New Memphis Marriott East Opens Tuesday

The Memphis Marriott East will celebrate its grand opening Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Poplar Avenue and Interstate 240.

Atlanta-based Noble Investment Group recently completed its $20 million transformation of the 243-room former Holiday Inn Select Memphis East into a 233-room Memphis Marriott East.

Noble Investments principal and executive vice president Ben Brunt told The Daily News last year that the exterior of the Memphis Marriott East will be modernized and the interior will include upgraded guest rooms, reconfigured public spaces including a new restaurant and bar, the incorporation of the Marriott Great Room lobby, and enhancement of the more than 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

“Our entire strategy is in rebranding, investing capital into the asset, bringing in a new management team and really kind of positioning the asset within the market so it can succeed,” Brunt said. “Whereas the property has good bones, it was a dated program that is no longer relevant to how people use hotels. Every finish that is in the property now will be changed.”

The Memphis Marriott East will have a ribbon cutting with the Greater Memphis Chamber Tuesday from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at 5795 Poplar Ave.

One year anniversary for Leadership Memphis’ new home

Congratulations to Leadership Memphis, which is celebrating a birthday of sorts – 1 year in its new space at 363 S. Main.

The organization moved from the Pembroke building to a vacant space on South Main partly in hopes to increase its visibility and widen its reach in the community.

Civic Center Plaza Questions

 

Now that the State of the State address is done, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is doing the roadwork for his proposed budget and priorities for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

He was at the University of Memphis Tuesday morning and on his way to Jackson for the afternoon.

The roadwork is about making sure each place he goes knows what is in the budget for them and hitting the larger themes about the state as a whole.

Haslam faced some questions after his appearance at the U of M about the plan for the state to move out of the Civic Center Plaza.

Here is our updated story that includes his comments on the move out of the Donnelly Hill state office building.

Memphis isn’t alone in this. The Cordell Hull state office building in Nashville would not only close as a state office building. It would be torn down, according to The Tennessean’s post-state of the state account.

Haslam said this morning in Memphis that he is aware the decision to close the state office building in Civic Center Plaza comes a week after Pinnacle Airlines Corp. announced it is moving its 500 employees out as the anchor tenant of One Commerce Square and moving company HQ to Minneapolis.

It also seems as if the early 1960s concept of Civic Center Plaza is being questioned on several fronts. The plaza was the idea of having a set of then-new modern office buildings on Main Street between Poplar and Adams at a time when city and county governments had filled the Shelby County Courthouse to capacity and 157 Poplar Avenue was built to handle the overflow from it. The 1910 era police station that fronts on Adams Avenue was expanded to hold the police and some courts as well.

The federal courts were in what is now the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law on Front Street.

Nearly 50 years later, all of those modern office buildings grouped together aren’t so modern anymore. Some have had more renovation than others. The county administration building is now undergoing a major renovation. City Hall, opened in 1966 at the twilight of the old commission form of government and the dawn of the mayor-council form of government, is the subject of a Wharton administration facility study that Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has said will include a look at whether the city might be able to use any of the space at the state office building.

 

 

Work For Pie launches Pieworks, goes freemium

The hard-working folks at Memphis startup Work For Pie, who’ve gotten exposure at Techcrunch Disrupt and from outlets like The Next Web, have refashioned themselves.

Work For Pie, which started out as a way for open-source developers to showcase their work while looking for projects, has launched a new feature called Pieworks. It’s a recruiting/consulting services for companies that don’t have time to do it on their own.

Work For Pie co-founder Cliff McKinney told The Daily News Work For Pie has worked with a lot of companies by now, and one thing they continually see is companies with a lack of enough time to recruit really well. And they may not think about it until the last moment (reactive recruiting, they call it).

“When that happens, they’re often forced to resort to hiring headhunters at $25k per placement, or they post to job boards … or they compromise and take a warm body and hope all works out for the best,” McKinney said. “So we’ve launched Pieworks to help. In a nutshell, it’s recruiting consulting and management. We spend about a month with a client and help them build what we call a ‘proactive recruiting strategy,’ and then when the month is up and the recommendations have been made, we use a combination of software and sweat to manage the proactive process for them. Basically, we partner with them and handle the things they don’t have time for.”

Companies also can now sign up and build a company page for free with Work For Pie. They’ll pay to post jobs, but for a limited time even that is free. McKinney said they’ve also significantly streamlined the setup process so that it’s easier and quicker.

Comptroller’s report dings administration of state film incentives

Auditors from the state comptroller’s office have found that the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission, the Dept. of Economic and Community Development and the Dept. of Revenue have “failed to ensure that public incentives for film-making businesses were properly administered.”

According to a release from the comptroller’s office:

“Auditors could find little to no evidence the incentives have led to new film producing facilities or permanent film jobs in Tennessee. In 2006, the General Assembly passed laws giving the film commission authority to provide certain financial incentives to attract movie production companies to the state. However, auditors questioned whether the incentives provided have been properly determined and whether certain incentives intended for film-making facilities located in Tennessee have been improperly awarded to out-of-state businesses. The Comptroller’s report, which was released today, can be found online here.

The auditors found that incentive payments were based on expenditures that did not always meet the program’s guidelines or have adequate supporting documentation. The audit also revealed a former executive director had a potential conflict of interest that was not properly disclosed. The former director’s spouse worked for a legal firm that was involved with at least three film projects which received incentives.”

Regarding whether incentives had been awarded improperly to out-of-state businesses that were still claiming the headquarters credit, the audit found an array of problems.

In three instances, letter rulings were issued to production companies that did not yet have physical facilities in the state but were promising to do so.

Some of the participating production companies are no longer at the locations used to receive the headquarters incentives. The report found one production company rented temporary office space from a local company that specializes in temporary and virtual office housing. In another case, the incentive was sent directly to a separate California-based production company at the direction of the documented headquartered producer.

And several of the production companies approved for the headquarters incentives were dissolved after completing their film projects in Tennessee.

 

Dansette

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