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VOL. 11 | NO. 33 | Saturday, August 18, 2018

Daily Digest

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County Mayor-Elect Harris Starts Transition to Office

Shelby County Mayor-elect Lee Harris told 35 members of his transition team that they will probably continue working through the end of October, two months after he takes office as mayor.

Meeting at the Burch Porter law firm Tuesday, Aug. 14, Harris told the team he is looking for short-term and long-term recommendations. He said he would continue to use the group as a sounding board as he moves into his administration.

Almost two weeks after his election as mayor, Harris used a description he frequently used during the campaign to describe the pace. “It’s still like drinking water from a fire hydrant,” he said of the gap between the election and taking office Sept. 1.

“There are so many ideas in this room. People really talked about a lot of things,” Harris said after the session. “They’re lasered-focused on education, they’re lasered-focused on poverty. It’s a challenge that’s affected so many generations in this community and they want to talk about how we turn the corner and how we reduce it.”

Transition team co-chairman Paul Morris circulated a list of 142 high-level appointments the county mayor will make and urged the group to forward resumes and other contact information for those who might fill the jobs.

Morris also said that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a change in every position from the administration of outgoing county mayor Mark Luttrell.

“There are a lot of incumbents who are doing really good work,” Morris said. “We are not looking to clean house.”

But the new administration wants to make sure all of the positions are open for citizens to apply for.

The transition team is a mix of business leaders, those new to public service and veterans of past administrations and transition teams in city and county government.

Transition team co-chairman Lionel Hollins noted the diversity.

“They have great things going on in their own lives and to be able to come together and bring this transition smoothly, and even further, as we help the mayor to implement what he set out to do in his campaign,” he said.

– Bill Dries

TruGreen Hires FXI Exec As Next President, CEO

TruGreen, the Memphis-based lawn care company serving more than 2.3 million customers across the country, has a new driver behind the wheel.

On Tuesday, Aug. 14, the company announced the appointment of John Cowles as president and CEO, effective Sept. 17.

Cowles is leaving his position as president and CEO of FXI, a foam innovation producer for the home, health care, electronics, industrial, personal care and transportation markets. FXI is based in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The appointment comes with the news of current president and CEO David Alexander’s retirement. Alexander has served as the company’s president since 2012 and its CEO since 2014.

“We are grateful for David’s service to TruGreen. His leadership was instrumental in the successful transition of TruGreen as an independent company and through the merger with Scotts LawnService, while creating significant, sustainable growth,” John Compton, TruGreen chairman and operating partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the private equity firm that owns controlling interest in TruGreen, said in a news release.

Compton said Cowles’ focus on service innovation, building a strong team and culture, and delivering best-in-class customer service will be “tremendously beneficial” as TruGreen enters its next phase of growth.

Cowles has worked in business for 30 years, holding senior leadership positions at companies such as Touchstone Wireless, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup Co. and George Weston Bakeries.

– Special to the Daily News

Trader Joe’s Moves Closer To Germantown Opening

After years of waiting, anticipation and uncertainty over reports of Trader Joe’s arrival in the area, the California-based business is on the verge of opening its Germantown location.

The red-lettered Trader Joe’s sign recently was erected above the entrance to the former Kroger location at 2130 Exeter Road. The store is one of the main tenants in the Germantown Collection Shopping Center undergoing a makeover near the northeast corner of Exeter and Poplar Avenue.

Trader Joe’s aims to open its Germantown store early next month, the chain’s public relations director, Kenya Friend-Daniel, said Tuesday, Aug. 14.

The opening is close enough that the store has attached a banner on the fence in front of the construction site seeking applications.

Crews worked across the property early Tuesday morning, while inside more workers revamped the interior.

“We hope to confirm a date by the end of the week,” Friend-Daniel said of the opening. “… Hiring is underway. The sign went up yesterday. Things can come up at the last minute, but we feel good about an early September date.”

The opening will finally end about three years of starts and stops by Trader Joe’s, which announced in 2015 a store was coming to Germantown. Trader Joe’s originally was to have opened in the third quarter of 2016.

Among the twists and turns that delayed the project was a change in developers.

The space became available after Kroger moved from the former location on Exeter to a new, expanded store on Farmington between Germantown Road and Exeter, across from Germantown City Hall.

– Special to the Daily News

REI Sets Plans For Memphis Grand Opening

REI is planning special events and giveaways for the opening weekend of its Memphis store, Aug. 24-26.

The outdoor retailer’s grand opening at 5897 Poplar Ave. in Ridgeway Trace Center will feature parking-lot parties with free breakfast, music, games and REI Outdoor School programs. The events start at 8 a.m. Aug. 24-25 and 9 a.m. on Aug. 26, and end at noon each day.

Vendors who supply products to REI will be there to offer demonstrations and give away products.

The store’s doors will open at 10 a.m. that Friday, 9 a.m. that Saturday and 11 a.m. on that Sunday. The first 250 people 18 and older who enter will receive a water bottle with a $10, $50 or $100 gift card inside.

Starting next month, REI Memphis will hold in-store workshops on camping basics, backpacking basics, and women’s kayaking basics.

Seattle-based REI will partner with Ghost River Brewing in the creation of an India pale ale called “Happy Herd IPA.” The reference is to the buffalo herd at nearby Shelby Farms Park, and 10 percent of beer sales will go to Shelby Farms Park Conservancy.

