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VOL. 11 | NO. 7 | Saturday, February 17, 2018

Daily Digest

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RKA Construction Buys Building for New Office

RKA Construction has purchased a 4,000-square-foot building just off the Poplar corridor on Tillman Street, allowing the Memphis-based firm to quadruple its office space.

RKA, which specializes in custom residential work ranging from small additions and renovations to large, new construction projects, bought the building at 81 Tillman from Bauray LLC in January for $260,000.

The new space will house the firm’s 21 team members. The firm’s office currently is located in a 1,000 square feet at 714 S. Mendenhall Road.

RKA Construction owner Ryan Anderson said his company had been looking for a larger space inside the Interstate 240 loop for a long time.

“We have projects from Collierville to the river and everywhere in between, so having a centralized space is ideal for us,” Anderson said in a statement. “Our new offices will have more storage space, space for office staff, meeting space for superintendents and field staff to meet with subcontractors, and room for expansion.”

Architect Carlton Edwards designed the plans for the new space, which include a sleek exterior design and a complete remodel of the interior.

“We’re builders, so buying an older building in an established Memphis neighborhood and restoring it really fits our brand,” Anderson said. “We love the idea of being a part of the continual revitalization of and reinvestment in Memphis real estate, both commercial and residential.”

Anderson plans to move his team into the new office space in April.

– Daily News staff

Bill Banning Sterilization In Sentencing Moves On

A proposal by State Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and State Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) to prohibit Tennessee judges from offering defendants reduced jail time in exchange for sterilization passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

Senate Bill 2133 prohibits a court from making a sentencing determination based on a defendant’s consent or refusal to any form of temporary or permanent birth control, sterilization, or family planning services, regardless of whether the defendant’s consent is voluntarily given.

“Having children is one of the most important decisions an individual will ever make in his or her life,” Kelsey said in a release. “The decision to have children should be left out of the courtroom.”

Kelsey and Akbari filed the bill in response to a White County judge offering reduced jail time to defendants who volunteered for sterilization. Judge Sam Benningfield said his goal was to break a “vicious cycle” of repeat drug offenders with children. The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct found that Benningfield violated rules regarding judicial independence, integrity and propriety.

“Reproduction is a fundamental right,” Kelsey said. “In Tennessee, we respect life and we respect reproductive rights.”

The bill in no way prohibits defendants from seeking sterilization services if they so choose. The bill will next be heard in the full Senate. Sen. Lee Harris (D-Memphis) is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Kelsey, who represents Cordova, East Memphis and Germantown, is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

– Daily News staff

Denver Company Buys Prime East Memphis Land

Denver, Colorado-based Confluent Development has purchased a prime parcel of vacant land in the Poplar/Interstate 240 corridor.

Confluent, doing business as CD-HRA (Germantown) LLC, purchased the 3.2-acre property from local company Dunavant Enterprises, doing business as Grandview-Memphis LLC, for $4 million, according to a Feb. 13 warranty deed filed with the Shelby County Register.

William O. Hagerman, senior vice president of real estate operations, signed the deed on behalf of Dunavant, while Jonathan Rankin, senior vice president and chief financial officer, signed on behalf of Confluent.

Located just north of the intersection of Poplar and Briarcrest avenues in the heart of East Memphis’ office district, the vacant land was appraised for $1.7 million in 2017 by the Shelby County Assessor.

Confluent was founded in 2015 after the merger of two Denver-based real estate firms, MVG Development Inc. and Confluent Development Services, and specializes in developing industrial and office projects, according to its website.

– Patrick Lantrip

Huey’s-Collierville Closing Two Weeks for Renovations

Huey’s Collierville, at 2130 W. Poplar Ave., is set to close its doors to the public for 12 to 14 days starting Monday, Feb. 19, to complete needed renovations.

