VOL. 11 | NO. 2 | Saturday, January 13, 2018
Northwest Co. Seeks PILOT For Distribution Facility
The Northwest Co., an industry leader in manufacturing “branded home textiles,” is seeking a 10-year tax abatement from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County to open a distribution facility in southeast Memphis.
Northwest is planning to invest more than $5 million in a 700,000-square-foot distribution facility with office space that will create 25 permanent jobs averaging $34,250 per year and 150 part-time and seasonal jobs that would be equivalent to 75 full-time jobs averaging $29,000, according to the Roslyn, New York-based company’s Fast Track PILOT application.
If approved, Northwest would save $4.9 million during the course of the decade-long payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan, while generating $5.1 million in local tax revenues for a 1.03 cost-to-benefit ratio.
The EDGE board will review Northwest’s request Wednesday, Jan. 17.
Northwest Co. is known for producing throw blankets and other household products that are branded with sports and entertainment properties. Currently, the company more than 175 employees in five countries worldwide.
– Patrick Lantrip
U.S. News: 5 U of M Online Programs Among the Best
The University of Memphis has five online academic programs ranked in the Top 150 in the country by U.S. News & World Report, including nursing, which is ranked 15th nationally after climbing 86 spots in the rankings.
The U of M’s five online programs in the Top 150 include: nursing, No. 15; criminal justice (graduate), No. 51; MBA, No. 89; bachelor’s programs, No. 125; and education (graduate), No. 150.
“The launch of U of M Global has increased visibility, led to growth, and has provided a strategic vehicle to share the great work being done on our campus,” said university president M. David Rudd.
Last year, the University of Memphis had only one online program ranked nationally: nursing at No. 101.
The university also has 19 on-ground graduate programs ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report.
Four of those programs were in the Top 100: audiology (No. 17), rehabilitation counseling (No. 21), speech-language pathology (No. 24) and health care management (No. 47).
– Don Wade
Agricenter Seeking Input For New Master Plan
Agricenter International will gather public input for its strategic business plan and conceptual master plan on Jan. 29 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Ducks Unlimited’s headquarters, 1 Waterfowl Way, on the Agricenter campus.
The master plan will serve as the Agricenter’s guide for the next 20 years of growth and is funded by a local anonymous foundation, FedEx Corp., the Shelby County Commission, Agricenter International, Helena Chemical and Asgrow.
The organization’s long-range goals are to serve as a hub for agricultural networking and innovation, showcase food and fiber as a pathway to increased educational and career opportunities, and promote the efficacy and commercialization of new agricultural technologies and practices.
The plan is anticipated to be completed by May.
– Patrick Lantrip
Fed's Memphis Branch Makes Board Appointments
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has announced a set of changes to its Memphis Branch board of directors, effective Jan. 1.
Eric D. Robertson, president of Community LIFT Corp. in Memphis, has been appointed board chairman. Robertson initially was appointed to the board in 2016.
Michael E. Cary, president and CEO of Carroll Bank and Trust in Huntingdon, Tennessee, and David T. Cochran Jr., partner with CoCo Planting Co. in Avon, Mississippi, have been reappointed to three-year board terms.
Michael Ugwueke, president and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, has been appointed to a three-year term on the board.
Also serving on the board are Carolyn Hardy, president and CEO of Chism Hardy Investments LLC in Collierville; J. Brice Fletcher, chairman of First National Bank of Eastern Arkansas in Forrest City; and Julianne Goodwin, owner of Express Employment Professionals in Tupelo, Mississippi.
– Andy Meek
2018 Community Book Is ‘The Underground Railroad’
Memphis Reads has selected the “The Underground Railroad” by New York writer Colson Whitehead as its 2018 community read book.
“The Underground Railroad” is a story about two slaves in the 1800s, Cora and Caesar, who flee their Georgia plantations by following the Underground Railroad – a series of subway tunnels and tracks running beneath portions of the southeastern United States.
“The Underground Railroad” won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.
Longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, the novel is both a No. 1 New York Times bestseller and a 2016 selection on Oprah’s Book Club list.
