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Poplar Plaza Construction Moving Along

Build-out construction is moving right along at Poplar Plaza, the 360,000-square-foot center at Poplar Avenue and Highland Street in the University of Memphis area.

The Daily News first reported in Septemeber the changes on tap for the more than 60-year-old retail center. In January 2011, Bookstar vacated its 18,000-square-foot home of 19 years at 3402 Poplar Ave.

Taking its place will be Osaka Japanese Cuisine, which will occupy about 7,300 square feet of the total space.

In addition, Gould’s Day Spa and Salon will relocate from Poplar Plaza’s suite 5 into the approximately 5,000 square feet that formerly housed Starbucks Corp. inside Bookstar. The general contractor for the Gould’s project is Metro Construction.

Also relocating is Momentum Rehab, which will take the balance of the back portion of the property that faces Prescott Street.

"Gould's Salon Spa" sign lit up at Poplar Avenue and Prescott Street.

Gould's sign reads, "Coming March 2012" along its storefront in Poplar Plaza.

Project management services for Poplar Plaza are being handled by CB Richard Ellis Memphis, in conjunction with landlord Burlington, Mass.-based Finard Properties Inc., architecture firm Thoda & Associates PLLC.

Undefeated

I met Bill Courtney today, the coach shown in the “Undefeated” documentary about the Manassas High football team that’s up for an Oscar Sunday.

Memphians who haven’t seen the film yet – it opens Fri., March 2 here – are in for a treat. As Manassas’ coach, the Bill I saw in film clips appeared to be the same one in person. Down to earth, no nonsense, charismatic and always polite, no matter who’s in his office.

He’s got a mock grenade on his desk in the office of his lumber company in North Memphis. The grenade has a sign that welcomes the visitor to the complaint department. They’re encouraged to take a number – and the number 1 is lodged behind the pin of the grenade.

This guy took a football program that at one point was charging better teams for the privilege of beating Manassas in one lopsided game after another, just so the struggling Manassas team would have cash for the season.

How did Bill turn things around? Go see the movie. I’ll tell you some of what he told me -

“How do you handle things when you’re being hit in the mouth?” Courtney asked me. “What you do is you preach character on a daily basis, and then you walk it. And if you walk it, (the kids) start to believe it. And if you can show them how these things have made a difference in their lives, then it changes from just a bunch of noise from a guy who’s older than them to something worth listening to.

“The x’s and the o’s are a hell of a lot less important to me than character development.”

The trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUt349BSxZk&ob=av3e

Petties Drug Organization Link

Jurors in the Petties drug organization trial in Memphis federal court have been hearing a lot about how the Memphis-based drug organization was connected directly to Mexican drug lords.

At times, the government’s case against Martin Lewis and Clinton Lewis has involved testimony in which their names rarely come up. They are charged with drug conspiracy, racketeering and murder for hire. The testimony about how the organization was built and run by Petties goes toward the conspiracy allegations.

Look for our latest update on the trial in Thursday’s edition of The Daily News which goes online Wednesday afternoon at 4pm.

The organization was tied to the Sinaloa drug cartel, an organization that split into several factions. Petties, who pleaded guilty in 2009, worked for the faction headed by Arturo Beltran-Leyva.

A recent Newsweek-Daily Beast story has more on the overall head of Sinaloa who split with the Beltrans in a violent feud. The story of the drug lord known as El Chapo, who is still on the run, provides more context for an organization that has very few boundaries.

 

Stuff Memphians Say

Hats off to the creative folks at BigFish Creative for their “Stuff Memphians Say” video.

A well represented video. I’m glad they left out some annoying chestnuts, like “I get sick if I have to leave the parkways.”

Anyway, if you’re like me – who has pretty much uttered 90 percent of everything that comes out of the mouth of Beth Thorne (the blonde lady) in this video – check it out if you haven’t yet:

Occupy Redux

Cover enough stories and you run into some of the same people you have encountered before.

That was the case in our current cover story in The Memphis News on the Occupy Memphis movement.

Among those at the encampment in Civic Center Plaza is Aaron Harrington, whom we met about two years ago in our cover story on the city’s still evolving approach to trying to end homelessness in Memphis.

At the time, Harrington was doing pretty well for himself after a couple of years among the homeless. He had a job at a Midtown supermarket and a place to stay and after our story hit, a reader donated a bicycle to replace the one Harrington had that wasn’t working.

Several months ago, Harrington lost his job in the shuffle of supermarket ownership in the Memphis market and he’s joined Occupy Memphis.

He told us he is considering moving elsewhere and has a few leads on some landscaping jobs once the weather gets warmer.

 

Dansette

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