VOL. 10 | NO. 47 | Saturday, November 18, 2017
City Pulls $20M Permit For Raleigh Springs Center
The City of Memphis has filed a $20 million building permit application to begin construction on the Raleigh Springs Town Center.
Now that demolition of the 1970s-era mall is wrapping up, officials can move forward with the $23.4 million project design was approved in late 2013.
The development, which was designed by Tom Marshall of O.T. Marshall Architects, will include several elements, including a state-of-the-art library with a tech center for 13- to 18- year-olds. A second-story rooftop observation area will overlook an 11-acre lake surrounded by a one-mile walking trail.
The design also incorporates a large skate park designed by a California firm, as well as ample parking. In addition, the Memphis Police Department plans to relocate its traffic precinct and the Old Allen police station to the site.
– Patrick Lantrip
DMC Names Oswalt Its Permanent CEO
Interim Downtown Memphis Commission president and CEO Jennifer Oswalt has been retained on a permanent basis after a unanimous vote by the DMC’s board of directors Thursday, Nov. 16.
Oswalt, who began serving as interim president in July, garnered the recommendation from Dave Smith of the search firm DHR International before the board voted to install her.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the DMC and our community in this role,” Oswalt said. “I believe a strong, vibrant and connected Downtown can be a catalyst for change and growth across our entire region, and I am looking forward to diving into the work.”
Oswalt, a graduate of the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, joined the DMC in 2015 as chief financial officer. Before that, she served as CFO of local publishing company Contemporary Media.
“We were impressed by the quality of all the candidates brought to us by DHR, which made the final recommendation even more significant,” DMC board chairman Carl Person said. “Jennifer has the skill set needed to succeed in this job and her qualifications rose above all, including several national candidates. We feel very fortunate to have retained her in this role.”
– Patrick Lantrip
Chamber Chairman’s Circle Expands Leadership
As the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle continues to grow, its founding members have decided to restructure its leadership.
Original co-chairs Gary Shorb, Richard Smith, Calvin Anderson, Carolyn Hardy, Spence Wilson Jr., Duncan Williams, Leigh Shockey and Jason Hood voted to install a new leadership structure that will include addition of a chairman, vice chairman and new co-chairs.
Carolyn Hardy, president and CEO of Chism Hardy Investments, will serve a one-year term as chairman. Spence Wilson Jr., principal of Kemmons Wilson Cos., will serve a two-year term as vice chairman.
In addition, Daphne Large of Data Facts Inc., Andy Cates of Colliers International, and Robin Smithwick of Diversified Trust were elected to two-year terms as co-chairs. Williams, of Duncan-Williams Inc., Jason Hood of Sedgwick Claims Management Services, and David Waddell of Waddell & Associates were elected to a one-year term as co-chairs.
Now in its fifth year, the Chairman’s Circle is a business leadership group made up of more than 100 companies and individuals. Its creation allowed the chamber to be 100 percent funded by the business community instead of taking funding from local government.
“The Chairman’s Circle members have come together to lead in a way that hasn’t been seen by the business community in Memphis in at least 40 years,” Shea Flinn, senior vice president of Chairman’s Circle, said in a statement. “By working as a collective voice, they have fundamentally altered the way we interact with all our governmental bodies that brings more funding and business friendly policies to Memphis. I’m honored to work even more closely with these new leaders over the next two years to keep Memphis on a successful path.”
– Patrick Lantrip
Memphis Lands Minor League Soccer
AutoZone Park will be home to a team in the United Soccer League, according to multiple media reports. The team, as yet unnamed, would begin play in 2019.
“We are excited about the prospects of a third professional sports team in Downtown Memphis,” Redbirds president and general manager Craig Unger said in a statement. “Coupled with the continued revitalization of Downtown, the time has never been better for investment in the city and its people.”
Mayor Jim Strickland also weighed in on social media, saying in part, “We’ve worked hard to make this a reality, it’s just another example of our momentum in the city of Memphis.”
Thirty teams competed in the 2017 USL season, including teams from Louisville, Kentucky (the league champions); Cincinnati, Ohio; and St. Louis, Missouri. Birmingham, Alabama, is among the other 2019 expansion cities, and Nashville is set to start play in 2018.
The USL is essentially the Triple-A of North American pro soccer, one step below Major League Soccer.
– Don Wade
Rising Roll Café Coming to Memphis
Atlanta-based gourmet sandwich chain Rising Roll Cafe has signed a franchise agreement for the development of three stores in Memphis.
