VOL. 10 | NO. 40 | Saturday, September 30, 2017
First Tennessee, Pinnacle Settle Legal Dispute
A dispute between First Tennessee Bank and Pinnacle Financial Partners stemming from Pinnacle’s recruitment of a group of First Tennessee employees when it first arrived in the Memphis market back in 2015 appears to have been resolved.
The two banks issued a joint, three-sentence press release Wednesday, Sept. 27, explaining that they’ve reached a resolution of the dispute. Terms were not disclosed, and both banks said there would be no further comment from either institution on the matter except for a brief statement included from Pinnacle CEO Terry Turner: “I deeply regret that this came about and that anything we did may have caused it.”
The matter had been headed for a jury trial following Shelby County Chancellor Jim Kyle’s denial this summer of a motion for summary judgment made by First Tennessee Bank. First Tennessee had brought the action in 2015 first only against Damon Bell, a First Tennessee executive vice president recruited to be Pinnacle’s Memphis president.
Pinnacle’s announcement of his hire happened essentially in tandem with the announcement of Pinnacle’s acquisition of Memphis-based Magna Bank in April 2015. At the same time, Pinnacle also announced the recruitment of a group of other First Tennessee employees.
First Tennessee’s complaint suggested those recruitments were the culmination of secretive efforts that included involvement from Pinnacle to recruit Bell and the other defectors while they were still employed at First Tennessee. Bell had worked in First Tennessee’s private wealth group, where his responsibilities included working with employees serving the bank’s private banking clients in West Tennessee.
Pinnacle announced its acquisition of Magna and that it had hired the First Tennessee employees the same week as First Tennessee hosted its annual shareholders meeting in 2015. Pinnacle went on to hire other local banking professionals from institutions like SunTrust after that first wave of First Tennessee hires, in addition to other First Tennessee employees who Pinnacle added later.
– Andy Meek
Vibrant to Start Building Downtown Aloft Hotel
Mississippi-based Vibrant Hotels Inc. has filed an $8 million building permit application to begin construction on its 155-room hotel in the Tenoke Building at Jefferson Avenue and B.B. King Boulevard.
The application calls for the demolition of an existing structure; site improvements; and the additions of a swimming pool, restaurant, kitchen, signage, penthouse level and “top area bar.”
JiJi Construction is listed as the contractor, while Design Studio @ MNT and PSE Design were tapped to handle design work.
Vibrant, an affiliate of Batesville, Mississippi-based development company JVD Enterprises, received Memphis City Council approval in December to redevelop the 12-story Tenoke Building, 161 Jefferson Ave., into an Aloft Hotel, a boutique brand owned by Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide. Development plans also call for the partial demolition of an adjacent one-story office building to provide for the hotel’s canopy check-in area and corner signage.
– Patrick Lantrip
T&B Parent Company ABB To Buy GE Unit for $2.6B
Swiss robotics and industrial machinery maker ABB is buying the electrification services unit of U.S. conglomerate General Electric in a deal valued at $2.6 billion, boosting its presence in its crucial North American market.
ABB is the parent company of Memphis-based Thomas & Betts, and the Swiss company’s Electrification Products division Americas headquarters is in Memphis.
The deal between ABB, which provides high-tech equipment for the transport, utility and infrastructure industries, and GE is expected to close in the first half of next year. In a joint statement, the companies say the electrification services unit was not a “core business” for GE.
ABB acquired Thomas & Betts in early 2012 for $3.9 billion. T&B, which now operates as a business unit within ABB’s $10 billion Electrification Products division, is preparing to move its headquarters from Southwind to ServiceMaster’s current space at 860 Ridge Lake Blvd. in Ridgeway Center in the second quarter of 2018.
Along with its Memphis presence, ABB operates an 85,000-square-foot production facility in Senatobia, Mississippi.
ABB expects the transaction to add to its bottom line within the first year. The company says it will retain the right to use GE’s brand over the long term, and expects synergies of about $200 million per year after five years.
