Minority Owners Can Bid To Buy Grizzlies From Pera

Beginning Thursday, Oct. 26, according to an espn.com report, the Memphis Grizzlies’ two primary minority owners can make bids to purchase the team from controlling owner Robert Pera.

Those minority owners, Steven Kaplan and Daniel Straus, each have the option to make an offer five years from the date of Pera’s $377 million purchase of the Grizzlies in 2012. Sources told ESPN that either man can initiate the process within a 60-day window, and an offer to Pera is expected.

The report also stated that there is a provision in the agreement giving Kaplan and Straus each the right to “name a price for the team.” Pera would have the choice to either buy one or both of his partners' shares – depending on the bidding – or as espn.com reported, “sell his own shares to them at that valuation during a subsequent 60-day window.”

The whole process could take several months. And it’s possible no bid is made. The espn.com report said if Kaplan and Straus bypass the buy/sell option during the current 60-day window, they will have another opportunity in 2020.

Kaplan is a Los Angeles-based attorney and attended the team’s home opener last week. It’s well known that Pera and Kaplan had a falling out a couple of years ago. Straus is New York-based health care and real estate investor. Pera, CEO and majority stockholder of technology company Ubiquiti Networks, has an estimated net worth approaching $4 billion.

Terms of the original deal that led to the construction of FedExForum and brought the Grizzlies to Memphis would make it very difficult for any controlling owner to attempt to move the Grizzlies out of Memphis before 2027.

– Don Wade

Trader Joe’s Not Mentioned In Germantown Site Review

Plans for the renovation of the old Kroger building at 2130 Exeter Road were publicly reviewed by Germantown planning officials for the first time since the previous developer, Centennial American Properties, pulled out of the project in May.

The new developers, 2130 Exeter Road Holdings LLC, brought slightly revised plans to a Germantown Planning Commission subcommittee Wednesday, Oct. 25, that centered around minor façade changes and the relocation of a 7,000-square-foot outparcel building roughly 100 feet to the south.

“It’s a different developer this time and our job as the lead consultant is to take the project through the approval process,” Blair Parker of Blair Parker Design said after the meeting. “When you enter the public approval process, anything can happen on any day. We will come prepared and we will be ready for any question that will come our direction, and hopefully they will see what we see, which is a great addition to the City of Germantown.”

Since it was a subcommittee meeting, the plans were only reviewed. The full planning commission meets on Nov. 7.

The site in question was at one point supposed to be the home of Memphis’ first Trader Joe’s store, however the oft-delayed project was again placed on hold after the previous developers pulled out.

There was no mention of Trader Joe’s during Wednesday’s meeting, and afterwards Parker said he could not comment on the status of any of the project’s prospective tenants.

The project, which was first announced in the fall of 2015, hit its first road bump in June 2016 when a Trader Joe’s spokesperson announced the store’s opening would be pushed back from the third quarter of 2016 to sometime in 2017.

Six months later, Centennial, working as CAP Germantown LLC, filed a $2.5 million building permit application that called for interior and exterior renovations to the former Kroger. Among the changes were modifications to the front wall “to create a new look on the front facade” and “interior modifications (shell only) for Trader Joe’s and future mercantile tenants.”

A representative with Trader Joe's told The Daily News at that time the project would likely be pushed back again, this time until 2018. While Trader Joe’s won’t comment on the future of the project, their website still lists the 2130 Exeter Road location as “coming 2018” on its website.

– Patrick Lantrip

U.S. Rep. David Kustoff Votes for Federal Budget

U.S. Rep. David Kustoff of Germantown was among the House members voting Thursday, Oct. 26, for the passage of a $4 trillion federal budget. The budget plan passed on a 216-212 vote.

Kustoff has said in several speeches well in advance of the budget vote that he considers approval of the budget to be a necessary step toward passing tax reform legislation.

“It is long past time to fix our broken tax code and today, we created the vehicle for bold, pro-growth tax reform that will increase paychecks,” Kustoff said in a written statement following Thursday’s vote. “Our tax system must no longer benefit special interests at the expense of the American people.”

– Bill Dries

Peabody Hotel Executives Win Industry Accolades

Two Peabody Hotel executives have won accolades from hospitality industry organizations.

Michelle Tavares, director of food and beverage for The Peabody Memphis, has been named “Lodging Manager of the Year” in the large property category by the Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association (TnHTA).

