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Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 9:27 PM

MEMPHIS | Development News
Medical corridor development projects air of viability in Memphis community
Memphis Business Journal - by Michael Sheffield

The recession may have crippled most new development across Memphis, but a drive through the city’s medical corridor tells a different story. There is currently $1.5 billion worth of development under way in the medical corridor ranging from a parking garage at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to the $450 million UT/Baptist Research Park that will house the Memphis Bioworks Foundation’s offices. Also under construction is Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center’s 650,000-square-foot hospital that includes a 12-story tower and a new emergency room. That project is budgeted around $327 million. Other projects in the area include the $8.5 million Harrah’s Hope Lodge, which will provide cancer patients and their families with a short-term stay facility. Le Bonheur is also building FedEx House, a short-term stay facility for its patients and their families, budgeted at around $8.5 million. The 30 known projects in the medical corridor are all in different stages of development, but what those projects show to Memphians and people visiting Memphis is a commitment to the growth of the second largest industry in the city, says Leigh Anne Downes, director of life science business development for the Greater Memphis Chamber. “Anytime a company comes to town and sees cranes in the air, they know the area is viable,” Downes says. “New development not only says the organization is investing in the community, but the community is investing in the organization.”

Beth Flanagan, director of Memphis Medical Center, says the city’s reputation precedes it in national circles, but the development going on in the medical corridor also serves as a conversation starter and an excitement generator at the same time. She says the challenges will be to create the work force to staff the hospitals and research center that are being developed. Memphis Bioworks Foundation, which also runs the Memphis Academy of Science Education and Education, is working to grow that talent from the ground up. “They can start with the charter school and go up to graduate degrees to create that work force,” Flanagan says. “Then you have organizations like Innova (Memphis, Inc.) to help with the patents and marketing plans. All of those pieces are in place.”

Le Bonheur’s expansion — which is on track to be completed by spring 2010 — will enhance the infrastructure of the area, says Cato Johnson, the hospital’s senior vice president of corporate relations. The bigger developments not only help attract other development and business to the area, but also enhance the quality of care for the existing population, Johnson says. “Those are major additions to the Memphis landscape as it relates to health care for this community,” Johnson says. “We also shouldn’t forget that Memphis itself will be a healthier community because of it. When we’re done, we’ll honestly be able to say the city has some of the best health care available.” When the UT/Baptist Research Park is completed, possibly by 2015, it will represent the latest transformation that has taken place over the last 60 years in the medical community in Memphis, says Bill Tuttle, vice president of planning for Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corp. Baptist donated its former Downtown hospital for the project, which Tuttle says represented an $80 million gift. Baptist also donated the land where the University of Tennessee is building its new pharmacy school. Tuttle, who has “been running around the medical center all my life,” says the development is definitely a great thing for the city, but what goes on in those buildings is more important than the mere presence of them. Tuttle says with the right staff in place when development is completed, no one can fathom how far the city can go. “You can’t put a limit on research talent and brain power,” Tuttle says. “When you look at Bioworks and the biomedical industry, it allows us to integrate well with other entities and parlay some of our existing strengths beyond just medical and science.”

One of those industries is FedEx Corp., which Downes says helps the existing companies meet federal medical shipping regulations. Companies that ship devices, vaccines or body tissue often have a federally mandated 72-hour window to get products to clients. Having FedEx in the city has made all of that possible. “If you have a product, it either came from Memphis or was shipped through Memphis in some capacity,” Downes says. More importantly, she says, is the fact that it will create high-skilled and high-paying jobs, keeping the talent the city is currently growing and attracting new people. “Biotech isn’t replacing what Memphis is known for, but it is enhancing the work force and opportunities for work in Memphis,” Downes says. “You can’t help but be excited about that.”

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 9:31 PM

Baptist Central implosion to make way for UT-Baptist Research Park

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 9:32 PM

University of Tennessee-Baptist Research Park, (U/C) $450,000,000

Space: 1.4 million square feet of laboratory, research, education and business space

First phase: Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (completed)
Second phase: UT College of Pharmacy, scheduled completion in summer 2010

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 9:35 PM

Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, (U/C) $327,000,000

Scheduled completion: 2010

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 9:49 PM

Harrah's Hope Lodge now under-construction in Memphis Medical Center

Construction of free, temporary housing facility for cancer patients who are undergoing treatment. Funded by Harrah's Entertaiment & The American Cancer Society - $8,000,000.00

Also, notice in this rendering that the property sits directly east of world-famous Sun Studio @ the intersection of Union Ave. & Marshall. Sun was the independent record label & in-house studio that launched the careers of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis, to name a few. Blues and R&B artists like Howlin' Wolf, Junior Parker, Little Milton, B.B. King, James Cotton, Rufus Thomas, and Rosco Gordon recorded there in the early 1950s as well.

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 9:59 PM

The Natural Sciences, Nursing & Biotechnology Building at the Union Ave. Campus in the Memphis Medical Center.

In the Design/ Planning stage, construction of 3-story structure; will include a 200-seat auditorium, 16 classrooms, a nursing wing, and laboratory budgeted at $16 million. Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2010.

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 10:12 PM

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, $1,000,000,000 Expansion ($500,000,000 completed)

Memphis Grizzlies House @ St. Jude, $10,000,000

St. Jude (Chili's Care Center)

Radiological Science Space Renovation $15,000,000
Now under construction, Completion: 2nd Quarter 2010

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 10:16 PM

UT Health Science Center Cancer Research Center, $21,000,000
101,000-sf, four-story medical sciences research facility for the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. The new facility, to include laboratory and office space for 36 reasearchers and their support staff, in-house conferencing and library rooms, and meeting space.

Research Center Next On UTHSC Building Agenda
TOM WILEMON | The Daily News

OPEN SITE: The translational research building for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will be built on a vacant lot south of the Cancer Research Center and linked to that building with an elevated walkway. -- PHOTO BY TOM WILEMON

A center where scientists from different fields of medical research can share ideas toward common goals will be the next new building slated for construction on the University of Tennessee Health Science Center campus. The university on Thursday will ask the Tennessee State Building Commission’s blessing to proceed with the $49 million translational research building project on a vacant lot at the northwest corner of Union Avenue and Manassas Street. Construction could begin as early as next year. “In relatively short order, we hope we have the proverbial green light to move forward with that project,” said Kennard Brown, UTHSC executive vice chancellor and chief of staff.

Next in line
UTHSC received the blessing last year from the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees to fund the project with state bonds. Trustees also approved using bond money for a new clinical building, which will be next in the construction lineup. The buildings will be the second and third projects following the $49.6 million College of Pharmacy, which is already under construction. In total, UTHSC’s goal is to invest between $160 million and $200 million in campus upgrades as part of a five-year plan. The translational research building will be connected by an elevated walkway to the Cancer Research Building, which opened in 2007. “What we want to do is kind of model it after the Cancer Research Building,” Brown said. “It will be kind of thematically designed, where we’re not going to put a particular department of basic scientists in there. We’re going to build it around three major research themes: cardiovascular and neurological diseases and then some infectious diseases. We will have science investigators from departments like physiology, pharmacology and from the department of medicine. It’s not going to be one particular unit of investigators in there. It will be a multidisciplinary open laboratory shared space.” In the cancer research building, interested collaborative efforts under this model have included dentists working with pathologists on oral cancer investigations, Brown said. The five-year plan calls for adding another 100,000 square feet of research space. “To recruit world-class scientists to come to Memphis to research cardiovascular disease or do neurological research, you need those kinds of facilities that people can practice their craft in,” Brown said. “For a basic scientist, it doesn’t matter how much compensation you offer them. The first question they have is, ‘Where’s my laboratory?’ For people to do world-class research, you really need state-of-the-art world-class facilities.”