The stores will be owned and operated by Michael Black. Leases at press time had not yet been signed, but Black is eyeing the Poplar corridor from Downtown to Germantown for all three stores.
Founded in 1999 and franchising since 2003, Rising Roll Café offers a variety of dining options made in-house every day. The restaurants feature a menu of about 50 choices broken down into categories that include gourmet sandwiches, hot sandwiches, wraps, salads and breakfast.
The newly expanded menu also includes gluten-reduced and vegan options, as well as various “Under 400 Calories” menu items.
Today, Rising Roll Café has 19 stores in five states.
– Andy Meek
IDI Files First Permit For Amazon Center
Atlanta-based developer IDI Gazeley has submitted its first building permit application to construction code officials for the location of Amazon’s proposed receive center at 3292 Holmes Road in southeast Memphis.
Tricore Builders Inc. is listed as contractor on the $2 million permit for “footing and foundation” work, while Macgregor Associates Architects is listed as the architect.
In October, Amazon confirmed that it was planning a $72 million, 615,440-square-foot receive center in Memphis that would employ 600 workers.
Later that month, the online retailer was awarded a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive by the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County to construct the facility.
Over the term of the abatement, EDGE officials estimate the project will generate almost $37 million in local tax revenue while saving Amazon $15 million, for a cost-to-benefit ratio of 2.43.
– Patrick Lantrip
Orpheum, Arts Community Fighting Hunger
The Orpheum Theatre Group is again joining forces with the Memphis arts community for the second annual Midsouth Arts Against Hunger food drive to benefit the Mid-South Food Bank.
Patrons that donate at least one nonperishable item through the Orpheum Theatre or Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education will receive a voucher for free admission to see the 1947 classic “Miracle on 34th Street” Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Orpheum.
The Midsouth Arts Against Hunger campaign was created by Veronica Batterson, the wife of Orpheum Theatre Group president and CEO Brett Batterson.
“Last year, Memphians donated almost two tons of canned goods through the Orpheum and Halloran Centre,” Veronica Batterson said in a release. “We hope patrons will join us again this holiday season for ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ while supporting an incredible cause.”
“Miracle on 34th Street” is about a nice, old man who claims to be Santa Claus and is institutionalized as insane; a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. Those who arrive early can take a photo with Santa at the Orpheum photo booth.
Donations of nonperishable food items will be collected at the Orpheum’s Downtown box office, 203 S. Main St., and Halloran Centre lobby, 225 S. Main, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Dec. 20. Donations also can be made during all public Orpheum events and on the night of the event to receive a free ticket.
For more information, visit orpheum-memphis.com or call 901-525-3000.
– Don Wade
Memphis Accounting Firm To Overhaul Offices
Local accounting firm Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck will undergo a $1.3 million renovation of their East Memphis office, according to documents filed with the Office of Construction Code Enforcement.
Rather than relocating, RBG plans to stay in the office, located at 5100 Wheelis Drive, while Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc completes the renovation work.
Real estate development firm Clark & Clark is listed as the property owner on the building permit application.
Built in 1987, the 87,000-square-foot Class A office building is located near the intersection of Poplar Avenue and Brookhaven Circle and was last appraised for $9.8 million by the Shelby County Assessor this year.
– Patrick Lantrip
300 MLGW Payment Sites Out of Service Indefinitely
More than 300 Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division payment kiosks and paying agents are out of service after TIO Networks, the company that operates the kiosks, temporarily suspended its bill-payment processing operations.
TIO operates kiosks in four of MLGW’s community offices and kiosks and paying agents at more than 300 locations throughout Shelby County, all of which are inoperable until further notice. In addition, payment locations with MoneyGram kiosks, which TIO operates, are not available for use at this time.
PayPal Holdings Inc., which bought TIO Networks in July, suspended TIO services Friday, Nov. 10, after discovering security vulnerabilities on the TIO platform and issues with the company’s data-security program.
MLGW customers can still make payments at nearly 90 MLGW-authorized pay agents operated by Firstech. These pay agents are not part of TIO Networks. A list of current payment locations is available at mlgw.com/payyourbill or by visiting any of MLGW’s five community offices: 245 S. Main St., 2935 Lamar Ave., 1111 E. Shelby Drive, 2424 Summer Ave. and 5131 Navy Road.
PayPal has not given a timeline for resuming TIO operations.
– Daily News staff
Graceland Launches Guided Day Trips
Graceland has launched a new service called Graceland Excursion, offering guided day trips to Elvis Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi, and around the Mississippi Delta region.