TnHTA is the voice of the lodging, dining and tourism industry in the state of Tennessee and provides education and training for industry employees in addition to representing the interests of the hospitality and tourism industry at the local, state and national levels.

Tavares joined The Peabody in 2013. She oversees the historic hotel’s banquet and culinary operations as well as its three restaurants and two bars.

Meanwhile, Douglas Browne, president of Peabody Hotels & Resorts, was welcomed into the International Association of Hotel General Managers “Top 100 Club.”

The “Top 100 Club” celebrates the contribution that outstanding hotel general managers deliver to their guests, local communities, employees, colleagues, owners and company.

Browne moved to Memphis in 2003 as general manager of The Peabody Memphis and was promoted to president in 2014 with the formation of Peabody Hotels & Resorts.

– Andy Meek

St. Jude Researcher Honored For Discoveries

The American Society for Microbiology recently awarded Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Ph.D., the 2018 Eli Lilly and Company-Elanco Research Award, the ASM’s oldest and most prestigious prize.

It rewards fundamental research of merit in immunology by an early-career scientist.

In addition, the Society for Leukocyte Biology presented Dr. Kanneganti of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with the 2017 Dolph O. Adams Award, named for the outstanding macrophage researcher Dolph O. Adams, M.D., Ph.D.

The Dolph O. Adams Award recognizes excellence in research into cellular and molecular mechanisms of host defense and inflammation.

Kanneganti, a member of the Immunology Department at St. Jude, joined the faculty in 2007, and her lab studies fundamentals of innate immunity, the body’s first line of defense against infection.

Her studies not only explore how the body and the immune system respond to infectious agents, but have proven critical in determining how the human immune system affects the development of several debilitating diseases, including cancer.

Kanneganti’s efforts are providing important insights for the development of new, targeted therapeutics.

Kanneganti also has made major discoveries in understanding how foreign nucleic acids and other microbial products trigger inflammation.

Research from her lab has been published in more than 190 original peer-reviewed publications, with many of the studies appearing in top-ranking scientific journals.

She is a regularly invited speaker at scientific conferences around the world and serves as chair of the National Institutes of Health Innate Immunity and Inflammation study section.

“Her efforts are highly regarded in the immunology community and her research has helped raise the profile of our department,” Peter Doherty, Ph.D., emeritus faculty member in the Department of Immunology and Nobel Laureate, said in a release.

– Daily News staff

Memphis’ TJ Carter Earns Another Defensive Award

University of Memphis freshman defensive back TJ Carter has been named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week. Memphis sophomore Austin Hall won the award the previous week.

The FWAA has selected a national defensive player of the week every Tuesday dating to the 2001 season and this marks the first time since that process started that teammates have won the award on back-to-back weeks.

Carter, the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week, played a crucial role in a 42-38 comeback win at Houston. After trailing 17-0 at halftime, Memphis reeled off six straight possessions with a touchdown to defeat the home-standing Cougars. Carter led Memphis with a career-high 14 tackles, including one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and also added a pass break-up before grabbing his fourth interception of the season on Houston’s final drive of the game.

A graduate of Stratford High School in Nashville, Carter has four interceptions on the season, a mark that ties for the most by a Memphis freshman. He also has two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble to his credit in seven career games.

– Don Wade

Memphis 56th Best Baseball City in America

With the start of the World Series, WalletHub released its study of America’s best baseball cities, using 31 metrics to gauge more than 360 towns and cities across the United States.

The study considered MLB, minor league baseball and college baseball and everything from proximity and accessibility of stadiums, to average ticket price and how well the teams performed.

St. Louis ranked second overall, behind only New York City. The Cardinals ranked high for their performance in recent years and Busch Stadium was considered the second-most accessible MLB ballpark.

Memphis finished 56th overall, helped not only by AutoZone Park but the relative nearness of St. Louis and its high marks (the Cardinals are the parent club of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds).

Starkville, Mississippi, home of Mississippi State University, was judged to have the second-most engaged college baseball fans.

– Don Wade

Sweet Potato Baby Café Eyes Downtown Location

Popular local catering company Sweet Potato Baby has filed a permit for a brick-and-mortar location within the Universal Life Building, which is currently going through a $6.2 million renovation.

The $300,000 permit to build out a Sweet Potato Baby Café at 480 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. lists Universal Life Building co-owner Jimmie Tucker of Self+Tucker Architects as the architect and Jeremiah Watson with Innovative Engineering Services as the engineer.