More changes
With the new clinical building, the campus will see a dramatic increase in clinical space going from 5,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet. The university’s plan is to put the new clinical building at the southeast corner of Dunlap Street and Union behind the Scottish Rite of Freemasons building. The university is seeking to acquire property related to this project. Some old buildings on campus will be demolished to make room for the changes, including the Beale, Randolph and Feurt buildings. “Randolph at the corner of Madison and Manassas is basically off line,” Brown said. “We have for all intents and purposes shut it down. No utilities. I think to the casual observer who drives by that building it looks like a pretty structurally sound building that’s there. But it is empty, has no power and we’ve got demolition plans for it.” The UTHSC will have to wait on state funding for other components of the building plan, including renovations for office space, an educational annex and a new student center. Before state bonds will be issued for the translational research building and the clinical building, UTHSC must present business plans for how it can pay the debt obligations. It will rely on federal research grants for the translational building. The debt service on that building is expected to be about $4 million a year. The university is still developing a business model for the clinical building. “For the clinical facility, it’s a little more complicated dynamic,” Brown said. “We’re being very, very deliberative and trying to be conservative in modeling before we go to the commission.”

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 10:33 PM

VA Hospital $90,000,000 Completed

Description: Replacement of hospital bed tower and seismic upgrades including a new exterior on building

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 10:37 PM

MERI Works to Become World-Renowned Training Facility
TOM WILEMON | The Daily News

The reach of the Medical Education and Research Institute expands far beyond the former post office it occupies on Cleveland Avenue. The largest surgical training center in the country using donor bodies, MERI has taught new procedures in the past year to more than 9,500 physicians from the United States and abroad. Their visits and other business generated by MERI will bring an estimated $54 million into the Memphis economy, said Elizabeth Ostric, the institute’s executive director.

Solid financial support for MERI has helped keep Memphis at the forefront of medical innovations since the training center opened in the old post office in 1994. Its primary benefactors are Baptist Memorial Health Care, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and Semmes Murphey Neurologic and Spine Institute. During the past year, MERI has raised about $1.7 million. The institute began a $10 million capital fund drive about two years ago, but has since changed its fundraising strategy to make it a continuing annual effort. “We have been given a lot of different (types of) donations,” Ostric said. “Some have been cash so we could finance the refurbishment of this building and make for more lab space so that we could actually train more students.” Companies have also loaned training equipment, such as a da Vinci robotic surgical system and an O-arm, a system manufactured by Medtronic Inc. that allows simultaneous multidimensional monitoring during surgical procedures. “Our vision is to be the leading hands-on medical education and training institute in the world,” Ostric said. “It’s important to keep that new technology coming all the time.”

Last year, MERI spent $700,000 to expand its 27,000-square-foot facility with another 2,000 square feet. This year, it purchased an adjacent building at 1381 Madison for $800,000. The city of Memphis within the past month approved plans to reroute an alley between MERI and the adjacent building so a parking lot can be expanded and gated. “What we will eventually do is we will knock down that building,” Ostric said. “As donations and tuition permit, we will actually expand our teaching facilities there.”

Full Article:

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 10:38 PM

Memphis Mental Health Institute, $26,800,000

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 10:45 PM

UT Hamilton Eye Institute, $11,000,000

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 10:49 PM

Bristol Apartments on Union Ave., $20,000,000

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 10:50 PM

The Edge at Monroe, $4,000,000

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 10:51 PM

Madison 19, $2,500,000

Johnny Ryall Jan 3, 2010 10:52 PM

Medical Center Light Rail Extension, $53,000,000

Johnny Ryall Jan 7, 2010 5:02 AM

McKesson’s Retention Rides on IDB, PILOT Tweaks
ANDY MEEK | The Daily News
IN THEIR COURT: San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. is considering making a major investment in Memphis. McKesson executives are shown ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange last year. -- PHOTO COURTESY OF MCKESSON CORP.

Members of the Memphis-Shelby County Industrial Development Board were told last month the board’s tax incentive program needs to be tweaked – and soon. The reason: a major economic development project coming before them in November needs the new provisions.

That project involves McKesson Corp., a San Francisco-based multiplatform health care services company, making a capital investment of as much as $186 million in a new corporate campus in Memphis. McKesson is considering four different ways to consolidate three of its local operations, with the new facility the company develops ultimately serving as its U.S. logistics and supply chain headquarters.

Johnny Ryall Jan 7, 2010 5:04 AM

Medtronic Unveils $65 million Distribution Expansion
TOM WILEMON | The Daily News

Executives of Medtronic Inc. celebrated a $65 million expansion of its distribution center Tuesday morning that will allow the medical device company to ship additional products.

The Medtronic Distribution and Logistics Campus at 4340 Swinnea Road encompasses 22 acres and two buildings. The company purchased the property from Weston Co. then built or expanded existing buildings.

Eventually, Medtronic expects to have more than 260 people working at the facility. The Minneapolis-based company already employs 1,500 people in Memphis.

Rob Varner, senior director of U.S. distribution operations for Medtronic, said devices from divisions other than the Memphis-based Spinal & Biologics Business division will be shipped from the city, which he called “one of the crown jewels” in the company’s distribution network.

“Now, Medtronic has a strategy for all the business units to take advantage of this location,” Varner said. “That’s why we expanded the location.”

Johnny Ryall Jan 7, 2010 5:05 AM

River Tower condominiums sell out
By Wayne Risher

River Tower at South Bluff condominiums sold out in an auction that took another bite out of Downtown's surplus of unsold units. J.P. King Auction Co. of Gadsden, Ala., reported selling 15 units at prices ranging from $77,500 to $155,000 at The Peabody on Saturday. The 14-story, 153-unit River Tower at 655 Riverside Drive is the former Rivermark apartments and Holiday Inn-Rivermont. Houston-based McCord Development spent $17 million to renovate the property starting in 2006, but the recession hammered home sales before all the units could be sold. McCord, which used J.P. King to sell 20 units in June 2008, brought the auctioneer back Saturday to liquidate the remaining inventory. "I think we were overall pleased, and our partners were pleased," said Mike Maerz, director of investments for McCord. "Always you hope to achieve higher prices, but we were pleased with the prices we got in this market." Previous sales at River Tower ranged from $105,000 to $533,000. Maerz said an auction proved to be the right approach in today's buyer's market. "In the current market, there's a lot of skepticism and people have no sense of urgency and are not in a rush to make a decision. The auction is a call to action." J.P. King president and CEO Craig King said the auction drew 53 registered buyers from seven states and netted just under $1.7 million.

The auction came two months after King sold out The Nettleton condominiums in an old Piggly Wiggly warehouse at Front and Nettleton. The recent auctions will help reduce Downtown's considerable inventory of unsold condos actively on the market. The inventory was 96 units as of Sept. 30, according to figures compiled by development consultant Tony Bologna. However, the total excluded 129 condos taken off the market by leases or lease-purchase contracts, as well as 155 units at The Horizon, a foreclosure-stalled project at 717 Riverside. Center City Commission officials said there had been no official word from Capital One Bank on when construction on The Horizon might get going again. Between River Tower and The Nettleton, J.P. King auctioneers have sold 45 Downtown condo units since September. By comparison, 41 condo sales closed in the first nine months of 2009.

Johnny Ryall Jan 7, 2010 5:06 AM

Godwin: Crime rankings mislead on Memphis
CQ Press report paints inaccurate, unfair picture, police director says
The Commercial Appeal | By Zack McMillin

When Washington-based CQ Press released its annual list of city crime rankings Monday morning, those who know the most about crime in Memphis did what they do every year -- cried foul. Because while the city of Memphis shows up as No. 10 on CQ Press' crime-rate rankings -- and the eight-county metro area as No. 2 -- it is what the rankings leave out that make many believe they paint an unfair and inaccurate view of the city.

"We report everything, every crime, but they take these numbers from places that don't have to report what we report," said Memphis Police Department director Larry Godwin. "How is that fair? It's not fair that in New York, theft from a motor vehicle is not reported unless it is more than $1,000 but if you got a broken window in Memphis, we report that." Godwin quickly points out that Memphis' crime rate, as of Monday, was down 17.34 percent compared with the same period in 2006.

CQ's reports are based on 2008 crime statistics that cities reported to the FBI for its Uniform Crime Report, and uses six categories -- murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft. The FBI rejects the rankings, saying on its Web site: "These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and residents."

