VOL. 10 | NO. 49 | Saturday, December 2, 2017
Chamber Announces 2018 '10 to Watch'
Every year, the Greater Memphis Chamber honors 10 of its member companies and organizations they believe are on track for a great upcoming calendar year.
This year’s companies to watch are A+ Parking, AllWorld Project Management, Christ Community Health Services, H Saga International/Port Alliance, Morris Marketing Group, Nickey Warehouses, Nucor Steel, The Memphis Redbirds, The Seam and Tri-State Bank.
“At the Chamber, we love to celebrate our members’ growth, innovation and creativity, which helps bring in more jobs and investment to our community,” Greater Memphis Chamber president and CEO Phil Trenary said in a release. “These organizations all have talented teams who help make these organizations a success and we can’t wait to see what they do next.”
More information about these companies can be found in the Memphis Crossroads Magazine that will be available Dec. 6 after the Chamber’s Annual Chairman’s Luncheon.
– Patrick Lantrip
Nine Tigers Take AAC All-League Honors
The University of Memphis football team placed nine players on the American Athletic Conference all-league teams and two Tigers claimed individual awards.
Redshirt sophomore Tony Pollard was named the conference's Special Teams Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season, marking the fifth straight season a Tiger has grabbed AAC Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
Pollard and senior linebacker Genard Avery were repeat first-team honorees in the vote by league coaches and were joined on the first team by seniors Riley Ferguson, Anthony Miller, Gabe Kuhn and junior Trevon Tate.
Freshman defensive back TJ Carter was named the league’s Rookie of the Year and garnered second-team honors along with teammates Darrell Henderson and Joey Magnifico.
The following are the nine honored Tigers and a brief summary of their statistics and accomplishments from 2017:
• LB Genard Avery, senior linebacker. Leads The American with 18.5 tackles for loss this season and stands in the top 10 in the FBS.
• Riley Ferguson, senior quarterback. Top 15 in the FBS in passing yards (3,500), passing touchdowns (32) and points responsible for (228). Ferguson’s 3,500 passing yards ranks third in a single season in Tigers’ program history and his 32 TD passes ties his own school record, which he set in 2016. Ferguson’s 7,198 career passing yards is third all-time at Memphis and his 64 career touchdowns ranks second.
• Anthony Miller, senior wide receiver. Memphis’ all-time leading receiver with 220 receptions for 3,340 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns, which are all program records. Miller is in the top 10 nationally this season in receptions per game (7.1), receiving yards (1,212) and receiving touchdowns (14).
• Tony Pollard, sophomore kick returner. Pollard leads the nation in kickoff return TDs (4) and kickoff return average (44.2 yards). He is closing in on the NCAA records for kick returns for touchdowns in a season (5) and career (7).
• Gabe Kuhn, senior offensive lineman. The senior has blocked for the four highest scoring offenses in program history. The Tigers have scored 517 points in 11 games this season, the second-most for a season in program history. Kuhn will make his 50th career start in the American Athletic Conference Championship game at UCF Saturday, Dec. 2, making him the first Tiger in program history to start 50 games.
• Trevon Tate, junior offensive lineman. Tate has started all 11 games at left tackle, protecting QB Riley Ferguson’s blind side. Led by Tate, the Tigers rank seventh in the FBS in sacks allowed at just one per game. Tate has made 33 career starts over the last three seasons.
• TJ Carter, freshman defensive back. Carter leads the team with four interceptions, tying the Memphis freshman record. His 1.18 pass breakups per game ranks third in the AAC and he is the only freshman ranked in the top 40 in the conference with 5.3 tackles per game.
• Darrell Henderson, sophomore running back. Henderson became the first 1,000-yard single season rusher for Memphis since 2009. With two games remaining, he has 1,045 yards on 115 rushes with eight touchdowns. His 9.09 yards per rush ranks second in the country and first among NCAA running backs.
• Joey Magnifico, sophomore tight end. Magnifico had 21 catches for 280 yards and three touchdowns in his first year as a starter at tight end. He had a career-high six catches for 83 yards and one touchdown in the win over then-No. 25 UCLA.
