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VOL. 11 | NO. 31 | Saturday, August 4, 2018

Daily Digest

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St. Jude Awarded $800K HHS Grant

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, announced Thursday, Aug. 2, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital a grant totaling $792,792.

The grant will help fund research on mechanisms of regulated cell death.

“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one of the top research hospitals in the world and they continue to follow their mission of saving lives and providing care for all children,” Cohen said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have St. Jude in Memphis and this federal grant will support St. Jude in their efforts to end childhood cancer.”

Research for mechanism of regulated cell death aims to find cells in multicellular organisms that threaten the organism or are no longer essential to that organism. These damaged cells are then destroyed through apoptosis, or programmed cell death, which is a tightly regulated cell self-destruction process. Regulated cell death is crucial in advancing cancer research and the elimination of deadly cancer cells.

– Daily News staff

Memphis International Enplanements up 5.6%

There were more than 2.25 million enplanements at Memphis International Airport during the 2017-18 fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018.

This figure equates to 115,000 additional enplanements, which represents a 5.6 percent increase year-over-year.

In airport terms, an enplanement simply refers to a passenger getting on a plane. Typically this figure is roughly half the total number of passengers traveling through an airport, as it doesn’t account for deplaning passengers, meaning that more than 4.3 million people traversed Memphis International during that time.

“These continued growth trends are a testament to our continued efforts to pursue frequent and affordable air service,” Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, said in a statement. “Passengers are recognizing that airlines at MEM are adding more routes, adding larger planes for existing routes, and reducing average airfare.”

– Patrick Lantrip

New Restaurant Coming to Soulsville

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is getting a new neighbor: a restaurant.

A building permit application was filed on Wednesday, Aug. 1, for renovations to 969 E. McLemore Ave., which is located a few blocks away from the Stax Museum.

According to the permit application, renovations will be completed to the exterior of the retail building. One of the building’s three bays will house a restaurant called Johnny Mae’s.

The permit was valued at $175,000.

– Daily News staff

American Home Shield Moves Toward Q3 Spinoff

Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc. continues to staff up the front office of its American Home Shield spinoff.

ServiceMaster CEO Nik Varty announced Wednesday, Aug. 1, the appointment of Jeffrey A. Fiarman as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of American Home Shield, effective later this month.

The company also announced the spinoff should happen late in the third quarter.

Fiarman comes to the ServiceMaster post from being general counsel of Wedgewood Pharmacy, which makes customized veterinary medications.

ServiceMaster announced in July the appointment of Brian K. Turcotte as chief financial officer of AHS – a residential and commercial warranty business. And in May, Rex Tibbens was named president and CEO of AHS.

– Bill Dries

Amazon Proposes Tent Warehouse on McLemore

Amazon is proposing an unusual development in South Memphis: A “permanent tent’’ to serve as a warehouse.

The world’s largest online retailer wants to build a triangular, 16,575-square-foot warehouse of taut fabric supported by steel-tube trusses and cables, according to construction documents filed with Shelby County Construction Code Enforcement Office.

That agency’s longtime administrator, Allen Medlock, said he was unaware of another Memphis warehouse made in such a way. The application for the building permit was submitted in late July.

The arched structure would rise on a basically empty asphalt parking lot at 109 W. McLemore, just east of Interstate 55. Belz Investco owns the 11.4 acres used by a trucking company.

The construction cost is estimated at $595,000.

Plans show the 35-foot-tall building would have six overhead doors – three on each side – where vans can be loaded. Tractor-trailers would unload under an open-air, 2,150-square-foot breezeway at one end of the building.

The structure also would house areas designated for a “station,” ready-to-ship desk, shift manager’s desk and water cooler, the plans show.

The site plan shows 43 regular parking spaces and 19 spaces for vans.

A ClearSpan Fabric Structures facility in Dyersville, Iowa, would supply the building components, documents show.

The plans refer to the building in different ways: “Permanent tent;” “tent structure warehouse” and “frame supported fabric structure warehouse.”

The proposed development would be the fourth and most unusual Amazon building in Memphis.

The city failed to make the cut for the so-called “HQ2,” Amazon’s second U.S. headquarters that is to employ about 50,000 people. However, the e-commerce giant is rapidly establishing a substantial presence in the city.

Traditional warehouse construction is being completed on a $70 million “receive center’’ which will open by early next year at 3292 Holmes Road in the city’s vast, Southeast industrial area. The facility is expected to employ 575 people in an operation for receiving and repackaging goods for shipment to Amazon fulfillment centers.