University of Memphis criminologist Richard Janikowski, who helps MPD with its data-driven Blue Crush initiative, points to the stance of the American Society of Criminology: "Such rankings are invalid, damaging, and irresponsible."

DIESELPOLO Jan 11, 2010 2:33 AM

Hi forumers,

I am utterly impressed with Memphis' new developments. Especially as it appears that the city is really setting the stage for sustained development by having a burgeoning healthcare industry which attracts the educated (the ideal demographic for any city).

After looking at the developments and the emerging architecture, I wanted to know a couple things: How dense is downtown, are these medical campuses research institutes in walkable neighborhoods, how has downtown's evolution or maintenance been since the late 90's, do you know how important Memphis is becoming within the medical industry?

Thanks for any answers! Haven't been down for probably 10 years! My mother is from there.

Johnny Ryall Jan 13, 2010 2:52 AM


Originally Posted by DIESELPOLO (Post 4644075)
Hi forumers,

I am utterly impressed with Memphis' new developments. Especially as it appears that the city is really setting the stage for sustained development by having a burgeoning healthcare industry which attracts the educated (the ideal demographic for any city).

After looking at the developments and the emerging architecture, I wanted to know a couple things: How dense is downtown, are these medical campuses research institutes in walkable neighborhoods, how has downtown's evolution or maintenance been since the late 90's, do you know how important Memphis is becoming within the medical industry?

Thanks for any answers! Haven't been down for probably 10 years! My mother is from there.

Memphis may be one of the only cities in the U.S. that is ranked economically above the national average in 4 of the 5 major sectors of biotechnology. Hospitals, Clinics & other high-end practices are 1 of those major sectors. The projects previously featured were all located in the Memphis Medical Center (adjacent to Downtown & a component of the Central Business District).
Although, just as always, Memphis seems to have a major counterpart in its other major commercial markets. These include the Wolf River Medical Corridor in eastern Memphis which is home to Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporate Headquarters & their flagship hospital which includes the Baptist Heart Institute. Also, it contains Medical Plaza towers 1,2 & 3, Baptist Hospital for Women, the West Clinic/ Memphis Heart Clinic, Baptist Cancer Care Clinic, Semmes Murphy Coporate Offices, Campell Clinic (world- renowned Orthopaedics practice & research), the 15 story tower of St. Francis Hospital with it's renovated & expanded ER & Chest Pain Center (also a new location in Bartlett being expanded!), a myriad of other high-end practices all over the vicinity and the major expansion of Methodist Germantown.

Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporate Headquarters @ Humphreys Center in East Memphis' Wolf River Medical Corridor
194,000-square-foot, five-story masonry and ribbon glass building

If all that wasn't enough, now we have the emerging Southaven/ Desoto Medical Center. Its' centerpiece is the new major expansion of Baptist Desoto, now the second largest in the Baptist Memorial system. I'll stop there for now, but there is much more to Memphis when it comes to biotechnology.

Baptist Memorial Hospital Desoto, Expansion Tower /Renevation of ER, $175,000,000
The new 11 story tower, which opened Nov. 5, 2006, added 140 beds, bringing the bed total at the Southaven facility to 339. The number makes Baptist-DeSoto (412,000 SF) second in size only to Baptist-Memphis within the Baptist system.

Previous Expansions:
December 2002 was the opening of the Baptist DeSoto Outpatient Diagnostic Center and Women's Center.
In 2001, Baptist DeSoto completed three expansion projects that nearly doubled the size of the hospital and added much-needed services. A new critical care unit opened on Valentine's Day and brought open-heart surgery to DeSoto County for the first time ever. In April, the hospital's labor and delivery services expanded with the opening of the 34,000-square-foot Women's Pavilion. And DeSoto County's first radiation oncology unit, the Baptist Center for Cancer Care-DeSoto, opened in December.

391 Southcrest / Baptist DeSoto Campus, Southaven, MS
Class A Medical Office Building Size:58,036 SF

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:29 PM

The rise of America's Aerotropolis
Memphis Aerotropolis: Cleared For Take Off

In August 2006, Memphis I'ntl Airport (MEM) jetted into a multiphase, $300,000,000+ construction program designed to not only upgrade & facilitate operations at the WORLD's BUSIEST CARGO AIRPORT, but also freshen it up a bit. MEM produces $28,600,000,000 for the local economy each year. It is home to the FedEx Express World Hub & UPS's 3rd largest facility. MEM Air Traffic Control directs over 1,000 aircraft operations per day.

New Air Traffic Control Tower (U/C) $61,000,000
Due to significant air traffic growth over the past 30 years, combined with traffic density and complexity continuing to increase at Memphis International, the existing control tower must be replaced to meet the activity demands and working-space needs. The current tower was commissioned in 1977.The new tower will stand 336 feet tall which is approximately 150 feet taller than the current tower.

Memphis International Airport - Y Modification

Roadway Entrance & Landscaping Project

Reconstruction of Runway 9/27

Seven-story Parking Garage & Rental Car Facility

Built on the North -or "front"- side of the airport, the lower 2 levels will house car rental companies, and the remaining floors will contain 4,500 long-term parking spaces. The garage will connect to the terminal by canopy-covered, moving sidewalks on the lowest level.

Also in progress:
Main Terminal Aircraft Parking Apron Replacement Study.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:42 PM

Memphis airport reopens repaired runway
By Wayne Risher

Memphis International Airport's east-west runway reopened a nine-month reconstruction costing about $50 million. The Airport Authority made good on a promise to reopen the runway in time for FedEx's holiday shipping season. The 8,946-foot-long strip on the northern end of the airfield had been closed since March 2009 as contractors ripped out old asphalt and replaced it with a 20-inch deep, 150-foot-wide layer of concrete. While it was out of service, planes were limited to three north-south runways.

The first plane to take off from and land on the rebuilt runway was a Beechcraft Bonanza A36, single-engine propeller-driven plane piloted by Airport Authority board member and auto dealer Jim Keras. Authority president and CEO Larry Cox and board members Jim Ethridge and Jon Thompson rode with Keras on a flight to West Memphis and back.

The airport is home to the FedEx World Hub, center of shipping network that hit last year's daily peak of 13 million packages on Dec. 14. Spokesman Jim McCluskey said FedEx representatives were on hand for the first takeoff and landing, and the company's cargo planes were expected to start using the runway again Monday night. "We're very pleased with the opening of the runway," he said. "We will begin using the runway this evening, both inbound and outbound. It will allow us to increase our arrival rate, which makes us more efficient than we already are." The runway's new concrete surface is expected to last at least 25 years and perhaps 40 to 50 years, considerably longer than asphalt.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:46 PM

Previously (2006)
Memphis International Airport Flying High: Named a Gateway Hub to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Best Northwest Hub in 2005.
Memphis International Airport is now a gateway airport. This means certain pre-cleared general aviation operations, including corporate aircraft, charter flights and on-demand operations can fly directly to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) from Memphis.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) only allows general aviation flights in accordance with the DCA Access Standard Security Program into DCA. The program was developed last year. It allows up to 48 general aviation flights into DCA per day and addresses the special aviation security needs in the National Capitol Region by maintaining strict security measures. Each flight requires advance notification, including background checks for all passengers and criminal history checks for crew members. Memphis International Airport is one of just 15 airports nationwide with gateway clearance.

Memphis International Airport also has been named “best Northwest hub in 2005” by Northwest Airlines ground operations as part of the annual recognition the department gives to stations for outstanding performance each year. The assessment of station performance is based on critical measures of safety, operational reliability, customer service and budget.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:49 PM

Hub Expansion on horizon for FedEx
ERIC SMITH | The Daily News

At the FedEx World Hub, 15,000 employees greet thousands of flights and sort millions of packages each month, making it the heart and soul of the Memphis economy. Those impressive numbers could soon grow now that FedEx Express has taken its first step toward a major hub expansion. FedEx has filed a $28 million building permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to bring a new two-story sort facility to its existing hub at 2903 Sprankle Drive, on the north side of Memphis International Airport and south of Democrat Road. The addition would expand current capacity at FedEx’s hub, the oldest and largest in its massive global network, which sees five sorts and 1.5 million packages per day while connecting Memphis with every one of FedEx’s markets. But how much the addition would expand FedEx’s package sorting ability remains to be seen. Jim McCluskey, spokesman for FedEx, said he couldn’t provide any specific details about the expansion plan because no contracts had been executed, but should the company decide to move forward with the project, the new facility would be built adjacent to the existing hub structure. “We are planning a new building addition to our existing sort facility,” McCluskey said. “But because the project is many months down the road, and no contracts have been executed, it’s premature to provide details until we have contracts in place.”