– Don Wade
Baker Donelson Honored With M&A Deal Award
Memphis-based law firm Baker Donelson has been named a winner in the 16th Annual M&A Advisor Awards.
The annual awards, presented by media outlet “The M&A Advisor,” recognize the industry's leading mergers and acquisitions dealmakers.
Baker Donelson was named a winner in the Healthcare and Life Sciences Deal of the Year (Over $100 Million) category for its involvement in the acquisition by Medical Properties Trust Inc. of the real estate interests of nine acute care hospitals operated by Steward Health Care System LLC and an equity interest in Steward. Baker Donelson served as legal adviser to Medical Properties Trust in the October 2016 transaction, which was valued at $1.25 billion.
Steward is the largest for-profit hospital system in Massachusetts.
– Andy Meek
United Adds Larger Aircraft For Flights to New York
United Airlines will be using a larger aircraft to carry more passengers on its Memphis to New York/Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) flight.
United will now use a 128-seat Airbus 319 aircraft on its Sunday through Friday 5:11 p.m. flight from Memphis to Newark that will offer 30 percent more seats, according to Memphis International Airport (MEM).
“We are very excited to see United adding seats and giving our passengers more opportunities to fly to the Northeast,” Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority chairman Pace Cooper said in a release announcing the change. “This is yet another example of MEM’s passenger growth being met with additional airline capacity.”
– Patrick Lantrip
Construction to Begin On Old Kroger Site
A $90,000 building permit application has been filed to remove the facade of the old Kroger building at 2130 Exeter Road in Germantown.
The building permit application lists Doster Construction Co. as the contractor and 2130 Exeter Holdings as the property owner.
Although the tenant category simply reads “vacant,” this location was at one point supposed to be the new home of a highly anticipated Trader Joe’s. However, the oft-delayed project most recently came to a halt when the previous developers, Centennial American Properties, pulled out in late 2016.
On Nov. 7, the new owners presented plans for facade improvements and the addition of a 7,000-square-foot outparcel to the Germantown Planning Commission. The plans received final approval from the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Nov. 13.
While no tenants were named at the planning commission meeting, Germantown Economic and Community Development director Cameron Ross said the new developers are recruiting tenants who will offer a significant reduction in the number of daily grocery deliveries received at the store.
– Patrick Lantrip
Prologis Continues Selling Spree in Memphis
San Francisco-based logistics real estate firm Prologis Inc. is continuing its selling streak in Memphis with the sale of four properties to Denver, Colorado-based Triumph Real Estate Corp. for a combined $11.3 million.
The four sites are located at 4070 Willow Lake Blvd. and 3860, 3920 and 3943 Delp St.
Prologis senior vice president Megan Robert signed the deeds on behalf of the sellers.
In conjunction with the purchase, Triumph took out two mortgages with Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. totaling $8 million. Triumph Real Estate Corp. founder Paul Ruff signed the loan documents on behalf of the borrowers.
In October, Prologis sold two parcels in its Memphis portfolio to Pennsylvania-based Exeter Property Group. Those properties, located at 5295 and 5305 Logistics Drive in southeast Memphis, sold for a combined $23.8 million.
– Patrick Lantrip
Commission Overrides Two Luttrell Vetoes
Shelby County commissioners, meeting in special session Wednesday, Nov. 29, voted to override two vetoes by County Mayor Mark Luttrell of commission resolutions earlier this month.
The resolutions dealt with the opioid lawsuit chairwoman Heidi Shafer moved to file in November and a later commission vote ratifying her decision to file the suit.
Specifically, the commission overrode Luttrell’s veto of the resolution ratifying the lawsuit pending in Circuit Court against manufacturers and distributors of opioids. They also overrode his veto of a later resolution directing the county attorney’s office to, in effect, go along with the lawsuit.
Luttrell sued the commission over the opioid litigation, claiming the body’s decisions went against the Shelby County charter by violating the separation of powers between his office and the commission.