Earlier this month, owner and executive chef of Sweet Potato Baby LLC Aryen Moore-Alston announced she is opening a fine-dining restaurant called G. Alston on Oct. 27 at 8556 Macon Road, in the 1937 Farley House in Old Town Cordova.

G. Alston is named after Moore-Alston’s father, Gary Alston, an actor and vocalist for the U.S. Navy Band who performed all over the world. Alston taught his daughter how to cook from the age of 6 until his death when she was 11.

– Patrick Lantrip

Construction Continues On Hickman Building

Walk Off Properties, the new owners of the historic Hickman Building at 240 Madison Ave. in Downtown Memphis, are continuing their renovation of the property.

A $2.2 million permit application for office tenant improvements was filed with construction code officials Monday, Oct. 23, listing Montgomery Martin as the project’s contractor.

In March, a separate $12 million building permit application was filed to renovate the historic Hickman Building into a mixed-use development that will include the new headquarters of Memphis-based investment firm, SouthernSun Asset Management.

In addition to the new headquarters of SouthernSun, the $16 million project will include 40 apartments, 5,000 square feet of street-level retail and a connected parking garage.

Formerly known as the Medical Arts Building, the nine-story structure across the street from the Fogelman Downtown YMCA and AutoZone Park has been dormant since 1971.

In 2015, a group spearheaded by SouthernSun Asset Management CEO Michael Cook purchased the Hickman Building and its garage for $1 million. The company, Walk-Off Properties LLC, also bought an adjacent former American Legion building for $130,000.

SouthernSun currently is headquartered in the Triad Centre III building in East Memphis. Prior to its decision to relocate, the company said it facilitated a comprehensive research study of its employees and real estate options.

– Patrick Lantrip

MALS Hosts Fundraiser Ball at Ballet Memphis

On Saturday, Oct. 28, Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) will host the second annual Justice for All Ball at the new Ballet Memphis facility in Overton Square.

The black tie (and cape!) optional event will feature music by the Soul Shockers and an open bar featuring local High Cotton beer, specialty cocktails by Michael Hughes, and wine from Cooper Mountain Vineyards.

Ball goers will dine on heavy hors d’oeuvres by Chef Kelly English, proprietor of Restaurant Iris and other dining establishments. Additionally, there will be a silent auction.

Last year’s inaugural ball raised almost $74,000, and was attended by more than 300 people, many of whom embraced the superhero theme, donning capes, masks and hero-inspired eveningwear.

“We are extraordinarily excited about the second Justice for All Ball and the ways in which it will help us continue to serve the needs of the Memphis community,” says MALS executive director Harrison McIver.

“The legal community already knows about the critical work being done by MALS,” says former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Janice Holder, who is serving on the ball’s steering committee. “But it is time to increase awareness of the organization among the general public. I think this fun event will give MALS a wonderful vehicle to begin telling its story to a broader audience. Memphians need to know about the difference MALS is making in people’s lives.”

As Memphis’s only community-based legal firm, MALS has served low-income communities for more than 45 years.

“During that time we have provided services to thousands of individuals and families,” McIver says. “They include veterans who have served our country but who now face homelessness; families who have been victims of consumer fraud; our seniors who have been both physically and financially abused; women and their children who live every day in fear of abusive partners; and a child who is in Methodist Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital suffering from asthma due to mold in the family’s home.

“What do they have in common? MALS’ dedicated staff was able to assist them in resolving their legal problems.”

– Daily News staff

IP Discusses $1.8B Business Deal in Q3 Earnings Call

The day after Memphis-based International Paper Co. announced it is buying a 20.5 percent ownership interest in Graphic Packaging of Atlanta, the CEO of IP told analysts the $1.8 billion deal came from “a range of strategic options.”

“We wanted to invest in a strong Graphic Packaging,” International Paper CEO and chairman Mark Sutton told analysts in a Wednesday, Oct. 25, call on third-quarter earnings results.

IP will transfer its North American packaging business to Graphic Packaging as IP buys a 20.5 percent stake in the Atlanta business that is the bulk of the $1.8 billion involved in the transaction.

Sutton praised IP’s efforts in the North American sector.

“However, we also realized that our business does lack the overall scale and broad portfolio offerings,” he said. “We wanted to find the best way to participate.”

