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VOL. 133 | NO. 157 | Thursday, August 9, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Transition Time, Two Years of Heart and Eads De-Annexation Growth

By Bill Dries

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Here comes the transition in the county mayor’s office. Shelby County Mayor-elect Lee Harris announced Wednesday that the transition team will be co-chaired by former Downtown Memphis Commission president Paul Morris and former Grizz coach Lionel Hollins. Harris’s campaign manager Danielle Inez will be executive director of the transition team. They are soliciting applications to be on the transition team and the resumes have to be in soon. Harris takes office as outgoing mayor Mark Luttrell leaves at the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the Shelby County Commission met in special session Wednesday – its second special session in a week and a half to pass on third and final reading the ordinance that forbids the county attorney from representing the mayor or any other part of county government in any civil litigation in which they sue the county commission. The ordinance also requires commission approval for the mayor to hire outside counsel in any case where the legal bills are more than $50,000. Given the history of this larger dispute over legal representation, Luttrell is considered more than likely to veto the ordinance as soon as it hits his desk. Speeding up the three readings allows the commission to vote on a veto override at its last meeting of the term – before the current four-year term of office runs out for Luttrell and the current commission. Again -- as of Sept. 1, there is a new mayor and a new majority on the commission.

Part of the city’s skyline – One Commerce Square -- is under contract nine years after a group of local investors bought it from an out-of-state portfolio and renovated it. The Montreal would-be owner also owns the Southwind Office Center and he wants a transfer of the PILOT lease from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. which takes up the matter next week.

Garry Brown, the district attorney for Haywood County, announced Wednesday that his office is opening a criminal investigation into the death of Elbert Williams in Brownsville in 1940. Williams’ body was pulled from a river in Haywood County shortly after he became the leader of the NAACP chapter there. Williams was planning a meeting of the chapter at his home when police in Brownsville began a crackdown on members of the group, according to FBI and Justice Department documents in the National Archives. Authorities had Williams buried quickly in an unmarked grave after a ruling that his body was too badly decomposed to determine the exact cause of death. Brown wouldn’t say if new evidence prompted his reopening of the case. But he said his team intends to locate Williams’ grave and possibly exhume his body.

Two years ago the "Heart of the Park" expansion of Shelby Farms Park opened.

Two years since Shelby Farms Park’s “Heart of the Park” expansion opened to the public.

Chalkbeat on a group of civil rights leaders across Tennessee, including those at the National Civil Right Museum, who are arguing against a pause in TNReady testing of students – the pause being recommended by SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson and the Metro Nashville schools director – the leaders of the state’s two largest public school districts.

Some questions about the timing of de-annexation proposals approved by the Memphis City Council in June – specifically the one that de-annexed the part of Eads that was within Memphis starting in 2002. There is a proposal by PFMT Holdings to build 400-single family homes on the southeast corner of Highway 64 and Cobb Road in the de-annexation footprint. There are currently 70 homes in the de-annexed area. The effective date for the de-annexation is New Year’s Day 2020. But the de-annexation process gives residents of the area 75 days from council enactment to object. The council approved third and final reading on June 5 and approved the minutes of that meeting on June 19. By the time the Land Use Control Board takes up the matter on Sept. 13, the period for objections would be over.

We’ve heard a lot about the enduring impact of the recession on the ranks of homebuilders. It’s also had an impact on the construction workforce as measured by a new national survey by BuildZoom. The survey finds Tennessee at the midway point in terms of the state-by-state impact.

A new “all-in” budget for MEM’s concourse renovation puts the total at $245.5 million. That’s with 25 new jet bridges, moving sidewalks and dynamic glass that adjusts to changes in the weather. Look for the airport authority to approve the contract next week to start demolition in September.

The Hive Collective began last year as a channel on Slack for digital creatives and is now a co-work and retail space Downtown.

The Cardinals change up their outfield and… you guessed it, so do the Redbirds.

Ahead of next week’s Elvis Week and the Saturday release of a new Elvis gospel album, the official music video of the first single – “Where No One Stands Alone.” And it has plenty of Memphis in it including water skiing on McKellar Lake.

And Billboard has a track from the Peter Holsapple – Alex Chilton 1978 recording session at Sam Phillips that comes out in October. It’s called “The Death of Rock: Peter Holsapple vs. Alex Chilton” and it is probably something for acolytes or anyone who has read the 2014 Chilton bio “A Man Called Destruction” by Holly George-Warren. The article goes into some detail about the working relationship between Chilton and Holsapple, who came to Memphis that year looking for Big Star and found Chris Bell working as a manager at the Danver’s on Union Avenue. Instead of a Big Star reunion, Bell invited them to a Horslips show at Solomon Alfred.

Mark Rozzo has written about this before in the 2010 Oxford American music issue. The upcoming release appears to be a pretty good chronicle of the musical mood that was in play 40 years ago as The Cramps were about to record at Sam Phillips and after the Sex Pistols had come through and The Well was becoming the Antenna Club. The full release will include a tune about the police and fire strikes underway that summer. I can almost smell the smoke and hear Wyeth Chandler’s voice.

PROPERTY SALES 57 94 2,713
MORTGAGES 16 37 1,820
BUILDING PERMITS 303 621 6,322
BANKRUPTCIES 138 138 1,115