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VOL. 11 | NO. 32 | Saturday, August 11, 2018

Daily Digest

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Commission Votes 8-1 To Gain More Legal Control

Shelby County commissioners approved an ordinance Wednesday, Aug. 8, that would bar the county attorney from representing county government in civil litigation in which the county mayor or another county government entity is suing the commission.

Commission chairwoman Heidi Shafer introduced the ordinance last month. Shafer argued the action was necessary and “a cure for something that has been problem.”

A lawsuit filed last November by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell against the County Commission regarding actions the county would take to combat the opioid epidemic would fall under this ordinance, Shafer said.

The ordinance also requires commission approval for the county attorney to hire outside or special counsel, unless the county attorney certifies to the commission chairman that the matter those attorneys are hired for will not go over $50,000 in hourly rates or contingent fees.

The ordinance was approved 8-1 on third and final reading during a special called commission meeting Wednesday. The third reading of the ordinance was originally scheduled for the last commission meeting Aug. 27, which is the last meeting of the current county commission and mayor. On Sept. 1, mayor-elect Lee Harris and eight new commissioners on the 13-member body will take office.

Commissioner Walter Bailey – who voted against the ordinance in a general government committee meeting earlier Wednesday morning – argued the commission should not be involved in the litigation process; that should solely be up to the executive branch. He added he felt the ordinance developed as a result of animosity between some commissioners and Luttrell regarding the opioid litigation against drug manufacturers.

“I don’t think we have any business proceeding in this fashion,” Bailey said.

Shafer objected to the idea of the ordinance being “vengeful” or a result of animosity. She said the ordinance is necessary to allow the legislative branch to have checks and balances on the executive branch to prevent it from “frustrating” the commission on matters such as control over the which branch of government controls the opioid lawsuit.

“I’ve done this on the advice of counsel – advice of extremely competent counsel,” Shafer said.

Over the past two years, the mayor and many on the commission have been at odds over the commission’s decision to hire its own legal counsel – similar to the Memphis City Council.

Luttrell has taken the commission to court over the matter, arguing the county charter is different than the city charter. The county attorney is appointed by the mayor and then confirmed by the commission. Luttrell has said the county attorney represents all of county government and not just the administration.

– Special to The Memphis News

U of M-Area Apartments Sold to Japanese Investor

A Los Angeles-based company that owns University of Memphis-area apartments has sold its property to a Tokyo-based buyer, according to the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

Win Win Properties LLC sold the apartments at 3380 Spottswood Ave. to Masayuki Tsukada for $2.1 million on Aug. 7.

The 19-unit apartment complex was built in 1973 and last appraised for $712,000 by the Shelby County Property Assessor.

– Special to The Memphis News

California Company Buys Cordova Shopping Center

A California-based company has purchased a Cordova shopping center and its adjoining 2.5-acre lot.

Pleasanton, California-based Logical Group Inc. bought the shopping center at 1658 Appling Road from Appling Center Partners for $1.8 million on Aug. 6, according to the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

The shopping center, which was built in 2002, was last appraised for $1.8 million by the Shelby County Assessor.

– Special to The Memphis News

Cordova Hotel Sold for $3.5 Million

The Baymont Inn and Suites, located at 2427 N. Germantown Road, sold for $3.5 million on Monday, Aug. 6, according to the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

Link-Paras LLC sold the hotel to AMBE Hospitality Inc.

In conjunction with the purchase, AMBE took out a $2.9 million loan with First Capital Bank.

The Shelby County Assessor last appraised the hotel , which was built in 2000, for about $3 million. The hotel is located near Costco Wholesale and IKEA just off Interstate 40.

– Special to The Memphis News

Appeals Court Orders New Hearing for Damages

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has vacated a $28 million judgment against the owners of a Memphis nursing home where a patient died after poor care, and a new hearing will determine the amount of punitive damages in the case.

In 2016, a Shelby County Circuit Court jury awarded $30 million in total damages against Memphis-based Allenbrooke Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC, its two owners, New York-based DTD HC LLC and D&N LLC, and Aurora Cares LLC, a company that provided administrative services to the nursing home.

The lawsuit was filed in 2010 by the family of Martha Jane Pierce, an 82-year-old woman who was in the Allenbrooke nursing home in 2008 and 2009.

The lawsuit states that Pierce, living in a shared room with her husband, developed pressure sores on her right foot. The sores became infected, leading to amputation and her leg in August, 2009. She died two months later on Oct. 11, 2009.

