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VOL. 132 | NO. 145 | Monday, July 24, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: ICE Raids, Who's Buying Afton Grove and Malco Powerhouse Plans

By Bill Dries

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A protest Sunday evening at the Prescott Place Apartments after federal ICE agents – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – took people into custody there and at Emerald Ridge and Corner Park apartments Sunday morning. The group of organizations protesting the federal action – Memphis Coalition of Concerned Citizens, Cosecha and SURJ Memphis -- say Memphis Police assisted in the immigration operation. Memphis Police deny they were involved in any way. No estimate from ICE on how many people were detained.

Lots of new blood at the Shelby County Democratic Party’s convention over the weekend. Here are the basics with more to come here when next we meet.

New local crime stats show a continued rise in violent and property crime in general. Homicides are down but aggravated assaults have spiked. Auto theft continues a longer term spike.

Here’s the week ahead with plenty of politics and development and the stars – you know, the universe, the cosmic.

A look back at one of the biggest stories in these parts last week. Don Wade on the resignation of Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss and what it says about college athletics at that level.

You know about the single-family homes being bought by investment companies or investors as rental property in Memphis. It’s a prominent trend that is a very different feature of Memphis real estate post-recession. And in The Chandler Reports Neighborhood Profile, proof that the investment trend extends to new housing inventory as well. The reason is that the foreclosures that ravaged the city weren’t just actions against homes. They also took lots for homes as well, which are at a premium in Memphis these days too. The report from Chandler Reports, the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc., looks at Afton Grove in Cordova where every new home in the third phase of that planned development has sold to out-of-town investors. And if you are among those who believe that rental properties bring down property values, Afton Grove is not a part of the proof. Home sale prices there are up 18 percent in the last few years by the Chandler data.

In our Construction Emphasis:

Shawn Massey on his involvement in the Binghampton and Frayser Gateway retail projects. Massey of The Shopping Center Group says the two projects in very different areas have a lot in common starting with efforts in each of the communities to revive areas that have been on the bottom and looking up even before the recession. Both areas also have community development corporations with deep roots in the long struggle.

No rooftop area for the Malco Powerhouse Theaterthe seven-screen movie theater that is part of the redevelopment of Central Station. The rooftop plans pushed the cost of the project higher for Malco. So high that they were reluctantly scrapped. But the theater will have some outside movie showings with a retractable screen. And the new theater is getting recliner seats instead of the conventional movie seats.

And across the bridge in West Memphis, a $16.8 million expansion of Sterigenics, a company that does gamma sterilization as well as lab services. The sterilization is for medical devices like orthopedic implants, but also for food and packaging as well as pharmaceuticals.

While we are talking about so much construction, here's a rundown on all of the construction -- bricks and mortar and other -- going on in the local arts scene via the cover story by Andy Meek in this week's edition of The Memphis News.

The Red Cross Building in Midtown to give way to a 12-unit gated community called Club Gardens, next to the University Club. Here’s more detail on what’s coming down and what’s coming up.

New design guidelines for Victorian Village in the making and new signs for the district already up at key points in the area.

More thoughts on the idea of Ranked Choice Voting in Memphis, which is in revival after nine year in limbo. A new elections administrator – actually she got here a little over a year ago – who is a self-professed geek about elections has brought the option back to life.

More fallout from those high lead and arsenic readings in one level of groundwater beneath the Allen Fossil Plant in southwest Memphis. State Senator Lee Harris wants the local groundwater board to suspend permits for water wells on the site of the new TVA plant being built across the road.

Among those in the crowd at last year’s bridge protest was Marco Pave. We’ve followed the release of his debut album “Welcome to Grc Lnd” which is his reaction to being a part of the bridge protest and the cycle of action and reaction that followed. Here is his video narrative about the one year anniversary.

In the new issue of “Tape Op,” an interview with Boo Mitchell on growing up at Royal and how Hi Records became Willie Mitchell’s as Royal marks its 60th anniversary. His detailed account is a reminder that there are at least two sides to every story – usually more in Memphis where the making of world-changing music has settled into a kind of musical catechism that has a tendency to hide what really happened all those years ago.

Word Sunday evening that Bernie Mintz died. Mintz was a photographer at WMC and WHBQ television and also an assignment editor – both formally and informally. His career began at a time when the technology was primitive – film to be developed and cut. What are now the established procedures for covering spot news in a still-new medium was still in its infancy. What he incorporated into the way he went about the new medium was developing old school reporting connections particularly with police, which sometimes meant street corner and sidewalk discussions that could turn into arguments yielding to bargaining and then an agreement. And when he asked questions from behind the camera at a press conference they were usually really good questions.

The Memphis News Almanac: Storm damage, Wild West Shows at the Fair and Sherman Describes Memphis.

PROPERTY SALES 97 418 8,253
MORTGAGES 112 508 9,293
BUILDING PERMITS 194 1,059 18,126
BANKRUPTCIES 46 208 5,367