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VOL. 11 | NO. 28 | Saturday, July 14, 2018

Daily Digest

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The Container Store Planning G’town Location

The Container Store, a national retail brand that specializes in storage and organizational products, is planning a Germantown location near Trader Joe’s.

The Texas-based chain applied for a sign variance from the Germantown Design Review Commission for a store that will be located at 2130 Exeter Road in the Germantown Collection Shopping Center. The commission was scheduled to consider the request Thursday night, July 12.

The Container Store will join Trader Joe’s in the new-look Germantown shopping center that was in and out of the spotlight during an on-again-off-again redevelopment after longtime anchor Kroger left the property.

However, the project appeared to stabilize after Savannah, Georgia-based Wicker Park Capital Management, doing business as 2130 Exeter Road Holdings, took over the project from previous developers Centennial American Properties in 2017.

In December, Wicker Park bought the parcel outright from previous owner Robert H. Schwab for $8.1 million.

– Patrick Lantrip

Amazon Files $10M Permit For New Facility

With its 615,000-square-foot facility at 3282 E. Holmes Road under construction, e-commerce giant Amazon has filed a $10 million building permit application that lists “tenant improvement” for a new location at 5155 Citation Dr.

Exeter Property Group, doing business as Exeter 5155 Citation LLC, was listed as the property owner, while Catamount Constructors Inc. was listed as the contractor.

The roughly 400,000-square-foot facility was most recently used as distribution facility for AT&T before the company, doing business as New Cingular Wireless PCS, moved into a 430,130-square-foot facility in the DeSoto Trade Center’s Eastgate Building 3.

In addition to the Holmes Road receive center, Amazon also operates a warehouse at 6005 Freeport Ave.

Exeter originally purchased the property in 2013 for $11.3 million.

– Patrick Lantrip

MATA Gets $20M For Electric Buses, Chargers

The Memphis Area Transit Authority will be buying 10 electric buses and adding electric charging stations for a new bus route serving Memphis International Airport and employers in the southeast Memphis area.

MATA announced Monday, July 9, nearly $20 million in grant funding from the Tennessee Department of Transportation over a three-year period through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, or CMAQ, program.

Of the $20 million, $13.9 million goes to buying the 10 buses and building the charging stations. Another $6 million in grant funding is for the operation of the new route.

“These buses will be the first in the area to run entirely on electric power, which will significantly reduce the transit authority’s carbon footprint, improve air quality and reduce operating costs,” said MATA chief executive officer Gary Rosenfeld.

There is no specific timeline for buying the buses and building the charging stations. MATA leaders are also still working out the specific route targeting major employment centers.

– Bill Dries

Big River Trail Plans for Expansion

After receiving a $1.2 million Walton Family Foundation grant, Arkansas’ riverside trail system atop the Mississippi River levee system plans to expand.

Big River Trail’s 30-mile expansion will extend from the southern end of the levee trail in Marianna through Downtown Helena and westward to the Arkansas Delta Heritage Trail.

The new route is expected to open by the end of 2019 and offer cycling, camping, hiking, fishing and dining experiences under the canopy of the Ozark National Forest.

Big River Trail begins at Big River Crossing, which connects Memphis and West Memphis.

From Oct. 22, 2016, to June 24 of this year, Big River Crossing saw total traffic of 385,785. There were 321,447 pedestrians and 64,428 cyclists total. Seventy-five percent of that was from Big River Crossing East, with 246,177 pedestrians and 40,618 cyclists. Big River Crossing West saw 25 percent of the total traffic with 75,270 pedestrians and 23,810 cyclists.

In the second quarter of 2018 alone (through June 24), Big River Crossing has seen total traffic of 57,060, with 42,759 of that coming from Big River Crossing East and 14,301 of that coming from Big River Crossing West.

– Daily News staff

Cash Saver Secures $100K Loan From EDGE

The Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County has awarded a $100,000 low-interest loan to Castle Retail Group for its new Cash Saver location in South Memphis.

The EDGE Economic Development Finance Committee on Wednesday, July 11, approved the seven-year loan at a 2 percent interest rate in order to complete the financing on the $1.1 million supermarket.

The new Cash Saver location will be in the 31,000-square-foot space left vacant when Kroger left the Southgate Shopping Center. Earlier this month, the landlords of the shopping center were awarded a 15-year Community Builder PILOT to help stabilize the retail center.

Castle Retail Group president Rick James, who operates three other Cash Saver locations, anticipates an August grand opening date for the new store.

– Patrick Lantrip

City Council Approves $1.2M for Hampline

Memphis City Council members approved $1.2 million in funding for the Hampline bikeway linking the eastern end of Shelby Farms Greenline to Overton Park’s eastern border.

The resolution approved Tuesday, July 10, on a unanimous vote funds the upgrade of the existing Hampline with $1 million in Tennessee Department of Transportation pass-through funding of federal grant money along with $269,635 in city capital funding through general obligation bonds.