Chancellor Jim Kyle agreed with Luttrell in his ruling and subsequent court order, but he let the lawsuit stand, giving the county administration until the end of the year to intervene in the suit. Luttrell said the administration would intervene and effectively take over the management of the case, including possibly replacing the law firm Shafer hired.
Some commissioners who voted in favor of overriding the vetoes Wednesday said the overrides don’t change the Chancery Court ruling and its effect, but instead are about the relationship between Luttrell and the commission.
Other commissioners argued the body should have let the vetoes stand.
Since the court ruling, Shafer has moved to appoint an opioid task force. Luttrell pointed out that his administration had already formed such a task force and that commissioners could participate in that.
– Bill Dries
Pinnacle Financial Adds to Memphis Team
Justin Gordon, Logan Welch, Michelle Butler and Amy Dunnam have joined Pinnacle Financial Partners, all based at the main office on Shady Grove Road.
Gordon joins Pinnacle as a senior vice president and credit adviser. He brings 13 years of experience from SunTrust Bank, where he most recently served as a commercial real estate portfolio manager.
Welch joins as a senior vice president and financial adviser. He previously spent three years at Trustmark National Bank, where he was a commercial relationship manager.
Butler brings 16 years of experience to her role of financial adviser assistant. Before joining Pinnacle, she was a client specialist for First Tennessee Bank’s regional corporate banking area.
And Dunnam, with more than nine years of experience, also joins the firm as a financial adviser assistant. Her previous roles were with Evolve Bank & Trust and Magna Bank, where she served as a loan operations processor, and at First Tennessee Bank, where she was a credit operations specialist.
– Andy Meek
FedEx Agrees to Buy At Least 50 Cessna Planes
FedEx Corp. subsidiary FedEx Express has entered into a purchase agreement with Textron Aviation Inc. to buy 50 Cessna SkyCourier 408 planes, with an option to purchase up to 50 more. The purchase is part of FedEx’s strategy to modernize its fleet of feeder aircraft, which allow the Memphis-based shipping giant to provide fast, economical service to small and medium-sized markets.
Delivery of the first Cessna SkyCourier plane is expected in mid-2020, with subsequent deliveries on a schedule of one per month over a four-year period.
“This continues our very successful fleet modernization strategy, which improves our fuel efficiency, reliability and operating costs,” David L. Cunningham, president and CEO of FedEx Express, said in a statement. “We worked closely with Textron Aviation to develop the Cessna SkyCourier 408, which includes several key features that will help us grow our business in small and medium-sized markets, especially in the air freight segment.”
Some of those features include a twin-engine, high-wing turboprop; a digital cockpit; and a flat-floor cabin equipped to handle up to three containers totaling 6,000 pounds.
In addition, the SkyCourier has a larger cargo door than FedEx’s current feeder aircraft, which the company says will support container and pallet operations to help it provide faster service to air freight customers who ship to or from smaller markets.
Earlier this month, FedEx announced an agreement to buy 30 ATR 72-600F aircraft with the option to buy up to 20 more as a first step to modernizing the company’s feeder fleet.
“These aircraft purchases are part of our long-term feeder fleet strategy,” said Greg Hall, executive vice president of air operations at FedEx Express. “That strategy will not only improve our fuel efficiency and fleet reliability, but thanks to a collaborative training program we are planning, will create a reliable pipeline of well-qualified pilot applicants for FedEx Express pilot jobs, leveraging the experience they will gain in our feeder system.”
– Patrick Lantrip
FedEx Reportedly Looking To Move PGA Event
John Feinstein, author of “A Good Walk Spoiled” and the host of a PGA Tour radio show by the same name, was perhaps playing spoiler when he said on his radio show that FedEx wants to bring one of the four annual World Golf Championships to Memphis.
Crain’s Cleveland Business reported that the move could happen in 2019. Crain’s quoted Feinstein as saying sources told him FedEx is lobbying to move a World Golf Championship event to Memphis, possibly the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational event in Akron, Ohio, held annually in August. Bridgestone’s title sponsorship for that event reportedly ends in 2018.
The annual FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind is held each June, with the 2018 tournament slated for June 4-10.
