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VOL. 132 | NO. 208 | Thursday, October 19, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: T.A. Talks Memphis, EDGE Debate and Politics, Lots of Politics

By Bill Dries

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Grizz season opener at the Forum Wednesday is a win over NOLA 103 – 91. And Tony Allen’s Grizz jersey is retired. The day before, Allen wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune on the Memphis experience and it is just about the best thing that will happen to you all day. He just walks right off the court and into the soul of this place.

“If you’re in this league for long enough, man, you see that there’s a system. You see that while a lot of different guys might be fan favorites or whatever … it’s really only the most franchise players who receive those big endorsements, or become the face of the team. But Memphis? That city is just different. They’re not like everyone else. They’re not about letting a blue-collar guy like me do all the dirty work, then not get any of the credit. Memphis is real. And when they embraced me, you know, it wasn’t just, like, “Oh, yeah, Tony, we like him, he’s a good player.” Yo … they embraced me. They bought my jersey. They bought those t-shirts with the little drawing of me on it. And — man, I never get tired of saying this out loud — they even let me be the face of the international airport.”

Benny Lendermon is leaving as the founding president of the Riverfront Development Corp. this coming April. He announced his retirement as the city’s riverfront development plan was outlined at City Hall on council day with a huge catalytic boost from word that the Brooks is in talks to relocate on Front between Union and Monroe with a pedestrian bridge to the southern tip of a revitalized Mud Island River Park.

Quite the debate at Wednesday’s EDGE meeting about what kind of jobs the tax breaks approved there should incentivize. It’s the second back and forth in as many days between EDGE president Reid Dulberger and Memphis City Council member Martavius Jones who is on the EDGE board. The first was the day before during council committee sessions. The flash point for both was a PILOT for an Amazon distribution center. That and another PILOT for the Pfizer financial center to move to the new Ridgeway Center development were approved Wednesday.

The Downtown Memphis Commission could buy an empty street corner at 18 S. Main St. on the Main Street Mall as it seeks proposals for development of what is the only vacant parcel on the corner. You could consider this a new “demonstration block” project of sorts – a reference to the DMC gaining control of a block at Gayoso referred to by mall walkers as “the big hole” before the hole was filled by the Gayoso Flats project.

A look around the Coliseum just a few weeks ahead of the city’s plan for Fairgrounds redevelopment and we got the math on how the coliseum would get down to 4,900 seats in the Coliseum Coalition proposal and still look like the Coliseum many of us remember and the rest of us have heard so much about.

To that point -- the sentimental point -- what you remember isn’t always what was there. And that is especially true in the case of an arena that was a place of stages, courts, rings and of course curtains to maintain the illusion and hide the inner workings. When you see this old place in a mixture of shadows and daylight you still see what you remember at times.

Reaction from Club For Growth, the influential national conservative political action committee, to our story about former Cong. Stephen Fincher just about to get into the race for the U.S. Senate seat Bob Corker is giving up. In East Memphis Wednesday evening, Fincher told us he is running essentially to help President Donald Trump follow through on items the majority Republican Senate hasn’t been able to muster enough votes for. And that is the quote that caught the attention of Club For Growth.

Their email response: “That’s pretty funny considering that when Fincher was in Congress he routinely joined with Democrats to support liberal special interests like voting for Obama’s green energy programs and supporting corporate welfare. But his liberal leanings don’t end there, he even voted to keep a Christmas Tree tax in place.”

The group has had a bone to pick with Fincher since he voted for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank in 2015.

Closer to home politically, Mickell Lowery, who ran for city council in 2015 for the seat held by his father, Myron Lowery, and lost to Martavius Jones is running for Shelby County Commission next year. Lowery is running in the Democratic primary for the District 8 seat now held by Walter Bailey, who is term-limited.

The day – Wednesday – began in Washington with President Donald Trump in favor of the Senate compromise on subsidy payments to insurors co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. But just before lunch Alexander tweeted “The president called again today, and I appreciate his leadership on health care.” By the end of the work day in the Capitol, Trump was against it and the White House wanted substantial changes, per The Hill.

Tennessee’s other Senator, Bob Corker, meanwhile, has signed on a cosponsor of the bill saying: “Congress has a responsibility to ensure that families in Tennessee and across our country who receive health insurance through the individual market do not continue to be burdened with rising premiums and fewer choices. This bill is a temporary fix that will give states the flexibility they need as we work to develop a health care replacement that will stand the test of time and work better for the American people and I applaud Senator Alexander’s leadership on this important issue.”

Politico on questions in D.C. about Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran retiring before his seat is up in 2020.

In his “View From The Hill” column, our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard on the plan by white nationalists to hold rallies later this month in two middle Tennessee towns.

A shortage of construction labor, the role of small business in development and location choice as transformation. Those are some of the emerging trends to be discussed when our Daily News Commercial Real Estate seminar next month is expanded to include a report from the Urban Land Institute on emerging trends for 2018. This event is Nov. 2 at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

The University of Memphis pulls a $33.5 million permit for the long-awaited land bridge project over the railroad tracks that were there before the university was.

To Tigers football: Are the Power Five athletic conferences about to become the Power Six with the addition of the American Athletic Conference, which includes the U of M?

Christ Community Health Services scores perfect on its latest comprehensive audit.

PROPERTY SALES 28 290 16,197
MORTGAGES 33 165 10,087
BUILDING PERMITS 184 608 38,544
BANKRUPTCIES 33 125 7,597