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VOL. 133 | NO. 161 | Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Hotel on the Mall, The Twist in Council Day and Rallings on Surveillance

By Bill Dries

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At this point, the second convention center hotel is a bit like the Pyramid was at one point. Before the first dirt was turned on the Pyramid in the late 1980s, there was the discussion about where it should go and there were a lot of ideas on that covering a lot of territory – so much so that then-Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris had a model of a pretty generic looking Pyramid on his desk that had some lego wheels attached to it.

Loews Hotel executives have some new renderings for what their 26-story convention center hotel could look like on the Main Street Mall acrxoss from City Hall. They said Tuesday the location remains tentative.

The range of possible locations for the Loews hotel to be built near the 100 North Main Building isn’t as wide as that. In fact, the discussions are about where between 100 North Main and the convention center.

So Tuesday Downtown, Loews executives and those with Townhouse Management Co. had some renderings that put a 26-story convention center hotel on the Main Street Mall almost directly across from City Hall with a complex that runs all the way to the northern wall of the building that is now home to the Downtown Memphis Commission. And the word preliminary was used a lot when it came to what exactly the renderings represent in terms of a site.

The new Memphis Police building at 170 N. Main St. – the old state office building – was ruled out a while ago. And now it seems to serve as a kind of border to a more general site.

Memphis City Council members got a look at this during committee sessions on the Tuesday council day. And a busy one it was with a delayed final vote on a compromise historic district ordinance in the works since June tabled by its sponsor, council member Kemp Conrad. The twist here wasn’t opposition from preservationist and historic district leaders. It was the Tennessee Historical Commission.

Here’s the complete rundown of the council day starting with the historic district twist and moving into Beale Street security measures.

Also underway in council chambers, more informal talks among those interested in the three council seats that are about to come open as three council members take the county offices they won in the August elections effective Sept. 1. Outgoing assessor Cheyenne Johnson is interested in the Super District council seat Janis Fullilove is leaving to become Juvenile Court Clerk. Outgoing county commissioner Justin Ford is interested in the council seat his cousin Edmund Ford Jr. is leaving to take Justin Ford’s commission seat. Outgoing Probate Court Clerk Paul Boyd had pulled a petition for the open Super District seat won by Ford Canale. He ultimately didn’t file for that seat but could be back for the seat of Bill Morrison who is the Probate Court Clerk-elect.

Shelby County mayor elect Lee Harris, center, met with his 35-member transition team Tuesday Downtown for the first time.

Speaking of transitions, Shelby County Mayor elect Lee Harris met Tuesday for the first time with his 35-member transition team at the Burch Porter law offices on Court Square. And Harris indicated this will likely move quickly in many ways since he too takes office Sept. 1. But in other ways, he said he wants the group members to continue to be sounding boards for the big ideas he campaigned on. So the group will probably continue meeting into October.

Memphis Police director Michael Rallings with his most extensive comments yet on the federal court case over police surveillance of protesters. Here is the statement as provided by the city in its entirety.

This goes to trial next week in Memphis Federal Court with U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla who ruled last Friday Memphis Police have been conducting “political surveillance” in violation of a 1978 consent decree determining what sanctions the city and Memphis Police will face.

10 couples renewed their wedding vows this Elvis Week to open the new Elvis wedding chapel.

Graceland’s wedding chapel does the honors with 10 couples renewing vows during Elvis Week in Whitehaven.

Trader Joe’s Update… Soon.

A follow up to our story about the Criminal Court Judges who fired one of the two forepersons of the Shelby County Grand Jury this week because she allowed grand jury alternates to hear secret testimony and vote on indictments. In taking the action Monday, the judges said all of this happened the last day in July.

But as prosecutors reviewed indictments returned by the grand jury on that day something didn’t match up. Thus another check. The conduct in question happened July 17. DA Amy Weirich is voiding all of the indictments from that day and will take the cases back to the grand jury for possible superseding indictments. There were also warrants to cancel and other detailed legalities to consider involving those already in custody and their attorneys. The judges say they were also hampered in this by the code of judicial conduct that forbids judges from personally investigating matters that may come before them.

PROPERTY SALES 66 66 6,612
MORTGAGES 78 78 4,207
BUILDING PERMITS 158 158 16,073
BANKRUPTCIES 45 45 3,441