With the help of Traditional Construction, the Collierville location will see upgrades in a couple of areas, but mostly the dining room. The restrooms will be fully renovated and remodeled. The entire dining room floor will be redone with stained concrete, and three windows will be installed on the south-side graffiti wall to bring in more light.

The entire bar countertop will be refurbished, along with some other cosmetic woodwork touch-ups in the dining room, along with a fresh coat of interior paint. And the kitchen will undergo some miscellaneous floor repairs.

The Collierville location opened in 1999 and is the fifth out of nine Huey’s locations.

– Andy Meek

City Issues RFQ For Fairgrounds Project

The city of Memphis has issued a request for qualifications for a master developer of commercial and retail space in the redevelopment of the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

The RFQ covers 19 acres on the northern end of the Fairgrounds along Central Avenue, between Maxine Smith STEAM Academy to the west and the Children’s Museum of Memphis to the east, with a goal of mixed-use private development. Part of the 19 acres includes the gymnasium of the school, which would be demolished.

City plans call for the gym to be replaced with a structure that is a combination of retail and school uses. The acreage also includes a potential 500-space parking garage.

The oval track now on the site would move to the southwestern corner of the Fairgrounds as part of a youth sports complex fronting East Parkway where the old Libertyland amusement park once stood.

Responses to the RFQ are due by 2 p.m. March 23, with Allworld Project Management as the contact on the process. A pre-proposal meeting of those interested will be held Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 9 a.m. along with a diversity workshop at the Shelby County Board of Education Building, 160 S. Hollywood St. The last day for questions is March 16 and the final addendum to the request will be posted March 19.

The city will determine which of the applicants are qualified and those selected will then be able to participate in a later request for proposals, or RFP, process.

– Bill Dries

Airport Designates New Area for Uber, Lyft Services

New pickup locations for passengers using Uber and Lyft at Memphis International Airport will be located outside the A, B and C ticketing lobby exits on the outer commercial drive effective March 1.

Airport officials said the change is being made to reduce traffic congestion at the baggage level and to provide a more efficient pickup and drop-off procedure for users of the ride-sharing services.

The new pickup area outside the B ticketing lobby will be covered so customers waiting for a ride are not directly exposed to inclement weather.

“This change will result in a more convenient process for passengers doing business with Uber and Lyft,” Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority president and CEO Scott Brockman said in a release.

More information can be found at flymemphis.com/ground-transportation.

– Patrick Lantrip

Comptroller: City Obeyed Most Rules in Sale of Parks

The state Comptroller’s Office has determined the city of Memphis’ Dec. 20, 2017, sale of Health Sciences Park and the easement to Memphis Park to Memphis Greenspace Inc. appropriately followed related laws with the exception of requiring Memphis Greenspace to submit an application so it could gauge the nonprofit’s financial stability.

The Comptroller’s Office released its findings Wednesday, Feb. 14, after completing a review of the transactions.

The sale of the parks followed the city’s unsuccessful attempt to receive a waiver from the Tennessee Historical Commission to remove a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest from Health Sciences Park. After the parks were sold, statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest, Jefferson Davis, and James Harvey Mathes were removed by Memphis Greenspace.

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, and Houser Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, requested the review to determine compliance with the Tennessee Open Meetings Act and other state and local laws.

The Comptroller’s Office of Open Records Counsel determined the Memphis City Council provided sufficient notice of its meetings and agendas and did not violate the Tennessee Open Meetings Act.

Comptroller auditors also concluded the city acted with the authority granted by the Memphis Code of Ordinances to sell the parks to a nonprofit at less than market value. The parks were each sold to Memphis Greenspace for $1,000.

But auditors found the city did not follow all of the guidelines in the code of ordinances by not requiring Memphis Greenspace “to submit an application to the City Real Estate Department before the properties were conveyed as required by the Memphis Code of Ordinances (Section 2-16-1(G)(2)). The purpose of this application is to gauge an entity’s financial strength and overall stability.”

