VOL. 10 | NO. 10 | Saturday, March 4, 2017
Special Election Dates Set For Open State House Seat
Voters in the Collierville-Eads area go to the polls in April and June to elect a new state representative.
With a writ issued Thursday, March 2, ordering a special election to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Republican Mark Lovell of Eads, Gov. Bill Haslam set April 27 as the date for the special primary election and June 15 for the special general election.
The district has approximately 51,000 voters across 14 precincts and parts of four other precincts.
Lovell resigned Feb. 14 after just weeks in office following an allegation of sexual harassment and inappropriate touching.
Each special election will have a 15-day early voting period.
The Shelby County Election Commission will set early voting and Election Day polling sites for the primary election at a March 21 meeting.
The deadline for candidates to file their qualifying petitions is noon on March 16, with a noon March 20 withdrawal deadline.
Meanwhile, Shelby County commissioners are weighing an interim appointment to fill the seat until the special election is decided.
The commission begins taking applications March 21 from those seeking the appointment and will take applications through March 27 with a commission appointment sometime in April.
The 2017 session of the Tennessee Legislature will likely be over by the time the special general election is decided. But the commission could act in time for an interim appointee to be on Capitol Hill making some critical legislative votes toward the end of the session.
– Bill Dries
Crye-Leike Opens Office In Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Crye-Leike Real Estate Services, the nation’s fourth-largest privately held residential real estate brokerage firm, has opened Crye-Leike Premier Properties in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, marking its second franchise office in the Gulf Coast region of Florida.
Crye-Leike Premier Properties will specialize in relocation and in marketing residential and commercial investment properties to buyers and sellers in and around Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa counties.
It will be owned and operated by Paula Andrews, who will serve as its managing broker, along with her son, Jesse Andrews, and father, Ron Glime.
Andrews previously owned Anchor Realty & Property Management in Destin, Florida.
“By being a part of the Crye-Leike team, our office is now on the cutting edge of technology,” Paula Andrews said.
“Crye-Leike offers our agents more tools and opportunities to better their real estate businesses, which in turn allows our agents to offer their customers more innovative ways to buy and sell their properties.”
Crye-Leike Premier Properties becomes one of 29 franchise offices in Crye-Leike’s franchise network.
– Patrick Lantrip
New Technology Partner At Greater Memphis Chamber
The Greater Memphis Chamber has selected Memphis-based ProTech Systems Group Inc. as the its new technology partner managing the chamber’s IT infrastructure, workstations and users.
ProTech’s services will also be offered to the chamber’s membership as part of the chamber’s Affinity program providing a free IT assessment. This assessment will give member companies an overview of the current status of their business technology environment.
“We want to be able to provide premier technology solutions to help as many businesses as possible in the Memphis area, and we feel like this partnership is going to allow us to do that,” said Dan Weddle, president of ProTech Systems Group.
– Don Wade
Cohen Calls For Sessions’ Resignation
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen called for the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday, March 2, over reports that Sessions talked twice with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during President Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House.
Sessions, who was a U.S. senator and an adviser to Trump’s campaign at the time, has denied any meetings with the ambassador. And Sessions testified during his confirmation hearings in January that he had no contact with Russian officials.
Cohen, who is a ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, accused Sessions of lying under oath in his confirmation testimony.
“Attorney General Sessions claims to have some wiggle room, but the attorney general must be, like Caesar’s wife, above suspicion,” Cohen said in a written statement. “Wiggle room is not acceptable. Therefore, Attorney General Sessions cannot effectively do his job, which includes overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s attempt to influence our elections.”
– Bill Dries
Titans Extend Contract With Backup QB Cassel
The Tennessee Titans have agreed to a contract extension with quarterback Matt Cassel a week before he was set to hit free agency.
The Titans announced the deal on Thursday, March 2. Cassel is expected to help the Titans during the offseason program while Marcus Mariota recovers from a broken right lower leg.
The 12-year veteran played four games for Tennessee last season and started the regular season finale, a 24-17 win over Houston.
