First Tennessee Parent Co. Reports Nice Q1

The Memphis-based parent company of First Tennessee Bank this morning reported a first quarter that soundly beat analyst expectations.

First Horizon National Corp.’s Q1 net income available to common shareholders was $40.2 million, or 15 cents a share. The consensus estimate of more than two dozen analysts was a 4-cent profit.

In the year-ago period, First Horizon reported a net loss of $27.7 million, or 12 cents a share.

Among the quarter’s highlights, pre-tax income in First Horizon’s regional bank segment increased 4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010. Year-over-year, revenue was relatively stable despite added regulatory pressure and economic challenges, the company said.

A Beloved Bookstore is Going Once, Going Twice

Davis-Kidd’s parent company is going on the auction block today, a process that will decide the fate of the much-loved East Memphis bookstore.

It should be noted that the auction process doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the performance of the Memphis store itself.

That’s the most unfortunate part of the turn of events.

The Daily News reported last month creditors of Davis-Kidd’s bankrupt parent company weren’t happy with the company’s decision to close all but a few of its strongest remaining stores, such as the Memphis store.

Those creditors thought the company ought to pursue a liquidation instead.

Meanwhile, the community institution is open for business today – and hopefully for many days afterward.

An interesting take on the Coliseum

Even those present at Memphis Heritage’s meeting to discuss the future of the Mid-South Coliseum admitted that nostalgia alone can’t save the 47-year-old building.

Indeed, there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered. Including how much it will cost to bring the six years and running “moth-balled” facility up to par with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Some say the restoration can be done for $10 million. But Smart City Memphis is skeptical.

“Don’t believe it. Studies of the building dating back more than a decade show that the cost is three to four times higher. To put that in context, it’s at least 50% more than the city’s incentive for Electrolux, and that investment will create more than 3,000 jobs.”

An interesting point. The city and county mayors are each seeking $20 million from local government for public infrastructure, including roads into Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park, where Electrolux will build its $190 million manufacturing plant. It’s also about 68 times as big as the Coliseum and is expected to have a $47 million annual direct-employment benefit.

Do the odds justify the means? Only time will tell. Stay tuned.

Nominees Selected for EDGE Board

Several nominees have emerged for Economic Development Growth Engine, the new economic development board created to guide the city and county’s efforts.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Memphis Mayor AC Wharton Jr. will seek approval to appoint the following:

* Mark Halperin – executive vice president of Boyle Investment Co.
* Deidre Malone – President and CEO of The Carter Malone Group
* Johnny Moore- President and CEO of SunTrust Bank-Memphis
* Richard Smith – Managing director, FedEx Express
* Natasha Bowen – President and CEO of The Growth Coach
* Tom Dyer – Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP
* Larry Jackson – President of Patriot Bank
* Dick Leike – President and co-owner of Crye-Leike Real Estate Services

Mark Yates of Memphis is a joint nominee of the two mayors and will serve as the board chairman. Yates is the executive director for Voices for Memphis’ Children at Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center.

Two non-voting members will be Memphis City Councilman Kemp Conrad and Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas.

Memphis and Shelby County are also working to contract with a search firm to assist with hiring the president of EDGE.

“Establishing the EDGE and appointing its board of directors is a significant step toward rebuilding and reviving our local economy,” Wharton said. “I am asking these individuals to serve because I believe that their experience, professionalism, vision and dedication to our city’s future are what we need to launch this organization. This is a significant responsibility and it comes at an extraordinarily meaningful juncture in our community’s progress. These folks are up to the job and it’s my privilege to present them before the City Council and County Commission.”

Said Luttrell: “Mayor Wharton and I have given a lot of thought about who might best serve on this board. This is a group of people chosen for their business skills and leadership abilities. Their knowledge and talents will provide excellent guidance in our efforts to create new business opportunities in Shelby County. I appreciate their commitment and willingness to serve our community.”

Opening Weekend at Memphis International Raceway

After being vacant for almost two years, the space formerly known as Memphis Motorsports Park is ready to fire the gun.

Sunday marks opening day for Memphis International Raceway, 5500 Victory Lane, in Millington.

Whether racing is your forte or not, Memphis International Raceway is undoubtedly an important piece of the Memphis economy. After the track’s closing in October 2009, many thousands of dollars went outside of Memphis to smaller motorsports establishments, taking valuable dollars away from the city of Memphis.

The track was purchased in late February of 2011 and the new owners are pumping millions of dollars into the development of the track and its facilities.

If the track succeeds, it’s likely to bring back high-grossing events to the Memphis area, thus stimulating local businesses like restaurants and hotels.

Sunday’s first event being held at the track is not a road race or drag race, but an autocross held in the 375,000-square-foot paddock area.

Autocross is a technical display of driving ability held on relatively slow speed courses laid out with rubber cones, which forces the driver to make quick and accurate decisions.

The event will open at 7 a.m. on April 17. The first car should be on course around 11 a.m., as most of the early morning is spent setting up the equipment and course.