Bluff City value
Even the news of a potential expansion is welcome in Memphis, which saw FedEx recently pump more than $200 million into upgrading and enlarging its Indianapolis hub while beefing up other facilities around the nation as well. Dexter Muller, the Greater Memphis Chamber’s senior vice president for community development and logistics council director, said this expansion is further proof the company sees strategic value in growing its Memphis infrastructure. “When FedEx was investing in other hubs, like Indianapolis and Greensboro (N.C.), and Forth Worth (Texas), some people questioned, ‘Well, does this mean they don’t have as strong a commitment to Memphis?’ Clearly, that’s not the case. This is evidence of that,” Muller said. “Their three-continent hub strategy is evidence of that. Memphis is still their global distribution headquarters, and obviously it’s a real important piece for us to see them continue to invest in that.” FedEx’s “three-continent hub strategy” revolves around Memphis International Airport for North America, Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris for Europe and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China for Asia. Each one of those airports and their cities are considered as the premier aerotropolis for their respective continent. And in the Memphis region, the airport is especially vital to overall commercial prosperity. “From the logistics standpoint, we talk about our airport as being the largest single economic generator in the state – it has more impact than some of the much larger airports from a passenger side,” Muller said.

‘Encouraging note’
Muller specifically was alluding to airports such as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which dwarfs Memphis when it comes to passenger traffic but lags in terms of cargo and overall economic impact. Memphis International Airport generates $28.6 billion and provides, directly or indirectly, 34.3 percent – or one in three – local jobs. And the most recent traffic numbers show FedEx is by far the biggest single contributor to Memphis International’s stellar performance. The airport handled 669.8 million pounds of cargo last month, up 4.9 percent from 638.7 million in November 2008. Almost all of that tonnage was handled by FedEx, whose contributions have helped Memphis earn the honor of world’s busiest cargo airport for 17 straight years, according to Airports Council International. In fact, Memphis has ranked No. 1 in the world since the organization began ranking cargo statistics.

Though McCluskey said the purpose of filing the permit was the first step in what could be a long process, the fact the company has the wheels in motion is a positive sign for the company. “Any kind of property development plan takes a lot of time; it’s a very lengthy process,” McCluskey said, adding that the few details included on the permit are subject to change. “That’s why we can’t provide information or details until we have the contracts in place.” McCluskey said more details would become available “down the road” as the company gets contracts in place. Still, the writing is on the wall that more space to employ more workers, welcome more flights and sort more packages will be needed when the economy improves. “That’s an encouraging note to see them investing at this time,” Muller said.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:52 PM

2009 passenger counts up at Pinnacle subsidiaries
Memphis Business Journal

Colgan Air Inc. and Pinnacle Airlines Inc., wholly-owned subsidiaries of Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (NASDAQ: PNCL), both ended the year with higher passenger counts than 2008 despite different December performances.

Colgan reported 211,636 passengers for December, down 1.5 percent compared to 214,816 in December last year. Year-to-date, Colgan reported 2.7 million passengers, up 6.7 percent compared to 2.5 million passengers in the same year-ago period.

Colgan is in the middle of moving its corporate headquarters from Manassas, Va. to Memphis.

Pinnacle Airlines Inc. reported 867,612 passengers for December, up 0.2 percent compared to 866,033 passengers in December 2008. Year-to-date, the company reported 10.7 million passengers, up 3.6 percent compared to 10.3 million in the same year-ago period.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:53 PM

Memphis airport unveils ‘green’ plans for transportation center
Memphis Business Journal - by Andy Ashby

The Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority unveiled its $89 million Ground Transportation Center Wednesday at the Memphis Hilton. The seven-story facility at Memphis International Airport will house parking and rental car operations within walking distance of the main terminal. Self Tucker Architects Inc., Looney Ricks Kiss Architects Inc. and Walker Parking Consultants are designing the facility while Flintco Inc. is the general contractor. By eliminating bus and shuttle traffic between the facility and the terminal, like most airports, it will reduce emissions.

“Some airports have parking garages,” authority chairman Arnold Perl said. “We will not have a parking garage; we’ll have a ground transportation center.” The center, which will be located between the existing three-level parking deck and the new 336-foot airport traffic control tower, will have 4,500 public parking spaces and 2,500 return spaces for rental cars. Levels one and two will house the rental car services, with room for 124 rental agents. The center will have valet parking, as well as additional services such as auto detailing and oil changes. Construction will start in early March is expected to take two years. The center will also have covered canopies and an 840-foot moving walkway leading to the terminal.

The airport authority is working with UrbanArt Commission on public art at the site, which will have extensive landscaping. “The Ground Transportation Center will be not only be very pleasing to the eye, highly functional and customer-centric, it is also the most environmentally responsible approach to ground transportation possible,” said Larry Cox, the authority’s president and chief executive officer. “This center eliminates all rental buses, reduces needs for virtually all remote parking buses, and saves the rental car companies the expense of transporting their customers off the airport. “When you combine it with our cell phone parking lot and the improved overall entrance and exit flow, we will be eliminating a tremendous amount of traffic exhaust from the airport experience."

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:55 PM

FedEx rolls out Boeing 777F for Memphis-Shanghai service
Memphis Business Journal

FedEx Express is rolling out its first Boeing 777 Freighter to service mainland China. The larger, faster and more fuel efficient 777F will connect Shanghai with Memphis and reduce cut-off times for customers by two hours, the company said. By April, FedEx Express will have four 777F’s serving routes between the U.S. and the important Asian market. They hope to have as many as 15 of the planes in service by 2014. The 777F has a payload capacity of 178,000 pounds and flies about 5,800 nautical miles, an improvement of 14,000 pounds and 2,100 nautical miles over the MD11-Fs, which was FedEx’s long-haul aircraft. “With the 777F’s shorter flight times, our operational advantages give our customers a competitive advantage in the global marketplace through speed and reliability,” David L. Cunningham Jr., president, Asia Pacific, FedEx Express, stated in a release. “In addition, the 777F is able to deliver these benefits while helping FedEx build a more sustainable operation in the long term through its fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”

FedEx Express is the express transportation subsidiary of Memphis-based FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and provides delivery across the U.S. and to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx’s chief rival, Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc., announced its own Chinese growth news Thursday. UPS will expand its global service parts logistics network, opening 101 new field stocking locations in China, according to a report by Memphis Business Journal sister publication Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:56 PM

Pinnacle Airlines secures $10M from Independent Bank
Memphis Business Journal

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. closed on a $10 million credit facility with Memphis-based Independent Bank. "The loan provides a working capital cushion and allows us to focus on our core business," Pinnacle president Philip H. Trenary said in a statement. The loan is designed to provide the Memphis-based airline holding company with additional working capital until it receives its 2009 federal income tax refund, estimated to be $38 million.

Separately, Pinnacle also modified its $25 million spare parts loan to reduce certain liquidity requirements. "These transactions enhance our liquidity and put us in a stronger financial position for 2010," Peter D. Hunt, vice president and chief financial officer at Pinnacle, said in a statement. Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (NASDAQ: PNCL) is the parent company of Pinnacle Airlines Inc. and Colgan Air Inc.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:59 PM

Memphis airport officials unveil plans for ground transportation center
The Commercial Appeal | By Wayne Risher

This illustration shows the Memphis International Airport Ground Transportation Center that will be built starting in March.
Photo courtesy of the Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority

Airport officials unveiled plans Wednesday for a new ground transportation center that amounts to a new front door for Memphis International Airport. They said the center, which combines passenger parking and rental cars next to the terminal building, will create a dramatic and attractive new first impression for people entering the airport by way of ground transportation. The seven-level center will be sheathed with perforated metal panels, reminiscent of a large airplane wing. It will be accented by screened lighting and adorned with a 40-foot-tall airport logo: a jet with a contrail shaped like a musical note. Most of the 1960s terminal building, with its distinctive champagne glass design by architect Roy Harrover, will no longer be visible from the entrance road.