After a five-week trial in 2016, the jury found Allenbrooke and its owners liable for negligence, medical malpractice and violations of the Tennessee Adult Protection Act by a nursing home.

The jury awarded the family $1.9 million in compensatory damages for negligence and $129,000 for violations of the protection act. The jury also awarded $28 million in punitive damages for a total of $30 million.

Allenbrooke, represented by attorneys with Baker Donelson, appealed the verdict.

On Monday, Aug. 6, the state Court of Appeals vacated the jury’s verdict for punitive damages in the case.

“We reverse the jury’s decision finding material evidence to subject the nursing home’s parent companies and their members directly or vicariously liable in the case,” the court wrote in the appeal.

The court added, “Because the amount of punitive damages awarded by the jury appears to be largely predicated on the liability of the non-nursing home defendants, we vacate the award and remand for a new hearing solely as to the amount of punitive damages to be awarded.”

– Special to The Memphis News

Large Subdivision Planned In De-annexed Area

With plans submitted for a nearly 400-home subdivision, the city of Memphis could be missing out on more tax revenue than it originally anticipated when it recently de-annexed an area of Eads.

PFMT Holdings, a Tennessee limited liability company, is planning a 398-home subdivision on 130 acres at the southeast corner of Highway 64 and Cobb Road.

“The developer is proposing a 398-lot development that will fit with the surrounding uses and will have minimal visual impact on the surrounding properties,” Tim Dagastino, a planner with Memphis-based surveying and engineering firm W.H. Porter Consultants PLLC, said in PFMT’s application seeking site plan approval.

The application goes before the Memphis and Shelby County Land Use Control Board Sept. 13.

The subdivision is set to include 52 acres of “common open space,” which equates to 40 percent of the total site.

The site is part of a 3.4-square-mile area the Memphis City Council voted to de-annex in June, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

At the time of the vote, the 3.4-square-mile area had a population of about 170 people across 70 houses, which brought in about $219,800 in tax revenue, according to a presentation from the Strategic Footprint Review Task Force, recommending de-annexation.

With operating and debt service costs, nixing the area from the city limits saved the city about $362,300, resulting in a net savings of about $142,500 a year, according to the task force.

The site is surrounded by the Cobb Road Planned Development on the north, a 25-acre commercial development that has yet to be constructed; the Shelby County Board of Education bus maintenance facility to the east; a large vacant parcel to the south; and the Franklin Farms Planned Development on the west, a large residential subdivision with lot sizes ranging from 4,000 to 8,000 square feet.

– Special to The Memphis News

Home Sales Volume Rises 8 Percent From Last July

The average home sale price for July was $186,292, up 7 percent from July 2017 when the average price was $173,610, according to new data from Chandler Reports, a division of The Daily News Publishing Co.

Total home sales across Shelby County were up 1 percent, but sales volume rose 8 percent this July with a total of $340 million in recorded sales, compared to $313 million in July 2017.

Year-to-date, the number of homes sold is up 2 percent; the average home sale price is up 9 percent; and residential sales volume is up 11 percent from the same period last year.

Home sales exceeding $500,000 were up 17 percent in July, according to Chandler Reports, with 83 recorded compared to 71 in July 2017.

More than a third – 35 percent – of homes sold in Shelby County were valued at less than $100,000.

Fayette County home sales were up 22 percent this July and the average sales price up 11 percent. Oakland, a city in Fayette County located in 38060 ZIP code, recorded the most home sales with 46, averaging $217,271.

Tipton County home sales, by contrast, were down 31 percent, but the average sales price was up 6 percent. Atoka, located in 38004 ZIP code, recorded the most home sales for the month with 18, averaging $221,335.

New home sales in Shelby County were down 11 percent in July with 79 recorded for the month, compared to 89 a year ago.

The average sale price of a new home fell slightly, 1 percent, to $364,134, compared to $368,641 last July.

Collierville claimed the most building permits for new homes with 20 filed in June, averaging $433,294.

Regency Homebuilders sold 20 new homes in June, with sales averaging $344,330, and filed 21 new build permits, averaging $281,528, making the residential construction company the top builder for new home starts and new home sales.

Residential mortgages filed at the time of home sales were up 7 percent in July to 1,184, compared to 1,107 in July 2017.