The deal will require approval from national regulators.
– The Associated Press/Daily News staff
Work Moving Forward On Former Benchmark Hotel
For almost two years, the exposed five-story frame of the former Benchmark Hotel in Downtown Memphis stood in somber contrast to the vibrant landmarks, such as The Peabody hotel and AutoZone Park, with which it shares the corner of Union Avenue and B.B. King Boulevard.
However, that may soon change.
Nashville-based owners Epiq Hotels, operating under the name MNR Hospitality LLC, added new signage along the building’s exterior Tuesday, Sept. 26, that lay out their plans.
The words “Opening 2019” can be seen next to a rendering of the soon-to-be Fairfield Inns and Suites. The new signage also names the project’s contractors as Cleveland Construction and Pinnacle South as the financier.
MNR bought the 103,152-square-foot hotel in December 2012 from RHG Memphis Hotel Inc. for $3.2 million. Four years later, the new owners began a partial demolition before running into financial issues that ended up stalling the project.
Built in 1958, what’s left of the hotel sits on roughly half an acre. The Shelby County Assessor’s 2017 appraisal of the site is $1.4 million, which is around $300,000 less than when it was purchased.
– Patrick Lantrip
Morris Realty, Auction Combine Forces
Morris Realty Group and Morris Auction Group have launched a new brand identity: Morris Realty & Auction. Buyers and sellers now can access each company’s services in one place.
“In today’s marketplace, buyers and sellers desire a one-stop shop for their real estate marketing and auction needs, and Morris Realty & Auction is now positioned to offer that comprehensive experience as we drive successful results for our clients,” Jeff Morris, founder and president of Morris Realty & Auction, said in a statement.
In addition to its real estate auction marketing services, the Memphis-based company also sells all types of real estate – including residential, commercial, investment, industrial and agricultural – in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida, along with personal property on request.
For more information, visit morrisrealtyauction.com.
– Daily News staff
Haslam Considering Bid For Corker’s Senate Seat
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he is considering running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of his friend Bob Corker.
Haslam told reporters Thursday that he had been holding out hope that Corker would decide to run for a third term. But the former Chattanooga mayor's decision to return home has forced Haslam to consider whether he should run.
Haslam can't for run for governor again next year because of term limits. The Republican says he will consult with family and friends and pray about whether to run for Senate, which he says hasn't been something he has long aspired to.
The governor did not indicate exactly when he would decide, other than it wouldn't be as soon as Friday or as long as a month.
Meanwhile, football star Peyton Manning ruled out a bid for Corker’s seat, saying in a sports radio interview on Wednesday that he is giving "zero consideration" to running.
"I certainly have an interest in politics and in our country," the former NFL and University of Tennessee quarterback told WGFX-FM. "I just have zero interest in being a politician."
Corker told reporters in Washington earlier Wednesday that he hopes Manning will consider public service in the future.
"Is there a chance down the road that he can be enticed to run for the United States Senate or something like that? I hope so," Corker said.
Corker said Manning texted him after his retirement announcement to plead with the senator not to "fan the flames."
– The Associated Press
Explore Bike Share Seeking Executive Director
Explore Bike Share, a 600-unit local bike sharing system, has begun the search for an executive director to spearhead the nonprofit’s efforts.
Scheduled to roll out by next spring, Explore Bike Share’s fleet will be the largest in the nation to feature the BCycle Dash navigation system.
“We are seeking an executive director to take on overall strategic and operational responsibility for planning, implementing and operating a new network in Memphis,” Jaske Goff, Explore Bike Share board hiring committee lead and Downtown Memphis Commission vice president of operations, said in a release.
After an exploratory effort by DCA, a creative communications consulting firm, the nonprofit was formally established in early 2016. The system will initially serve high-density areas like Downtown and Midtown, as well as South Memphis, Orange Mound and Binghampton.