Guests ride on a luxury motorcoach to and from each destination. During the ride, tour guides and Graceland Archives staff celebrate the music that influenced Elvis and explore the genres that still inspire performers today.
Excursions will preview with select dates in December and early January, with an official launch of a regular, weekly schedule on Jan. 12.
The Graceland Excursions Tupelo trip, which lasts about seven hours, will include Elvis’ Birthplace, encompassing the two-room “shotgun” house where Elvis was born, his childhood church, and the Birthplace Museum; Tupelo Hardware, where Elvis’ mother Gladys bought his first guitar; and the Tupelo Fairgrounds, where he performed homecoming concerts in 1956 and 1957.
The Graceland Excursions Mississippi Delta trip, which lasts about 10 hours, will follow U.S. 61, known as the “Blues Highway,” and make stops at the Gateway to the Blues Museum in Tunica; the legendary “Crossroads” and Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi; Dockery Farms, widely regarded as where the delta blues genre was born; and the Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi.
Tickets for the tours are sold separately from Graceland mansion tours. Introductory prices for adult tickets are $99 for the Tupelo trip and $119 for the Mississippi Delta trip.
Visit graceland.com/excursions for details.
– Daily News staff
Richland Elementary Adding New Classrooms
The Shelby County School system has filed a $4 million building permit application to construct a 14-classroom building at its current 5440 Rich Road location, according to documents filed with the Office of Construction Code Enforcement.
Plans for the new building were one of 13 school renovation and construction projects the Shelby County Schools board approved at its Oct. 31 meeting. Richland currently is at 163 percent of student capacity and uses portable classrooms the school system says are beyond repair.
– Patrick Lantrip
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 parking lot in front.
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.”
– 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 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 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
Financial Federal Adds New SVP
The Memphis office of Financial Federal Bank has added Alex Neale as its new senior vice president of private banking.
Neale will focus on establishing and maintaining private lending and depository relationships for Financial Federal’s private banking customers.
Neale started his career in finance at Duncan-Williams Inc. After completing a SunTrust management training program in Nashville, Neale moved back to Memphis to work in SunTrust’s private banking sector, and he most recently served as managing director at Metropolitan Bank.
– Andy Meek
Pinnacle Adds to Local Mortgage Teams
Stephanie Pilkington and Ken Pruett have joined Pinnacle Financial Partners as senior vice presidents and mortgage advisers.
Pilkington comes to Pinnacle from American Mortgage Service Co., where she was a loan originator. Previously, she was a teller for INSOUTH Bank in Covington, Tennessee, and she’s now based at Pinnacle’s mortgage loan production office in Atoka.
Pruett, meanwhile, comes most recently from Community Bank of Mississippi, where he was a mortgage loan originator. Other roles included serving as a loan officer for Southpoint Financial Services in Hernando, Mississippi; a loan officer for Magna Bank’s Memphis and North Mississippi regions; and area manager for United Financial Mortgage Corp. in Memphis. He’s now based at Pinnacle’s Memphis headquarters on Shady Grove Road.
Also joining the firm’s Shady Grove Road team are Debbie Metcalf and Tessa Redding.
Metcalf is a mortgage adviser assistant who comes to Pinnacle from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, where she was a home loan processor.
Redding also joins Pinnacle as a mortgage adviser assistant. She comes most recently from Trustmark National Bank, where she was a loan processor.
– Andy Meek
Archer Malmo Named A ‘Best Place to Work’
Memphis-based brand communications agency Archer Malmo has been named one of the 2017 Best Places to work by the publication Ad Age.
The annual survey and awards program honors the 50 best U.S.-based employers in the advertising and marketing industries, and this is the fourth time Archer Malmo has made the “Ad Age Best Places to Work” list since 2011.
The Memphis firm just celebrated its 65th year in business. Among the perks it offers employees are flexible paid time off, the option to bring pets to work, free on-site yoga classes and massages, tuition reimbursement, profit-sharing bonuses, a corporate matching gift program, continued education through Archer Malmo University and more.
Each month, all employees also gather for a town-hall style meeting to discuss agency business, honor employee anniversaries and celebrate work well done.
– Andy Meek
U of M Athletics Reaches Record Graduation Rate
For the third year in a row, University of Memphis Athletics posted an all-time high in academic achievement, as the NCAA released its Graduation Success Rate and Federal Graduation Rate reports.