The average mortgage amount was $199,259, with an average sale price of $229,548, making the average loan to value ratio 87 percent.

Top lenders in July, based on total residential mortgages filed at the time of sale, were Community Mortgage Corp. with 82 loans; Pinnacle Bank with 70 loans; and BancorpSouth Bank with 52 loans.

Foreclosure activity continues to decline, down 8 percent in July with 110 recorded foreclosures, compared to 119 in July 2017.

Westwood, located in the 38109 zip code, had the most homes in foreclosure at the end of July with 160 properties valued at $6.9 million.

The 38125 ZIP code of southeast Shelby County had the foreclosure inventory with the highest value of $15 million across 86 properties.

Of the homes foreclosed on in July, the average amount was $80,887 and the average tax appraisal value was $109,659.

Fannie Mae had the most homes in foreclosure with 129 properties valued at $13 million at the end of July.

– Special to The Memphis News

Q2 Retail, Office Sales Outpace Last Year

The number of retail and office property sales in Memphis and Shelby County was up more than 30 percent compared to the second quarter of 2017.

Comparing sales data from Q2 2017, office property sales are up 31 percent and retail property sales are up 39 percent, according to new data from Chandler Reports, a division of The Daily News Publishing Co.

While the number of office sales were up, the average sale price fell 59 percent, with the 42 recorded sales averaging $608,000 compared to 32 sales averaging $1.5 million in Q2 2017.

With 21 percent less industrial property sales and 9 percent less multifamily property sales, the overall commercial property sales volume fell 1 percent in Q2 2018 with $461 million in total sales recorded, compared to $466 million in Q2 last year, according to Chandler Reports.

The largest commercial transaction of the quarter was multifamily, according to Chandler Reports data. Country Squire Apartments, a 972-unit complex at 340 N. Germantown Parkway in Cordova sold to Indianapolis-based Birge & Held for $62 million on June 19.

– Special to The Memphis News

Mrs. Winner’s Could Return to Memphis

Memphis could soon have a Mrs. Winner’s Chicken and Biscuits restaurant again.

The Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development’s Land Use Control Board is scheduled to hear a site plan application for Mrs. Winner’s Holdings Inc. at 7060 Winchester Road, near Riverdale Road.

The Minnesota-based fried chicken restaurant currently has locations in Cleveland, Tennessee, as well as Georgia and North Carolina, according to its website. According to Forbes, the company, which once operated nearly 200 restaurants, filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and closed all its company-owned stores.

The LUCB meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Sept. 13 in the Memphis City Council Chambers, 125 N. Main St.

– Special to The Memphis News

FedEx Files $8.2 M Permit For Hub Modernization

Memphis-based logistics giant FedEx Corp. is putting an $8.2 million sort system in a warehouse it recently leased from the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.

On Monday, Aug. 6, Holt Engineering, a Memphis-based conveyance design firm, applied for an $8.2 million building permit to install a conveyor sort system on behalf of FedEx Express.

The sort system is going in a vacant warehouse facility at 3130 Tchulahoma Road, on the grounds of Memphis International Airport.

At its meeting in April, the MSCAA board of commissioners approved a 10-year lease for about half of the 220,000-square-foot building.

During the April 12 meeting, MSCAA president and CEO Scott Brockman said, although he could not speak for FedEx, it was his understanding the warehouse would be used to house operations that did not have to be located at the main hub, as FedEx works to modernize its hub in a project totaling $1 billion.

The airport authority agreed to pay for $1.8 million worth of improvements including a roof replacement, interior wall additions, HVAC, exterior LED lighting, overhead door modifications, fire suppression, security fencing and site drainage.

Local, certified woman-owned business A & B Construction Co. completed the tenant build-out of the Tchulahoma warehouse, as the lowest responsive bidder in MSCAA’s procurement process.

– Special to The Memphis News

U of M Secures Record $23.1M in Academic Funds

The University of Memphis has secured a record $23.1 million in academic commitments during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

The total mount raised surpasses its previous fundraising record of $21.1 million in fiscal year 2015.

“Our donors provide the critical resources our students need in order to be successful,” president M. David Rudd said in a statement. “Their investments not only enhance the university’s ability to serve students, but also support programs that bring distinction to the U of M.”

According to the university, several factors contributed to the record level of support. Those included commitments to the River City Partnership, an initiative to improve the quality of urban education by addressing teacher recruitment, retention and training; gifts to the Mike Rose Natatorium, for renovations to the existing swimming facility; as well as gifts for student scholarships.