For the third quarter, International Paper’s consumer packaging division showed an operating profit of $54 million after taking a $14 million loss with special items in the second quarter. The earnings increase in North America was attributed in part to higher sale prices as well as higher sales volumes and improved operations.

Overall for the quarter, IP reported net earnings of $395 million or 95 cents per share. That compares to net earnings of $80 million or 19 cents per share in the second quarter and $312 million in net earnings a year ago.

Sutton said the results showed “earnings growth across all of our business segments.”

Sutton said that two hurricanes provided “a significant headwind in the quarter” for their effect on IP operations. Recycled fiber prices also hit a record high during the quarter, with IP reporting average prices of $14 per ton higher compared to the second quarter.

– Bill Dries

U of M School of Nursing Honored for Diversity

The University of Memphis Loewenberg College of Nursing is one of 24 health professions schools to receive the 2017 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

The Health Professions HEED Award is the only national honor recognizing U.S. medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary, osteopathic, nursing and allied health schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses.

The 24 honorees will be featured in the December 2017 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity.

“We have made concerted efforts to diversify our faculty and students since we included diversity as one of our college core values in 2011,” said Dr. Lin Zhan, dean of the Loewenberg College. “Our faculty have used poverty simulations to educate students about social determinants of health, and through service learning providing foot care to the Memphis homeless population. Many of our family nurse practitioner graduates practice in medically underserved areas. As nurses serve diverse populations, we have a professional responsibility to diversify the nursing workforce and serve our diverse populations as evidence shows diversity adds great value to quality care.”

– Don Wade

BankTennessee Launches New Investment Division

Collierville-based BankTennessee has launched an investment and wealth services division.

The bank has also tapped Gena Wolbrecht, a former Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrator, to lead the division, which is called BTN Wealth Services, as program manager.

Clients will get comprehensive wealth management and investment services through a partnership with Cetera Investment Services as the broker-dealer and Cetera Investment Advisers as the registered investment adviser.

Prior to joining BankTennessee, Wolbrecht was senior vice president and platform investments executive for the licensed banker platform program at Regions Investment Services. She also has served as a FINRA arbitrator since 2002.

– Andy Meek

Dixon Gallery Receives Major Gift From Donors

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens board of trustees has voted to formally accept a major gift from two donors who live in St. Louis – John and Susan Horseman, who proposed a contribution of 28 American paintings, sculpture and works on paper to the Dixon’s permanent collection.

According to Dixon board chair C. Penn Owen III, the gift is among the most “important and impressive acts of collection building in our history.”

John Horseman has served on the Dixon board of trustees for more than six years. The Horsemans’ gift includes examples by significant American artists like Hugh Breckenridge, Richard E. Miller, Elizabeth Nourse, Hovsep Pushman, Alice Schille, Bessie Potter Vonnoh and many others.

The addition of their works to the Dixon permanent collection will allow the museum to expand its presentation and exploration of the dynamic artistic developments that took place in late 19th and early 20th-century Europe and America.

– Andy Meek

ALCO Management Earns Best Place to Work Award

ALCO Management Inc. has been named by Multifamily Leadership for 2018 as one of the top 25 Best Places to Work Multifamily.

The listing is published annually in the Multifamily Leadership magazine Best Places to Work special edition.

ALCO’s final ranking among the Top 25 will be revealed at the Multifamily Leadership Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, in mid-November. The Top 25 listing is significant because companies chosen are nationally ranked based on employee engagement research by Multifamily Leadership, a well-known industry organization. ALCO employees’ survey responses were included in the research findings.

“We’ve known for a long time that the greatest asset we have at ALCO are the people who work here," said ALCO CEO Frank Jemison, "and I think being added to this list just confirms our belief.”

Headquartered in Memphis, ALCO has a portfolio of more than 7,500 conventional and affordable apartments.

– Daily News staff

Education Grant To Boost Child Care at Southwest

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a grant of nearly $800,000 to Southwest Tennessee Community College to fund care for 45 children, ages 2 ½ to 5 years old, of Pell-eligible students pursuing an associate degree.

Mary Palmer, Ph.D., director of child care centers at Southwest, says child care is a critical resource for helping students persist to the commencement stage.

“It’s a fact that providing affordable child care improves the student-parent persistence toward graduation,” Palmer said. “Finding quality child care is often the first and most stubborn hurdle for parents who want a better life through education. This removes that barrier in a licensed, nationally accredited environment so our parents/students can confidently move forward with their academic aspirations.”