“Anything around 2019 is extremely premature,” said FESJC tournament director Darrell Smith, adding, “It is well-documented there will be significant changes in the 2019 PGA schedule.”
When asked about pros and cons of June vs. August in Memphis, Smith said, “It doesn’t matter to me whenever we play. It’s having a regular event on the PGA calendar every year. Tee it up.”
If Memphis did get a WGC event, it could dramatically enhance the player field. Although it’s not one of golf’s four Grand Slam tournaments, WGC events fall in line behind them in prestige.
“Best of the best,” Smith said. “Many top 50 players.”
– Don Wade
Former Band Director Charged With Theft
The former band director of Collierville Middle School, Jason Seek, was arrested and charged with theft of property over $60,000 the day before Thanksgiving, according to the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.
The state office announced Seek’s arrest Tuesday, Nov. 28, as a result of the comptroller’s investigation. Comptroller Justin Wilson opened the investigation after Collierville Schools officials reported that bank records from Seek looked suspicious to them.
The report released Tuesday alleges Seek stole at least $133,064 from the band booster club over a five-year period that began in December 2011 by withdrawing cash, using the booster club’s debit card, writing checks and transferring money from the club’s account for his personal benefit. In addition, the report alleges he attempted to conceal the theft by creating false bank statements and a false financial report and by signing the name of a former band booster treasurer on checks.
Investigators noted most of the cash withdrawals coincided with trips to gambling establishments around the country.
Seek admitted to the theft, according to the report, and resigned his position at the school in April.
Wilson said the case demonstrates lax enforcement of financial standards, a common issue in such school-related organizations.
“Booster clubs are required by law to adopt procedures for safeguarding money, but many organizations have failed to do so,” Wilson said in a written statement. “For most of the five-year period, the former band director was the only person who handled the booster club’s money. When one person has total control, it invites the possibility of wrongdoing.”
– Bill Dries
ALCO to Renovate Two Affordable Housing Sites
Memphis-based affordable housing management company ALCO Management Inc. has announced two of its properties, Eastern Heights and Creekwood Apartments, will undergo an $8 million upgrade using funding from financial and governmental partnerships, since both locations are considered affordable housing properties.
The investment means each unit at the two properties will get $36,500 for interior and exterior renovations, including new central heat and air systems; LED light fixtures; new bathrooms; kitchen systems and appliances; and new siding, roofs and windows for the exterior.
“The renovation of these properties aligns perfectly with our dedication to building community,” ALCO CEO Frank Jemison said in a release. “We are excitedly anticipating the outcome for these properties.”
Additionally, more communal-oriented enhancements will include new community spaces, playgrounds, extra lighting and camera systems for increased security.
ALCO is partnering with GSB Contractors Inc. and Mitch Hall of MMH Hall Architects/Planners Inc. for the design and construction work, while First Tennessee Bank, First Tennessee Housing Corp. and Wells Fargo Bank are its financial partners.
On the governmental side, the Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board of Memphis, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contributed to the project.
Renovations are expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2018.
– Patrick Lantrip
Container Apartments Planned in Medical District
Memphis businessman Fred Spikner of Spikner Enterprises LLC has submitted plans to the Memphis and Shelby County Board of Adjustment for an apartment complex made from shipping containers.
Located on a vacant lot at 126 N. Bellevue Blvd., between Jefferson and Poplar avenues, the project hopes to serve as a “catalyst for future developments and improvements in the area,” according to the application for a conditional use permit.
“The project will be a multifamily residential development similar to those immediately surrounding the subject property,” Spikner wrote.
Spikner, along with Dorothy Spikner and Dartell Treadwell, are listed as the property’s owner on the application, while the Reaves Firm was tapped to handle the engineering and surveying work.
Currently the subject property is divided among two parcels that total a little more than 0.6 acres and were appraised for a combined $15,800, according to the Shelby County assessor’s website.
In addition to Spikner Enterprises, Spikner also owns Spikner Inc., a screen-printing and embroidery business, as well as Park Place Recycling & Logistics.
In February, Park Place Recycling & Logistics was granted a $20,000 Inner City Economic Development loan from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County.
