Daily Briefs

By Updated: April 16, 2019 3:58 PM CT | Published: April 15, 2019 9:15 AM CT


  • Memphis industrial space hits records occupancy
  • 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
  • $15M building permit filed for 5-story Union Avenue hotel

Memphis 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

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

$15M building permit filed for 5-story Union Avenue hotel

A $15 million building permit was filed April 12 for the construction of a new $43 million, five-story hotel at 164 Union Ave.

The hotel, a full-service Hilton Canopy, will be built on the former site of the Benchmark Hotel and will feature 170 rooms, a restaurant and bar on the ground floor and basement, and on-site parking.

A $14 million permit was filed in December 2018 for foundation and structural work for the project.  

The contractor of the hotel project is Memphis-based Montgomery Martin Contractors, and construction is estimated to take 13 to 15 months.

-Natalie Martin


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