For his career, Cassel has started 80 of his 108 games and has thrown for 17,287 yards with 103 touchdowns in his career. A seventh-round pick by New England in 2008, Cassel has played with Kansas City, Minnesota, Buffalo and Dallas.
– The Associated Press
UT Hires John Currie As Athletic Director
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville has named John Currie, a UT alumnus, its new vice chancellor and director of athletics.
Currie currently serves as director of athletics at Kansas State and will begin his duties at UT on April 1.
Currie earned his master’s degree and served in various capacities at UT from 1997-2009, including time in external operations, development, marketing and ticket operations. He left in 2009 to take the job at Kansas State.
“We are extremely pleased to announce John as our new vice chancellor and director of athletics,” Chancellor Beverly Davenport said in a prepared statement. “This is truly an exciting day for the University of Tennessee and our athletics department. As I said when we began this process, we were looking for the best candidate, and we feel strongly that we have him in John Currie.”
In February, the university hired Turnkey Search, a division of Turnkey Sports & Entertainment, to conduct a nationwide search for a new director of athletics.
“It is a very exciting time for my family and me as we return to a place that remains very special to us,” Currie, 45, said. “We spent 10 years in Knoxville prior to taking the job at K-State, and I appreciate Chancellor Davenport and the University of Tennessee for providing us this special opportunity. As a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I know how much UT athletics means to the people in the state, and I look forward to serving all of the Big Orange Nation, its wonderful coaches, staff and student-athletes, for many years to come. We are excited to return to Rocky Top.”
During Currie’s tenure, K-State Athletics eliminated approximately $3 million in annual state and direct university funding of intercollegiate athletics and Currie oversaw $210 million in facility improvements get completed, all privately funded.
About one-half of all Wildcat student-athletes achieved a 3.0 GPA or higher this past academic year. And 137 K-State student-athletes have earned All-American distinction, and the Wildcats have won nine NCAA individual titles and 50 Big 12 titles the past seven years.
– Daily News staff
Paragon Bank Reports Strong 2016 Results
Paragon Bank had a strong 2016 based on newly released financial results, with the bank’s net income growing from $91,023 in 2015 to more than $2.1 million in 2016.
Among other highlights for the year, Paragon’s $18.1 million in 2016 revenue was a record for the bank and a 40 percent gain over 2015. Gross loans increased 17.6 percent during 2016, from $245 million to $289 million by year’s end.
Total assets on Dec. 31 were $352 million, compared with $304 million at the end of 2015, a 15.7 percent increase.
In addition to the financial results, Paragon reported its employees volunteered more than 1,270 hours in 2016, impacting 45 different organizations throughout the city.
– Andy Meek
Greater Memphis Greenline Names New Director
The Greater Memphis Greenline board of directors has appointed Andrew Israel its new executive director as it shifts its organizational focus, the group announced Wednesday, March 1.
The GMG was established in 2004 to promote and facilitate the creation of a recreational trail system in Memphis and Shelby County, starting with the conversion of a 10.7-mile abandoned rail corridor into what is now known as the Shelby Farms Greenline.
Following the Greenline, the organization initiated the Harahan Bridge project that became Big River Crossing as well as the Broad Street/Overton Park Connector, better known as the Hampline.
Now the organization says it’s shifting its focus to promoting healthy lifestyles and increasing the use of trails, parks and green spaces.
“Memphis is known for being an unhealthy city. We want to change that perception by introducing new programs that encourage people of all ages to get out and use our green spaces,” Israel said in a statement. “The creation of the Shelby Farms Greenline was a game-changer for Memphis. We want to build on that success by continuing to provide opportunities for everyone across our city to have safe, accessible locations to pursue their health and wellness goals.”
– Daily News staff
Regency Buys 70 Acres In Germantown for $2 Million
Regency Homebuilders LLC has bought a 70-acre parcel of land in Germantown from Goodwin Farms L.P. for roughly $2 million, according to a Feb. 27 warranty deed filed with the Shelby County Register of Deeds.
The large swath of undeveloped land is located at 9687 Winchester Road, immediately west of the Germantown-Collierville border near the intersection of Houston Levee and Winchester roads.
