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VOL. 133 | NO. 15 | Friday, January 19, 2018

Container Apartments, Warehouse Moving Ahead

By Patrick Lantrip

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Plans for a southeast Memphis textiles distribution facility and a Medical District apartment development made of shipping containers both took steps forward Wednesday, Jan. 17, with approvals from local boards.

(Spikner Enterprises)

The Northwest Co., a New York-based manufacturer of branded blankets and throws, was awarded a 10-year Fast Track PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of-taxes) abatement by the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County.

Northwest was seeking the from the EDGE board to bring a long-vacant distribution facility at 4755 Southpoint Drive back to life. The project will cost $5.7 million and create 25 new jobs with an average base salary of $34,250, excluding benefits.

EDGE staff estimates the project will generate $5.1 in local total tax revenues during the term of the PILOT, while saving Northwest $4.9 million. The company will have to spend at least $1.6 million with city- or county-certified minority or women business enterprises.

The property has remained mostly vacant since 2012, when beauty product manufacturer Helen of Troy relocated to a new facility in Olive Branch.

Headquartered in Roslyn, New York, Northwest manufacturers branded blankets, pillows and other home accessories through licensing agreements with Disney, the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, MLS and more than 250 colleges.

“One of the thing that made Memphis attractive to us is that most of our customers that are not Walmart and Target are east of the Mississippi, so this is really going to improve our freight to those customers,” said Robert Jolson, chief financial officer for The Northwest Co.

EDGE president and CEO Reid Dulberger also announced Wednesday that 2017 was a banner year for the economic development agency.

EDGE awarded 18 PILOTs in 2017, up from seven in 2016 and 11 in 2015. Those 18 PILOTs resulted in $683 million in capital investment, which is also the highest mark set in a calendar year.

No other year topped $500 million except for 2012, which was largely due to the massive Nike project that was approved that year.

There were 3,814 jobs created in 2017 as a result of incentives. 2012 was the only other year to top the 3,000 jobs mark.

At the same time, but on the other side of the city, the Memphis and Shelby County Board of Adjustment approved local entrepreneur Fred Spikner’s concept for a multifamily development in the Medical District made from recycled shipping containers.

Spikner told The Daily News in December that he was planning to build a complex that consists of 14 two-bedroom, one-bath units measuring 640 square feet each.

Though the case was held for a month and planning staff recommended rejection, Spikner’s project was ultimately approved with a few conditions by the board.

Much like EDGE, 2017 was a banner year for the Board of Adjustment, according to planning director Josh Whitehead’s 2017 secretary’s report.

“On our caseload, we had 100 cases filed, 92 of which were heard,” Whitehead read, adding that 2017 was the board’s busiest year in around 20 years.

Of those 92 cases, 86 were within the city limits and six were in the county.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 94 2,713
MORTGAGES 16 37 1,820
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 10 23 298
BUILDING PERMITS 303 621 6,322
BANKRUPTCIES 138 138 1,115
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 68 559
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0