Details about Explore Bike Share’s executive director position can be found at explorebikeshare.com/join-us, and applicants can submit resumes to email@example.com before Oct. 13.
– Patrick Lantrip
Grizzlies, JaMychal Green Agree to Two-Year Deal
It took until after the start of training camp, but the Memphis Grizzlies and power forward JaMychal Green have reached agreement on a two-year contract worth more than $17 million, according to The Vertical.
Green, 27, was a restricted free agent and had until Oct. 1 to sign a $2.8 million qualifying offer if the two sides could not come to terms on a longer deal. He started 75 games last season, averaged 8.9 points and 7.1 rebounds, and hit better than 38 percent of his 3-point shots.
If small forward Chandler Parsons’ knees are healthy, the Grizzlies would now appear set at four spots with point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol.
The two-guard position expected to belong to Ben McLemore will at season’s start go to either veteran Tyreke Evans or second-year man Wayne Selden. McLemore has an injured foot and is not expected back any sooner than sometime in November.
– Don Wade
Rudolph Appointed Circuit Court Judge
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed attorney David M. Rudolph as the newest Shelby County Circuit Court judge.
Rudolph, whose appointment was announced Tuesday, Sept. 26, fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert L. Childers at the end of June.
Rudolph has been at the Memphis law firm Bourland, Heflin, Alvarez, Minor & Matthews since 2009 and an attorney in private practice since 1989. He was a judicial clerk to federal appeals court Judge Bailey Brown prior to that, earning his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School.
Still ahead is filling the vacancy created by the coming retirement of Criminal Court Judge James Beasley at the end of the year.
The Trial Court Vacancy Commission, which recommends three finalists to the governor for appointment, began taking applications for the Criminal Court vacancy this week with a noon Oct. 16 deadline for attorneys to apply.
Rudolph’s appointment brings the court back to full strength with judges on the bench in all nine divisions.
– Bill Dries
Mid-South Fair to Host Free Grizzlies-Hustle Scrimmage
As part of the Mid-South Fair, the Memphis Grizzlies and their G League affiliate Memphis Hustle will hold a free-to-the-public team scrimmage and practice Saturday, Sept. 30, from noon to 1 p.m. at Landers Center, 4560 Venture Drive, in Southaven.
Doors open at 10 a.m. and Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale and all the players, including Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons and Tyreke Evans, will be there. The event is open to all Mid-South Fair attendees too, and admission to the fair on Saturday is free as well.
Landers Center will be the venue for Memphis Hustle home games during the upcoming G League season.
– Don Wade
Methodist Taps New Executive Vice President
William Kenley has been promoted to executive vice president, community group for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.
In his new role, Kenley will oversee Methodist’s community hospitals, which include Methodist Germantown, Methodist North, Methodist South and Methodist Olive Branch. He will also focus on integrating the delivery of care across Methodist’s community hospitals.
Kenley joined Methodist in 2003 as CEO for Methodist North Hospital and in 2009 was named CEO for Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital.
– Andy Meek
Downtown Law Firm Moving to East Memphis
Law firm Shuttleworth Williams PLLC is relocating to East Memphis from its Downtown office in the Falls Building, 22 N. Front St.
Effective immediately, the law firm, which also operates offices in Nashville and Knoxville, will make the move to 6077 Primacy Parkway, suite 200.
The specialty litigation firm cited easy access to its offices for incoming clients, attorneys and employees, and a premium on hiring specialized staffing as reasons for the eastward move.
“Our firm has needed new space for some time, and the Primacy Parkway location was a significant combination of price and location,” Edward Curry, a managing member of Shuttleworth said. “We are looking forward to being in the new space where we can better serve our clients and attract new talent as we expand into additional practice areas.”
– Patrick Lantrip
Frontier Airlines Adding Memphis-Philly Route
For the second time in less than a week, Frontier Airlines has announced new service out of Memphis.