Whitehead is also the author of the novels “The Noble Hustle,” “Zone One,” “Sag Harbor,” “The Intuitionist,” “John Henry Days” and “Apex Hides the Hurt,” and one collection of essays, “The Colossus of New York.” His reviews, essays and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s and Granta.
“We are so honored to celebrate and study this important and eminently timely work of literature,” said Karen B. Golightly, director of Memphis Reads and an associate professor of English at Christian Brothers University. “Colson’s story is a profoundly prescient and moving depiction of the historical American South that, while fictionalized, contains innumerable lessons for us right here and now. We’re looking forward to his visits to Memphis and encourage everyone throughout our community to join us on this journey.”
Memphis Reads will culminate with several public readings, book signings and other events featuring Whitehead. He will appear at CBU on Sept. 5 and at Rhodes College on Sept. 6. Information on other event dates, times and venues will be forthcoming.
– Daily News staff
TruGreen to Hire 15,000 Before Spring Season
Memphis-based TruGreen, the nation's leading lawn care company, is actively searching for qualified candidates to fill 15,000 positions nationwide.
In preparation for its busy spring season, TruGreen is accepting applications for a variety of seasonal and full-time positions, including sales, lawn specialists, management, finance, IT, customer service and call center representatives, the company announced.
TruGreen offers competitive benefits including holidays, paid time off, medical, dental, vision and prescription benefit plans, and 401(k) participation. The company also offers an incentive and reward trip each year for qualifying exceptional employees.
TruGreen also rewards local branches that achieve the highest customer count in their region with a donation of $2,000 to a charity of the team's choice. In 2016, TruGreen donated more than $130,000 to nonprofits through this program.
Those interested can apply for positions and coordinate interviews online at jobs.trugreen.com.
TruGreen is the nation's largest lawn care company, serving more than 2.3 million residential and commercial customers across the U.S.
– Daily News staff
Frayser Dump Dropped By City Council
Memphis City Council members not only unanimously voted down an expansion of Memphis Wrecking Co.’s construction landfill in Frayser Tuesday, Jan. 9. They followed the vote on the proposal with approval of a six-month moratorium on permits and certificates for any new construction landfills in Memphis.
The expansion, which would have taken the landfill fronting on U.S. 51 to near Whitney Achievement School, moved ahead to a vote despite word from Memphis Wrecking last week that it was considering alternative sites.
But meetings in those areas, including Hickory Hill, drew vocal opposition from residents there.
The moratorium includes landfills on land already zoned for such a use. The “by right” use would otherwise not require a council vote.
Council members also set the stage Tuesday for a first move toward de-annexing areas of the city, with the first vote scheduled for Jan. 23.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said the effort will begin with a proposed de-annexation of two areas: a part of Eads on the south side of U.S. 64 that has 172 residents in 67 houses, and an uninhabited flood plain area in southwest Memphis.
The first vote in two weeks would be on a resolution basically announcing the city’s intent. A final council vote on the terms of the de-annexation, including a transition of services to county government and a settlement of a share of city debt and pension obligations, would be May 20. Residents of the areas to be de-annexed would then have 75 days to formally object to the de-annexation.
There is no definite date for the de-annexations to take effect.
In other planning and development items, the council approved a three-lot subdivision by JBJ Properties LLC on South Claybrook south of Larkin Avenue and west of Cleveland Street.
The council set a Jan. 23 public hearing and vote on the Dwell at Shelby Farms mixed-use development on the north side of Raleigh Lagrange Road near the dead end of Trinity Road.
Council members also approved on the second of three readings a referendum for the November ballot that would amend the city charter to eliminate runoff elections for single-member district council races.
A vote on third and final reading of a November referendum that, if approved, would extend term limits for the mayor and council members from two to three consecutive terms was delayed for two weeks.
– Bill Dries
Explore Bike Share Hires Engagement Director
Sara Studdard is the newest staff member at nonprofit Explore Bike Share. Studdard had been serving as Explore Bike Share’s project manager for three years at DCA, a creative communications consulting firm and driver of Memphis’ bike share effort.
She will support executive director Trey Moore across program development, community outreach, marketing, sponsorship and workplace culture.
