Daily Briefs

By Updated: April 16, 2019 4:53 PM CT | Published: April 15, 2019 3:52 PM CT
  • Miami development firm buys The Arlington Shops
  • CBRE:  Industrial space hits record occupancy
  • Collierville High  principal named Rossville Christian's next head of school
  • Memphis in May announces Celebrate Memphis program, lineup
  • UTHSC professor receives $21M in funding for establishment of program to combat mosquito-transmitted viruses 
  • 'The Voice' star Reagan Strange to be 2019 Graceland Performing Arts Camp counselor
  • Rhodes College renames oldest building over ties to slavery
  • Free transportation phone service for disabled, elder adults launches
  • University of Memphis announces 2018 Hooks National Book Award finalists 
  • 'Create Your Space' workshop to be held at Memphis College of Art

Miami development firm buys The Arlington Shops

Gideon Gratsiani and CRE-Pro LLC, a boutique commercial real estate investment firm in Miami, Florida, have acquired The Arlington Shops in Arlington.

The property was purchased for $2.9 million, according to the Shelby County Register of Deeds. The land and buildings are appraised by the Shelby County Property Assessor at $2,137,000.

The Arlington Shops is a 15,775-square-foot shopping center anchored by a Kroger grocery store at 11615 Highway 70. It has a mix of tenants including UPS, Subway, Pizza Hut, Goodwill, Crave Coffee and El Mezcal Restaurant. Built in 2005, the center was 91% occupied at the time of the sale.

Located in the Northeast submarket, the 17-acre property fronts Highway 70 and Airline Road, with convenient access to Interstate 40, Highway 385, Arlington High School and neighboring communities.

CRE-Pro owns, acquires and redevelops shopping centers, office buildings and multifamily residential facilities.

CRE-Pro also recently closed on Redbud Commons, a 63,884-square-foot, grocery-anchored shopping center in Gastonia, North Carolina, a fast-growing suburb of Charlotte with a high occupancy rate, according to its website.

-Terry Hollahan

CBRE:  Industrial space hits record occupancy

CBRE has never recorded a lower vacancy rate for Memphis-area industrial buildings than the 5.7 percent for the first three months of 2019, the commercial real estate firm announced Tuesday.

More than 1.1 million square feet of industrial space was absorbed in the Memphis market between January and March. It was the 23rd consecutive quarter of positive absorption, meaning more space was leased than vacated.

The year’s first quarter “has seen in excess of 3 million square feet of Class A deals executed and we will see that absorption later this year,” Patrick Walton, CBRE senior vice president, said in a prepared statement.

“Memphis has a very strong pipeline of tenant demand and we are in need of the next wave of speculative development,” he said.

More than 5.1 million square feet of industrial space is being built, and 69 percent of it is speculative, the CBRE Marketview report states.

Another 7 million square feet of speculative industrial space is planned to be built by early 2020.                           

-Tom Bailey

Collierville High principal named Rossville Christian's next head of school

Collierville High School’s principal, Chip Blanchard, is leaving his position to become Rossville Christian Academy’s head of school.

The school’s faculty was notified in a meeting Tuesday afternoon, according to Jeff Jones, chief of staff for Collierville Schools. Blanchard will finish the remainder of the academic year before assuming his new role.

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to lead a school with such a student-focused culture,” Blanchard said in a press release. “I am enthusiastic and eager to begin working with the staff to support all of the students and to see RCA grow to its full potential.”

Blanchard has been the Collierville High principal since 2014, and he previously served as principal at Collierville Middle, vice principal of Bartlett High School and assistant principal of Bolton High School.

Jones expects the district to go through a regular process as its searches for a replacement at Collierville. He was not sure if the decision would be made by outgoing superintendent John Aitken, the new superintendent or a joint process.

Rossville Christian is a small independent school in the southwest corner of Fayette County. It serves about 300 students from junior kindergarten through 12th grade.

-Abigail Warren

Memphis in May announces Celebrate Memphis program, lineup

Memphis in May International Festival has unveiled the entertainment lineup for its final May event this year.

Celebrate Memphis will be held Saturday, May 25 on five stages in Tom Lee Park. Gates open at 3 p.m. The event is free; blankets, lawn chairs and outside food, beverages and coolers will be allowed.

At 5:30 p.m. there will be a commemorative airshow and the All Veteran Group Parachute Team gliding into the park. At 9 p.m. there will be a lighted drone show over the Mississippi River, where a fleet of drones will light up the sky with local images and landmarks, in coordination with lighting of the Harahan and Hernando de Soto bridges. That light show will be followed by another form of lights: fireworks.

According to event organizers, the firework show will be the largest ever held in Memphis, in honor of the city’s 200th birthday this year.

Celebrate Memphis is scheduled to include the following Memphis musicians and dance groups: Lucero, Al Kapone, New Ballet Ensemble, Opera Memphis, Love Light Orchestra, Garry Goin & Friends, The Memphis Wind Symphony, Chinese Connection Dub Embassy, Bailey Bigger, The Bo-Keys featuring Percy Wiggins, The Lucky Seven Brass Band, Stax Music Academy, Collage Dance Collective, Ashton Riker, Roben X, Marco Pave, Memphisissippi Sounds, Darryl Evan Jones, Fuzzy Jeffries, Poets of the Word, Fresco the Label and MikeyChristian.

There’s more. Memphis will try to break the record for the World’s Largest Picnic and will need people to sit at a 1,350-foot-long table. The event will also include the opportunity to help complete a mural on a Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) and The Global Community Market & Expo, featuring food tastings and cultural performances from different countries represented in Memphis. There will also be an area for families that includes Touch-A-Truck, an area where Memphians can engage with local sports teams, a creative arts tent, a competitive cornhole tournament, a food court featuring local food trucks and restaurants and a marketplace featuring local artisans.