The low-cost carrier is set to add four seasonal weekly nonstop flights between Memphis International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport starting April 9, Memphis airport leaders announced Tuesday, Sept. 26.
The new route will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and will use a 186-seat Airbus 320 aircraft. Flights will leave Memphis at 1:34 p.m. and arrive in Philadelphia at 5:06 p.m., while the return flights will depart Philadelphia at 5:56 p.m. and arrive in Memphis at 7:55 p.m.
The seasonal Philadelphia route follows Frontier’s Wednesday, Sept. 20, announcement that it will offer three weekly nonstop flights to Orlando, Florida, starting Nov. 2. The service to Orlando International Airport will run on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The airline also offers Memphis service to its Denver, Colorado, hub and Las Vegas, Nevada.
– Patrick Lantrip
Binghampton Group Wins $200K FreshLo Grant
The Binghampton Development Corp. has received a two-year, $200,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation to prepare minority entrepreneurs to establish successful food businesses through food entrepreneurship training, access to commercial kitchen facilities, and small-business assistance along with their partners, EPIcenter Memphis, Caritas Village, Refugee Empowerment Program, World Relief Memphis, Wiseacre Brewing Co., Broad Avenue Arts District and Community LIFT.
The BDC is one of 23 organizations from across the U.S. receiving a grant as part of The Kresge Foundation’s Fresh, Local & Equitable (FreshLo) initiative, which supports neighborhood-scale projects leveraging healthy food and creative placemaking for equitable economic development.
After being selected to participate in FreshLo in 2016, the BDC worked with Little Bird Innovation to complete a one-year planning phase for the project with a $75,000 grant from Kresge. During the past year, the coalition worked with Binghampton food entrepreneurs to develop a strategy to cultivate neighborhood talent into sustainable businesses that remain and reinvest in the community.
FreshLo embodies The Kresge Foundation’s philosophy that catalytic change to improve opportunity for low-income individuals requires multidimensional approaches – not simply one program or sector working alone.
By incorporating creative placemaking – the integration of arts, culture and community-engaged design into comprehensive community development – residents and community partners can creatively address complex issues such as food insecurity, vacancy and health outcomes.
During the next two years, the BDC’s Kaleidoscope Kitchen will equip residents with the skills needed to succeed in the food industry and provide access to licensed commercial kitchen space. The program also will offer minority entrepreneur-provided catering services and host an annual Kaleidoscope Food Festival.
– Daily News staff
Avant, Love to Lead County School Board
Shelby County Schools board member Shante Avant has been elected chairwoman of the body, and fellow board member Stephanie Love has been elected vice chairwoman. Their one-year terms start in October.
The board elected Avant and Love without opposition Tuesday, Sept. 26.
– Bill Dries
ShowPlace Arena Receives $85,000 Government Grant
The Shelby County Commission has voted to award an $85,000 Community Enhancement Grant to Agricenter International for a capital improvement project to install steps at ShowPlace Arena and finish paving the parking lot.
Agricenter International, a nonprofit dedicated to agricultural research, education and conservation, has a $524 million annual economic impact and hosts more than 1.3 million visitors annually.
ShowPlace Arena, run by Agricenter, averages 212 event days and draws more than 200,000 visitors annually. Equestrian shows, fairs, circuses and rodeos all use the arena, which also hosts trade shows, concerts and graduations.
– Don Wade
Hooks Institute to Hold Oct. 5 Open House, Panel
The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis will lead a community conversation about defending diversity, social justice and human rights in today’s America at its annual open house on Oct. 5. At the event, the Hooks Institute will release the 2017 Hooks Institute Policy Papers, “Bending the Arc Toward Justice: Including the Excluded.”
The open house will be held in the University Center Bluff Room, 499 University St., room 304. A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed at 6 p.m. by a panel discussion led by the authors of the policy papers.
The event is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the Zach Curlin Street garage.
The 2017 Hooks Institute Policy Papers use national conversations about critical civil and human rights issues as a starting point to discuss, and propose solutions to, contemporary issues of race, class, public policy and social justice.
