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Hill Realty gets rezoning for Brentwood project

In a unanimous vote, City of Brentwood Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to approve H.G. Hill Realty Co.’s request to rezone land on which the development company envisions a mixed-use project.

The company now will submit a detailed site plan for review to the Brentwood Planning Commission by Sept. 2.

The approval will allow the Nashville-based company to pursue its development plans for Hill Center Brentwood, which will include a mix of restaurant and retail space in addition to Class A office space. The combined properties include the former Murray Ohio and the former Tennessee Baptist Convention headquarters sites from its current C-1 zoning to C-2.

In May, Hill Realty announced that accounting and business consulting firm Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain will serve as anchor office tenant, occupying approximately 65,000 square feet of a building that will sit at the high-profile southeast corner of the Franklin Road and Maryland Way intersection.

Hill Realty CEO Jimmy Granbery expressed thanks to commissioners and the community.

“While this has been a very long and arduous process, we feel the time was well spent in meeting with the community and learning more about what they want to see in this new gateway to Maryland Farms, and we are excited to begin the next phase working with the Planning Commission on the final details,” he said in a release.

Jul 29, 2014 2:40 PM

HCA beats on EPS, revenue; earnings in line with preview

HCA Holdings released its full financial results for the second quarter Tuesday, reporting earnings in line with the company's preview released last week.

The company reported a net income of $483 million and earnings per share of $1.37, excluding a one-time reimbursement and sale gain, beating analysts' expectations by 10 cents. On a conference call with investors, the company also announced Q2 revenues of $9.23 billion. HCA Holdings cited "continued strong performance in our core business and an increased impact from health reform" for the better-than-expected results.

Overall admissions in the quarter increased 2.3 percent, and revenue per equivalent admission increased 5.4 percent. The company reported decreases in uninsured patients in all markets, particularly in the states that have expanded Medicaid.

"We have seen a 32 percent increase in Medicaid admissions and a corresponding 48 percent decline in uninsured admissions year to date in our four expansion states," said Bill Rutherford, HCA Holdings CFO. "It is interesting to note that uninsured volume for non-expansion states has also declined just under 2 percent."

On the conference call, Rutherford also said the acuity of patients who purchased insurance on the federal and state exchanges was about 10 percent higher than HCA's managed care population. But the acuity and admission increases are expected to taper off as health reform progresses, he added.

President Milton Johnson announced the company has finalized exchange contracts with UnitedHealthcare for all of HCA's Texas markets. The company is also in discussions with "all the major health plans" regarding exchange contracting for 2015, including expansion of exchange networks and new products.

Shares of HCA (Ticker: HCA) are up slightly to $64.38. Year to date, they're up nearly 35 percent.

Jul 29, 2014 1:10 PM

Analysts lift LifePoint targets

Local RBC Capital health care analyst Frank Morgan has hiked his price target for shares of LifePoint Hospitals waaaaaaay up to $89 from $63 following the company's blowout second-quarter earnings report. Morgan says health care reform is driving most of the good numbers but he likes the improved visibility into the company's operations and continues to rate the stock an 'outperform.' LifePoint shares (Ticker: LPNT) have climbed to $74 from $65 since its report but Morgan isn't the only one who sees them rising further. Over at UBS Securities, A.J. Rice has raised his target to $80 from $73.

Jul 29, 2014 12:12 PM

Avondale: Look for Dollar General sales to get boost from Dollar Tree disruption

Put Avondale Partners analyst Mark Montagna among the group of market watchers that thinks Dollar General will actually be a beneficiary of the planned Dollar Tree-Family Dollar combination. In a note to clients, Montagna writes that same-store sales at Goodlettsville-based Dollar General should get boost from the disruption of Dollar Tree's deal for up to three and a half years. He adds that gross margins, which have been slipping due to pricing pressures and the rollout of lower-margin tobacco products, should bottom out this quarter and rise all the way through 2016.

DLTR is likely to take charge of what it deems necessary for adjusting store inventory by category and product line, which should include inserting some of its successful merchandise priced at $1 and below. Such changes are likely to lead to store manager turnover, changing merchandise selection, and general customer confusion over what exactly they can count on FDO carrying.

Montagna rates Dollar General (Ticker: DG) a 'market outperform' and sees it climbing to $65 from its current level of $56 and change.

Jul 29, 2014 10:52 AM

Metro Animal Care and Control names manager

Metro Public Health Department officials announced today that Lauren Bluestone has been named manager of Metro Animal Care and Control.