“Sara’s passion for and growing expertise in this area are a leading reason why Explore Bike Share’s strategy stands as the model for greater Memphis’ community engagement and the national transit/bike share industry,” Moore said in a statement. “She holds knowledge from daily operations to the international transit landscape, and her extensive partner and programming development is second to none for our mission and momentum.”
Explore Bike Share is expected to roll out this spring and eventually have 600 bicycles at 60 stations across the city.
– Don Wade
First Horizon Takes More Action Post-Tax Reform
First Tennessee Bank’s parent company has announced more of the steps it’s taking in the wake of the recently enacted federal tax reform legislation.
In addition to one-time bonuses the company paid to more than 4,000 workers on Jan. 8, First Horizon National Corp. has pledged to contribute appreciated assets and cash with current fair values totaling about $16.5 million to the First Tennessee Foundation.
In a regulatory filing this week, the company said it “anticipates that the Tax Act will favorably impact First Horizon’s financial results and operations in future years due to a reduction in the effective tax rate resulting from the reduced federal statutory rate.”
– Andy Meek
FedEx Express Hosting Job Fair at World Hub
FedEx Express will host a job fair Saturday, Jan. 13, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2874 Business Park Drive, Building D.
Both permanent and part-time positions are available, with pay starting at $13 per hour, a minimum of 17.5 guaranteed work hours per week, and medical coverage with premiums starting at $6 a month.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old, be able to lift 75 pounds, bring two forms of valid identification, and are subject to a criminal background search and drug screening. There are no minimum education requirements.
– Patrick Lantrip
Window World Makes $1M Donation to St. Jude
Exterior remodeling company Window World has made a $1 million donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The donation commemorates Window World’s 10th anniversary of giving to St. Jude. Over the course of the decade-long relationship, Window World has contributed more than $8 million to St. Jude.
“Our lifesaving work relies on charitable contributions from organizations like Window World, which help us continue the groundbreaking research and pioneering treatment of childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, said in a statement
– Andy Meek
‘I Have a Voice’ Exhibit To Open in Brownsville
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville is kicking off its 20th anniversary with a new exhibition, “I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African-American Musical Heritage,” opening Friday, Jan. 12. The exhibition, organized by the Tennessee State Museum, gives a snapshot of Tennessee’s black musical heritage and its influence on worldwide musical genres.
“Some of the most influential African-Americans that would impact music and culture around the globe resided here in Haywood County,” said Sonia Outlaw-Clark, executive director of the center. “From international, record-setting icon Tina Turner to the blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes and many others, we’ve been preserving and exhibiting the African-American heritage for 20 years and are honored that we are the first museum to host the ‘I Have a Voice’ exhibition.”
Along with Turner, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, the exhibit features Tennessee music legends such as B.B. King; Bessie Smith, nicknamed “Empress of the Blues”; and Grand Ole Opry star DeFord Bailey.
Visitors can view YouTube videos of performers featured in the exhibition on their smartphones or tablets through the use of QR-coded links, and educators interested in teaching about Tennessee’s black musical heritage will be provided with curriculum-based lessons and activities. “I Have a Voice” will be on display throughout Black History Month and close on March 3.
– Daily News staff
Lifestyle Brand Unveils New Name and Mission
The Memphis-based lifestyle brand formerly known as Ultimate Foods has rebranded itself as Soli, with a new name, look and mission for 2018.
The enterprise is new owner Brown Dudley’s reimagining of the local meal-preparation company, inspired by his personal current battle with a rare form of cancer.
After being told by his doctor that supplements would be too taxing on his body during recovery, Dudley turned to natural, unprocessed foods instead. Soon after, however, he suffered from meal prep fatigue. That’s how he discovered Ultimate Foods, and their offering of a variety of meals he’d otherwise never have created in his own kitchen.
Within a year, Dudley purchased Ultimate Foods, and soon Soli was born.
Soli offers a full menu of healthy foods for pickup and delivery from three locations in the Memphis area, as well as free personalized health coaching. Customers choose their food based on their specific dietary preferences, such as carb-conscious, gluten-free or Whole 30.