This illustration shows a walkway and courtyard in the planned Memphis International Airport Ground Transportation Center, which will be constructed starting in March. Photo courtesy of the Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority.

"Memphis is transportation and Memphis is music, so it makes perfect sense," said Convention and Visitors Bureau president Kevin Kane, who joined business and community leaders for an unveiling of project plans and renderings at Hilton Memphis. "I think the design is spectacular. It has that classic modern look you're beginning to see at world-class airports around the world," Kane added. Architect Marty Gorman, president of Memphis Heritage, had a different reaction. "The classic terminal building, with its strong axial automobile approach, is totally blocked by this seven story behemoth! Most unfortunate," Gorman said in an e-mail. Available land and functionality dictated the new building would become the airport's most visible entry feature, along with a 336-foot-tall air traffic control tower that's under construction.

Airport officials wanted to combine passenger parking and rental cars in one building to save on construction costs and eliminate shuttle busing for rental car users. The logical spot for the building was a long-term parking lot between the existing three-level parking deck and the control tower. "Great care has been taken to make this a highly attractive facility, the nation's most functional and passenger-centric facility, a green approach to ground transportation and a complement to the existing airport infrastructure," said Airport Authority president and CEO Larry Cox. The center will house rental car counters, service functions and up to 1,250 rental cars on the bottom two floors. There will be 4,500 public spaces for passenger parking on the upper five floors. A landscaped, atrium-like corridor with sidewalks and moving walkways will connect the new building to the terminal, where escalators will lead up to the baggage claim level. Flintco Inc. has an $89.4 million contract to build the center, starting in March and finishing in 2012. Authority chairman Arnold Perl said, "The new Ground Transportation Center will transform the experience for the traveling public. It will further enhance the customer service experience, which ranks third already according to J.D. Powers for medium-sized airports." Greater Memphis Chamber chairman Tom Schmitt applauded the focus on customer service and said he thinks it will give the airport a second "wow factor" architecturally, in addition to the terminal building. "I like it. It projects the right image and it's looking forward. It's making something that works already, even better."

Johnny Ryall Jan 23, 2010 7:06 PM

The rise of America's Aerotropolis: New Air Traffic Control Tower topped off
Commercial Appeal | Wayne Risher

The last structural piece of a 336-foot-tall tower -- a platform decorated with a Christmas tree, American flag, contractor Flintco Inc.'s logo and an Iron Workers Local union banner -- was lifted into place shortly after 11 a.m. A radar and antennas will be installed atop the tower in mid- January, bringing it to finished height. It will be one of the tallest in the country; in the South, only the airports in Atlanta (398 feet) and Orlando (345 feet) have taller towers. The 24,000-square-foot building attached to the base of the tower will house training rooms, administrative offices and an expanded terminal radar approach control with space for future growth.

The tower and an adjoining radar control building are scheduled to be commissioned in early 2011. Featuring seismic safeguards and the latest security and air traffic simulation capabilities, the new tower is 150 feet south and 100 feet west of a 185-foot tower that has been in service since 1977. It will provide air traffic controllers better views of the airport's farthest reaches. The existing tower will be torn down to complete the project, bringing total cost to about $72 million, the FAA says.

Gusting winds delayed the topping off just over an hour from the scheduled time. Flintco, the general contractor, waited for wind speed to drop before a crane operated by Barnhart Crane & Rigging hoisted the tower's "penthouse," steadied by two guide ropes. Flintco built the two-level, 850-square-foot tower cab on the ground to make sure the components fit together properly before they were disassembled and lifted into place section by section.

Progress of the tower's construction can be viewed via a live camera at:

childsplay04 Jan 23, 2010 7:42 PM

I am from Memphis but live in Atlanta now...thanks for posting these it keeps me updated with what is goin on back home...

Dr Nevergold Jan 23, 2010 11:27 PM

I lived in Memphis in 2001/2002 and it was an interesting experience, the airport always felt groovy from the 70's or something... Glad to see its finally getting a freshen up. MEM is a fine airport for what it is, the on time performance is fantastic, but its always had very small interiors and therefore feels a little stuffy by comparison. They needed this upgrade.

Johnny Ryall Jan 28, 2010 2:14 AM

Memphis College of Art: Metz Hall recap
Metz Hall @ Memphis College Of Art, 24,000 sq ft (completed 2005)

New residence hall is part of the larger master plan for Memphis College of Art which enables them to house 47 more students.

Johnny Ryall Jan 28, 2010 2:15 AM

MCA's new residence hall rises in Midtown
the Commercial Appeal | By Juanita Cousins

The Memphis College of Art is enlarging its campus footprint with a $3.3 million student residence hall and three residential properties. An artist rendering of Memphis College of Art's Metz Hall and the new dormitory space.
at 139 N. Barksdale in Midtown. The building will be a mirror image of the Metz Hall residence structure, which was built in 2004. MCA President Jeffrey Nesin said the student residences help "build community among students."

The 24,000-square-foot facility will house 47 students on three floors of apartment-like suites, said the project's lead architect Rebecca Conrad, a partner at Askew Nixon Ferguson. Each suite will have four bedrooms, two baths, a full kitchen and laundry amenities. The fourth floor will have a studio, activity space and warming kitchen, which the college can use for special functions. The dorm is scheduled for completion in fall 2010. "It's just helping the campus further its identity on making it more visible in this community," Conrad said.

Last summer, Memphis College of Art spent $250,000 on three Midtown properties: two residential buildings on Tucker Street that now house 10 students, and a Rembert Street property that will eventually provide additional residential housing. Nesin said the independent art and design college set in Overton Park has thrived despite a slumping economy. Its Design for the Future Capital Campaign raised $8 million. The money will be used to increase scholarships, create a technology-driven curriculum, increase the school's endowment and build the Barksdale Street dorm. When Nesin became president in 1991, the campus had no student residential housing. Since then the college has acquired some 20 properties south of Poplar Avenue and built housing for more than 160 students.

Johnny Ryall Jan 28, 2010 2:20 AM

Memphis College of Art developing graduate school Downtown
Memphis Business Journal - by Andy Ashby

Memphis College of Art is looking to move its graduate school Downtown to the South Main Historic Arts District. MCA plans to purchase and renovate a five-story building at 477 S. Main for $2.9 million where it will develop the school serving more than 100 graduate students and faculty. Plans for the building include more than 55,000 square feet of educational space and a 3,500-square-foot retail storefront gallery.

The college is going before the Center City Development Corp. Wednesday morning to seek financial incentives, including a $180,000 development loan, a $40,000 retail forgivable loan and a $30,000 facade improvement grant. It will also ask the CCDC board for a $200,000 project development grant. If approved, the project could start in February and be completed by the fall. MCA's graduate program is currently housed in its Midtown campus, at 1930 Poplar Avenue.

Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects will design the project while Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC will be the general contractor. The board will also hear from lawyers T. Clifton Harviel, Barry J. McWhirter, Arthur E. Quinn and Michael J. Stengel who plan to open a 2,668-square-foot office at Lincoln America Tower.

Johnny Ryall Jan 28, 2010 3:51 PM

Air Canada to add Memphis-Toronto flights
Memphis Business Journal

Air Canada will begin serving Memphis International Airport with a twice-daily flight between the Bluff City and Toronto. The airline announced its expansion plans Wednesday, which include new service to a total of seven U.S. cities: Memphis; San Diego and Santa Ana, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Portland, Maine.; Cincinnati; and Syracuse, N.Y. "This additional service to seven more U.S. cities further solidifies Air Canada's position as the leading transborder carrier between Canada and the U.S. and the No. 1 foreign carrier flying to the United States — offering the most flights per day to more destinations in the U.S. than any other international airline," said Ben Smith, executive vice president, in a statement. The airline’s Memphis flights will commence May 17 using 75-seat CRJ aircraft. Montreal-based Air Canada provides scheduled and charter air transportation for passengers and cargo to more than 170 destinations on five continents. The carrier is the 13th largest commercial airline in the world and serves 33 million customers annually.