Bluestone (pictured) replaces Spencer Hissam, who had served as interim manager after long-time MACC Manager Judy Ladebauche retired earlier this year.

Bluestone, who has more than 11 years of animal care and control experience, began her career as an animal caretaker at DuPage County Animal Control in Illinois, and then became an animal control officer with Kane County (Illinois) Animal Control. At Kane County, she eventually assumed the role of shelter operations and program manager, managing the operations of KCAC through private-public cooperation with Kane County Government and various non-profit rescue organizations, according to a release. 

Most recently, Bluestone worked as superintendent of animal services for the City of Newport News, Virginia. 

Bluestone holds a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in criminal justice from Boston University and a master’s degree in public administration from Northwestern University.

“We feel very fortunate to have Lauren onboard as the new MACC manager, and we look forward to building on MACC’s recent improvements and successes,” Dr. Bill Paul, MPHD director, said in the release. “She has a track record of successful leadership, she is not afraid to try new approaches, and of course she has a genuine passion for animal care and sheltering.”

Jul 29, 2014 10:44 AM

Brentwood developer buys RCA Studio A building

Brentwood-based Tim Reynolds has purchased 30 Music Square West — the building housing RCA Studio A — from the estates of Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins for $4.075 million.  Via his Bravo Development, Reynolds has not said what he intends to do with the storied structure. However, The Tennessean reports Reynolds feels the building is in bad shape. Read more here.

Jul 29, 2014 10:22 AM

Report has investor group buying Comdata for $3B+

Reuters is reporting that Georgia-based FleetCor Technologies is teaming up with a group of private-equity firms to pay more than $3 billion for Brentwood-based payment processor Comdata. Fourteen-year-old FleetCor has pulled off more than 60 acquisitions and last year recorded a profit of $285 million on revenues of $895 million. The company (Ticker: FLT) has a market value of about $11 billion and employs approximately 3,500 people, 900 of them in the United States.

Comdata executives this spring said they had filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. No further details about that process have emerged since.

Jul 29, 2014 7:17 AM

Sam's Sports Grill to add prime Chattanooga location

The operators of the Sam's Sports Grill chain have inked a deal to build their seventh location in the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel complex. Construction is expected to start this week and be complete by next spring. WRCB-TV has more details.

Jul 29, 2014 6:57 AM

Thompson Burton adds Lankford as associate

Cool Springs-based law firm Thompson Burton has hired Jennifer M. Lankford as an associate. 

Lankford (pictured), who most recently served as an associate attorney at Nashville-based firm Cornelius & Collins, will aid Thompson Burton partner J.K. Simms in the firm’s existing employment law practice group.

Lankford has experience in the areas of wrongful discharge, non-compete agreements, retaliation, discrimination, harassment, and hostile work environment claims arising from a variety of laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Tennessee Human Rights Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act. She has handled employment disputes in federal and state courts, as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and United States Department of Labor. 

“I am thrilled that Jennifer has joined the Thompson Burton team and we have the opportunity again to join forces and provide what I believe to be legal service in the employment arena that is second-to-none,” Walt Burton, firm partner and co-founder, said in the release. “We are very guarded about the culture of our law firm. Jennifer is a perfect fit and fantastic lawyer.  We couldn’t be more pleased.”

Lankford received her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she served as lead student materials editor for the Tennessee Law Review, as well as a staff writer for Transactions: Tennessee Journal of Business Law and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center Journal for Applied Public Policy. During law school, she worked as a research assistant to Professor Penny J. White and as a legal extern at the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals for the Honorable D. Kelley Thomas. 

Lankford obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Tennessee, where she graduated summa cum laude with double majors in communication studies and psychology.

Jul 29, 2014 6:45 AM

Options traders see Dollar General emerging a winner from Dollar Tree-Family Dollar deal

Shares of Dollar General are having a wild and woolly Monday after rivals Dollar Tree and Family Dollar said they will join forces in a $9.2 billion deal. After opening down a good bit from its Friday close, the stock (Ticker: DG) rose steadily as several market watchers disseminated some ho-hum opinions of Dollar Tree's purchase plans, then retreated again to enter the final half hour of trading down slightly from Friday. Volume is on track to be more than four times the daily average.

What that says about overall investor sentiment is hard to pin down. But options traders are more optimistic now about the Goodlettsville-based company's shares than at any point in the past year. The pros at Schaeffer's Investment Research have the numbers.

Jul 28, 2014 2:33 PM