Soli has locations at 8100 Macon Station Drive, suite 102, in Cordova; 4750 Poplar Ave. in East Memphis; and 5338 Goodman Road, suite 105, in Olive Branch.
– Andy Meek
FedEx Expanding Hub With New $35.4M Building
Memphis-based FedEx Corp. is preparing to expand operations at its World Hub at Memphis International Airport.
The shipping company has filed a building permit application with construction code officials for a $35.4 million new building at 2333 Sprankle Ave.
The permit for the new building at FedEx’s Memphis World Hub comes the same day as the official opening of the FedEx Shanghai International Express and Cargo Hub at China’s Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The 1.4 million-square-foot facility is the largest of its kind at the Shanghai Pudong airport.
More details about the new Memphis facility were not immediately available.
– Patrick Lantrip
City ‘Mandates’ Changes To Zoo Parking Plan
The city administration has made a few changes to a preliminary plan for expanding Memphis Zoo parking by 415 spaces, but city chief operating officer Doug McGowen said this week that those changes do not avoid moving the parking onto the western and northern borders of the Overton Park Greensward.
The plan was meant to reconfigure zoo parking and add 415 spaces to end overflow parking on the greensward.
The Overton Park Conservancy, Memphis Zoo and city leaders have reviewed the plan submitted by Powers Hill Design, the design firm hired by OPC and the zoo. McGowen said in a written statement Monday, Jan. 8, that the administration “mandated” several design changes that are now being incorporated.
The new draft plan should be ready later this month, according to McGowen.
One piece of the design, a southern loop for traffic in the parking lot that runs along a border with the greensward, has drawn criticism from some grassroots groups opposed to giving up any part of the green space for parking.
Some have even posted unofficial alternative designs, created outside Powers Hill’s work, that would move the loop and leave the greensward untouched.
McGowen isn’t saying what the administration’s changes are, but he is saying what they are not.
“It’s also worth noting that there are a handful of other designs floating around the internet claiming that the parking spaces required by the council resolution can be achieved while staying within the current footprint of the lot. This, however, is not possible given the specifics of the resolution.”
– Bill Dries
Tigers Finish in Top 25 Of Main College Football Polls
The University of Memphis checked in at No. 24 in the final Amway Coaches Poll and at No. 25 in the last Associated Press Poll.
The Tigers went 10-3 on the season but lost their last game to Iowa State in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. They won the West Division of the American Athletic Conference, then lost in double overtime to Central Florida in the AAC title game.
The Knights finished 13-0, defeated Auburn in the Peach Bowl, and declared themselves national champions before Alabama won the official title Monday, Jan. 8, in an overtime victory over Georgia.
UCF finished sixth in the last AP poll and seventh in the final coaches poll.
– Don Wade
Grad Academy Charter School Closing End of Year
Grad Academy, the charter operator that contracted with the state-run Achievement School District to take over the old South Side High at 1880 Prospect St., will close its South Memphis 9-12 school at the end of the current academic year. The charter’s Monday, Jan. 8, announcement cites the end of the five-year contract with the ASD.
This is the second charter operator to leave the Achievement School District.
In October 2016, Gestalt Community Schools announced it was pulling out of the two ASD schools it operated in North Memphis – Humes Prep Academy Middle and Klondike Prep Academy Elementary – citing low enrollment. The charter continues to operate its Power Center Academy schools in Hickory Hill, which are not part of the ASD.
The local charter group running MLK Prep High School in Frayser took over at Humes starting with the current school year, but no new operator was found for Klondike.
– Bill Dries
Crosstown Concourse Earns LEED Platinum Designation
Crosstown Concourse has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, with Crosstown believed to be the largest such historic adaptive reuse project anywhere to win this certification.
“Through extensive research regarding Crosstown Concourse’s size and scope, we believe this correctly qualifies the title as the largest historic adaptive reuse LEED Building Design and Construction Platinum project in the world,” said Tony Pellicciotti, principal at Looney Ricks Kiss, Crosstown Concourse’s architect.
LEED is the most widely used global green building rating system. Through a point-based system created by the U.S. Green Building Council, projects can earn one of four LEED rating levels – Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.
