by Doug Carpenter
It’s common to hear even the proudest Memphis residents express a bit of envy over the cranes dotting Nashville’s skyline, visual proof of that city’s progress. It doesn’t take much looking, though, to realize we’ve got a fair share of crane activity happening in our own city, from Downtown to the suburbs.
In the Medical District, established tenants like Methodist Healthcare, UT Health Science Center, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are all expanding their presence. In light of International Paper’s new tower, Saddle Creek’s expansion and the new TraVure project, Germantown is adding significant mixed-use development. Overton Square’s faded French Quarter Inn is being replaced with Ballet Memphis’ state-of-the-art facility.
by Andrea Wiley
Today creative millennials want to be Downtown, where they can easily walk from home to work, get a coffee or a bite to eat, with access to the arts, live music and sporting events, and mix and mingle with multicultural peers who range in diverse mindsets.
Who can blame them? These desired environments encourage exploration and provide inspiration, which are key ingredients in creativity.
While this seems like a new idea to some, the creative firms in Memphis were early adopters to this notion, with several locating downtown in the 1990s or sooner, and they are still advocates today. Through branding and promoting our city’s most valued amenities and attractions, investment in real estate and talent acquisition, the advertising and marketing groups are supporting the development of downtown Memphis in a big way, and have been for a long time.
Archer Malmo, the largest independent agency in the Mid-South, advocates for being intentional in making Downtown attractive to the creative and technology talent necessary for the Memphis advertising industry to compete in today’s digital economy.
“We believe the best way for us to contribute to that strategy is to grow our own firm and create jobs,” says Archer Malmo CEO Russ Williams. “Since 2009, our Downtown Memphis staff has grown from 80 to 175, so we’ve created 95 new jobs in that time. We are also a long-term strategic partner of Start Co. and deeply committed to their efforts to build a strong community of entrepreneurs downtown.”
Emily Adams Keplinger
For 25 years, a partnership between First Tennessee and Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South, Inc. has been making an impact on young people in the Greater Memphis area.
“Junior Achievement is a not-for-profit organization financed by businesses, foundations, and individuals,” says Larry Colbert, JA’s president and CEO. “Our organization’s mission statement is focused on economic education, work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Our purpose is to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business, and economics to improve the quality of their lives.”
Simply put, Junior Achievement teaches children “how business works.”
by Maya Smith
ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. has begun bringing life to the vacant Peabody Place structure as it moves its global headquarters from East Memphis to the heart of Downtown.
With the repurposing of a once booming mall and the presence of more than 1,000 employees being added to the neighborhood, the aesthetics and economy alike of Downtown Memphis are being impacted.
In June 2016, the company announced the signing of a 15-year lease to occupy the space that stands adjacent to The Peabody, a block from bustling Beale Street to its south and the Redbirds’ home at AutoZone Park to its north.
The company is in the process of renovating and transforming Peabody Place from an empty mall into a state-of-the-art office space that will house all three of its business segments: American Home Shield, Terminix, and its Franchise Services Group, which includes the brands AmeriSpec, Furniture Medic, Merry Maids, ServiceMaster Clean, and ServiceMaster Restore.
The $35 million renovation is expected to wrap up this year, with 1,200 employees moving into the building by the end of 2017.
by Frank Murtaugh
Alex Turley is a Memphian. But a Memphian with perspective sharpened by his days in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, not to mention a college semester in Ireland (where he happened to meet his wife, a native of Phoenix). A city’s dynamics — how it breathes, functions, and grows — are now Turley’s tool kit as vice president of real estate at Henry Turley Company. His understanding of how other cities thrive, though, has come to enhance Turley’s skills with that tool kit.
“I spent my childhood back-and-forth, between Memphis [where his dad lives] and D.C. [his mom’s home],” says Turley. “I’m glad I had that experience, living in different places. I actually spent my sophomore year of high school in D.C. [before graduating from Christian Brothers High School in 1997]. Those experiences made me who I am today.
by David S. Waddell
I remember flying into Shanghai in 2007 over vast agricultural fields punctuated with six- to twelve-lane highway bridges spanning irrigation canals but without connected highways on either side! Confused as to their purpose, I asked a government official why these bridges existed. He explained that China’s development plan included moving the Chinese population into cities connected by vast networks of highways and high-speed rail. On course, China has now urbanized 56 percent of its total population, up from 26 percent in 1990, which prompts the question: What’s so great about cities?