The council again delayed a final vote on an ordinance by council member Kemp Conrad that would set more rules for the use of historic overlay districts, including how to handle appeals of Landmarks Commission decisions.

In planning and development matters, the council approved a four-lot single-family development by Park Place LLC at 1118 and 1130 East Irvin Dr. and a new tire store at 975 N. Germantown Parkway in Cordova.

Council members also approved a compromise that settles a neighborhood appeal of a two-lot single-family development at East Erwin south of Princeton Avenue.

The council set a July 24 public hearing and vote on Ivy Grove, an 11-lot residential development on the northwest corner of Kirby Parkway and Sulgrave Drive.

– Bill Dries

Hardaway Vows To Pursue Five-Star Talent

Before heading to the Peach Jam tournament run by Nike in North Augusta, S.C., University of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway met with media at the Laurie-Walton practice facility Tuesday, July 10, and made clear his recruiting mission: compete with the big boys for five-star recruits.

While conceding schools such as Kentucky and Kansas have sent many more players to the NBA in recent years, Hardaway said he believed that with fellow former NBA player Mike Miller on staff, along with one-time NBA Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell, the Tigers are uniquely positioned to land and develop the best young players in the nation.

“We can take any kid, especially a kid with five-star talent, and take them to the next level because we’re teachers,” Hardaway said.

July is a busy time for college basketball recruiting with the start of three five-day evaluation periods. The Tigers appear to be in the hunt for at least three five-star players, most notably East High School’s James Wiseman; recruiting services have tabbed him as the top 2019 recruit and Kentucky and John Calipari provide the stiffest competition for signing Wiseman.

Also on the Tigers’ radar among five-star players are forward Trendon Watford of Birmingham, Alabama, and forward Matthew Hurt of Rochester, Minnesota.

So far, the Tigers have one 2019 commitment in East forward Malcolm Dandridge and they have two open scholarships for the class of 2019. Another East player, Ryan Boyce, had committed to UAB but will now walk-on at Memphis this year and then go on scholarship next season.

– Don Wade

Memphis Chamber Fills New SVP of Growth Role

The Greater Memphis Chamber has created and filled a new position to help grow membership and create more benefits for those members.

The new senior vice president of growth role has been filled by Robert Recker, former vice president of investor relations for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Alabama.

“Rob brings experience in all aspects of regional chamber leadership that will help us bolster big initiatives for moving our city forward,” said Phil Trenary, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “He has spearheaded successful campaigns to improve air service to a region and has extensive experience building programs to benefit member businesses. We are excited to have his experience and energy on our team. He will do great things for this organization and this city.”

Prior to his job in Alabama, Recker worked for the Greater Cleveland Partnership as senior vice president of middle market and corporate initiatives, where he led a local business initiative to recruit more air service to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

The initiative led to the attraction of low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways Corp. and expanded service from Delta Air Lines Inc., Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Inc.

In Memphis, Recker will oversee the chamber’s membership team with a focus of growing membership. He will also identify and create programs that will help members grow their own businesses.

– Daily News staff

WGC Sets Dates For FedEx St. Jude Invitational

The inaugural WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational will be held July 25-28, 2019, the PGA Tour announced Tuesday, July 10. The tournament, which will take place at TPC Southwind, marks the first time a World Golf Championships event has been hosted in Memphis.

“Memphis has been supporting PGA Tour golf since 1958, and this elevated WGC platform will be monumental for our city,” said WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational executive director Darrell Smith. “The four days of competition will feature the best players in the world.”

The PGA Tour announced in April the FedEx St. Jude Classic would take on a new identity as the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational beginning with the 2018-19 tour season. FedEx has assumed title sponsorship of the event currently known as the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, which has been held in Akron, Ohio, since 1999.

– Don Wade

Murphy Appointed New First Asst. US Attorney

Veteran federal prosecutor Joe Murphy is the new first assistant in the Memphis U.S. Attorney’s office, U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant announced Monday, July 9. He succeeds Larry Laurenzi, who retired in May to join the government enforcement and investigations group at Baker Donelson. Murphy comes to first assistant from being chief of the office’s criminal division and before that chief of the organized crime and drug enforcement task force.

Murphy has been a federal prosecutor for 29 years, trying an estimated 125 felony cases to verdict in federal court.

He is a graduate of Lambuth College and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

– Bill Dries

Summer Center Sells For $13 Million

A Kroger-anchored shopping center near the intersection of Summer Avenue and Waring Road has sold for $13 million.

FREP IV – Summer Center LLC, an entity affiliated with Tampa, Florida-based Forge Capital Partners, bought the 136,425-square-foot center from private Atlanta real estate firm BDB Summer Center LLC in a June 27 warranty deed.

Located on 12.7 acres at 4270 Summer Ave., Summer Center is 90 percent leased. Along with Kroger, the tenants include Ross Dress for Less, Hibbett Sports, H&R Block and Supercuts.