Those designations are given across the categories of Building Design and Construction, Interior Design and Construction, Building Operations and Maintenance, Neighborhood Development, and Homes.
The $200 million redevelopment of the 1.5 million-square-foot former Sears Crosstown building created a vertical urban village with residential, retail, commercial, education and health care components.
In developing the project, Memphis-based engineering firm OGCB, which specializes in energy efficiency, and general contractor Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. led the removal of 54 million pounds of concrete and 10 million pounds of metal. One result of this effort was the creation of atriums with natural light permeating throughout.
Looney Ricks Kiss (LRK) was tapped by the Crosstown development team as the architect in association with DIALOG.
“We are all the beneficiaries of this effort,” said Todd Richardson, co-leader of Crosstown Concourse. “This achievement recognizes an organic Memphis development driven by a collective of visionary private-sector hometown entities who locked arms because they wanted to be ‘better together’ and, in the process, created the world’s largest LEED Platinum-certified historic adaptive reuse building. That’s pretty special.”
– Andy Meek
ALCO Planning $12 Million In Apartment Renovations
Memphis-based affordable housing management company ALCO Management Inc. has announced $12 million in renovations to three of its properties across the Southeast.
Two of the properties set for renovation are in Kentucky: the Carter Court Apartments in Tompkinsville and Tree Top Apartments in Edmonton. The two projects, which will include the addition of washer-dryer hookups and the replacement of bathroom, kitchen, electrical and HVAC systems, will total around $6 million.
In addition, ALCO plans to seek financing later this year for a $6 million renovation of Spring Valley Apartments, a community it recently acquired in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
“Acquisitions and renovations are a large part of the work we do in affordable housing,” ALCO vice president of development Berkeley Burbank said in release. “We feel that preserving existing affordable housing is important and makes a difference to the health and well-being of the families that call our properties home.”
– Patrick Lantrip
Crosstown High Pulls $4M Permit for New Gym
Crosstown High, a charter school slated to occupy the northeast side of Crosstown Concourse, has filed a $4 million building permit application for a new gym.
The new high school, which is scheduled to open in August, began its buildout last September, when it filed a $4.1 million building permit application at its 1365 Tower Ave. location.
Once open, the first class will consist of 500 freshmen, with additional grades being added each year.
The charter school will offer a unique approach to education that will include students being taught by teams of teachers and participating in a 90-minute “project period” that involves partnering with other Crosstown Concourse tenants – including Methodist Healthcare, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and several retail businesses – for class projects.
– Patrick Lantrip
Lorenzen Wright’s Ex-Wife Agrees to Face Charges
The ex-wife of former University of Memphis and NBA player Lorenzen Wright will not fight authorities’ attempt to send her from California to Tennessee, where she’s charged with killing him nearly eight years ago.
The Desert Sun newspaper reports that Sherra Wright briefly appeared in Riverside County Superior Court on Monday, Jan. 8, and agreed to go back to Tennessee to face first-degree murder charges. Authorities now have 30 days to bring her to Memphis.
Billy R. Turner, 46, of Collierville also has been charged with first-degree murder in Lorenzen Wright’s death. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in the Shelby County jail.
– The Associated Press/Daily News staff
Old Dominick Distillery Launching Music Series
Old Dominick Distillery, at 305 S. Front St., is launching a music series this month.
The event is called the Pure Memphis Music series. A friends and family preview night is set for Jan. 18, and the listening room series will take place in the distillery’s upstairs event space.
The first concert will be held Jan. 25, and they’ll be held the second and fourth Thursday of each month going forward.
– Andy Meek
Florida Developers Plan $23M Retirement Facility
Vero Beach, Florida-based Harbor Retirement Associates has filed a $23.2 million building permit application with the Office of Construction Code Enforcement to build a new senior living facility in East Memphis.
HRA is planning a 123-unit, three-story “assisted living and memory care community” at 6300 Briarcrest Ave., according the building permit application.
Lakewood, Colorado-based Catamount Constructors Inc. is listed as the contractor on the permit application, while McClure Engineering and Rosemann & Associates will handle the design work.
– Patrick Lantrip