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VOL. 132 | NO. 10 | Friday, January 13, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Humes Next, Top ZIPs in Residential and Payback in the Legislature

By Bill Dries

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Add Dave & Buster’s to the list of "it" retail hot spots. The restaurant-arcade has inked a lease in Cordova by Wolfchase Galeria with plans to open later this year, probably fourth quarter.

The restoration of Clayborn Temple got a $400,000 boost Thursday with word of a grant from the National Park Service to help with the restoration of the historic church south of FedExForum. The city applied for the grant, which is from a program specifically for landmarks in the civil rights movement and the African-American historical experience.

The church emerged from 18 years of plywood and chain link fences late last year as two members of the Downtown Church bought it from the AME church to use as a new sanctuary for the congregation. But they also wanted to reopen the church for other events cultural and civic, which was a role Clayborn played in its 1960s and 1970s prime. The previtalization in recent months has taken place in a church that has been renovated enough to be safe for the public to enter. But it’s not a full restoration.

More on charter schools, specifically those in the Achievement School District. ASD leaders met parents and others in the community around Humes Prep Middle School Wednesday evening. It was the second of two meetings with those connected to the two North Memphis schools Gestalt Community Schools is pulling out of at the end of the current school year. Gestalt says it can’t make the schools work with such low enrollment.

No one has applied with the ASD to take Gestalt’s place at Klondike Elementary so it will close at the end of the current school year.

Frayser Community Schools, the local charter group founded by Bobby White to run MLK Prep – what used to be Frayser High School – for the ASD has applied to take on Humes. And White met parents Wednesday night as well as answered questions from the ASD about the nuts and bolts of operating Humes. Expect a decision from the ASD on the Frayser bid by the end of this month.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland at the Kiwanis Club this week laying out the goal behind his “brilliant at the basics” strategy that won him the mayor’s office at the end of 2015. Strickland also tells us his administration is getting ready to become more aggressive in trying to recruit experienced cops from other cities the way those cities have been recruiting Memphis police officers. And he talked about comments Tuesday by former Police Director Toney Armstrong about restoring cut city employee benefits that Armstrong now says are to blame for the drop in police ranks below 2,000.

The Las Vegas Sun on the start of an Achievement School District there with some comparisons to our ASD here as well as Louisiana’s Recovery School District.

End of the year residential numbers from Chandler Reports, the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc:

Home sales countywide for all of 2016 set a record high in average home sale prices and a 15-year low in foreclosures. The Eads ZIP code had the highest average price of the local ZIPs at $469,904. The top ZIP for new home sales was Arlington/Lakeland. And the highest numbers for new home permits or construction were in Arlington/Lakeland, Collierville and southeast Shelby County.

The mortgage numbers from Chandler show total purchase mortgage volume up 16 percent from the year before. The trends include bigger mortgages.

Shelby County Commission chairman Melvin Burgess is our guest on “Behind The Headlines.” The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. on WKNO TV.

The cover story by Patrick Lantrip in our weekly, The Memphis News, is about the trucking industry in a city where logistics is a major driver of our economy (see what I did there) and regulation and regulation by technology.

The PDF of the entire new issue, all 40 pages, can be found on this very website. The hard copies are on the streets Friday morning. And the online version of the cover story goes up on this website Friday afternoon.

In the Friday sports section:

300 wins for Christian Brothers University basketball coach Mike Nienaber.

David Climer in Nashville on the Titans’ front office and its role in the team’s turnaround year.

And Terry McCormick talks with former Titans GM Floyd Reese about how the current efforts compare to the team’s late 1990s prime.

If you’ve seen the excellent ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “You Don’t Know Bo,” you know that Bo Jackson actually cried when he learned that his contact with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made him ineligible to continue playing baseball at Auburn and it also set in motion his decision to play professional baseball first and then professional football.

That in turn set in motion the events that brought him to Memphis for a short stint with the Memphis Chicks AA baseball team, then playing at the Fairgrounds, on his way to the Kansas City Royals.

Now Jackson is talking about what he knows now that he didn’t know then. USA Today on Jackson’s hindsight about pro football.

While we are on the topic of pro football, The Guardian on the exit of the Chargers from San Diego and some insights about the NFL’s stadium game that those of you old enough to remember this city’s quest for an NFL team at just about any cost should appreciate. It included about a 10,000 seat expansion including more and better skyboxes in a stadium race where we were always following. Our civic quest pretty much ended in the mid-1990s with every city in the hunt but Memphis getting a team and then Nashville getting a team. And that team came to Memphis to play for one season with the caveat that under no circumstances would that team ever play a game – exhibition or otherwise – in Memphis once its new stadium was built in Nashville.

There was no more political will left in the city after that to pursue a team although we did build a new $250 million arena 15 years after the opening of the $65 million Pyramid.

And no stop on the Def Leppard tour.

In the state capitol:

Beth Harwell’s unsuccessful challenger for House speaker finds himself out as transportation committee chairman.

And Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, on the road in Chattanooga, says Volkswagen executives have told him there are expansion plans in Tennessee for the automaker despite that $4.3 billion settlement with the Feds in the diesel emissions cheating scandal.

A Fed transcript from 2011 shows sharp division over whether long term lower interest rates spur economic growth. The approach was called “Operation Twist” and it was adopted with future Fed chair Janet Yellen expressing fear that the country could slip into another recession without it. Others feared Operation Twist would fuel already rising inflation. And still others questions whether the strategy would have any impact.

Our offices are closed on the Monday holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but we will be out and about covering the events connected to the holiday and posting those stories here. Last Word will be back in the Tuesday edition.

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