John B. Goodwin, acting as general partner, signed the deed on behalf of seller Goodwin Farms.
In conjunction with the purchase, Regency Homebuilders took out a $1.3 million mortgage through Pinnacle Bank. Sean Carlson, acting as secretary, signed the trust deed on behalf of Regency Homebuilders.
The property was last appraised for a little more than $2 million in 2016, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.
Regency Homebuilders also owns a 31.1-acre tract of vacant land immediately adjacent to the newly acquired property. That parcel was appraised at $1.3 million in 2016.
Recently, Regency Homebuilders purchased two parcels of vacant land in Bartlett from Music City Investments LLC for $1.8 million, according to a Feb. 1 warranty deed. The roughly 15 acres near the U.S. 64 exit off Interstate 40 is labeled in the deed as Brunswick Village at Wolfchase planned development, and the Shelby County Assessor’s combined 2016 appraisal for the two parcels was $236,000.
– Patrick Lantrip
Flintco Leads Construction On ServiceMaster HQ
Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings announced Flintco LLC will be heading up construction and renovation efforts at its new headquarters Downtown.
As general contractor, Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Flintco will be responsible for estimations, procuring subcontractors, and the management of daily activities for the build-out of the former Peabody Place mall.
“We’re pleased to be working with Flintco,” Terry Ingram, vice president of supply management for ServiceMaster, said in a release. “We completed a very detailed bidding process, and Flintco demonstrated an exceptional record of success, true dedication to safety and an unwavering commitment to supplier and subcontractor diversity.”
ServiceMaster will spend $35 million in renovations, with at least 20 percent going to local minority- and women-owned businesses. However, the company is expected to exceed that figure.
“Flintco is excited about partnering with ServiceMaster to help change the landscape of Downtown Memphis,” said Flintco vice president and area manager Tim Weatherford. “Like ServiceMaster, Flintco is working continuously to improve and innovate how we deliver projects. The new headquarters is a great opportunity to showcase our ability to work with a global partner to create a facility that is unique to Memphis.”
Last December, Flintco was also named general contractor for the renovation of ServiceMaster’s IT Innovation Center, a 20,000-square-foot collaborative work space that will occupy the former Tower Records location near the Third Street entrance to Peabody Place.
Property owner Belz Enterprises currently is managing exterior renovations and interior updates to repurpose the four-level, 328,000-square-foot structure into Class A office space. Once fully operational, around 1,200 employees and contract workers are expected to occupy ServiceMaster’s headquarters by the end of 2017.
In addition to housing ServiceMaster’s world headquarters, Belz is setting aside 20,000 square feet in the building for retail or restaurant tenants.
ServiceMaster provides a range of residential and commercial services through its seven brands, which include American Home Shield, AmeriSpec, Furniture Medic, Merry Maids, ServiceMaster Clean, ServiceMaster Restore and Terminix.
– Patrick Lantrip
City Opens Online Survey On Memphis Riverfront
A city task force on riverfront development has opened an online survey on the Memphis riverfront. The survey, at MemphisRiverfrontTF.com, is part of a larger process of gathering community input as the task force develops a comprehensive plan for the riverfront area.
The questions include what would make you want to go to the riverfront more often; what do you like most about the riverfront currently; and what needs the most improvement there.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland appointed a 16-member task force, working with Studio Gang Architects, to give him a set of recommendations – short-term and long-term – for future development of the riverfront.
The task force, which is led by Alan Crone, special counsel to the mayor, also plans to hold public sessions in different parts of the city.
– Bill Dries
Sedgwick Approved For $10.4 Million PILOT
The Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County approved Sedgwick Claims Management Services’ application for a $10.4 million tax abatement during a special session Friday, Feb. 24.
The Memphis-based company, which provides technology-enabled risk and benefits solutions, was awarded a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive to expand and consolidate its global corporate headquarters into one location at Southwind.
The tax incentive package will allow the company to invest $33.5 million in capital, retain 865 jobs and create 130 jobs, according to Sedgwick’s PILOT application. The average weighted base salary for the employees will be $68,872, excluding benefits.