The papers include: “Immigrants in Small Cities: Opportunities and Challenges” by Michael R. Duke (U of M Department of Anthropology); “Welfare Dependency and Extractive Economies: Lessons Learned from Pine Ridge” by Peter A. Kindle (Department of Social Work, University of South Dakota); “Prioritizing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Lives in the Era of Resistance and Prejudicial Rhetoric” by Idia B. Thurston (U of M Department of Psychology); and “Memphis and Islam: Integrating Muslims and Islam into the Community Fabric” by Nabil A. Bayakly (U of M Department of World Language and Literature).
– Don Wade
Memphis College of Art Schedules Portfolio Day
Memphis College of Art is holding its National Portfolio Day, an event that’s free and open to any prospective art student at the high school or college level, on Oct. 14.
Nineteen colleges and universities will be represented at the event, and prospective art students will get to meet with officials from art colleges across the United States and Canada. National Portfolio Day brings together students and college representatives who review artwork, offer critique, discuss college plans and share information about their schools.
There are 38 National Portfolio Day events in the U.S. and Canada. The Memphis event – at Rust Hall, 1930 Poplar Ave. – is set for welcome and tours from 10 a.m. to noon, and then portfolio reviews will be held from noon till 4 p.m. Food trucks will also be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
– Andy Meek
Grizz Trade Daniels to Suns For 2nd-Round Draft Pick
The Memphis Grizzlies traded veteran guard Troy Daniels to the Phoenix Suns for a 2018 second-round draft pick and one of the Grizzlies’ three 2018 second-round draft picks.
Daniels has appeared in 162 games (four starts) and has averaged 6.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in 13.2 minutes during his four-year NBA career with the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets and Grizzlies since going undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Daniels, 26, a former VCU player, appeared in 67 games last season, his first with the Grizzlies, and averaged 8.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 17.7 minutes.
– Don Wade
Rise Biscuit Donuts To Open in Saddle Creek
Rise Biscuits Donuts is opening its first Tennessee location in the Shops of Saddle Creek in March.
The first store opened in Durham, North Carolina, in 2012. Rise serves biscuit sandwiches featuring fillings like buttermilk-brined fried chicken, bacon, salt-cured ham and country sausage topped with egg, cheese and spreads. At lunch, the menu shifts to sandwiches on a potato roll, including Rise’s Savory Buffalo Chicken with house-made buffalo sauce, shaved celery and blue cheese sauce, and limited-time offerings like the Cubano, with roast pork loin, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard.
Yeast and cake donuts are available throughout the day and feature flavors like the Maple Bacon Bar and Crème Brulee. Rise is open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. daily and will be located at 7509 Poplar Ave.
The location will feature counter ordering and limited indoor seating in its 1,515-square-foot store, plus a large patio. Rise Germantown will also offer pre-ordering for nearby offices and can provide donuts and biscuits for parties of all sizes.
– Andy Meek
Memphis Vet Collects Pet Supplies for Irma Victims
A Memphis veterinary practice is collecting supplies to help pet owners in Key West, Florida, affected by Hurricane Irma.
Day and Night Animal Hospital is accepting donations through Oct. 5, with the goal of filling a truck to ship to the Florida Keys SPCA, according to Day and Night owner James Grimes.
Key West pet owners are in need of kennels, crates, food and other supplies for dogs and cats. Many pet owners were separated from their pets, who need care until they can be reunited with their owners.
Grimes’ hospital collected items earlier in September for pets affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Nearly 5,000 pounds of dog and cat food, along with other supplies, were sent to the Houston ASPCA.
ReTrans Inc. transported the Houston shipment and has volunteered to drive the truck of supplies to Key West.
“People usually rush to help in the first days after a tragedy, but the need is ongoing, so we’re waiting a couple of weeks to ship the items,” Grimes said in a release.
