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EDGE Board approves major projects for tax freezes

Millions of dollars in new investment, a few major corporate expansions, and the retention of hundreds of local jobs – not to mention the creation of new demand for local construction workers and contractors – all were guaranteed by tax breaks awarded this week by the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine board.

Plans presented Wed., Feb. 15, by FedEx, Nucor Steel Memphis Inc., medical diagnostics company Oxford Immunotec Inc. and baking industry manufacturer AB Mauri Fleischmann’s all were blessed by EDGE board members and in turn won varying financial incentives.

In the case of Oxford Immunotec, which is looking to open its first U.S. location outside of its North American headquarters in Memphis, the EDGE board gave its support to Oxford’s application for a $100,000 grant from the state.

The company is planning its Memphis location to be 5846 Distribution Drive, and it expects to invest more than $1.8 million and hire 25 employees by the end of 2014 for the facility.

Meanwhile, payments-in-lieu-of-taxes granted by the EDGE board include a 15-year tax freeze for Nucor, which is planning to expand.

Nucor is increasing its manufacturing output by up to 25 percent and in the process plans to create 27 new jobs at its 3601 Paul R. Lowery Road location and acquire about 42 acres on the east side of Paul Lowry from the Port Commission. That new acreage would help expand Nucor’s rail infrastructure.

In return, the company would invest $113 million to produce “high-quality carbon alloy steel for the automotive, heavy equipment and service center markets.”

By chance, FedEx appeared before the EDGE board to apply for a tax freeze a few hours before NBC’s “Rock Center With Brian Williams” broadcast an inside look at the shipping giant’s operations later that same day. The tax freeze is related to the company’s effort to consolidate flight training activity for its 4,500 pilots into a single state-of-the-art facility.

FedEx is making a $141.9 million investment for the project. Each of the pilots would eventually be brought to Memphis, and the resulting hotel room nights and other economic activity as a result of their visits would bring several million dollars a year annually to the city, EDGE board members were told.

The company won a 13-year tax freeze related to new manufacturing machinery and equipment and a 6-year tax freeze on real property improvements.

AB Mauri Fleischmann’s Co. requested an 8-year tax freeze to help the company, which is a global leader in yeast and bakery ingredient products, retain its manufacturing facility in Memphis.

It’s planning to invest $10.5 million in its yeast manufacturing facility to expand output and make it more cost-competitive.

Memphis ties to Nashville hotel development

A Memphis architectural firm is helping develop a new 7-story hotel on Nashville’s West End Avenue, and Memphis-based First Tennessee Bank is providing construction financing.

It’s a 192-room Homewood Suites designed to reflect the architectural style of the historic Vanderbilt University campus. The new hotel will be located at 2400 West End Avenue on the site now occupied by F.Y.E. Records retail store and Carmichael Place Shopping Center. The site will have 280 feet of frontage on West End Avenue.

In addition to 192 suites, the new Homewood Suites will have an indoor pool, 176 underground parking spaces, a meeting room seating 200 people and a boardroom.

Service Assurance, Memphis IT firm, gets acquired

Memphis-based IT firm Service Assurance has been acquired by a division of Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA.

From a release:

Foster City, Calif. and Ramsey, N.J. – February 14, 2012 – All Covered, a division of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. (Konica Minolta) focused on delivering high‐performance Managed IT Services to small‐ and medium‐sized businesses, is pleased to announce that Service Assurance, a Managed IT outsourcing company based in Memphis, Tennessee, has joined All Covered. With the addition of Service Assurance, All Covered expands its presence with a broad and talented group of professionals along with a diverse list of clients.

“Service Assurance’s core values align nicely with All Covered’s vision to provide comprehensive national coverage for Managed IT Services that offers immediate business value and unmatched customer support,” said Todd Croteau, President of All Covered. “Small- and medium-sized businesses around the country can count on All Covered and Konica Minolta to deliver consistent and reliable Managed IT Services to improve business productivity.”

Since 1989, Service Assurance has been providing businesses with strategic IT planning, 24×7 help desk support, remote backup management, cloud services, email and security management. As the largest regional technology support and Managed IT Services provider in the Mid-South, Service Assurance is a leader in working with organizations to streamline IT operations. It is recognized as a top managed services provider and appeared on the MSPmentor 100 list for 2011.

Mark Giannini, CEO of Service Assurance said, “Joining All Covered is the right decision to help us better serve our growing list of national customers, provide additional services and expertise to our core Mid-South clients while giving our employees the broadest career growth opportunities. We are excited to join the Konica Minolta family and offer our customers extended IT and print services as well as a portfolio of proven vertical solutions.”

About All Covered

All Covered, a division of Konica Minolta Business Services U.S.A., Inc., is the nation’s leading IT services company serving small to medium‐sized businesses. For over 14 years, All Covered has been helping businesses across all verticals with their IT support needs. All Covered has local offices in over 25 cities with more than 300 engineers, and is fully certified in all major technologies. Across the U.S., more businesses trust All Covered for their IT support than any other company.

About Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. is a leader in advanced document management technologies and Managed IT Services for the desktop to the print shop. For the fifth consecutive year, Konica Minolta was recognized as the #1 Brand for Customer Loyalty in the MFP Office Copier Market by Brand Keys. BLI has named Konica Minolta 2012 “Document Imaging Solutions Line of the Year” and “A3 MFP Line of the Year” award winner for the company’s solution portfolio and award-winning line of bizhub Multifunctional Products. For more information, please visit www.CountOnKonicaMinolta.com and follow Konica Minolta on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Cotton Council gets a new prez, also predicts less cotton in 2012

C.B. “Chuck” Coley, a producer/ginner from Vienna, Georgia, has been elected 2012 chairman of the Memphis-based National Cotton Council.

He was named during the group’s annual meeting in Fort Worth last week.

Coley is the owner of CBC Farms and is the president of Coley Gin and Fertilizer Company, a diversified agribusiness in Vienna with services including chemical, seed and fertilizer sales; peanut handling and warehousing; and cotton ginning, warehousing and marketing.

In other cotton-related news from the NCC, a survey from the group suggests U.S. producers will plant a little more than 13 million acres in 2012, down 7.5 percent from 2011.

According to NCC Vice President Gary Adams, “Final production will be very dependent on weather developments, particularly in the southwestern U.S. If conditions worsen, we could see the U.S. crop be two million bales lower than early-season expectations.”

Anticipated declines in Mississippi and Tennessee are 6.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively. In both states, growers are opting for more acres of corn at the expense of cotton, according to an NCC release.

Leadership Memphis dedicates new headquarters Feb. 16

Leadership Memphis, the city’s oldest leadership training organization, is dedicating its new headquarters space at 365 South Main St. at 10:30 a.m. Thurs., Feb. 16.

The group also has scheduled open houses for alumni on March 5 and March 6, with additional events later in the month (a performance by Playback Memphis March 10 and an art show on March 30 by Pam Cobb.)

The two-bay space at 356 South Main will house offices as well as gallery and meeting space. It was designed by archimania, with remodeling construction done by Linkous.

Dansette

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