The total includes gifts of cash, pledges and planned gifts from alumni, friends, corporations and foundations to the University of Memphis Foundation.

– Memphis News staff

Kirby Parkway Center Sells for $2.1 Million

KGS/Memphis Associates has sold a Kirby Parkway shopping center for $2.1 million.

KGS sold the shopping center, located at 2801 Kirby Parkway, to Saratoga, California-based Andrea C. Kristovich on Aug. 2, according to the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

The shopping center is home to a Starbucks, Tokyo Grill, Dryve Cleaners and an Exlines’ Best Pizza in Town.

The property was last appraised for $1.3 million.

– Special to The Memphis News

Lake District Developers Acquire Last Bits of Land

Gilad Development Inc., doing business as Lake District Holdings TN Inc., has closed on the last parcels of land for its sprawling Lakeland development for a little over $7 million.

The cash transaction marks another step forward for the 160-plus acre project that is scheduled to open in late 2019.

“We’re thrilled that The Lake District has officially taken 100 percent ownership of the land,” developer Yehuda Netanel, principal of Gilad Development, said in a statement.

“The exciting news is a catalyst for future investments and partnerships with local businesses and strengthens our ability to bring our one-of-a-kind vision to life for our neighbors.”

In total, the Lake District is set to have, 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 65,000 square feet of Class A office space, two hotels, 240 custom-built single-family homes, 390 apartments and 168 age-restricted apartments.

– Patrick Lantrip

Methodist Makes List Of Best Employers for Women

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare was recently named to Forbes’ list of the 300 Best Employers for Women and is among only 25 hospitals and health systems included on list.

For this first-ever ranking of America’s best employers for women, Forbes partnered with research firm Statista, which surveyed more than 40,000 employees, including 25,000 women, at companies with at least 1,000 employees throughout the United States.

Respondents were asked to rate their companies criteria including diversity, how likely they were to recommend their employer to others and working conditions.

Researchers reviewed responses for potential gender gaps, taking into account, for example, whether women rated an organization poorly for diversity while men rated it highly.

Female respondents were also asked to rate their employers on factors such as discrimination, parental leave and pay equity.

The respondents were then asked to nominate organizations outside the industries they worked in.

Forbes' final list includes the 300 employers that both received the most recommendations and have the most gender-diverse boards and executives. To view the entire list, visit https://www.forbes.com/best-employers-for-women/list/#tab:overall.

– Memphis News staff

FedEx Finds Small Business Pro-Trade, Anti-Tariff

FedEx Corp. has released its fourth FedEx Trade Index, a survey of more than 1,000 small businesses designed to track the impact of international trade among that sector of the economy.

According to the nationwide survey, 82 percent of small business leaders see increasing U.S. trade as beneficial to the overall economy, which is up six percent from the last survey.

Additionally, two out of three small business leaders worry tariffs will mean higher prices on consumer items.

Another hree out of five leaders think the impact of tariffs on business will be negative.

FedEx commissioned Morning Consult to conduct the survey that was targeted at business owners and executives with as few as two and as many as 500 employees.

– Patrick Lantrip

Longtime Tenants Buy Clark Centre for $11M

Two identical buildings at 5100 and 5101 Wheelis Drive in East Memphis were purchased by a group of longtime tenants for $11 million.

Landon Williams with real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors, represented the seller, DCG Properties LLC.

The two buildings comprise the Clark Centre, which is located just north of the Clark Tower off the Poplar Corridor.

Larry Jensen, Matt Weathersby and Luke Jensen, also with CW/CA, represented the buyer Wheelis Investors LLC, which is led by Reid Sanders and other Clark Ccntre tenants.

Rick Wood of Financial Federal Bank and Jon Van Hoozer arranged financing for the buyers.

“There will be a handful of property enhancements coming over the next few months, but the property will maintain the same pristine appearance and feel as in the past,” Sanders said in a statement.

Clark Centre totals 82,361 square feet and was 92 percent occupied at the time of the sale.

–Patrick Lantrip

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 85 205 21,165
MORTGAGES 76 206 24,338
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 7 3,108
BUILDING PERMITS 183 321 43,755
BANKRUPTCIES 48 92 13,560
BUSINESS LICENSES 31 44 6,756
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 25 32 7,931
MARRIAGE LICENSES 22 41 4,775