Memphis maintained it was able to determine the nonprofit was financially capable of maintaining the parks by meeting directly with Memphis Greenspace, which is led by attorney Van Turner, who is also a Shelby County commissioner. The city also provided auditors with three other instances when it had sold property without requiring an application to the City Real Estate Department.

The Comptroller’s Office recommends that the city enter into a formal memorandum of understanding with Memphis Greenspace for the storage and protection of the historic figures and artifacts.

– Daily News staff

Regional One Names New Chief Legal Officer

Regional One Health has named Imad Abdullah its chief legal officer.

Abdullah joined Regional One Health in 2014. As the principal attorney and general counsel for the health system, he is responsible for managing all aspects of legal affairs and risk management.

Prior to joining Regional One, Abdullah was a shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash & Smoak and spent nearly a decade at Baker Donelson law firm handling civil cases in the areas of health care, employment and commercial litigation.

Abdullah is active in the Memphis community, serving on the board of the Bodine School, which specializes in educating and remediating dyslexic learners, and he previously served on the board of Pleasant View School.

– Andy Meek

Memorial Fund Created For Coach Tommy Buford

The Tiger Scholarship Fund has created a memorial account in honor former University of Memphis men’s tennis coach Tommy Buford, who died Jan. 14 at age 83 at his home in Boise, Idaho.

The account was created at the request of former Tiger tennis players and friends of Buford.

Buford served as men’s tennis coach at Memphis for 32 years. A 2005 inductee into the M Club Hall of Fame, Buford also served as the long-time director of the Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour event, which was held each February at The Racquet Club of Memphis through 2017.

Under Buford’s guidance, the indoor event attracted some of the sport’s top stars, including Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick. In part because of his Southern charm and hospitality, the players voted Buford as one of the ATP World Tour’s top six tennis officials in 1985.

Buford guided a number of former Tigers who have contributed greatly to the Memphis tennis community. Former Tiger Phil Chamberlain followed in Buford’s shoes and became the Memphis men’s tennis coach after Buford resigned to devote his time to running the ATP World Tour event in Memphis. Peter Lebedevs, another former Tiger, followed Buford in tournament administration. Lebedevs succeeded Chamberlain as the Memphis ATP event’s tournament director before accepting an offer as the assistant tournament director at the BB&T Atlanta Open, a summer event on the ATP World Tour.

Donations made in Buford’s name will benefit the Memphis men’s tennis program. Donations can be sent to: Tommy Buford Memorial Fund, c/o Tiger Scholarship Fund, 570 Normal, Attn: Brock McWhorter, Memphis, Tennessee, 38152.

– Don Wade

Germantown Getting Jazzercise Center

Two local franchise owners are looking to bring West Tennessee its first official Jazzercise center.

Donna Cross and Regina Roberson have signed a lease to occupy 1,200 square feet at 7869 Farmington Blvd. in Loeb Properties’ Farmington Centre.

Aaron Petree, vice president brokerage, represented Loeb.

The new space on Farmington Boulevard near Poplar Avenue will offer aerobic exercise and dance fitness, including strike, cardio and dance-mix workouts, as well as interval, strength and core training.

The new facility will have eight instructors and 27 morning, evening and weekend classes. It is expected open in early March.

– Patrick Lantrip

Tigers’ 2018 Football Slate Includes Trip to Missouri

The 2018 University of Memphis football schedule is out and includes seven home games, five on Saturdays, and a road trip to Columbia, Missouri, to play Barry Odom’s Missouri Tigers.

Mike Norvell’s third Memphis team begins play with the home opener Sept. 1 vs. Mercer at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. For the fifth straight season Memphis opens and closes a campaign with home games, the regular season ending with a Nov. 23 visit from Houston.

Mercer is one of three first-time opponents, along with Georgia State and South Alabama; the Tigers were scheduled to meet Georgia State in 2017, but the game was pushed back due to Hurricane Irma.

