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The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: U of M plans a stadium refresh, and the Falls Building sells for $10 million

It’s going to be your lucky day, Memphis! Today is Friday, May 13, but that doesn’t have to mean bad luck. It’s all about perspective, right?

The Memphis Grizzlies will play the Golden State Warriors again tonight in game six of the playoff series, and they’ll have to whoop that trick yet again to stay in the playoffs. Our own Chris Herrington has some thoughts on how game six might go (including something he calls “the Steven Adams effect”). As usual for away games, there’s a watch party at Fourth Bluff Park, and there’s another one at Tobey Park.

The Spin Doctors will play at Memphis in May’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest tonight, and rapper Tone Loc takes the stage tomorrow. Check out our photo gallery to see how Thursday went.

Tonight, The Who plays FedExForum, and the 39th annual Memphis in May Triathlon kicks off on Saturday at Shelby Farms Park. See a full round-up of fun for the weekend (and beyond) in our To-Do List.



Memphis has plans for a $150 million - $200 million renovation to Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, the University of Memphis announced on Thursday. (Courtesy of University of Memphis)

Liberty Bowl makeover: The University of Memphis and the City of Memphis announced a $150 million to $200 million renovation for the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium (aka the Liberty Bowl) on Thursday. According to U of M athletic director Laird Veatch, the decision to renovate was spurred by conversations around conference realignment. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said the “lion’s share” of renovation funding will come from the university. The Daily Memphian’s Geoff Calkins said the news could give longtime Memphians some PTSD (remember when the city made stadium updates, rather than building a new stadium, to court the NFL only to have them pass us over?). “There is such a thing as being penny-wise and stadium-foolish,” Calkins said. Not that Calkins is suggesting we build a new stadium, but he did suggest that renovations aren’t a Big 12 guarantee. 


Hertz Memphis Two LLC sold the building at 22 N. Front St. to Falls Building Property Owner LLC for $10 million, according to the Shelby County Record of Deeds. (Neil Strebig/Daily Memphian)

Falls Building sells: Hertz Memphis Two LLC sold Downtown’s historic Falls Building on Wednesday to Falls Building Property Owner LLC (a shell company under New York-based Left Lane Development) for $10 million. The Greater Memphis Chamber recently announced they’d be moving their Falls Building offices to the Tower at Peabody Place after they were informed in January that their lease would not be renewed. Fun fact: The “V” in place of the “U” in “building” is a feature of the ediface’s Roman-style architecture since the Roman alphabet only had 23 letters (and no “U”).


A new state bill, supported by serveral health care-related organizations, sets parameters around step therapy. In this file photo, pharmacist Amelia Whigham fills prescriptions at Benevere Specialty Pharmacy & Diabetic Supply. (Daily Memphian file)

Big step for patients: A new Tennessee law sets parameters around “step therapy,” the practice by insurance companies that requires patients to try and fail using one or more treatments before covering the treatment originally prescribed by their provider. The goal of the bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee on Wednesday, is to help Tennesseans access the medications their doctor prescribes because delays in prescribed care can lead to adverse health outcomes.

We want a new drug: A COVID drug with Memphis ties has received the green light to seek permission from the FDA for fast-track emergency approval. In clinical trials, Veru Inc.’s sabizabulin decreased fatalities by half for people hospitalized with serious respiratory issues caused by COVID. Sabizabulin was created as an anti-cancer agent in collaboration with GTx, a Memphis pharmaceutical firm that no longer exists.


Lakeland Mayor Mike Cunningham gives his state of the city address at the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian file)

End of the road: Lakeland Mayor Mike Cunningham announced on Thursday that he will not run for a second term. Cunningham was elected in 2018, after defeating incumbent Wyatt Bunker. Cunningham also recently retired from his long-time job at FedEx. “Being on the minority end of most controversial votes to providing leadership through this pandemic has been incredibly challenging at times,” Cunningham said.



Megan Tate listened to singers like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion to develop her voice. (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian)

At age five, blind gospel singer Megan Tate would sing when no one was around. By age 13, she began to work on her voice as she listened to Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. “I got to where I could sing along with Celine just fine and do harmony with her,” she said. “It probably sounds odd since I’m a gospel singer.” Tate, who lost her eyesight completely by age 25, has found plenty of success in spite of that. She’s with a Nashville record label and is working on a contemporary romance novel.




At 33, Memphis Grizzlies’ vice president of basketball operations Zach Kleiman (middle, in a file photo) is the youngest person to be named the league’s Executive of the Year. (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian)

Executive of the Year: Fresh off the heels of a Memphis Grizzlies blowout against the Golden State Warriors, the team’s vice president of basketball operations Zach Kleiman was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year. At age 33, Kleiman is the youngest person to receive the Executive of the Year award.


Bill Townsend bought 707 Adams Ave., a historic home that dates back to 1852, for $725,000. (Neil Strebig/Daily Memphian)

Vintage in the Village: Developer Bill Townsend bought the historic Pillow-McIntyre House at 707 Adams Ave. in Victorian Village on Wednesday. Townsend has lots of plans for the space: an antique shop, a headquarters for his Townsend Development team, office and coworking space, a test kitchen for his seasoning company Memphis Marinade, and maybe one day, a boutique hotel. Townsend gave The Daily Memphian’s Neil Strebig a tour of the home and offered up ideas for the space. 


The historic Parkview at 1914 Poplar Ave. will undergo a renovation from senior living to market-rate apartments, reducing the number of units from 136 to 126. (Neil Strebig/Daily Memphian)

Approvals all around: The plan to renovate Midtown’s Parkview senior living facility and convert the building to market-rate apartments was approved by the Memphis and Shelby County Land Use and Control Board on Thursday. In January, California-based Forge Partners, which is overseeing the redevelopment, informed Parkview’s senior residents that they had until April 30 to relocate. The LUCB also approved a plan for two new logistics facilities for Atlanta-based Robinson Weeks within the Raines Road Planned Urban Development site. And they gave approval for a “holistic ecosystem” project on Walnut Grove that will include more than a dozen buildings, including six residential buildings, a two-story charter school, an amphitheater and four buildings with more than 14,000 square feet of office space. 


A forklift driver takes stock of the inventory at the MidSouth Food Bank. From March 2020 through December 2021, the Community Foundation gave the Mid-South Food Bank more than $725,000. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

It’s better to give: During the pandemic, Memphis moved from No. 16 to No. 8 in the nation for donations to local community foundations, according to the annual Columbus Survey. Memphis’ 1.1 million people gave the equivalent of $418.42 apiece to the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, up from $156.83 in 2019. “We’ve definitely had a lot going on here. We managed, for the first time, a communitywide fund for COVID, which raised $14.5 million dollars from all kinds of donors, most of them individuals,” said Bob Fockler, Community Foundation president.


Ellis Koonce and Heather Selvy, with Caney Creek Honey, are vendors at the Hernando Farmers Market. (Courtesy of the City of Hernando)

Senior days: Senior citizens are getting their own day to shop at the Hernando Farmers Market, reportedly the largest open-air market of its kind in Mississippi. One Saturday each month will be designated for seniors, and any customer over 55 will be supplied with a free $5 token to spend at the market (is it just me, or does 55 seem really young for senior citizenship classification?). Senior days will also include cooking demonstrations, tai chi, line dancing and painting classes.



After the Memphis Grizzlies clobbered the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, even Spotify got in on the “Whoop That Trick” fun.


Let’s whoop ’em again, Grizzlies! And y’all have a great weekend.