Johnny Ryall Jan 28, 2010 3:55 PM

Memphis now new Air Canada market
Nonstop to Toronto

ERIC SMITH | The Daily News

Air Canada will begin direct service between Memphis and Toronto in May. It will use the 75-seat Jazz CRJ airplane, smaller than the Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner and 777-200LR, shown above. Photo: Air Canada

As carriers reduce capacity to cope with shrinking demand for air travel, Air Canada is beefing up its service by entering seven U.S. markets – including Memphis. The Montreal-based airline is adding twice-daily, nonstop, year-round flights between Memphis and Toronto, the company announced Wednesday. The service, which begins May 17 and will connect Memphis International Airport with Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport, is the airline’s Memphis debut. Air Canada will use the 75-seat Jazz CRJ airplane.

“It’s good for us, it’s good for the traveling public,” said Larry Cox, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. Cox said Wednesday morning the announcement was news to him, albeit “great news.” He said the airport had been in discussions with Air Canada over the years but hadn’t been able to secure anything until now. Cox said Northwest Airlines previously flew a Memphis-to-Toronto flight, but that was dropped following the merger with Delta Air Lines, which now flies to the Canadian city from here through Detroit or Minneapolis. “We miss not having the nonstop to Toronto, and I think it’s great that Air Canada can serve it,” Cox said. “This is the reason Air Canada probably sees an opportunity to get into the Memphis market for the first time, because Delta flying in that market, it would be more difficult for them to compete because they’d just be able to get the ‘O and D’ (origination and destination) market on this side going to Toronto.” This announcement further bolsters the airport’s status for international service, Cox said. Currently, Memphis has daily nonstop flights to Amsterdam, Cancun, Mexico, and Montego Bay, Jamaica. The airport also has seasonal service to Cozumel, Mexico, and to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Vicki Rush, CEO of A&I Travel Service Inc., said Air Canada hasn’t entered the flights into the air travel system yet, but she nonetheless was excited with the news, calling it “fabulous.” “I think new service into the market is always a great thing,” Rush said. “You’re always looking for that to bring some prices down. I think that the main point with anyone, especially a carrier who has no footprint here – Air Canada – is what kind of equipment is it? Who’s their frequent flyer partner? Those are huge issues.” As Rush pointed out, Air Canada’s frequent flyer network is Star Alliance, whose U.S. airlines include Continental Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways, but not Delta, which operates a hub in Memphis and uses SkyTeam as its frequent flyer network. “If all things are equal, if the price is the same on Delta and Air Canada, it’s going to be hard for them to woo customers, I’m afraid,” Rush said, adding that passengers would forego nonstop if they get to accrue frequent flyer miles. “Nonstop is a wonderful thing, but it’s 800 miles each way.”

Air Canada also is adding service between Toronto and six other U.S. markets – Orange County, Calif.; San Diego; Portland, Ore.; Cincinnati; Portland, Maine; and Syracuse, N.Y. “This additional service to seven more U.S. cities further solidifies Air Canada’s position as the leading transborder carrier between Canada and the U.S. and the No. 1 foreign carrier flying to the United States – offering the most flights per day to more destinations in the U.S. than any other international airline,” Ben Smith, Air Canada’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “It also demonstrates our commitment to drive Toronto’s growth as a hub.” Pamela Griffith-Jones, vice president, chief marketing and commercial officer for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), called the route announcement “great news for passengers flying between Canada and the U.S.” “We have worked with our airline customers’ needs in mind to create opportunities for route expansion,” Griffith-Jones said in a release. “We are very pleased with Air Canada’s continued commitment to using Pearson as a connection point with the U.S., and as a gateway to connect passengers to destinations around the world.”

Johnny Ryall Jan 29, 2010 8:39 PM

FedEx to invest nearly $6 Million on hanger construction at Memphis airport
Memphis Business Journal - by Andy Ashby

The Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority’s lone actionable item this month helped a Memphis-based company to improve its operations at Memphis International Airport. The authority modified a lease agreement with FedEx Express, allowing the company to demolish four hangers and replace those with a $4.2 million, 35,000-square-foot hanger. It’s also planning to do a $1.6 million rehabilitation of three other hangers. The lease modification calls for rent reductions on the land for the new construction and rehabilitation of the hangers, which are used for smaller aircraft. The authority is also taking bids for improvements to two taxiways in February.

Forrest Artz, director of finance and chief financial officer for the authority, reported the airport had $9.4 million in revenues for December and $56.4 million in revenues for full-year 2009. After expenses, it had net income of $173,765 for December and net income of $1.9 million for full-year 2009. The authority also reported the airport flew 781,251 passengers in December, down 3.8 percent compared to 811,865 in December 2008. Similarly, the airport flew 9.8 million passengers in full-year 2009, a decrease of more than 6 percent compared to 10.5 million in full-year 2008.

Johnny Ryall Jan 30, 2010 5:14 PM

Downtown Memphis development
Plans have been announced to renovate and re-brand One Commerce Square. Forty South Main Street Corporation has named a development team that includes Commercial Alliance Management, Looney Ricks Kiss Architects, and Grinder Tabor & Grinder to overhaul the iconic, 31-story building. Work began late last year and will be completed in 2010.

Johnny Ryall Jan 30, 2010 5:16 PM

New owner invests in One Commerce Square
Steps to hike occupancy include HVAC upgrade, lobby makeover
Memphis Business Journal - by Andy Ashby

The One Commerce Square lobby is being used for events.

U.S. Bancorp is investing in improvements to One Commerce Square as part of its strategy to lure new tenants to the 475,082-square-foot Downtown property, which currently is 47% occupied. The bank, which acquired the building in an FDIC transaction in late 2009, is spending $1.2 million to replace the 37-year-old cooling towers and improve the building’s HVAC equipment. The project entails the installation of two Baltimore Aircoil Co. cooling towers with 1,425 tons of capacity each, with one ton having the capacity of 15,000 BTUs, as well as the replacement of the pit roof located under the towers’ structure, the replacement of other roof areas and water-proofing throughout the property. “This is a major investment, something which should have been done a long time ago,” Commercial Alliance Management LLC president Kemp Conrad says. “I think it shows our commitment to our tenants and prospects we’re working with that this will remain the place to do business Downtown.” Commercial Alliance has handled some expansions, renewals and new leases at the property since taking over leasing and management in May.

The Memphis Business Journal’s latest office real estate guide listed lease rates at One Commerce Square of $15.50-$17.50 per square foot. It’s also in discussion with at least four prospects for “significant” leases, according to executive vice president Mark Jenkins. “Because of today’s environment with the financial market and capital markets, to get owners to step up and make improvements shows their commitment to the building and Memphis,” he says. Commercial Alliance has been working to “activate” the building’s lobby by donating it to organizations for charity events and parties. “We’ve really tried to bring life to that beautiful lobby,” Conrad says. U.S. Bancorp is putting in new furniture and flat screen televisions throughout the lobby to update its look. Finally, Commercial Alliance has started a program of illuminating the bank lobby’s Ionic columns using a different color each month. “We attained these effects real inexpensively by relocating unused lamps we found at the auditorium and other places,” senior asset manager and vice president Ricardo Monroy says.