Donations can be dropped off at Day and Night, 4670 Summer Ave., during the clinic’s regular hours: Monday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Grimes is offering a fee pet exam for anyone who makes a donation of $20 or more. For more information, call Day and Night Animal Hospital at 901-500-7556.
– Daily News staff
Nordstrom Rack To Open Oct. 5
Nordstrom Rack, the off-price division of retailer Nordstrom Inc., is opening its East Memphis store in the Poplar Commons shopping center on Oct. 5 at 9 a.m.
Opening-day activities at the roughly 33,000-square-foot store, at 4572 Poplar Ave., include a kickoff at 8 a.m. with music, coffee and breakfast treats. Customers can enter for a chance to win one of 30 $100 gift cards, and one customer will win a $1,000 shopping spree and early access to shop the store.
The Poplar Commons store will be the retailer’s second location in Tennessee.
– Andy Meek
Grizz Tip-Off Luncheon To be Held Oct. 16
The Memphis Grizzlies will start the 2017-18 season with the 16th annual Tip-Off Luncheon presented by ServiceMaster on Oct. 16 at 11:30 a.m. at FedExForum.
Grizzlies fans will have the chance to welcome back the players and coaches, catch up with them about the upcoming season and get a preview of the new HD digital displays throughout FedExForum. Attendees will also get an insider’s s perspective from coach David Fizdale and general manager Chris Wallace.
Individual tickets are $65, with tables available for $550 for 10 seats. A commemorative growl towel is included with each ticket. For $2,250, businesses and fans can purchase a table that will allow them to sit and talk hoops with various players, coaches and executives as this year, all will be visiting multiple tables throughout the luncheon.
Luncheon attendees will also have the chance to take part in silent and live auctions featuring memorabilia and fan experiences.
All proceeds from the luncheon, including the live and silent auctions, will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Doors open at 11 a.m., followed by the event program and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fans can download the new Grizzlies auction platform on their mobile devices by searching ‘Handbid’ in the iTunes store or in Google Play. Through the Handbid app, fans will be able to bid on one-of-a-kind Grizzlies items and experiences remotely.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit grizzlies.com or call 901-888-HOOP.
– Don Wade
Hickory Hill Apartments Sell for $9 Million
The Stonebrook Apartments, located at 6371 Winchester Road, have switched hands for $9.7 million.
In the deal, St. Petersburg, Florida-based WRH Realty, doing business as WHR Shelby Woods, sold the 13.75-acre complex to SBTN Realty, doing business as SBTN Apartments LLC.
John G. Withers, WRH’s senior vice president, signed the Sept. 19 warranty deed on behalf of the sellers.
Meanwhile, SBTN Realty took out an $8 million mortgage through Uniondale, New York-based Arbor Realty Trust operating under the name Arbor Commercial Funding I LLC. Avraham Trachtingot signed the deed of trust on behalf of SBTH Realty.
The 244-unit complex was built in 1976 and was appraised for $6.8 million in 2017, according to the Shelby County Assessor.
– Patrick Lantrip
IP Investing $300M In Change at Alabama Mill
International Paper plans to invest around $300 million to convert a paper machine at its Selma, Alabama, mill, which the company says will position it to grow its industrial packaging business.
Memphis-based IP will convert its No. 15 machine at the Riverdale Mill from uncoated freesheet to whitetop linerboard and containerboard. The investment will add 450,000 tons of annual capacity, with flexibility to shift between containerboard products.
The change means IP will reduce its annual uncoated freesheet capacity by 235,000 tons, but the company said it will remain a “significant supplier of uncoated freesheet in North America.”
"International Paper's uncoated freesheet business remains a strategic part of the company and we are well-positioned to support current and future customer demand," said Mike Amick Jr., IP's senior vice president, Paper the Americas & India.
IP expects to complete the conversion by mid-2017. The remaining machine at the Riverdale Mill will continue to produce uncoated imaging paper products.
– Daily News staff