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VOL. 132 | NO. 224 | Friday, November 10, 2017

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: Mega-Site, New Chandler Real Estate Numbers and Grizz Second Unit

By Bill Dries

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When the state’s new commissioner of Economic and Community Development met several months ago with local leaders in Arlington, Bob Rolfe said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam had made it clear that Rolfe’s primary task between then and when Haslam leaves office at the end of 2018 is to find a tenant for the west Tennessee megasite in Haywood County. Toyota-Mazda executives told the state this week that their $1.6 billion electric car plant to be built in the U.S. and create 4,000 jobs will not be considering the megasite and another un-named prospect has also walked away, according to the state.

The reason for Toyota-Mazda walking away is that the site isn’t “shovel ready” – specifically the state is still in the process of getting the necessary permits for a sewage treatment line from the site to the Mississippi River. Some landowners along the pipe route are opposed to any easements across their property once the state gets the necessary permits and there is opposition to a line that empties into the Mississippi River including among some Shelby County Commissioners.

The site is one of three state megasites – one in each grand division of the state – established by the administration of Gov. Phil Bredesen. The two others have been developed. The west Tennessee site, which is called the Memphis megasite (because let’s make sure we confuse site consultants who are making decisions on more than a billion dollars in development – IMHO) – has never had any development on it.

Rolfe is the latest state ECD commissioner to tackle this task. And word of the decision by Toyota-Mazda has already caused more sparks in the Republican primary for Governor between former Tennessee ECD commissioner Randy Boyd and U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin. Shortly after the state confirmed Thursday that Toyota-Mazda was out, Black’s campaign went on the attack via Chris Hartline, the campaign’s communications director:

“Some may campaign on making Tennessee a business-friendly state, but they are overlooking their failures to make Tennessee a business-ready state. The state has had years to make the Memphis Regional Megasite ‘shovel ready,’ and has come up short once again. Losing Toyota-Mazda is a tremendous, inexcusable loss for our state. We have to take action and stop leaving West Tennessee behind.”

Seven years after his murder, Memphis Police said Thursday they have found the gun they believe was used to kill NBA and Tigers basketball star Lorenzen Wright. They found it in a lake near Walnut, Mississippi. Wright’s body was found in southeast Shelby County 10 days after he was last seen. The discovery of a gun that police will test is an indication they have someone who is providing specific information. To date, no one has been charged.

More details in a story we broke Wednesday about a 71-acre senior housing development on the northern edge of Shelby Farms Park. It is called “Dwell at Shelby Farms.”

A rebranding in the set of hotels in the Court Square area – Sleep Inn is about to become the Moxy, a Marriott brand and it will get a $3 million renovation in the process.

The current dust-up between the Shelby County Commission and County Mayor Mark Luttrell over hiring a law firm for a possible opioid lawsuit against big pharma is part of a larger and longer-running point of contention between the two branches of county government. And Luttrell says some of this is a tension inherent no matter who is mayor and who is on the commission.

October housing numbers from Chandler Reports, the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Co. Inc. The average home sales price in Shelby County up 13 percent from a year ago at an average of $168,272. Germantown’s 38139 ZIP had the highest average sales price of the local ZIPs with $481,922. For the month, unincorporated Shelby County had the most new homes sales with 29 in all, which is helping with the tight inventory.

Chandler numbers on mortgages show the local market up 10 percent in purchase volume in October from a year ago.

In D.C. Thursday… U.S. Sen. Bob Corker announced the Foreign Relations committee he chairs will hold hearings next week on the authority of the president to use nuclear weapons, per The Hill.

The cover story by Don Wade in our weekly, The Memphis News, is about the Hustle – the Grizz G-League team in Southaven. The PDF of the new issue in its entirety is up now on this website. The hard copies are in the racks Friday morning and the online version of the cover story goes up here Friday afternoon.

In our Friday Sports Section:

The Grizz second unit is the force behind the team’s great start this month as the NBA season got underway.

Don Wade’s Press Box column is about Jason Motte, the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher in search of a team for next season and preparing for his foundation’s cancer fundraiser in Memphis in a week.

Dave Link on bowl hopes at Rocky Top. Really?

Terry McCormick on Kevin Byard, the second-year safety for the Titans, whose key play in last week’s game against the Ravens was calling a time-out.

Fairgrounds redevelopment and the city’s efforts at residential development on a smaller scale in other parts of the city is the topic on “Behind The Headlines.” City Housing and Community Development director Paul Young is our guest. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. on WKNO TV.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 52 151
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751
BANKRUPTCIES 37 157 618
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 77 276
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0