Some other schedule highlights:

• Sept. 8 at Navy: Tigers’ earliest conference opener since joining The American in 2013; also earliest West Division game since league went to two divisions in 2015

• Sept. 14 vs. Georgia State: The first of only two Friday home match-ups in 2018

• Sept. 22 vs. South Alabama: The fourth FBS program from Alabama the Tigers will face in their history, leaving Troy as the only FBS team Memphis has not played

• Sept. 28 at Tulane: Third straight season the Tigers and Green Wave meet in a Friday night league clash

• Oct. 20 at Missouri: Fourth time Memphis meets Missouri in program history, and the third time the two teams play each other as members of different leagues. Memphis faces former defensive coordinator Barry Odom, who enters his third season as Missouri’s head coach.

• Nov. 23 vs. Houston: Fourth-straight season the Tigers host the regular-season finale at home; the second home Friday game of the season.

– Don Wade

100 N. Main Owner Buys Two Adjacent Parcels

Less than a month after the 100 North Main Building was effectively reclaimed by the lender at a foreclosure auction, New York-based real estate firm Townhouse Management Co. affiliate THM Memphis Acquisitions LLC has purchased two adjacent parcels.

The first parcels, located at 86 and 88 N. Main, were purchased from the National Housing Corp. of Memphis for a little more than $1 million, while the second parcel, located at 80 N. Main, was purchased from Cynthia Luo for $485,743.

80 N. Main is a 12,000-square-foot “downtown row” style building that was built in 1905 and last appraised for $160,400 by the Shelby County Property Assessor.

The 138-year-old 86 N. Main building was appraised for $131,100 and the 108-year-old 88 N. Main building was appraised for $152,300, according to the assessor’s website.

On Thursday, Jan. 11, THM Memphis Acquisitions LLC effectively bought the 37-story office tower at a foreclosure auction on the courthouse steps after the property failed to receive any bids.

A substitute trustee’s deed for the $1 million transaction was recorded with the Register’s Office that same day.

The tower went into foreclosure in late 2016 when then-owner IHM Memphis LLC defaulted on a $2.8 million loan through Shadow Tree Income Fund B LP, THM Funding LLC, Conrad Partners LLC, Nils Brous and Keiter Group LLC. IHM had taken out that loan when it purchased the 100 North Main Building in August 2015 for $5 million.

The foreclosure auction, originally set for November 2016, was delayed numerous times before the lenders assigned the loan to THM Memphis LLC.

– Patrick Lantrip

Plaskolite Buys Lucite Business, Memphis Plant

Acrylic sheet products manufacturer Plaskolite LLC announced that it is acquiring Lucite International Inc.’s continuous cast acrylic sheet business, which includes general-purpose and sanitary sheets used in making spa and bath products.

The transaction includes the acquisition of Lucite’s 93,375-square-foot sheet manufacturing facility in Memphis.

Closing is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2018. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Plaskolite is the largest privately-owned North American manufacturer of acrylic sheet products. Its customized products are used in windows, doors, lighting, signs, point-of-purchase displays and bath products. Plaskolite serves a diverse customer base including distributors, OEMs and retailers.

In April 2010, Lucite International was awarded a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive by the Memphis and Shelby County Industrial Development Board to invest $90 million in its plant on Fite Road and retain 200 jobs there. Those positions came with an average annual salary of $89,531, $129,463 with benefits.

Plaskolite and Lucite have worked together for 40 years, a press release announcing the transaction noted, with Plaskolite being the largest North American purchaser of acrylic monomers from Lucite, a part of Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.

“Our goal is to be the industry leader while strengthening our marketplace position for the benefit of our customers,” Mitchell Grindley, Plaskolite’s president and CEO, said in the release. “With this acquisition we have taken another step forward in our leadership position.”