Earlier in July, construction documents were filed on behalf of Amazon for the $10 million renovation of an existing warehouse at 5155 Citation, about two miles east of the receive center. The 400,000-square-foot building previously housed the AT&T Entertainment Group Supply Chain.

Amazon also has operated a warehouse at 6005 Freeport, also in Southeast Memphis.

By mid-morning Wednesday, Amazon had not responded to a reporter’s request for more information about the roles the McLemore and Citation warehouses will play. The company has publicly described the purpose of its receive center as part of its application for a tax incentive based on the investment and jobs there.

But so far Amazon has not sought public incentives for the Citation and McLemore facilities and has not commented about what function each will serve.

The ClearSpan website lists several advantages to its fabric-covered buildings, stating: The anchoring system needs no expensive excavation or foundation work; the interior has no columns or other support structures that get in the way of operations; the fabric admits natural light and reduces electricity costs; the fabric keeps the space warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, also reducing power expenses; and “little or no” property taxes must be paid on the tent-like buildings.

– Daily News staff

U of M Has Shot at Jeffries After Recruit De-Commits

The University of Memphis would appear to be in prime position to land Top-50 recruit D.J. Jeffries after he announced he is decommitting from Kentucky and reopening his recruitment.

An athletic, 6-foot-7 forward from Olive Branch High School, Jeffries said in a Twitter post that decommitting was a “hard choice” but the “right decision.” Jeffries played for Memphis coach Penny Hardaway’s AAU team in the summer of 2017.and played for the same program this year after Hardaway had left.

Jeffries is the No. 46-ranked prospect in the Class of 2019, according to Rivals.

At one point, Jeffries had told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he grew up a fan of UK and former Memphis coach John Calipari and “always dreamed” of playing for him in college.

Jeffries has been an AAU teammate of James Wiseman, the top prospect in the 2019 Class; Kentucky and Memphis are considered the leaders for Wiseman, who transferred from Nashville’s Ensworth School to attend and play basketball at East High School where Hardaway formerly coached.

– Don Wade

$330 Million Permit Application Filed by St. Jude

The $412 million advanced research center at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital took another step forward late Thursday, July 26, when a new building permit application was filed for $330 million.

In May, a building permit application valued at $21 million was filed for the new research center’s foundation.

The 625,000-square-foot-building is part of the hospital’s $1 billion capital expansion. The center will house six floors of labs focused on immunology, neurobiology, cell and molecular biology, gene editing, metabolomics, advanced microscopy, epigenetics, genomics, immunotherapy and RNA biology.

Flintco Inc. is the general contractor. The Crump Firm is the lead architect and Jacobs Engineering is designing the labs.

– Daily News staff

Airport Authority Renews Smaller Deal With Grizzlies

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority has extended a scaled-back version of its marketing partnership with the Memphis Grizzlies so it can invest those advertising dollars elsewhere.

The MSCAA board of commissioners approved Thursday, July 26, a three-year extension of the marketing contract the airport authority has with Memphis Basketball Inc., the parent company of the Grizzlies.

In 2015, the MSCAA signed a three-year $530,000 contract to partner with the Memphis Grizzlies to promote and advertise Memphis International Airport, in which then-guard Tony Allen would serve as the airport’s official spokesman.

The contract included stadium-wide, in-arena advertising at FedExForum, print advertising in game-day programs and video board messages to increase awareness about efforts to recruit more flights and a $214 million project to modernize the terminal.

With the contract now nearing its end, the MSCAA board approved an extension that is not as “robust” as the first.

“We’ve gone in and picked the items that we believe will deliver the most bang for the buck,” said Scott Brockman, president and CEO of MSCAA. “In-arena ads, Jumbotron ads, an online presence – it’s not as robust, so we free up dollars to do other things.”

Totaling $315,250, the contract breaks down to $98,000 for year one, $107,000 for year two and $110,250 for year three, ending on June 30, 2021.

Since the Grizzlies are the only major league sports franchise in the Memphis area, MSCAA marketing agency RedRover recommended the authority keep the partnership, Brockman said, but recognizing the success of the Memphis Tigers and AutoZone Park’s plans to add soccer, the MSCAA also wanted to reach those audiences.

Right now, the authority has a one-year, $95,000 deal with Tiger Sports and a $13,000 sponsorship with the Redbirds.

“We’re talking to the Redbirds, who are also going to do soccer, and the Tigers, which is moving rapidly because they are about to start their season,” Brockman said. “With a strong football program and Penny (Hardaway) coming on board (as head coach), it’s a great opportunity.”

– Daily News staff

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