REI also announced it will invest $20,000 in three Memphis nonprofits: the Wolf River Conservancy, Overton Park Conservancy and Shelby Farms Park Conservancy. The money will support improvements including trail restoration.

Fifty employees will work at the 23,000-square-foot store that previously housed a Sports Authority.

The consumer co-op has more than 17 million members and 152 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

– Special to the Daily News

Memphis Union Mission To Begin $16.5M Expansion

Memphis Union Mission this week submitted a building permit application for an expansion of its men’s emergency shelter in Downtown.

The application estimates construction at 383 Poplar Ave. will cost $16.5 million. The organization six years ago initiated the purchase of the nearby 3.1 acres bounded roughly by Poplar on the north, Danny Thomas on the west, Washington on the south and High Street on the east.

The application describes the project as the first of three phases for facilities that, among other services, will house and feed 114 people.

Linkous Construction is the contractor.

Memphis Union Mission has provided emergency services as well as spiritual outreach at 383 Poplar since the early 1960s.

The mission provides the homeless with food, clothing, shelter and hygiene care, and serves as a portal for recovery programs.

The organization bought the extra property because of steady growth in demand for its services, officials announced in 2012.

At the time, all 120 beds at the existing shelter were filled on most nights, with guests often required to sleep in overflow areas, mission officials said at the time.

– Special to The Daily News

Tigers Holding Saturday Scrimmage at Lambuth

For the third consecutive preseason, the University of Memphis football program will spend three days on the U of M Lambuth campus in Jackson, Tennessee, as part of training camp. The team arrives at approximately 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and will break the camp Saturday with a 10 a.m. scrimmage that is open to the public.

"We do a lot of group activities at this Lambuth camp outside of football," head coach Mike Norvell said. "We want our guys to learn together, learn to communicate, learn to trust their teammates, build their comradery and learn to work together through different situations."

Thursday and Friday will feature Tiger practices in the morning, followed by meetings and team-building activities in the afternoons and evenings. Saturday will wrap camp with a pre-season tailgate and scrimmage, presented by the U of M Alumni Association. Following the 10 a.m. scrimmage, fans can meet and greet the Tiger players. Parking and admission at the event are free.

– Don Wade

Develey Mustard Opens Dyersburg Plant

A Germany company has opened its first plant in North America in Dyersburg.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development commissioner Bob Rolfe attended the grand opening of Develey Mustard & Condiments’ new facility last week. The new West Tennessee plant will employ 150.

"This is important to find, to find that you have a community that is really in the same mindset and the same thinking like you are,” said Develey Mustard CEO Michael Durach. “This is what happened to us in Dyersburg, Tennessee. The support was always there from the beginning."

– Special to The Daily News

Fogelman Completes $67 Million in Acquisitions

In a joint venture partnership with Dallas-based Thackeray Partners, Memphis-based Fogelman Properties completed $67 million in acquisitions this month with the purchase of Legends at Charleston Park (in Charleston, South Carolina) and Westridge (in Jacksonville, Florida).

Developed in 2005, Legends at Charleston Park is a 232-unit property offering one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. The community is 94 percent occupied with rental rates ranging from $970 to $1,450. Legends at Charleston Park is expected to receive enhancements to the common area amenities and upgrades to unit interiors in connection with the investment.

Built in 2008, Westridge is a 312-unit property offering one, two and three-bedroom apartments. The community is 95 percent occupied with rental rates ranging from $870 to $1,200. Westridge is expected undergo a full re-branding, which includes a multi-million-dollar property renovation in connection with the purchase.

Since 2015, the Fogelman-Thackeray partnership has acquired seven multifamily communities totaling more than 1,800 units, with an aggregate value of over $220 million.

“We are thrilled to add both Legends at Charleston Park and Westridge to our growing portfolio with Thackeray,” said Mark Fogelman, president of Fogelman Properties, in a statement. “Both communities are located in prime submarkets in growing (metropolitan statistical areas) with a strong economic outlook. As active investors and seasoned property managers, we look forward to continued growth within our long-standing relationship with Thackeray Partners.”

Fogelman specializes in multifamily acquisitions, property management, construction management and asset management. Founded in 1963, Fogelman operates 88 multifamily communities totaling 27,000 apartment homes spread across 10 states.

– Special to The Daily News

$3.8M Permit Filed For Millington Solar Farm

A $3.8 million utility permit application was filed Friday, Aug. 10, for the largest solar power plant in Tennessee.

The application was filed by Nashville-based renewable energy company Silicon Ranch Corp., whose principals include former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen; former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Matt Kisber; and former commissioner of the Tennessee State Department of Revenue, Reagan Fair.

The Millington solar farm is a $100 million project that will result in 580,000 solar panels across 72 acres at Naval Support Activity Mid-South and 330 acres adjacent from the U.S. Navy facility, as previously reported by The Memphis Daily News.

The project is a partnership between Silicon Ranch, the U.S. Navy, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division and the Millington Industrial Development Board.

The solar farm is estimated to produce 53 megawatts of solar power to help the Navy meet an initiative to utilize one gigawatt of renewable energy to support its bases across the nation.

The solar farm will also power 7,500 homes, with TVA agreeing to a long-term power-purchase agreement.

Stakeholders broke ground on the project on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. The project is anticipated to be fully operational by the second or third quarter of 2018.

– Special to The Daily News

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 51 223 1,152
MORTGAGES 55 189 861
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 25 45 144
BUILDING PERMITS 149 541 2,593
BANKRUPTCIES 24 120 581
BUSINESS LICENSES 14 65 264
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0