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Business Pulse: Predictions for 2013

Prepare to be dazzled and amazed in this installment of Business Pulse. Ladies and gentlemen, I am about to gaze into the future and bring you my daring predictions for 2013.
While these predictions may seem outlandish today, keep in mind it will be a long year. Here’s what I think will happen.
• After years of sitting dormant, the Park Theatre finally reopens with reruns of “Mama’s Family” shown opening night. No one attends.
• Upset by having to pay higher rent, McMinnville Police Department relocates to Main Street and promptly burns to the ground.
• A really big Mexican restaurant purchases the old Carrier building. Seating can accommodate 273,000.
• A burglar finally accomplishes the impossible and breaks into the vault at First National Bank. Unfortunately, he leaves his wallet behind at the scene.
• Researchers discover an even uglier shade of green and use it to repaint the new Morrison School.
• After another tough lawsuit loss, the Warren County Commission votes to grow marijuana at all county facilities.
• Dave Ramsey is put on the city payroll after officials  try to give all city employees at $17,000 pay raise.
• And last but not least, the attendance record is shattered at the Warren County A&L Fair after organizers get AC/DC as the big-name entertainment.

TN industries
are booming

I frequently hear the claim that not much is happening in Tennessee when it comes to economic development. I’ve long said that’s not true so I decided to go through some records at the Tennessee Department of Economic Development to support my claim.
Here’s a quick sampling of what I uncovered in Tennessee just for the month of December.
• Bell Helicopter will invest $10.1 million to expand its facility in the East Tennessee mountains. The expansion in Piney Flats is expected to create 125 new jobs. The company customizes light and medium aircraft.
• Ceramic floor tile manufacturer Ceramica Del Conca announced it will build a facility in Loudon County. For the Italian company, it will be its first manufacturing facility in North America.
It will be a staggering $70 million investment that will create an estimated 178 new jobs. It will be a 320,000-square-foot facility expected to begin operation at the end of this year.
• General Products Partners will invest $6.5 million to establish a manufacturing facility in Fayetteville that’s projected to create 100 new jobs.
The company manufactures aerospace and defense components for aircraft industry leaders. Its clients include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, NASA, and all branches of the U.S. military.
• Teledyne Electronic Manufacturing will expand its Lewisburg manufacturing facility to accommodate a new product line. The expansion is a $9.78 million investment that will create 96 new jobs in Marshall County. The expansion will be devoted to a high-tech micro-electronics line.
• Tomcat USA plans to open a manufacturing facility in Knoxville. The $2 million investment will create an estimated 50 jobs.
Tomcat is an aluminum truss manufacturer. Its products are mainly used for staging, lighting and support systems in the entertainment industry.
Like I said, economic development is bustling in Tennessee. All those announcements were during a two-week time frame in December. I believe they will serve as a springboard for a strong 2013.

So what’s
happening here?

As I mentioned two weeks ago, director of economic development Jeff McCormick had two days of meetings with representatives with Project Shine, an automotive supplier looking to locate in Warren County.
I understand from members of the Industrial Development Board the meetings went extremely well and there is much confidence the company will locate here. McCormick said the meetings went as well as could be expected and didn’t divulge any more information.
Project Shine is interested in Spec Building 3 which is under construction at Mt. View Industrial Park. Also interested in Spec Building 3 is Project Blue Sun.
Representatives from that company, also an automotive supplier, are scheduled to visit this month to inspect the site and tour the community.

Jewell Hale buys
old River Park

Local developer Jewell Hale has purchased the old River Park Hospital building, which is located across from the current River Park Hospital on Sparta Street.
I view this as positive news because when Jewell acquires a piece of property, good things tend to happen.
“I don’t have any immediate plans other than to have it in my inventory,” said Jewell. “There’s an old saying that goes, ‘A peddler can’t sell something out of his wagon that he doesn’t have,’ so this is sort of along those lines. I’ll have it in case somebody wants it.”
Jewell says the building would have to be gutted if it were to be used, but he says it has a solid shell. Another option would be to tear it down and utilize the 8.26 acres at that location.
At another property owned by Jewell, demolition of the old Pit Stop North gas station on Chancery Street has been complete and the underground gas tanks have been removed.
“The tanks are cleared out and gone,” said Jewell. “Hopefully the state will be coming in this week to conduct the final testing and then we can start blending that lot in with the other property that’s there.”
Jewell owns the vacant lot that’s behind the old Pit Stop North, AutoZone, and C.K. Donut. It’s close to six acres, which could make a nice retail development.
Jewell says one plan could be to use the Pit Stop North property as a main entrance to the property in back. There could also be access from Martin Street.
Overall, Jewell says he sees the local economic conditions improving.
“The street talk in Warren County is a little better than it’s been,” said Jewell. “The environment seems to be getting better. I closed on the old Publix shopping center in Murfreesboro last week and I already have tenants for it. I’m continually trying to entice some of those tenants to come to McMinnville.”

Old Lupita’s
gets new tenant

Kenneth and Paula King are in the process of opening a new restaurant on N. Spring Street in the spot that was formerly Lupita’s. The restaurant, called Six Pack Angels, could be open as early as this coming weekend, although Kenneth says it very well could be the following weekend before he’s ready to open.
“I’m not looking for a place to feed 200 people,” said Kenneth. “I want a place where I can serve 30 or 40 a night and everyone can enjoy themselves and have a nice time. I’ll be able to seat 48 people and I did that on purpose. I don’t want people tripping over each other in here.”
Kenneth says he will be open for lunch and dinner. The menu will include steaks, seafood and what he calls a truly unique hamburger.
I stopped by Friday and can say the building has received quite a bit of work. The bright color scheme that existed when the building was a Mexican restaurant has been toned down. Kenneth and his crew have done extensive remodeling to make one large dining room instead of several smaller rooms.
Live entertainment is planned for the weekends along with karaoke. There will also be a jukebox and pool table.
The property didn’t stay vacant for long as Lupita’s just went out of business a few months ago. I’ll provide more information when the new restaurant is up and running.

Richard Martin
gets promotion

Warren County native Richard Martin has been promoted to vice president of Griggs & Maloney in Murfreesboro. Griggs and Maloney is a full-service engineering and environmental firm.
The company works with government agencies and private companies on a variety of projects. This can include:
• municipal and industrial water treatment
• landfills
• industrial and commercial site development
• subdivisions
• roadway design.
Martin has over 30 years experience in the environmental consulting field. He is a WCHS graduate who was a member of the baseball team.
Congratulations Richard.

That’s all folks

To get your business news in the paper, give me a call at 473-2191 or send an email to

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