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VOL. 132 | NO. 59 | Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: The Overton Park Split, Democrats Help The Gas Tax Bill and LaVar Ball

By Bill Dries

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The city's tallest building, the fenced-off, derelict, 38-story 100 N. Main Building, cited in the past by fire officials for code violations including fire alarms that don't work -- had a small fire Wednesday 34 floors up.

It took Memphis firefighters a bit to get up to the floor where the fire was intentionally started. Once they did, they quickly doused it.

But the fire is certain to call even more attention to the landmark in the Downtown core that is tied up in a web of plans that have gone nowhere, negotiations over a lot of money owed and owners for whom this building seems to be just one more piece of paper in a portfolio of properties across the country they bought to sell.

The next date for a foreclosure sale that has been delayed several times as creditors and debtors negotiate and give each other more time is April 12. Need more time? That doesn't seem to be a problem. There is time to burn.

Cold shoulder in Midtown this week for a proposed apartment complex on both sides of Sam Cooper Parkway at East Parkway. It’s called Overton Gateway and it is being proposed by Makowsky Ringel Greenberg, which had the winning bid on what had been state land cleared for Interstate 40 when the interstate was supposed to come through Overton Park.

Homeowners at a meeting with the developers Tuesday evening did not want multi-family. They want single family homes.

That’s what was there before the land was cleared for the interstate that never came and when the city reclaimed the corridor land cleared on the other side of Overton Park in the 1980s, single-family homes were built on that part of the corridor. The eastern border of the park however does have some existing apartments nearby that are being renovated.

The recently completed Hampline connection from the Broad Arts district to the Overton Park Gateway – the one that is an arch of brightly colored bicycles – would move in these plans.

Did someone say Overton Park? As promised here in our last visit, more on the return of the Overton Park Greensward controversy. Things like this don’t just spring forth. There is usually a back story and in this case, we’ve traced the dispute over what percentage the Memphis Zoo and the Overton Park Conservancy pay for an expansion of zoo parking back to last summer. That’s when the city council approved an agreement the zoo and OPC signed off on. What we found in looking into the claims from Tuesday’s council return to this controversy in what the two sides have said is either a 50-50 split or no specific percentages worked out is (drum roll please) both sides have a claim because the wording of the agreement doesn’t include any percentages. But the discussion the council had as they were looking over copies of that agreement included statements twice that it was a 50-50 split.

Loeb goes south of Overton Square on Union Avenue where an oil change place stands currently. The new retail center to be built there will be anchored by a restaurant.

In the Tennessee Legislature, Memphis House Democrats Barbara Cooper and Johnnie Turner play a role in helping to move the Republican Governor’s gas tax bill in committee this week where there is still a lot of wrangling about this. What do Cooper and Turner get out of this – the provision in the bill that allows local governments to hold referendums to increase a range of taxes to fund public transportation projects.

The bathroom bill gets flushed in committee for the year in Nashville.

Our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard in his “View From The Hill” column reflects on President Donald Trump’s visit this month to mark the anniversary of Andrew Jackson’s birth. And in Jackson’s shadow, he found some willing to begin to evaluate Trump or if not Trump, the environment in which Trump has taken office.

John Calipari and lots of Kentucky basketball fans aren’t the only new arrivals coming to town for the Sweet 16 NCAA South semifinals starting Friday – there is LaVar Ball, father of UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, who has proclaimed that his son is already better than Golden State’s Steph Curry.

Statement from Andre Fowlkes, president of Start Co., most of the country's tally of net new jobs are coming from high growth start-ups. Fowlkes is aware that is a statement some will dispute. The key is NET new jobs and by ignoring that, Fowlkes says we are becoming averse to the kind of risk necessary to grow more of those jobs.

Memphis-based Varsity Brands wins at the U.S. Supreme Court in a copyright dispute with a rival over stripes and chevrons.

More on another Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that overturned Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch as Gorsuch was testifying at his confirmation hearing in Washington. The court’s ruling requires public schools to set higher standards for special education programs.

Sears appears to be walking away from its turnaround effort and preparing for the end of bricks and mortar for the historic retail brand – the first modern department store. The company is using the term “substantial doubt” to describe the prospects for keeping the doors open.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 89 344 19,573
MORTGAGES 110 422 22,914
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 2 8,305 8,305
BUILDING PERMITS 207 838 40,029
BANKRUPTCIES 60 356 13,104
BUSINESS LICENSES 21 194 6,137
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 30 147 12,996
MARRIAGE LICENSES 15 65 4,842

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