Andrew Michael Nabs More Attention

The guys at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen are making headlines again.

The Tennessean has featured the upscale eatery at 712 West Brookhaven Circle and its unique culinary experience.

“Have fun when you eat,” said Michael Hudman, who owns the restaurant along with childhood friend Andy Ticer. “Try new things, and be respectful of the whole animal.”

Just last month, the duo was nominated for Food and Wine magazine’s People’s Choice: Best New Chef Southeast, a list recognizing America’s 10 most brilliant, up-and-coming chefs each year. Hudman and Ticer were also one of five regional restaurateurs to participate in February’s Cochon 555 competition, and were recently nominated as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundations’ Best Chef Southeast award.

Andrew Michael isn’t the only Memphis restaurant gaining attention in Nashville. Check out “Memphis: Six more tasty stops” with vignettes on hotspots from Downtown to Germantown.

LUCB Approves Crescent Center Zoning to Include Two Upscale Restaurants

The Land Use Control Board unanimously approved Thursday, April 12 a planned development to add two upscale freestanding restaurants to the Crescent Center office building site at Poplar and Ridgeway.

“It went very well, there was no opposition, and we are trying to schedule our City Council meeting now – it’s going to be either May 1 or May 15,” said Steve Guinn, vice president of Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods Properties Inc.

Those build-to-suit restaurants will be an 8,946-square-foot The Capital Grille in front of the Crescent Center’s attached garage along Poplar to the west and a 9,231-square-foot Season 52 at the corner of Poplar and Ridgeway. Both restaurants are new to the Memphis market.

Seasons 52 currently operates 22 locations in 13 states. Menus change four times a year, and none of the dishes exceed 475 calories. The new restaurant will create approximately 100 new jobs in the area.

“We are excited to bring Seasons 52 to Memphis,” Seasons 52 president Stephen Judge said in a release. “It is an ideal setting for our guests – people who celebrate living well while enjoying upscale dining, shopping and entertainment.”

Highwoods acquired the 337,916-square-foot Crescent Center for $52.6 million from an affiliate of Behringer Harvard in July 2010, marking the biggest local commercial real estate deal in the past six years.

The staff report for the development states, “without question, a successful restaurant will attract customers from beyond the immediate vicinity.”

Guinn said both restaurants will be open outside of office hours, a concept that’s proven to be in much demand in the Poplar/240 corridor.

“In fact, that’s probably when most of their business will be done,” he said. “A few tenants and a few of our customers had mentioned (a concept) like that to us, but it was pretty much driven by demand for additional high-quality restaurants in that area.”

Upscale restaurants in the immediate area include River Oaks Grill at Poplar and Interstate 240, Amerigo Italian Restaurant in Park Place Center, Circa by John Bragg and Ruth Chris’ Steak House in Regalia shopping center, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at Poplar not quite to Massey heading east.

Crescent Center is operating at approximately 90 percent of total occupancy. The construction of The Capital Grille will result in the loss of parking spaces, but at that level of building occupancy, there are some 500 spaces in the three-level parking deck that are not used.

Multi-Market CRE Conference Brings Spotlight to Memphis

Commercial Advisors LLC is hosting some 115 Cushman & Wakefield commercial real estate brokers from around the country this week at The Peabody Memphis for the 2012 Multi-Market Conference.

It’s the first ever conference by the Cushman & Wakefield Alliance focusing exclusively on multi-market clients – meaning clients who have locations and requirements in multiple markets around the U.S. and around the world.

The attendees are real estate professionals representing companies of all sizes with locations in multiple states, but who use one real estate expert to represent them in all of those states. In short, these are high-powered professionals with great influence over location decisions for their clients.

The fact that the national management group agreed to have this conference Monday, April 16 and Tuesday, April 17 in Memphis was a big win for the Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors local office and for the city, said marketing director Melissa Alexander. Other cities of consideration were Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas.

“We have about 115 real estate professionals who have signed up to come share ideas on how to better serve and expand their multi-market business. We were expecting 50,” Alexander said. “We are very excited about having these guests come to our city and are doing everything we can think of to make them feel welcome. Our goal is that they all leave with the belief that Memphis and Tennessee are great places for businesses to locate.”

Slated conference topics include lease administration, project management and consulting; technology tools for multi-market accounts; doing business internationally; and successfully marketing your team/client relationship management. Attendees will also get the chance to tour the FedEx Super Hub at midnight.

A Chisca memory

All the talk lately about saving the Chisca reminds me of a story Ardent Studios founder John Fry once told me about Dewey Phillips.

I never got to use this for anything, but John was talking about Dewey’s “Red Hot and Blue” radio program on WHBQ, which in the 1950s was broadcast from the mezzanine level of the Chisca. It’s where Phillips dispensed his zany catch phrases like “Get yerself a wheelbarrow load of mad hogs, run ‘em through the front door, and tell ‘em Phillips sent ya!”

Anyway, as John tells it, WHBQ had become a very good top-40 station.

“They had very polished announcers, they had these – what were modern jingles, and they played from an organized playlist, and it was a good station in that regard,” he said.

“But then, twice a day, they would turn this crazy man on.”

(Dewey.)

“When I went down to the radio station to visit one time, they showed me these control rooms that were organized and neat and all that kind of thing,” Fry said. “Then they took me into this other control room that was pretty basic, kind of beat-up looking. And they said, ‘Well, this is Dewey Phillips’ studio.’ He was, like, barred from the real studio.

“He had to have his own, because they thought he was going to tear up everything.”

Not just that: Fry said the other studios would actually get locked up at night to keep a certain wild DJ out.

“While I was listening one night, and it had come on that the Russians had successfully launched Sputnik,” Fry recalled. “Well, here’s Dewey down here, and he gets all excited and thinks he needs to put the network news on so that people can get this momentous news. But he’s locked out of the other studios where you could turn the network feed on.

“So he actually broke down the door into the other studio – on air – so the news could be turned on. It was just crazy stuff that would never fly in today’s orderly radio world. But I tell you, it held your interest because it was unpredictable.”

Weingarten Realty to Sell Two Memphis Industrial Properties

Weingarten Realty Investors, a Houston-based owner, manager and developer of shopping centers, is preparing to sell its industrial portfolio – which includes seven properties in Memphis – to New York-based DRA Advisors LLC for $382.4 million.

The portfolio is made up of 52 industrial properties, totaling 9.6 million square feet in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Weingarten Realty currently owns eight Memphis industrial buildings, all of which are managed by Brad Murchison of CB Richard Ellis Memphis. However, Southpoint I (4715 Shelby Drive) and Southpoint II (4655 Shelby Drive) are the only two properties being sold. The others are owned by Weingarten in a partnership.

Weingarten plans to use proceeds from the transaction to pay down amounts outstanding under its revolving credit facility and repay a $200 million unsecured term loan, “resulting in a further strengthening of the company’s balance sheet and providing additional capacity to fund growth opportunities in its core retail markets,” according to a Wednesday, April 11 statement.

Weingarten in Memphis owns six retail centers: Bartlett Towne Center, Highland Square, Mendenhall Commons, Ridgeway Trace Center, Summer Center and The Commons at Dexter Lake.

DRA Advisors in Memphis owns two office properties – Germantown Center and Mid-Memphis Tower – as well as four multifamily assets – Addison at Collierville, Bailey Creek, Madison at Schilling Farms and Preserve at Southwind.

Closing of the transaction is expected to occur within the next 45 to 60 days. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as financial advisor to Weingarten on the sale.

Dansette

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