VOL. 132 | NO. 227 | Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Beale Hotel Developers Change Site Plans
The developers of a five-story, 101-room Best Western Vib hotel on Beale Street have changed their plans for the project.
Developers Amil and Kamlesh Patel of Hernando, Mississippi-based KNM Development Group LLC are seeking to modify their special-use permit for 404 Beale St. to add a parking lot fronting Beale and reorient the hotel to the Gayoso Avenue side of the two-acre site, according to a Nov. 1 application filed with the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development.
The original plan had called for a five-story parking garage on the Gayoso frontage and an 80-foot setback from Beale for the hotel, with no surface parking lot in front of the hotel.
The application goes to the Land Use Control Board Dec. 14 for consideration.
“Emphasis has been given to make the hotel inviting to pedestrian traffic attracting customers from the entertainment area as well as other parts of Downtown,” reads a letter of intent KNM Development submitted with its application to the Office of Planning and Development. “We strongly believe that this development will not only (complement) other existing developments in downtown and the surrounding areas, but will also (be) a stimulus for future developments.”
Best Western bills Vib as a “stylish urban boutique hotel concept designed for today’s connected traveler.”
– Bill Dries
County Commission Delays Jail Food Services Contract
Shelby County commissioners delayed Monday, Nov. 13, a vote on a contract with Aramark Corrections Services LLC to provide food service to the Shelby County jail and juvenile detention facilities, both overseen by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
The commission delayed a vote in what was the first clash between the commission’s newly created position of chief diversity officer and County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s administration.
Former Shelby County commissioner Shep Wilbun, who is the chief diversity officer, told commissioners that Aramark didn’t meet a goal of doing at least 20 percent of its business in the contract with locally owned small businesses. But the administration and Aramark’s attorney, John Farris, argued the company did meet the goal with a subcontractor used in the past, PVM Foods Inc., whose certification had lapsed during the bidding process.
No percentage for minority-owned businesses was set in the contract process.
The commission takes up the matter in its Nov. 29 committee sessions with another vote tentatively scheduled for the body’s first meeting in December.
Also on Monday, commissioners approved an $8.7 million contract with CBM Managed Services for food service at the County Corrections Center.
And the commission approved $21.3 million to fund its part of an interlocal agreement with the city of Memphis for a new radio system used by police, fire, sheriff’s office and other first responder agencies.
The city is the majority owner of the new radio system.
– Bill Dries
UTHSC, Bioworks, TriMetis Form Bioscience Partnership
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, and TriMetis Life Sciences have announced the establishment of a partnership focused on research, discovery, entrepreneurship and commercialization in biosciences and technology.
At the heart of the partnership are the university appointments of Steve Bares, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks, to focus on building research through entrepreneurship, and Phil Cestaro, president and CEO of Memphis-based TriMetis, to focus on building research through business development in the private sector.
In his new appointment as associate vice chancellor, research and entrepreneurship, Bares will work with the organization to help build out the pathway to entrepreneurism. He’ll also be looking to set a foundation for future research and discovery, and to expand access and expose UTHSC faculty to experienced educators and researchers through targeted programming.
As associate vice chancellor, research and business development, Cestaro will focus on the development of external research opportunities with pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies. Cestaro will also assist the University of Tennessee Research Foundation with the management of the statewide Clinical Trials Network of Tennessee.
UTHSC also has entered into an arrangement with TriMetis through which the company is leasing its 26,000-square-foot specialized laboratory facility in the UT-Baptist Research Park to UTHSC. In return, the university is providing TriMetis with space for its current and future business.
– Andy Meek
Tigers’ Miller Among Four Burlsworth Trophy Finalists
University of Memphis senior wide receiver Anthony Miller has been named one of four finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, awarded to college football’s top player who began his career as a walk-on.
Other finalists for the eighth annual trophy include Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who won the award in 2015 and 2016; Washington State quarterback Luke Falk and Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli.
The Burlsworth Award is named after former Arkansas offensive lineman Brandon Burlsworth, who worked his way from walk-on to All-American before being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1999. He was killed in a car accident 11 days later.
Finalists were chosen from 63 nominees. CEO Marty Burlsworth says the selection committee’s vote necessitated bringing in a fourth finalist this year for the first time. The winner will be announced Dec. 4.
Miller also has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2017 Biletnikoff Award, which honors college football’s outstanding receiver at any position. He is one of two American Athletic Conference players named a semifinalist, with the other being SMU’s Trey Quinn.
The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, which sponsors the award, will announce its list of finalists Monday, Nov. 20.
Miller recently became the U of M’s all-time leading receiver and enters this Saturday’s game against SMU with 3,033 receiving yards and 30 receiving touchdowns, both Memphis records. He needs four more catches to become the program’s all-time leader in that category as well.
– Daily News staff/The Associated Press
Audit: Tenn. Nonprofit Falsified Time Reports
An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has found a series of falsified time reports and poor documentation practices within the Nashville-based Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Comptroller investigators found that time records for the coalition’s employees were falsified and did not accurately reflect time spent working on federal and state grant projects. Employees were instructed to falsely allocate the percentage of time spent on various grants, and changes to time records were also made after the end of the pay periods, according to the Comptroller Justin P. Wilson’s office.
Investigators are questioning salary costs totaling $515,092 on grants administered by state agencies in fiscal 2016.
They also found a former coalition employee received $13,524 in unearned leave and benefits from local, state and federal grants. The employee resigned in February 2016 but continued to receive unearned personal leave through June of that year.
Another former employee was instructed to falsely indicate she was working on federal grant projects. The employee told investigators she was “coached” by the coalition’s executive director to tell comptroller investigators that her time records were accurate.
Poor documentation also led investigators to question $25,945 of executive director Kathy Walsh’s salary. The amount represents grant money Walsh was paid on 54 days in which investigators could not determine how much time she spent lobbying the Legislature or fundraising, both of which are unallowable costs to a grant.
In a response filed with the comptroller’s report, Walsh said the coalition has begun to “aggressively address” the issues uncovered by auditors.
“Finally, of utmost importance to the coalition, is that we adequately convey that the weaknesses uncovered by the audit are just that: weaknesses,” the response reads. “The coalition’s only intent is and has always been to use the funds we receive to work tirelessly to advocate for victims of rape and abuse and ultimately realize our mission to end domestic and sexual violence in Tennessee.
– Daily News staff