Adding the Lucite business brings Plaskolite’s workforce to 800 people in Columbus, Ohio; Zanesville, Ohio; Grand Saline, Texas; Compton, California; Olive Branch, Mississippi; Monterrey, Mexico; and Memphis.

– Daily News staff

Alexander, Corker Honor 1968 Sanitation Strikers

U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee introduced a Senate resolution Tuesday, Feb. 13, honoring the 1,300 Memphis sanitation workers who went on strike in 1968.

The resolution is co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama and Ben Cardin of Maryland.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis introduced the House resolution on Jan. 30, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. David Kustoff of Germantown and the state’s seven other congressmen.

Alexander, in a written statement Tuesday, said the strikers “took a stand for freedom.”

“This resolution honors their legacy,” he said. “It is important that our children grow up learning about the contribution these Tennesseans – and many others – made to racial justice.”

Corker said the strikers “displayed a great deal of courage in pursuit of equality.”

“This is a significant part of Tennessee and American history,” Corker said. “And it’s important that future generations know about the contributions and sacrifices that have been made to better our country.”

– Bill Dries

Nonstop Flights to Cancun Returning in May

On May 19, Vacation Express’ weekly flights between Memphis International Airport and Cancun International Airport will return.

As part of a six-night vacation package, the nonstop flights will run between May 19 and Aug. 4, with flights departing from Memphis on Saturday and returning from Cancun on Friday.

Volaris will operate the weekly flights to Cancun on a 180-seat Airbus 320 aircraft.

“Hundreds of passengers take advantage of Vacation Express’ annual service between Memphis and the popular vacation destination of Cancun,” Pace Cooper, chairman of the board of commissioners for the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, said in a release. “This is a great option for vacationing families.”

• Memphis to Cancun Flight Schedule:

Departs: 8:30 a.m.

Arrives: 11:25 a.m.

• Cancun to Memphis

Departs: 5:45 p.m.

Arrives: 8:55 p.m.

– Patrick Lantrip

Grizzlies Host Spring Break Youth Basketball Camps

The Memphis Grizzlies will put on Spring Break Youth Basketball Programs presented by Nike for kids ages 6-17, including a game-day clinic on March 12 and a four-day youth basketball camp March 13-16.

Each program gives kids the opportunity to receive high-quality instruction provided by Grizzlies Youth Basketball staff and two tickets to an upcoming Grizzlies game. The Grizzlies will host two sessions of their Spring Break Game-Day Clinic on Monday, March 12, on the FedExForum main court. Kids ages 6-11 will take the court from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. while youth ages 12-17 will participate from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The cost is $75 and each participant will also receive two tickets to that night’s Grizzlies vs. Milwaukee Bucks game and will have the opportunity to participate in fan experiences including pregame shoot-around, anthem buddies and the high-five tunnel.

The Grizzlies will also host a four-day basketball camp at Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School (246 S. Belvedere Blvd.) for kids ages 7-16 from March 13-16. Not only will campers develop their basketball skills with instruction from certified GrizzFit coaches, they will also have the opportunity to participate in the official Jr. NBA Skills Challenge.

For $265, campers will also receive a package that includes Nike apparel, a full-size basketball and two tickets to an upcoming Grizzlies game.

Participants can also expect surprise guest appearances from Memphis Grizzlies and Memphis Hustle players during the camp.

Limited spots are available. To register and find out more about the Grizzlies’ Spring Break Youth Basketball Programs, visit grizzlies.com/youthbasketball.

– Don Wade

Maciel’s Taco Shop to Open Highland Store This Week

Maciel’s Taco Shop and ITS Fine Restaurant Group have teamed up to open a second Maciel’s location at 525 S. Highland St., which will open to the public for lunch and dinner starting Thursday, Feb. 15, at 11 a.m.

The 3,000-square-foot restaurant and 1,500-square-foot indoor/outdoor patio will feature the same favorites as the Downtown Maciel’s location. It eventually will offer an expanded menu, brunch and late-night eats.