The Shelby County Assessor appraised the center at $13.2 million this year.

– Patrick Lantrip

Developers Buy Land Near FedEx HQ for Apartments

Texas-based Vantage Communities has closed on 22 acres of land near the FedEx World Headquarters for $1.7 million.

Vantage plans to build a 288-apartment luxury community dubbed Vantage at Germantown on the property located at the corner of Tournament Drive and Hacks Cross Road.

Lea Heilig, a multifamily investment specialist with Woodyard Realty Corp., represented the sellers, Clark & Clark, in the transaction.

Vantage is targeting a completion date in late 2019.

The Shelby County Assessor’s 2018 appraisal of the site was a little less than $900,000.

– Patrick Lantrip

Mid-South Transplant Kicks Off Donate Life ECHO

The Mid-South Transplant Foundation is raising awareness of organ and tissue donation in multicultural communities to kick off Donate Life ECHO (Every Community Has Opportunity to Donate Life).

Through July 21, MSTF is joining organ procurement organizations nationwide in engaging in activities centered on minority communities. Nationally, nearly 60 percent of the transplant waiting list are minorities, including African-Americans and Latinos. Additionally, transplant success rates for African-Americans are increased when the donor is African-American.

MSTF has partnered with local churches to present a summer movie screening series to discuss the crossroads of faith/religious beliefs and organ donation to provide insightful information about the impact of donation in the African-American community. The following churches will serve as host sites: The Place of the Outpouring at Olivet Fellowship, Friday, July 27, 6 p.m.; New Direction Christian Church, Sunday, July 29, 12:30 p.m.; and Brown Baptist Church, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

“We have been committed to public education about organ and tissue donation, and we are elated that our faith-based partners continue to support this life-saving work,” Kim Van Frank, executive director of the Mid-South Transplant Foundation, said in a statement. “We never miss an opportunity to dispel myths and share stories of hope to raise awareness in our service area, especially in multicultural communities where the need for organ donors is the greatest.”

The public is invited to these screenings to enjoy a family-friendly movie and receive information about organ and tissue donation from MSTF representatives, including opportunities to register on-site.

Visit midsouthtransplant.org for more information on Donate Life ECHO and the movie screenings or to register to become an organ and tissue donor.

– Don Wade

Clayborn Temple Names First Executive Director

The co-writer and producer of a musical about the 1968 sanitation workers strike is the first executive director of Clayborn Temple.

Anasa Troutman was named Thursday, July 5, to lead the effort to fully renovate and find a new use for the historic church south of FedExForum.

Troutman presented the musical “Union” at the church earlier this year for multiple performances around the 50th anniversary of the historic strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis. She has also worked as executive producer for Grammy Award-winning artist India.Arie.

“We want this to be a place where people have the space to heal, transform and create,” Troutman said in a written statement. “We believe that love was the core value that Rev. James Lawson and the sanitation workers carried with them in 1968. In that spirit, Clayborn will be a place where people come together to heal, vision, and co-create the future of Memphis.”

Troutman’s immediate plans are to host a series of public meetings in the fall to determine specific uses for the church around historic preservation, cultural expression and the church’s history in the movement for racial and economic justice.

With Troutman becoming executive director, Rob Thompson, who has led the redevelopment effort for the last two years, will continue to be an adviser to the project on real estate development around the site.

– Bill Dries

WKNO’s Abernathy Retires After 50 Years in TV

Russ Abernathy, the longtime director of television and technology at WKNO-TV/FM, has retired after 50 years in broadcasting, including 27 years at WKNO.

Over the course of his career, Abernathy built and ran mobile production units, served on the PBS Engineering Committee through the development of digital television, served as executive producer of Emmy Award-winning programs, and helped design and oversaw construction of the 40,000-square-foot WKNO Digital Media Center.

Abernathy’s interest in television production began in 1968, while a high school sophomore in Nebraska. He took part in a Junior Achievement program hosted by KMTV, the NBC affiliate in Omaha. During college at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, he worked at the public television station KYNE and then moved to Nebraska ETV in 1973.

While at Nebraska ETV, he developed an interest in mobile production and engineering. He became the engineer in charge of the network's mobile unit in 1975.

He later worked at Mobile Color Inc. in Houston, then moved to WYES in New Orleans to build a mobile unit for the station, becoming director of engineering a year later. When Michael LaBonia moved from WYES to WKNO as president and CEO, he asked Abernathy to join the management team in Memphis as director of television and technology, where he remained for the next 27 years.

“(Abernathy) has exceptional skills that combine technology, administration, regulatory and legal knowledge, an understanding of television production and the development of television content,” LaBonia said in a statement. “We are indebted to his vision and commitment for helping WKNO become a major player in the public media industry.”

– Daily News staff

PROPERTY SALES 68 162 2,781
MORTGAGES 60 97 1,880
BUILDING PERMITS 148 769 6,470
BANKRUPTCIES 61 172 1,149