Daily Briefs

By Published: February 28, 2019 1:06 PM CT
  • NAI Saig moving to Poplar Towers
  • More ABRA body shops coming
  • Ballet Memphis announces inaugural New American Dance Residency participants
  • University of Memphis to hold session on middle school 
  • Visible Music College receives ArtsZone grant 

NAI Saig moving to Poplar Towers

NAI Saig Company is moving one mile within East Memphis, from the Ridgeway Center office park to Poplar Towers.

The commercial and industrial real estate brokerage firm plans to move its office of seven employees on Feb. 28 to the bottom floor of Poplar Towers, 6263 Poplar.

NAI Saig will occupy roughly the same amount of space as it does now, just under 3,000 square feet, said Elliot Embry, vice president of the firm that is locally owned (Saig) but has a national reputation (NAI).

“We’re excited to be able to locate in one of our clients’ properties and have prime Poplar visibility and access,” Embry said. NAI Saig represents Faropoint Ventures, which purchased the 11-story Poplar Towers in fall 2017.

That 129,533-square-foot building has just undergone a renovation and experienced an increase in occupancy from 59 percent to 81 percent.

Among the sales of prominent buildings that NAI Saig has brokered include the Lipscomb and Pitts Building, 2670 Union Extended, and the Trustmark Building, 5350 Poplar.

-Tom Bailey

More ABRA body shops coming

Two more ABRA (Autobody Repair of America) shops appear to be coming to the Memphis area.

Applications this week for building permits reveal plans for body-repair shops at 5757 Airline Road in Arlington and 3566 Centennial in the Southwind area.

Each development is estimated to cost $2.5 million, the online document shows. The developer is Nashville-based Oldacre McDonald, a full-service commercial real estate firm.

The two new sites would be ABRA’s eight and ninth locations in the area stretching from Horn Lake to Bartlett. The Minnesota-based chain of more than 350 shops was founded in 1984.

-Tom Bailey

Ballet Memphis announces inaugural New American Dance Residency participants

Ballet Memphis’ new residency is geared towards dance-makers interested in fusing art and community. The participants will visit Memphis cultural institutions and speak with experts, learning about the city and its contributions. 

“Through this Memphis-centric dance residency, historically underrepresented dance artists with a strong curiosity for disrupting the status quo of traditional dance will explore the unique aspects of Memphis’ historical, political and global reach in conjunction with Ballet Memphis’ method of creating art that impacts communities,” said Amelia Thompson, Ballet Memphis’ director of development and strategic advancement.

The residency will run April 15-26, with a community presentation at Ballet Memphis during the final weekend.

The residents are Michael Medcalf of Memphis, Valerie D. Alpert of Chicago, Tommie-Waheed Evans of Philadelphia and Crystal Michelle Perkins of Dayton, Ohio.

Medcalf is an assistant professor of dance at the University of Memphis and has more than 30 years of arts-related leadership and performance experience. He was the founder/artistic director of Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre in Ohio and the Greene/Medcalf Movement Project, also in Cleveland, Ohio. Medcalf received an MFA in dance from the University of Iowa.

Alpert is the artistic director of VADCO/Valerie Alpert Dance Company and received a Ph.D in dance from Texas Women’s University and an MFA in choreography and technology from Ohio State University.

Evans is a visiting assistant professor in dance at The University of the Arts. Evans received an MFA in choreography from Jacksonville University.

Perkins serves as the associate artistic director of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in Dayton, Ohio, as well as an assistant professor of dance at Ohio State University, from which she received an MFA in dance.

-Elle Perry

University of Memphis to hold session on middle school

The University of Memphis is holding a public informational session on Saturday, Feb. 23, to reveal more details about its plans to open University Middle in the former St. Anne Catholic School on Highland Street.

The sixth- through eighth-grade middle school would be a partnership between the U of M and Shelby County Schools, pending approval by the school board at its meeting Feb. 26.  

On Saturday at 1 p.m. at Bethel Labelle Community Center, 2698 Larose Ave., the middle school steering committee will share the vision for University Middle with the community, including curriculum, student culture, facility planning and hiring as well as go over the application process and enrollment priorities.

The middle school builds on the university’s existing Barbara K. Lipman Early Learning and Research Center and Campus School.

Campus School is the U of M’s elementary school partnership with SCS, serving about 330 students in grades 1-5.

Both schools are laboratory schools overseen by the U of M College of Education that integrate education research into their programs and provide classroom experience for student-teachers.

The goal of University Middle is to expand the idea of what a laboratory school can be, U of M President M. David Rudd said in a prepared statement, through research partnerships that span the disciplines of the university, from education and engineering to philosophy and theatre, to public health and cognitive psychology.    

The addition of University Middle continues the university’s efforts to enhance the south side of campus. It is also intended to serve as a bridge between the university and the diverse neighborhoods surrounding its campus.

Last month, the U of M Board of Trustees approved an agreement to purchase the Gather on Southern private student housing facility just south of the railroad tracks.

Applications are set to open Feb. 27, if the U of M secures approval by the school board the day prior. University Middle aims to enroll 60 sixth-grade students to begin in the fall of 2019 with subsequent grades to follow. Projected enrollment is 90 students per class.  

-Michelle Corbet

Visible Music College receives ArtsZone grant

Visible Music College, founded in Memphis in 2000, will be able to create opportunities for Memphis-area elementary, middle and high school students with support from an ArtsZone grant, awarded by AutoZone Inc. in partnership with ArtsMemphis.

The grant is “specifically earmarked” for support for greater Memphis residents in the Visible Community Music School, or VCMS program, including public school and home-schooled students and families looking for affordable, accessible music education, according to a release.

Visible Music College awards college students with scholarships annually for teaching children through the VCMS program. 

In addition to its Memphis campus Downtown, Visible Music College has locations across the country, drawing students from around the world to experience its "unique blend of practical music industry education, hands-on experience and spiritual development.”

For more information on the VCMS program, e-mail

-Natalie Martin


Ballet Memphis University Of Memphis Visible Music College Autozone Inc. Artsmemphis

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