-Elle Perry

UTHSC professor receives $21M in funding for establishment of program to combat mosquito-transmitted viruses 

Professor and Endowed Van Vleet Chair of Excellence in Virology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Dr. Colleen Jonsson, has been awarded more than $21 million in funding to establish a Center of Excellence for Encephalitic Alphavirus Therapeutics program.

The program will be aimed at advancing the discovery and development of “potent antiviral drug candidates targeting several harmful viruses spread to people by infected mosquitoes,” according to a release.

“The goal of our new Center of Excellence is to further develop novel therapeutic molecules discovered by our team that are highly potent across all three viruses, moving the optimal ones forward into pre-clinical development,” Jonsson said in a release. “Our groundbreaking work will allow the development of this molecule and a potential new therapeutic for these harmful viruses.”

Jonsson and her collaborators are investigating three New World alphaviruses that currently have no FDA-approved treatments, the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV), the Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV), and the Western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV).

-Natalie Martin

'The Voice' star Reagan Strange to be 2019 Graceland Performing Arts Camp counselor

Mid-South native and “The Voice” star Reagan Strange will be a special guest counselor and performer during this year’s Graceland Performing Arts Camp.

The camp, which offers a July 10-14 session for ages 13-17, and a July 17-21 session for ages 6-16, will give participants the chance to explore their talents in workshops on stage at The Guest House at Graceland Theater and production sets featured in the acclaimed “Sun Records” TV series. 

Campers will also participate in daily workshop sessions that include acting, singing and dancing, and will develop their own showcase over the four days of camp culminating in an evening performance on stage at The Guest House Theater for family and friends on the last night.

In addition to Strange, other Graceland Performing Arts Camp faculty  include Katelyn Nichols, an actor, voiceover artist, acting coach and University of Memphis graduate who will lead the camp, Hayley Bell as acting director, Memphis native Joel Valdez as music director and McKenzie Day as choreography director.

The Graceland Performing Arts Camp experience includes four nights at The Guest House at Graceland resort hotel, meals, and camp activities for an all-inclusive price. To register for camp, click here or call 901-332-3322.

-Natalie Martin

Rhodes College renames oldest building over ties to slavery

Rhodes College is renaming Palmer Hall, the oldest building on campus, because of namesake Benjamin Palmer’s support of the purported Biblical justification for slavery, according to a statement on the Rhodes website.

Effective April 12, the building was renamed Southwestern Hall. The Rhodes College Board of Trustees accepted the unanimous recommendation of a discernment committee that studied the issue.

“This recommendation is based on the committee’s detailed investigation of the principal legacy of Benjamin Palmer, which was found to be fundamentally at odds with our college Vision,” the discernment committee said in a statement.

Palmer, who died in 1902, never disavowed his belief that the Bible supported slavery, according to the Rhodes statement.

The new name, Southwestern Hall, “honors and restores a name with a rich tradition and history,” the statement said. “With these changes we elaborate, rather than replace history.”

-Ron Maxey

Free transportation phone service for disabled, elder adults launches

901RideChoice, a new, free phone service for elder adults and those with disabilities in need of transportation is now available thanks to Innovate Memphis. 

901RideChoice provides callers information about local ride options including Memphis Area Transit Authority’s (MATA) plus paratransit service, as well as options from community, health care and service agencies.

The initiative is being funded through MATA with money from the Federal Transportation Administration's Section 5310: Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program.

 The phone number for 901RideChoice is (901) 743-3901.

-Elle Perry

University of Memphis announces 2018 Hooks National Book Award finalists 

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis has selected finalists for the 2018 Hooks National Book Award.

The award is presented to a non-fiction book published in the calendar year that best furthers understanding of the American Civil Rights Movement and its legacy, according to a release.

“This year’s nominees for the annual book award given by the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change were especially impressive, exploring a range of critical topics critical to understanding the civil rights movement and its legacy,” Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, Hooks National Book Award Committee chair and chair of the University of Memphis’ History Department, said in a release. “The five finalists were especially noteworthy not only for the rigor and quality of their research, but also their ability to reach audiences beyond academia. Such books can help spur important conversations about race and justice – in the past, present and future.”

The award finalists were chosen from a group of 29 nominations covering a diverse field of subjects related to the civil rights movement and its legacy. The winner will be selected this summer and will present a lecture at the University of Memphis.

The finalists of the 2018 Hooks National Book Award are:

  • “An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden” by Mary Schmidt Campbell
  • “Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till” by Elliott J. Gorn
  • “The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy” by David Margolick
  • “Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom” by Keisha N. Blain
  • “Tigerland: 1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing” by Wil Haygood.

 -Natalie Martin

'Create Your Space' workshop to be held at Memphis College of Art

Those with ideas for the future use of the Brooks Museum and the Memphis College of Art buildings will have a chance to receive feedback at a “Create Your Space” informational session and workshop on Wednesday, April 17, at Memphis College of Art (MCA).

The informational session and workshop, hosted by the city of Memphis and Epicenter, a nonprofit organization designed to support entrepreneurship in the greater Memphis area, will give attendees the opportunity to discuss their ideas with experts from Epicenter and the project consultant firm, U3 Advisors, in a two- to five-minute pitch.

Epicenter will also offer one-on-one feedback sessions by appointment from noon to 5 p.m., and each session will last approximately 10 minutes. Those interested in one-on-one sessions should register for the workshop in advance at

Individuals, organizations and teams from Memphis and beyond are encouraged to submit their vision for one building, both buildings, or part of either building online at by 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 30.

The event will be open to the public from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will include tours of the MCA building at 5:15 p.m., and 6:15 p.m., and tours of the Brooks Museum building at 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

-Natalie Martin


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