Cities are simply defined as higher density population clusters, but something economically magical happens when populations congregate. For starters, the establishment and growth of urban clusters rapidly increases investment activity. Consider Nashville: Of the 190 development projects now under way in Nashville, 40 exceed $100 million according to the Nashville Business Journal. This capital deployment drives new business formations, lower unemployment, and higher personal incomes.
Overall, urban environments also greatly increase labor productivity. Reductions in transportation costs, higher specialization, and hive-like communication networks lead to vast improvements in per capita GDP levels compared with less dynamic rural environments.
by Jon W. Sparks
St. Jude’s 2016-2021 Strategic Plan would have shocked Danny Thomas.
So says Dr. James Downing, the institution’s president and CEO, who observes that the founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital had an extraordinarily expansive vision to fulfill and cultivated smart people to bring it about. One of those people — Dr. Donald Pinkel — was chosen in 1961 as the first director and CEO of St. Jude. Downing says he had an opportunity to sit with Pinkel who told him he couldn’t believe what it looks like today and that Danny wouldn’t have believed it either.
It is, after all, a plan that has ambitions on a global scale that emanate from its campus Downtown.
by Ned Canty
Before becoming general director of Opera Memphis in 2011, I spent five years as festival director of the New York Television Festival. Founded in 2005, the NYTVF aimed to be the “Sundance of Television,” leveraging advances in technology to help uncover a new generation of storytellers. It debuted in October 2005, to great success. Two months later, YouTube launched, and instead of the marginal expansion of traditional talent pipelines we were aiming for, we found ourselves in the midst of a massive shift in how content was created, consumed, and paid for.
I have a vivid memory of sitting in a diner with a highly placed TV executive who was convinced his entire world was disappearing before his eyes. TV would be dead within three years, he said. In many ways he was right. Eleven years later, the traditional television business model is a distant memory, torn to shreds by webisodes, streaming services, and a universe of nearly infinite choice. His world is gone, no question. But what replaced it is a new golden age of television. I don’t know about you, but my DVR is bursting with absolutely amazing art right now. If the DVR is empty Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu are standing by to deliver a century of amazing storytelling. TV is dead; long live TV.
I think about this a lot when I meet with colleagues from opera companies in other cities. All of us are watching a slow-motion version of what happened to TV a decade ago. Business models that were stable for years are crumbling. Subscriptions, long the backbone of any arts organization, are declining. Audiences are buying tickets later and later, and in the case of millennials, often waiting until the day of the event to decide what to do on a Saturday night. More people today are cultural omnivores, attending a wide variety of events, rather than committing to a full season of one genre — something that makes perfect sense given the abundance of choices.
by Jon W. Sparks
The way Downtown is getting gussied up, you’d think there’s a bicentennial on the way. In fact, the 200th anniversary of the founding of Memphis by John Overton, James Winchester, and Andrew Jackson is coming in 2019 and if they could see it today, the old entrepreneurs would be astonished at what’s on the bluff. In this issue, we look at three aspects of Downtown development and what the impact is going to be.
First is the expansion of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital a third of the way into its ambitious six-year strategic plan to conquer pediatric cancer. Work that has been done, is underway, and is planned, both on and off campus, is changing everything from nearby neighborhoods to genetics on a global scale.
A bit further south, the once lively but lately moribund Peabody Place is coming back stronger than ever as headquarters to ServiceMaster. The move into one building from various properties out east brings some 1,200 employees to liven up the Downtown scene every day.
Then we have the South Main area, which can’t seem to stop building apartments, condos, and lofts to meet the demands of millennials as well as empty nesters. But is it growing too fast?
The latest articles from the print version of Inside Memphis Business.
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