The EDGE staff estimates the local tax benefit to be more than $72 million.
EDGE president and CEO Reid Dulberger asked a Sedgwick official at Friday’s meeting what timeframe the company envisioned going forward if its application received approval.
“We’re working with the landlord to secure the facility and finalize the lease,” said Joey C. House, the managing director for Sedgwick. “And then we would look to start construction the first of the year.”
Currently, the company operates out of two locations – 90,000 square feet at 1100 Ridgeway Loop Blvd. and 80,000 square feet at 2620 Thousand Oaks Blvd. The PILOT will allow them to consolidate the two operations into one 245,808-square-foot facility at 8155 T&B Blvd., the current headquarters of electrical component manufacturing company Thomas & Betts Corp.
The total project investment will include $5 million in furniture, fixtures and computer equipment and $10.4 million for building renovations. Sedgwick also will receive an $18.1 million Community Reinvestment Credit.
“With space available at Sedgwick facilities in Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles and Portland, we know the firm had a number of low-cost options to consider,” Dulberger said. “Retaining and growing Sedgwick headquarters in Memphis is testimony to the quality of their local staff, our community’s strong business infrastructure, and our ability to compete successfully for leading companies.”
– Patrick Lantrip
Memphis Redbirds Make Front Office Moves
The Memphis Redbirds have announced two personnel moves to bolster the front office in advance of the 2017 season.
Mike Voutsinas, a 16-year veteran of professional baseball and the New York-Penn League Executive of the Year in 2016, has joined the Redbirds as senior director for corporate sales and marketing. Voutsinas spent the past three seasons as the general manager for the Single-A Auburn Doubledays, where he helped the Doubledays receive the Community and Baseball Service Award.
Through his leadership, the Doubledays increased attendance by 23 percent and tripled advertising revenue.
In his role with the Redbirds, Voutsinas will oversee promotions, marketing, corporate sales, premium sales and season membership sales. He will work closely with Redbirds president and general manager Craig Unger. Prior to Auburn, Voutsinas spent nearly 13 years in the front office of the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs.
Also, Mark Anderson, who has been a member of the Redbirds’ front office since 2006, has been promoted to senior director of stadium and baseball operations. Anderson has played a key role in improving the operation of AutoZone Park and has streamlined much of the game-day workflow around the stadium.
The 2017 Redbirds take the field for the first time on March 30 against the St. Louis Cardinals in an exhibition game at AutoZone Park.
– Don Wade
DMC Seeks Longer-Term Management of Beale
The Downtown Memphis Commission’s board of directors voted Friday, Feb. 24, to allow DMC president Terence Patterson to enter into negotiations with the city of Memphis to manage Beale Street on a longer-term basis.
The DMC has been interim manager of the district since 2014. What was initially supposed to be a six-month arrangement has now lasted three years. Since the initial agreement expired, Patterson said, the DMC has been operating on a month-to-month basis.
“It’s been our feeling that we need to take a longer-term view and perspective on how we manage the street as opposed to taking a month-to-month view,” he said.
With the board’s approval, Patterson will begin to enter into discussions with the city to manage Beale Street for at least a year at a time.
“Having a month-to-month arrangement makes it more challenging to make strategic decisions that are in the best interest for the future of the street,” Patterson said.
Patterson signaled the move to longer-term plans last month in an appearance before Memphis City Council members who are examining how the district is run.
Council members are questioning whether the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority, which was created in 2015, should continue to oversee the district for the city.
Six new members have been elected to the council since it approved the authority’s creation.
Council members also are questioning the authority’s decision in October to end contract negotiations with 21 Beale Street Inc., a black-owned Chicago-Memphis partnership that was among the handful of companies who applied to manage the district on a day-to-day basis via a long-term contract.
Patterson will engage in discussions with the tourism development authority. The current arrangement, however, is with the city and the mayor since it predated the creation of the authority.
“We are as suited as anyone to commit to the community and reinvest and lift up a prized asset,” Patterson said.
State Rep. Barbara Cooper was the lone no vote, calling it “damaging to the city.”
– Patrick Lantrip