Southwest president Dr. Tracy D. Hall says the Childcare Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant enables the college to go beyond providing wrap-around services more and more students need today.

“The CCAMPIS grant is a tremendous opportunity for Southwest to not only serve more students, but also to support the next generation and offer the entire family holistic opportunities for growth,” Hall said in a statement.

The CCAMPIS program initially will roll out at the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Center on Southwest’s Union Avenue campus. Southwest cares for nearly 250 children at centers on its Union Avenue and Macon Cove campuses. Both child care centers have received the highest ratings from Tennessee’s Star Quality Program.

For more information, call Palmer at 901-333-4514.

– Daily News staff

FedEx Acquires Inventory Research Company

Memphis-based FedEx Corp. recently announced it has acquired the inventory research and management firm Northwest Research Inc.

FedEx said it was interested in acquiring the Salt Lake City, Utah-based firm to expand its portfolio of global e-commerce offerings.

“Northwest Research’s unique technological capabilities will further enhance the FedEx customer experience by adding a suite of solutions to the FedEx portfolio that help proactively resolve at-risk shipments,” Robert B. Carter, executive vice president and chief information officer of FedEx Corp., said in a release.

In the same release, Northwest Research’s CEO and founder Jon Asay said knowledge and experience with inventory research and management made his company a perfect fit with FedEx.

“We believe this is a huge win for customers and team members,” he added.

Founded in 1996, Northwest Research explores new approaches to inventory management issues.

– Patrick Lantrip

Pennsylvania Investor Buys More Memphis Property

Exeter Property Group has made its second significant splash in the Memphis market with the combined $34.5 million acquisition of two industrial properties.

In the first purchase, Exeter Property Group, doing business as Exeter 4755 Southpoint LLC, purchased a 700,000-square-foot Class A warehouse located at 4755 Southpoint Drive from New York-based Treeview Real Estate Advisors LP for $17.3 million.

Built in 1997 on 29.4 acres, the property was last appraised for $19.5 million in 2017 by the Shelby County Property Assessor.

In the second deal, also with Treeview, Exeter purchased a second warehouse in the area for $17.2 million, this time doing business as Exeter 5015 Citation LLC.

Also built in 1997, the 500,000-square-foot Class A warehouse sits on 36.8 acres and was last appraised for $17.4 million.

Teresa Tsai, founder and chief executive officer of Treeview Real Estate Advisors, signed both deeds on her company’s behalf.

Earlier this month, Exeter purchased two Memphis properties from San Francisco-based developer Prologis Inc. for a combined $23.8 million.

Founded in 2006, Pennsylvania-based Exeter is a real estate investment management firm specializing in the acquisition, development, leasing and management of industrial and related business park properties across the U.S. and Europe.

– Patrick Lantrip

Fincher Enters Republican Primary for US Senate Seat

Former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by fellow Republican Bob Corker.

Fincher’s announcement over the weekend followed a “listening tour” across the state that ended in East Memphis a week ago. After the private meeting with supporters and others in East Memphis, Fincher signaled that he would probably run, saying he was “very close” to getting in the race.

Fincher served three terms in the House from 2011 through 2016 before opting not to seek re-election after a family member became ill. Fincher joins U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the Republican Senate primary on the August 2018 statewide ballot.

– Bill Dries

Matthew Stevenson Tapped to Lead Terminix

Matthew Stevenson has been named president of the Terminix division of Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc., the company has announced.

Stevenson formerly served as president and general manager of Meritor WABCO Vehicle Control Systems in Detroit, Michigan.

He will report directly to ServiceMaster CEO Nik Varty, who came to the helm of ServiceMaster in July and said righting Terminix is his top priority. Varty is a former leader of acquisitions and mergers at WABCO.

Stevenson also spent three years in a variety of executive sales, marketing and operations roles at Bridgestone Americas Inc., the largest tire producer in the world.

“Putting dedicated focus on the residential market will allow us to leverage our understanding of the homeowner’s specific pest and termite control needs into unique offerings to attract and retain customers, and accelerate growth,” Varty said in a statement.

“The route to faster growth in Terminix, and all of our ServiceMaster businesses, begins with a leadership team that drives a performance culture, is accountable for results, and keeps its commitments to customers and shareholders.”

– Bill Dries