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VOL. 132 | NO. 12 | Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Daily Digest

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Frontier Increases Size Of Memphis-Denver Flights

Memphis International Airport has announced that Frontier Airlines will increase the size of its Memphis to Denver route beginning April 21.

The Denver-based airline, which returned to MEM with Memphis-Denver service in 2014, plans to swap its current 150-seat Airbus A319 with a 230-seat Airbus A321, which will be the largest scheduled passenger plane operating at MEM since 2011.

The aircraft change represents a 65 percent increase in seats for Frontier’s daily Denver flights, or 560 seats per week.

“This is excellent news for our westbound passengers,” said Pace Cooper, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority board of commissioners. “Frontier Airlines routinely has very high enplanement rates, and this shows they are responding to our passengers’ demands and giving them more opportunities to fly to Denver.”

– Patrick Lantrip

Belz Pulls $1.1M Permit For Plasma Biological Services

Belz Construction Services LLC has pulled a $1.1 million building permit on behalf of Plasma Biological Services LLC.

The application filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement calls for tenant improvements on 19,088 square feet at 3570 S. Mendenhall Road.

Plasma Biological Services is an affiliate of The Interstate Cos., a group of 22 plasmapheresis centers, eight blood centers and a laboratory that provides human blood and/or blood components to the therapeutic and diagnostic industries.

According to its website, The Interstate Cos. operates five facilities in the Memphis area.

The 5370 S. Mendenhall property is part of a 6.9-acre commercial shopping center, which lists 5366 Winchester Road as its address on the Shelby County Assessor of Property’s website. The 126,528-square-foot shopping center, built in 1972 at the corner of Mendenhall and Winchester roads, is owned by Belz Investco GP.

– Patrick Lantrip

Dave & Buster’s Plans Memphis Debut

The popular restaurant/sports bar/adult arcade Dave & Buster’s will join the likes of Ikea, Nordstrom Rack and Trader Joe’s on the list of popular franchises opening up their first locations in the Bluff City.

Dave & Buster’s will become the entertainment anchor of The Commons of Wolfcreek when it opens a 43,500-square-foot location in a space formerly occupied by Sports Authority, according to Kristen Moore, spokeswoman for the center’s owner, Brixmor Property Group.

The Dallas-based restaurant, which is part adult-oriented arcade and part restaurant, is expected to open in fourth quarter 2017.

The Commons of Wolfcreek, which sits across Germantown Parkway from Wolfchase Galleria, houses other notable chains, including Home Depot, Target, Old Navy, T.J. Maxx and Best Buy.

In addition to the Commons of Wolfcreek, Brixmor owns and operates more than 500 commercial properties across 38 states, including 13 other properties in Tennessee.

Dave & Buster’s has more than 90 locations nationwide, with Nashville being the only other locale in the Volunteer State.

– Patrick Lantrip

Porter-Leath Academy To Open in February

Porter-Leath’s Early Childhood Academy will hold its grand opening in South Memphis on Feb. 10.

Porter-Leath broke ground in March on the $9.8 million facility, located at 628 Alice Ave. near Alton Elementary School in the Longview Heights section of South Memphis.

In addition to being a state-of-the-art preschool for 224 children in 16 classrooms, the academy also has a 32,000-square-foot teacher training center Porter-Leath planned in partnership with Shelby County Schools.

SCS provides Head Start services under contract with the federal government, and Porter-Leath provides early Head Start services.

The center is designed by RDG Planning and Design.

– Bill Dries

Ernest Strickland Promoted At Memphis Chamber

The Greater Memphis Chamber has announced that Ernest Strickland has been promoted to senior vice president of workforce development.

Strickland, who has worked at the chamber since 2006, previously held the position of vice president of international and business partnerships.

In his new position, he is responsible for creating and implementing the chamber’s workforce development strategy. His department serves as a liaison, working directly with existing and prospective businesses to ensure they are able to attract and retain a qualified workforce today and in the future.

“The chamber is fortunate to have a talented leader like Ernest Strickland who is passionate and dedicated to the success of Memphis,” Greater Memphis Chamber president and CEO Phil Trenary said in a statement. “I have no doubt he will take our workforce efforts to the next level.”

Strickland holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis and a master’s degree from Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee.

– Don Wade

Verso Corp. Gets New Chief Executive Officer

Memphis-based Verso Corp. has named B. Christopher DiSantis as its new chief executive officer effective Feb. 1.

DiSantis comes to the paper and pulp company from being CEO of H-D Advanced Manufacturing Co. for the last four years. H-D makes motion-control products in the aerospace and defense industries. Before that, he was CEO of Latrobe Specialty Metal, which supplied alloys for aerospace and defense manufacturing before it was bought by Carpenter Technology Corp.

The announcement Thursday, Jan. 12, is the latest in a series of changes at a corporation facing a changing industry and a challenging market.

In November, the company announced it will move its headquarters from Memphis to Miamisburg, Ohio, part of an office consolidation effort as the company works to reduce its overhead expenses by 10 percent annually. The strategic plan, including the move out of Memphis, was to begin this month.

Verso filed for bankruptcy reorganization a year ago after reaching an agreement with creditors on the reorganization plan. It included a financing package of up to $600 million to allow the company to continue to operate day to day in the turnaround of the company.

– Bill Dries

Germantown Launches Redesigned Website

The city of Germantown has redesigned its website.

The website, still at www.germantown-tn.gov, includes a dashboard that allows citizens to see progress being made on the city’s Germantown Forward 2030 objectives. The website also includes more prominent placement of frequently sought subjects, including online services and payments.

– Bill Dries

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