estate Sales of Memphis at 901-331-1887 or visit bluemoonestatesales.com/memphis/.

– Daily News staff

MSCAA Files $100M Building Permit

With its massive $214 million overhaul currently underway, the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority has filed a $100 million building permit application with construction code officials.

A spokesperson with Memphis International Airport said the project’s architects, UrbanArch, filed the permit, which simply cites alterations and additions. Code inspection officials will have to examine the plans.

In April, the airport announced the updated $214 million, multiyear plan to completely overhaul its B Concourse, where almost all of the airport’s operations will be consolidated upon completion.

Some of the concourse modernization plans include higher ceilings, increased natural light, wider corridors, larger gate areas, additional seating, moving walkways and charging stations, a stage for live music, and additional lounge areas, including a children’s play area.

Most recently, MSCAA approved more than $50 million worth of construction contracts related to the overhaul at its meeting last week on Thursday, Aug. 17.

Among them were Chris Woods Construction Co.’s $25.6 million contract to build a CONRAC maintenance facility, Chris-Hill Construction Co.’s $22.7 million to construct two airport taxiway bridges, and A&B Construction Co.’s $1.56 million contract for restroom and apron-level improvements on Concourse A.

Construction on the overall project is expected to wrap up sometime in the early part of 2021.

– Patrick Lantrip

Memphis Baseball Begins 'Babe' Howard Expansion

The University of Memphis has broken ground on a 1,600 square-foot addition to the W.S. “Babe” Howard Training Facility attached to FedExPark, University of Memphis Athletic Director Tom Bowen announced.

The facility expansion was made possible by the generosity of Ray and Laura Rosas, among other private donors and friends of the University of Memphis baseball program. Laura Rosas is the daughter of the late Babe Howard and has been a supporter of Memphis baseball for several years.

FedExPark was originally completed in 2010, including the indoor facility along the first base line. The W.S. “Babe” Howard Training Facility currently includes the Tigers clubhouse, an athletic training room, pitching and batting cages, coach’s offices and a players’ lounge.

The new expansion will include a team meeting room and additional coach’s offices. With the additional office space, the Tigers will be able to have their entire coaching and support staff in the same building.

Memphis bounced back during the 2017 season, finishing with a 30-29 record, marking the sixth season of 30 or more wins in the last seven years. Three Tiger players were drafted – Chris Carrier (Cubs), Drew Crosby (Tigers) and Colton Hathcock (Rockies) – while Brandon Grudzielanek signed a free agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

– Don Wade

Tiger Scholarship Fund Celebrating 901 Day

The Tiger Scholarship Fund, the fundraising wing of the University of Memphis Athletic Department, is honoring 901 Day with a special promotion. Fans have the opportunity to win a $901 shopping spree at Tiger Book Store by making a $25 donation to the Tiger Scholarship Fund.

To enter, make a gift of $25 or more to the Tiger Scholarship Fund by Friday, Sept. 1. The winner of the $901 shopping spree will be announced on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

To make a gift, contact the Tiger Scholarship Fund at 901-678-2334.

– Don Wade

LA Fitness to Begin Work On East Memphis Gym

L.A. Fitness has filed a $3.5 million building permit application to begin interior buildout work at its East Memphis gym, located at 4572 Poplar Ave. in Poplar Commons.

Seritage Growth Partners was listed as the owner on the permit application, while James F. Turner Engineers and Studio 222 Architects were listed as the engineer and architect, respectively.

Seritage’s $25 million Poplar Commons center, which is going up on the former Sears site across from Oak Court Mall, will be anchored by the city’s first Nordstrom Rack.

Following Sears’ closure in April 2016, Seritage razed the store and auto center on a nearby outparcel and began construction on the five new buildings that compose the new center.

In June, cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty sought a $450,000 permit to work on the interior of its future location inside the same shopping center.

The center will reach “substantial completion” in the third quarter, the company said in May.

– Patrick Lantrip

Tennessee Unemployment Rate Drops in July

Tennessee’s unemployment rate fell to a paltry 3.4 percent in July, down from 3.6 percent the previous month, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The national unemployment rate stood at 4.3 percent in July, down slightly from 4.4 percent in June and 4.9 percent a year ago.

Between June and July, nonfarm employment increased by 4,700 jobs in Tennessee, the department reported.

– Daily News staff

PROPERTY SALES 81 201 16,108
MORTGAGES 40 104 10,026
BUILDING PERMITS 130 336 38,272
BANKRUPTCIES 28 56 7,528