At the time, Spikner said his business had grown exponentially in the last few years and that he wanted to revitalize the exterior of the once-abandoned 115,000-square-foot building on East Georgia Avenue and screen its operations from the neighboring residences.
– Patrick Lantrip
Amazon Builders File $36 Million Permit
Tricore Builders Inc., the contractor building Amazon’s new $72 million receive center in Memphis, has filed a $35.9 million building permit application with construction code officials for new construction, interior offices and warehouse modifications.
This marks the second multimillion-dollar building permit application Tricore has filed this month for the facility, which is slated to go at 3292 Holmes Road in southeast Memphis.
On Nov. 18, Tricore and Atlanta-based developer IDI Gazely, which owns the land, applied for a $2 million permit for “footing and foundation” work.
In October, Amazon confirmed it was planning a $72 million, 615,440-square-foot receive center that would employ 600 workers. The facility will collect and repackage products for distribution to fulfillment centers across the country.
Later that month, the online retailer was awarded a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive by the Economic Development Growth Engine.
Over the term of the abatement, EDGE officials estimate the project will generate almost $37 million in local tax revenue while saving Amazon $15 million, for a cost-to-benefit ratio of 2.43.
– Patrick Lantrip
First Horizon, Capital Bank Divest Two Branches
The parent company of First Tennessee Bank and Charlotte, North Carolina-based Capital Bank Financial Corp. have jointly agreed to sell two Capital Bank branches in East Tennessee to Apex Bank.
The banks announced the agreement after winning regulatory approval in October for their $2.2 billion merger from the board of governors of the Federal Reserve. Memphis-based First Horizon is acquiring Capital Bank in a deal that will form the fourth-largest regional bank in the Southeast.
Tennessee-based Apex is absorbing deposits worth about $34 million and $2.5 million in loans from the two branches. And Apex will retain all existing branch employees after acquiring the two branches.
– Andy Meek
4 Governor Candidates Won’t Release Tax Returns
Four of the seven major candidates for Tennessee governor are declining to release details of their federal income tax returns.
The Tennessean newspaper asked the five Republicans and two Democrats in the race for copies of their federal tax filings. U.S. Rep. Diane Black and fellow Republican state House Speaker Beth Harwell provided financial summaries, and Democrat Craig Fitzhugh released his 2016 tax return.
Among the remaining Republicans, former state Sen. Mae Beavers and businessmen Randy Boyd and Bill Lee declined the request, as did Democratic former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.
Dean and Boyd said they may consider releasing details in the future.
Lee, who runs his family-owned construction company, said he would not release his income in the interest of “protecting my business and the over 1,200 employees there.”
– The Associated Press
Passenger, Cargo Traffic Increases at MEM
Passenger and cargo traffic numbers at Memphis International Airport in October are up year over year.
A total of 197,093 passengers boarded planes at Memphis International in October, which is up 6.8 percent compared to 184,437 passengers in October 2016.
Origin-and-destination traffic, or non-layover passengers, is up more than 10 percent from 2009 when Memphis International still operated as a Delta Air Lines hub.
Cargo handled in October increased 4.9 percent year over year – 824,486 pounds compared to 785,405 pounds in October 2016.
These figures mark Memphis International as the busiest cargo airport in North America and second-busiest in the world.
– Patrick Lantrip
South Main Market Announces New Vendors
South Main Market, Memphis’ first food-hall concept located in the South Main Historic Arts District, has announced three new vendors to its roster, bringing the total to seven.
Cole Jeanes is the chef and creative mind behind the three new concepts: Coco, Kinfolk and Magnolia.
Jeanes studied at L’Ecole Culinaire and trained at Acre Restaurant and Hog & Hominy. He also helped open Porcellino’s Craft Butcher and revamped the menu at Silly Goose.
The South Main Market, at 409 S. Main St., has capacity for 14 vendors.
The current concepts include Civil Pour, Java Cabana, City East Bagel & Grille, Kinfolk, Magnolia, Coco and Wallflower Memphis.
– Andy Meek