Last Word: Storm Damage, Overton Square Parking and Corker's Tariff Plan

By Bill Dries

The week begins with recovery across the river in Arkansas where high winds, possibly tornadoes, did quite a bit of damage Saturday evening – the Delta Regional Airport just outside Colt in St. Francis County destroyed, by the National Weather Service preliminary damage estimate Sunday.

Lots of damage in Forrest City along Highway 1 and there were widespread power outages in Forrest City proper with numerous trees and power lines down; two large grain bins destroyed in Pointsett County as well as damage to a power sub station there. In Cross County, a dozen large power poles snapped in a row on Highway 64 west of Wynne. So far all of this is attributed to straight line winds although some of the witness interviews on television Sunday included “it sounded like a train” which is a tell-tale indicator of a tornado. The NWS will make the formal determination about what was a tornado and what was straight-line winds.

On our side of the river, pea to dime size hail reported in Collierville, again by the NWS damage survey Sunday. And lots of large trees down “all over the town of Holly Springs, Mississippi."

The city's tallest building, 100 North Main, is the centerpiece of a new proposed convention center hotel project. But the hotel rooms may be in some other part of the project.

It was just last year that Memphis Police brass moved their offices from the top floor at 201 Poplar to what used to be the state office building at 170 N. Main St. on the Main Street Mall. But as plans for a second convention center hotel get more specific there is some talk of turning 170 N. Main into the convention center hotel as the 100 North Main building a block away is redeveloped as part of the same multi-use development including new apartments, retail and meeting space. All of those elements on what is a three-acre site including 100 North Main and crossing Second Street to the east would up the city’s convention game considerably and make a big ripple aside from conventions in what is now a dead zone between the government offices and the thriving restaurants closer to South Main.

We explore all of that in the cover story of our weekly, The Memphis News, as well as 170 N. Main’s piece of this. The possibility of a convention center hotel there is iffy at this point. But it is being discussed. The next date to watch on the calendar is in early August when the 90-day due diligence period by the city, Loews Hotels and THM of New York is up.

Growing pains in Overton Square. Malco is taking Loeb Properties to court over the parking squeeze around Studio on the Square. The basic premise is Malco wants to halt construction on the square hotel on the southwest corner of Trimble and Cooper – for you old timers where Public Eye used to be in the old Overton Square – claiming the hotel will further squeeze the parking available for its patrons.


The Hill on U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s talk of a forming Republican plan against the Trump tariffs condemned by him as well as Tennessee’s other U.S. Senator, Lamar Alexander.


Here is The Week Ahead with a decided emphasis on the outdoors.

The city’s contract for Inland Waste to pick up trash for 35,000 households in East Memphis runs out in about a year and the city will start taking RFQs – requests for qualifications – on the new contract this fall. With lots of complaints recently about Inland running behind on its pickups, the RFQ request got lots of attention last week. Meanwhile, Mayor Jim Strickland has told at least one group that the city’s system of garbage pickup is “broken” and he’s working toward an overhaul for the fall.

About three months to the start of Tigers football season and here are the TV times for the televised games. Of course, this doesn’t mean you will be at home watching television during the home games on TV. Who would do that?

An update on Don Wade’s column last week about the SEC rules barring athletes from transferring to another school in the athletic conference. SEC school leaders meeting in Destin Friday relaxed the rules in that regard and the results are immediate in at least two cases.

At UT Knoxville there is a deal to buy out ousted UT chancellor Beverly Davenport for $1.3 million.

Our “Around Memphis” reading list features new made-in-Memphis music, a look at the Bearwater Park development in North Memphis and Memphis International Airport responds to the NY Times piece about the empty concourses.

The Memphis News Almanac: Madison Avenue bike lanes, The council cuts the city property tax rate, Graceland opens for tours and Memphis Metropolitan Airport opens with seven airlines and Adlai Stevenson.