Johnny Ryall Jan 30, 2010 5:26 PM

Court Square Center has nearly reached completion. A 3 building complex consisting of the beautiful Lowenstein Bldg, the new Court Annex 2 (original historic structure destoyed by fire) and a 1/3 scale NYC Woolworths Bldg, the 22-story Lincoln American Tower built in 1924. Project cost: $49 million

Johnny Ryall Jan 30, 2010 9:38 PM

Goodwyn Condo Interest Builds Quickly After Foreclosure
ERIC SMITH | The Daily News

GOOD VIEW FROM THE TOP: The rooftop of the Goodwyn Condominiums at 127 Madison Ave. provides a good view of Downtown Memphis. The outlook for the beleaguered building – foreclosed earlier this year – also looks good. Its unfinished condo units are being completed and the listing agent now has nine contracts on the property. -- PHOTOS BY ERIC SMITH

Momentum is building at the Goodwyn Condominiums, where Hobson Co. Realtors has inked contracts for nine of its unsold units just weeks after the property was reclaimed by the bank following a foreclosure. The 18-story tower at 127 Madison Ave. had endured a rough year. When its developer defaulted on a construction loan, First Tennessee Bank NA foreclosed on the property and eventually bought back 21 unsold units out of 24 plus a small commercial space for a combined $4.5 million. The bank then hired Metro Construction LLC to begin finishing 12 of those units and Hobson to sell them. So far, all is going well for both companies. Metro is on pace to finish the units by January and Hobson is seeing good traffic and interest from serious buyers.

Hobson founder and managing broker Joel Hobson had a feeling the units would move if they were listed at a lower price point and also if they were completely finished, rather than letting the buyer make all the decisions about flooring, countertops and cabinets. The building’s smaller, two-bedroom, two-bathroom units (two to a floor) now run $175,000 to $199,000, down from more than $300,000. And the building’s larger, three-bedroom, three-bathroom units (one to a floor) now run $399,000 to $499,000, down from $750,000 to $950,000 before. “A lot of people who have been looking, who lived out east and have been looking Downtown for a while, now they’re seeing an opportunity to buy these at reasonable prices,” Hobson said. “It shows there’s real demand there.”

Price is right
Hobson said the timing of the Goodwyn project also was good because of other condo projects Downtown have been selling well. Specifically, the condo developments of the Nettleton at 435 S. Front St. and River Tower at South Bluffs at 655 S. Riverside Drive each had sold out of their unsold units during recent auctions. Hobson figured the time was right for lightning to strike the Goodwyn. “With the Nettleton, with the Goodwyn, with the River Tower, people will buy if it’s priced right,” Hobson said. “These prices are substantially different (than the original listing prices), but these are not auction prices. These are better.”

INTERIOR UPGRADES: The interior units of the Goodwyn Condominiums at 127 Madison Ave. are being finished, so they’ll soon resemble this model unit. Of the building’s 24 condos, 21 are unsold. Metro Construction LLC is finishing the units, and Hobson Co. Realtors is selling the units.

Hobson said the goal is to finish all the floors, although the emphasis now is on the 13 unsold units on the bottom half of the building. The eight remaining units on floors 9 through 17 eventually will be finished like the half-floors, unless a buyer emerges beforehand and chooses something different. The penthouse on the 18th floor will remain untouched so a buyer can choose all the finishings for that unit. Lynda Biggs and Laurie McBride are the Hobson agents showing the Goodwyn. During a tour of the building last week, they pointed out some of its unique charms, such as the large lobby with an entertaining area, replete with “liquor lockers” so each resident can keep spirits on hand for parties. Other features include a courtyard to the west of the lobby and a conference room that is reachable by spiral staircase. And the roof contains a hot tub and party area, including a gas grill for cookouts.

Hopeful future
If Hobson is successful with the Goodwyn’s remaining units, it will bring to an end the historic property’s roller coaster ride. Built in 1908, the building’s condo redevelopment began in 2006. The developers, 119 Madison Properties Tennessee LLC and Goodwyn Institute Properties LLC, ran into construction delays and other financial troubles, causing them to default on their loan. First Tennessee didn’t choose the auction route, but the bank saw a good future for the property, and last month the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement issued First Tennessee a $500,000 permit application to finish the first 12 of the Goodwyn’s unfinished condo units, all of which are on the bottom six floors of the 18-story building. First Tennessee executive Dave Dawson, who can see the Goodwyn from his office window, said Metro and Hobson were the perfect fit for turning around a building that struggled when residential and commercial real estate crashed. “Our goal is to sell it through Hobson and hopefully get the majority of our money back that way,” Dawson told The Daily News for an earlier article. “We’ve got a good team working on it for us. I can’t control what the marketplace will do, but we plan on it being successful.”

Johnny Ryall Jan 30, 2010 9:39 PM

Horizon Luxury Apartments, (U/C) $67,000,000
A 16-story luxury apartment tower. Scheduled completion: 2010

Johnny Ryall Jan 30, 2010 9:46 PM

Mud Island Makeover
BILL DRIES | The Daily News

In August 1976, Roy Harrover, the Memphis architect who designed such landmarks as Memphis International Airport, Memphis College of Art and the NBC Bank Building wrote a six-page description of a project then known as Volunteer Park. It was a plan for 50 acres of city-owned property. Harrover termed it a “unique opportunity to provide (a) broad recreational and entertainment opportunity to Memphians and visitors in the Downtown area.”

-- TOP: Archival shot of Mud Island River Park under construction in 1979. -- PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
-- BOTTOM: The 5,000-seat Mud Island Amphitheater offers a spectacular view of Memphis at night but needs repairs and an upgrade to its facilities. -- PHOTO BY LANCE MURPHEY

Commercial Development:

One of the five scenarios developed by Looney Ricks Kiss would eliminate the Riverwalk and most traces of Mud Island park as it exists now. Replacing it would be a landscape of private commercial development with rows of retail, office space and residential towers. When asked if that level of change was likely, Lendermon said “probably not.” “The idea is, is there a way for appropriate private development to be incorporated in the island to provide the amenities people told us they wanted anyway in a way that helps pay for the public improvements? That is something that’s intriguing but hard to do,” he said, adding there might be a place for some commercial development, “but it has to be done with a light touch.”

Skate Park:

There has been a lot of talk about a skate park – so much that some newcomers to the issue of Mud Island’s future had to look twice at the five scenarios for the park. Skate park supporters have been so vocal that novices believed the park for skateboarders and other athletes might dominate the park. It’s a small but important part of the overall plan and one that Lendermon told The Memphis News is a strong possibility in some form at one of several possible locations. It’s a specific piece of a move in a more general but vital direction, Lendermon said. “There needs to be more recreation there and it needs to also be more connected,” he said. “You need to connect out of the park to the greenway system.”

Access to the South Tip:

“None of this is brain surgery,” Lendermon said. “Everbody understands access to the island is the issue.” One way to get more activity on the southern end of the island is to use water taxis to ferry visitors from the soon-to-be completed Beale Street Landing. “And for tourists they’re wonderful. For the everyday person who wants access, they’re too cumbersome,” he added. “In one sense, it’s easy to solve. You just provide a pedestrian bridge or two pedestrian bridges and provide connections where you want it to be.” The catch is those bridges cross a harbor that is still used by tow boats and barges. So the bridges would have to move either up or sideways to let them through. “If you go up and over like you did at the Auction Street Bridge, you can see what it looks like. That’s not a bridge anybody would walk across,” Lendermon said, referring to the steep angle of the car bridge. “It has to be grade moveable. That’s $30 million to $40 million a bridge. We absolutely love it. We would die for one. But that costs more than Beale Street Landing for a pedestrian bridge. It won’t even allow cars. … Can this community ever afford something like that?” Harrover said such a bridge would help. But he found federal bridge standards formidable in the 1980s. “You need 50 feet clearance in high water. That’s the height of the bridge that goes there now,” he said referring to the Auction Street Bridge. “I could not get the Corps (of Engineers) to reduce that, which is crazy, because only barges go up there. They’ve got enough clearance for the Mississippi Queen’s smokestacks.”

Johnny Ryall Jan 30, 2010 9:49 PM

Grand Island Files Permit For Mud Island Apartment Complex
Project Cost: $19 million
Completion: 2012

Details: Grand Island will sit on the south end of Mud Island next to Rivertown on the Island condominiums, another Grant & Co. project. The formal address of the apartment complex, at least for permit purposes, is 300 Grand Island Drive. Grand Island Partners, the group bringing the 204-unit Grand Island apartments to Mud Island, has filed a $12.1 million building permit with plans to break ground in the spring, said company president Keith Grant. The property will be owned and managed by Grand Island LLC under the holding company L2 Properties.

