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Bravo Memphis Hosts Le Bonheur Art Tour

In December, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital opened its new 12-story, $340 million state-of-the-art facility. Sustainably built and pending LEED green building certification, the new campus is 50 percent larger than the previous one, with 255 beds and room to expand.

Brightly painted patient rooms and playrooms have been placed along the outer-lying areas of the building, allowing for abundant light and panoramic views of the city. Adding to its kid-friendliness is the hospital’s unique collection of vibrant, uplifting artwork, which can viewed Tuesday night during a tour hosted by Bravo Memphis, Arts Memphis’ membership option for people ages 21 through 45.

A wine and cheese reception will take place at 6:00 p.m. in the Clinic Lobby, followed by the art tour at 6:30 p.m. The evening will end with conversation and wine, compliments of Bravo Memphis, at the nearby Trolley Stop Market, 704 Madison Avenue.

Click here for a preview of the artwork and additional information regarding the tour.

Reporting Project 21

A Houston Business Journal reporter blogged today that she spoke with a principal of the site selection team who worked with Mitsubishi Electric Power Products – the company that’s building a transformer plant in Memphis.

Mitsubishi also considered Houston. And HBJ reporter Jennifer Dawson reported months ago some of the details surrounding the secretive “Project 21″ – the project’s code name.

She asked Mark Sweeney, the senior principal with McCallum Sweeney Consulting of Greenville, S.C., a question that’s been getting a lot of focus in Memphis lately – whether early media reporting about details threatens to kill them.

Her question: “Did the fact that HBJ wrote a story about the project last April hurt the local site’s chances of landing the deal?”

Answer: “No, but it was not well received. Fortunately our ‘confidentiality controls’ prevented you from learning the client identity or very much detail about the project; if that had been divulged it would have put the region in serious jeopardy of being dropped for any further consideration for the project.”

Read more here.

Borders Waves a Long, Slow Goodbye

The Borders book store chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday. The Borders store and Waldenbooks store the chain operates in Memphis weren’t listed in the wave of 200 stores the chain is closing that will result in several thousand job losses.

However, the chain still has an option to close up to 75 more as-yet unidentified stores.

Meanwhile, anyone who’s on Borders’ email list probably saw the company moving inexorably toward bankruptcy well before now, via a series of increasingly desperate sounding email subject lines.

Here’s a recent sample:

December 27: WATCH ALL WEEK! 2-Day Deals — Deal #2: 50% off bestsellers
December 31: 50% OFF ANY ITEM! Don’t Miss the Last of Our 2-Day Deals!
January 6: $10 in BONUS Borders Bucks — Limited Time Only!
January 6: Eat This, Not That — Shop Here, Not There… And SAVE!
January 13: WOW! A Wireless eReader Under $100 — 4 Days Only!

(Then, three days after the end of that 4-day period …)

January 20: 4 DAYS LEFT! A Wireless eReader Under $100
January 27: MUAH! Be My Valentine — Gift Ideas & SAVINGS!
January 31: FREE SHIPPING — No Minimum Purchase! Stop Shoveling, Start Shopping!

(Oh, remember the 4-day sale on the e-reader? …)

February 7: Dare to Compare! Kobo Wireless eReader Now $99.99 Every Day!

There’s a special Website now set up where Borders is putting information about its bankruptcy.

The title on the main page?

“Borders’ Business Operations Continue As Normal”

Financial News Roundup (Cadence Bank, Allen Stanford, John Paulson)

The parent company of Cadence Bank announced today the Federal Reserve has approved Cadence’s acquisition by a private equity company.

That deal will take Cadence private and infuse it with a lot of new, sorely needed capital.

Meanwhile, disgraced financial titan and former Stanford Financial namesake Allen Stanford is being moved to the same jail where Bernie Madoff lives.

And hedge fund king John Paulson has upped his stake in the parent company of First Tennessee, buying more than 136,000 shares of the company in the recent quarterly period.

Project 21

Project 21 was the code name for the big business announcement in Memphis Monday – that Mitsubishi Electric Power Products is building a 350,000-square-foot plant here to manufacture electric transformers – but it could also serve as a fitting metaphor for the city itself.

Mitsubishi chose Project 21 as the name for its $200 million investment in Memphis for a simple reason. The products that will come off the line here represent new technology for the 21st century.

The burst of major economic development news of late in Memphis – the Mitsubishi announcement, the announcement that Swedish appliance maker Electrolux is building a 700,000-square-foot plant here, among other corporate developments soon to be announced – also is pointing toward a bright start to the 21st century for Memphis.

Memphis is landing repeatedly on the radar of large multinational employers that are comfortable enough with what the city offers to invest millions of dollars putting down roots here in the form of plants and other physical infrastructure staffed with employees either hired here or brought here.

Much of that is due to the city’s intrinsic assets. But you can’t win when you fail to compete, and Memphis’ economic development team is competing mightily. It includes a strong partnership between city and county leaders, state government and the Greater Memphis Chamber.

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell are one piece of that partnership, and they’re a big one. That city-county mayoral duo is one the city has had to do without in the recent past, in a time of different political leadership. Today, though, Wharton and Luttrell have no problem keeping their bags packed, keeping their schedules fluid enought to fly off to meet with corporate prospects and adding salesman-in-chief to their already long list of duties.

Fittingly, when they were called to the stage at the Peabody hotel for the Mitsubishi announcement Monday, both men rose together and walked in almost perfect unison.

Dansette

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