In the reports, the University of Memphis’ numbers improved from the year before, with the university graduating 87 percent of its student-athletes for the 2010 cohort and having a 62 percent federal graduation rate for the same time period (2007-10).
Last year’s numbers were 85 percent for Memphis’ GSR and 61 percent from its FGR.
The FGR accesses only first-time, full-time freshmen and only counts them as an academic success if they graduate from their institution of initial enrollment within a six-year period.
The GSR differs from the FGR in that it adds transfer students, mid-year enrollees and non-scholarship students (in specific cases) to the sample. This allows the GSR to more accurately look at student-athlete successes by taking into account the full variety of participants in NCAA Division I and tracking their individual outcomes.
The GSR for all NCAA Division I institutions was 87 percent.
Memphis’ overall 87 percent GSR ranked in the top half of the American Athletic Conference, coming in behind Temple, Tulane, Connecticut and UCF. Regionally, Memphis’ GSR was higher than Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Memphis’ 87 percent GSR was ahead of nine of the 10 schools in the Big 12 Conference and eight of the 14 institutions in the Southeastern Conference.
– Don Wade
Real Men Wear Pink Raises $145K in Memphis
The American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign, which selected 27 prominent Memphis men to raise funds for breast cancer awareness in October, garnered $145,000 for the society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer initiative.
The fundraising total put Memphis fourth among all ACS Real Men campaigns this year.
“We asked these men to wear pink every day in October, raise awareness about breast cancer among their circle of influence and reach their fundraising goal to help advance the American Cancer Society’s mission,” said Randall Melton, chairman of this year’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign and last year’s top Real Man. “These men did not shy away from the challenge. In fact, they absolutely exceeded all our expectations to raise over $145,000 in one month.”
Andrew Bettis, president of AB Jets, was the campaign’s top fundraiser, raising $25,200 to support the society and those impacted by breast cancer.
Other top fundraisers include Shelby County commissioner George Chism, who raised $17,820; James Avant, marketing manager for Kroger Delta Division, who raised $12,150; Melton, vice president of merchandising for Kroger Delta Division, who raised $11,558; Doug Browne, president of Peabody Hotels & Resorts, who raised $9,829; Josh Robinson, co-owner of PT Squared, who raised $8,060; Tres LeTard, general manager of Varsity All Star, who raised $6,595; and DJ McCabe, president of McCabe Construction, who raised $4,845.
– Daily News staff
Junior Achievement Honors Teachers, Supporters
Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South held its annual meeting at its Kemmons Wilson Entrepreneurial Training Center, where it recognized local teachers, volunteers and supporters for their participation and partnership in the nonprofit's educational programs.
Guests heard from keynote speaker and Shelby County Schools chief of staff Dr. Sharon Griffin, who provided an update on the school system and imparted the importance of community support.
The meeting also served as a platform for the organization's board of directors to review the year's successes and strategic plans for growth in 2018 and beyond.
JA volunteers Skip Betts and Steve French were each named Junior Achievement's Volunteer of the Year; Ravyn Jones, a guidance counselor from Kate Bond Middle School, was named Junior Achievement's Teacher of the Year; and AT&T was recognized as Junior Achievement's Company of the Year.
– Don Wade
RISE Foundation Gala Raises $125,000
The RISE Foundation's annual gala, "An Evening of Change," raised $125,000 to support the nonprofit in its mission of transforming the lives of low-income Memphians through financial literacy education.
Although the gala has been held for four consecutive years, this year’s achieved a record in donations for RISE.
The mission of RISE is to help break the cycle of poverty through programs that teach low-wage earners about saving, budgeting, building credit and much more. The nonprofit also sets young people on the path to success through financial education and a focus on academic achievement, and teaches senior citizens how to budget and avoid becoming victims of fraud and scams.
– Don Wade
FedEx’s Trees for Troops To Hit Milestone
Memphis-based FedEx Corp.’s annual Trees for Troops Initiative is poised to surpass a milestone.
Now in its 13th year, Trees for Troops, a partnership with the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation that delivers farm-grown Christmas trees to domestic and international U.S. military bases, is set to deliver its 200,000th tree this year.
“The Trees for Troops program is about more than just delivering trees – we are delivering a piece of the Christmas spirit to our U.S. military and their families,” Mike Ducker, president and CEO of FedEx Freight, said in a release. “To be able to say we’ve helped bring more than 200,000 trees to so many of our heroes is an honor, and it shows our appreciation for the sacrifice these men and women and their families have made for our country.”
– Patrick Lantrip