Grant said the project originally was slated to begin this fall, but financing through the Federal Housing Administration’s Housing and Urban Development office has slowed the process because of a backlog of other projects. Construction for the entire complex is expected to last 22 months, Grant said, although some units will be ready by the end of 2010. Grand Island’s apartment units will have 700 to 1,350 square feet and will cost between $830 and $1,480 a month. The complex will have 108 one-bedroom, 84 two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom units. Half of the units will have views of the Mississippi River. The property also will have a clubhouse with a party/meeting room, movie theater, fitness center and swimming pool.

Johnny Ryall Jan 30, 2010 9:53 PM

Law School Ready For Downtown Move
REBEKAH HEARN | The Daily News

The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will reach a huge milestone Jan. 11 at 8 a.m. when it opens for classes at its new location Downtown inside the former U.S. Customs House and Post Office at 1 N. Front St. With help from two local architecture firms, Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects Inc. and Fleming Associates PC, the school revamped the building, vastly increasing the law school’s size and offering creative new amenities for students, faculty and staff. Dean Kevin H. Smith said the law school is now in “a much more stately building,” with state-of-the-art classrooms, study areas, library and even a functional courtroom.

Moving process
Moving the entire law school from the middle of the city to Downtown seems like a daunting process. However, Smith said great logistical planning by faculty and staff helped ease that transition. “The move actually went incredibly smoothly,” Smith said, noting the law library move alone entailed packing, unpacking and reorganizing about 5 miles, or more than 25,000 feet, of books. “Our law librarian, D.R. Jones, did a truly masterful job,” he said. The law library move began Nov. 30, Smith said, the day final exams began. “They just worked literally every day for two-plus weeks to pull together the books from three locations – our main law library and a couple of storage sites – and then that was completed around Dec. 14,” he said. On Dec. 15, 16 and part of Dec. 17, the faculty, staff and student organizations moved to the Downtown location. Because the faculty and staff waited to move until after the final exams were over, students’ class schedules weren’t interrupted. Smith did say because the law library began moving on the first day of exams, “students needed to make a bit of an adjustment.” “Instead of studying throughout the library, they needed to study in the parts that weren’t being moved on that particular day,” he said. But in general, students’ schedules weren’t disrupted, and faculty, staff and student groups will continue “unpacking with vigor” after the first of the year, Smith said, making the school ready to open Jan. 11.

New offerings
The law school’s Downtown location is vastly larger than the previous site. The new library alone will be about 60,000 square feet, whereas previously, the entire law school occupied about the same amount of space. Having the additional room has allowed for more amenities, and Smith eagerly discussed some of those as he went through the floor plans, which are available online. The five-story law school will have expanded student study areas and features a large student lounge on the north side of Level One. “That (area) will lead out onto a terrace overlooking the Mississippi (River),” Smith said. The student lounge area will feature a place where students can get drinks and food from a Barnes and Noble inside the school. Also, the TV and Social Interaction Room features large-screen TVs that will scroll information and news pertaining to the law school. The TVs also can be used during times such as March Madness to watch NCAA tournament games and to socialize. “That’s one amenity that we certainly are looking forward to,” Smith said of the student study areas. On Level Two, there are several horseshoe-shaped classrooms, a significant improvement from classrooms at the old location. “Our former law school has long classrooms where you can’t hear anything,” Smith said. “The new building … has well-designed classrooms – line of sight, and you can actually hear.” Level Two also features outdoor roof terraces on the north and south sides of the building. On Level Three, the former federal courtroom has been refurbished to become the Historic Moot Court Room. “It’s a large, wonderful, state-of-the-art courtroom now, and it will be used for Moot Court and Mock Trial,” Smith said. “But also, we’re hoping to have courts come and hear cases there to make it a functional courtroom.” Moving south from the courtroom is a jury room, a robing room for judges, a break room for the Moot Court Society and Moot Court practice areas. Level Four features a large reading room and private study carrels, as well as expanded space for the Law Review staff and meeting rooms for student groups. This floor features a glass-encased reading room overlooking the Mississippi. The bottom level, Level Zero, will house the law school legal clinic, which is held in conjunction with Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. “For the past 20 years, the clinic has been housed in MALS, and we have had and will continue to have a great partnership with them,” Smith said. “But now we can bring the clinic into the school for the first time. In the clinic, (students) will assist on cases under the guidance of a clinic professor, in cases involving real clients. We’ll take clients that have come through MALS.” The law library will occupy space on all five floors. Level Zero will hold mostly compact shelving; Level One will house the main desk and a reading room; Level Two will have administrative offices, computer labs and study space; Level Three will hold a large reading room; and Smith said “pretty much the entire (Level Four) is library of some form or another.”

Ready, set, learn
Moving the law school Downtown, just mere blocks from the Shelby County Courthouse, will benefit everyone at the school by bringing them closer to the heart of the Memphis legal community. Closer proximity to many law firms also could open up doors for clerkships, Smith said. Also, he said the new location makes the school more attractive to prospective students and faculty. Revamping the old Customs House was a huge project, and Smith gave props to the architects involved. “They have been absolutely superb in every way,” he said. “I’m not just saying this because the project is complete essentially at this point, but we were incredibly lucky to have that kind of professional competence involved in the project.” Construction on the building began in fall 2008, and Smith said everyone is more than ready to get into the new place. Although classes begin on Jan. 11, a opening gala hosted by law school alumni will be held Jan. 16. “It’s kind of a housewarming party,” Smith said. “We’re absolutely excited and very ready to be (operating) in the new building. “The move just went off really, really well.”

Confederate Park - Law School Public Access Project:

Construction of a concrete walkway along the top of the bluff behind the U of M Law School that will connect across Court Avenue with a pedestrian bridge to Confederate Park (U/C) $1,200,000

Johnny Ryall Jan 30, 2010 9:54 PM

Also, a large upscale redevelopment across the street on the southeast corner opened late last summer (and is heavily marketed to law students).

Metro 67, a $30 million, 12-story upscale apartment project at 67 Madison developed by EFO Residential Partners LP.

(from the Memphis Business Journal)-
Its project manager, Kip Platt, a principal at EFO Residential, believes the market can hold a few hundred luxury units. “I’m guardedly optimistic, but there is no comparison to anything else here,” Platt says. “This is a property that is rent by choice for people who want to try Downtown, people who are empty-nesters or people who live in Memphis for two-three years.” With the exception of the penthouse, units range from 587 square feet to 1,740 square feet, with the average unit being 1,013 square feet. Rents range from $755 to $2,600, with the average unit renting for $1,381 a month. The penthouse is a 2,570-square-foot unit with a private balcony on the 12th floor. While the other rooms have nine-foot ceilings, the penthouse has 12-foot ceilings. Platt would not disclose its asking price.

Built in the former Union Planters Bank headquarters building, Metro 67 also has 8,000 square feet of storage space, 18,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space and 400 parking spots in the garage across Madison, connected by an underground access. Metro 67 has a litany of other features, including a 10th floor amenity deck overlooking the new University of Memphis Law School, a wine cellar and coffee bar, a fitness center, a business center, a media room with stadium seating and an environmentally friendly design that saves 30% on utilities compared to a traditional unit.

Although the country is in the middle of a recession, Platt points to the fact that Metro 67’s leasing company, Fogelman Management Group, only has to lease 157 upscale units, not several hundred typically found in a multi-family project. He adds that while the economy is down in Memphis, it’s not as bad as other parts of the country. These high-end projects also have the Downtown submarket’s strengths to fall back on. Downtown has the highest rents in Memphis for new construction at $1.06 per square foot, according to CB Richard Ellis’ Multi-Housing MarketView report for the first quarter. The overall Memphis average for new construction is $0.86 per square foot. New apartments Downtown also have a 90.2% occupancy rate, slightly under the 90.7% occupancy average for new construction across all Memphis submarkets. “The numbers are down from years past, but just slightly,” Pera says. “There are not many areas across the country that have not been impacted by the economy, but for the most part it is outperforming the rest of the market.”

Johnny Ryall Jan 30, 2010 10:02 PM

Beale Street Landing, (U/C) $30,000,000
Riverfront Park & Riverboat Boarding Facility


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