The new location also has a full-service bar and will offer catering and delivery to Midtown and East Memphis.

Maciel’s Highland was formed by a partnership between Manny Martinez, the proprietor of Maciel’s Tortas & Tacos, located at 45 S. Main St. Downtown, and the ITS Fine Restaurant Group, which includes Bounty on Broad, Railgarten, Loflin Yard and Rec Room and is spearheaded by principals Taylor Berger, John Planchon and Martha Hample.

– Andy Meek

At Home Sells Winchester Property for $10 Million

A Phoenix, Arizona-based real estate investment trust has paid $10 million for the big-box space in Southeast Memphis’ Centennial Place shopping center leased to home furnishings retailer At Home.

VEREIT Inc., doing business as VEREIT Real Estate LP, bought the 124,000-square-foot Class B store at 7697 Winchester Road from 7697 Winchester Rd. LLC, a limited liability company affiliated with At Home, according to a Feb. 9 warranty deed.

The home furnishings retailer, formerly known as Garden Ridge, bought the property in 2014 from Target Corp. after Target closed its Centennial Place location.

In conjunction with its purchase, VEREIT signed a memorandum leasing the property to At Home Stores LLC through February 2033, with the option to renew up to an additional 20 years.

Centennial Place, located on the south side of Winchester east of Tenn. 385, also counts Best Buy and Burlington Coat Factory among its tenants, though those were not included in the sale.

The Shelby County Assessor’s Office most recently appraised the 15.1-acre property for $8.9 million in 2017.

– Patrick Lantrip

NAACP Chair to Keynote Freedom Fund Luncheon

National NAACP board chairman Leon Russell will be the featured speaker at the March 17 Freedom Fund luncheon of the NAACP Memphis Branch.

The annual fundraiser for the local chapter of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization is being co-chaired by Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson and state Rep. Raumesh Akbari.

Russell was elected chairman of the national NAACP board in February 2017. He has been a member of the board for 27 years.

– Bill Dries

UTHSC Adopts Mental Health Model for Students

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is increasing its attention to the mental health and well-being of its students, with a focus on preventive care and intervention.

The initiative, adopted after consultation and recommendations from national student mental health organizations, involves adding counseling personnel; improving student access to mental health services; and moving student mental health services out of the traditional health clinic setting and into the Office of Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion, or SASSI.

The move aims to take the stigma out of accessing mental health services and encourage students to view them as one aspect of support and self-care.

SASSI offers learning resources, tutoring, inclusion services, assistance for disabled students and services for veterans, among other things. University Health Services also has begun using a primary care model in which evaluation of mental health status is part of the intake and conversation with any patient seen in student health.

Workshops on suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, sexual assault prevention, wellness and resilience will be offered. Students also will be educated to recognize when their classmates exhibit signs of mental distress and recommend SASSI for assistance.

– Andy Meek

Memphis Grizzlies Buy Out Brandan Wright

The Memphis Grizzlies waived veteran forward/center Brandan Wright, ending a disappointing three-year stay with the team that included injuries and just 67 games played.

Wright averaged 6.1 points and 3.3 rebounds during his time with Memphis. Wright is expected to sign a contract with the Houston Rockets for the remainder of the season once the waivers are cleared.

In 2007, Charlotte made Wright the eighth overall pick in the NBA Draft out of North Carolina; he was traded to Golden State the same day.

Wright, 30, never developed into a lottery pick-level player. For his career, which also included stints with New Jersey, Dallas, Boston and Phoenix, Wright has averaged 7.0 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Memphis signed him before the 2015-16 season to a three-year deal worth about $18 million and negotiated a buyout on the final year of the deal before waiving him so he could sign with another team.

– Don Wade

PROPERTY SALES 120 120 16,027
MORTGAGES 64 64 9,986
BUILDING PERMITS 203 206 38,142
BANKRUPTCIES 21 28 7,500