As part of the Scene's 2015 Gimme Shelter issue, Jim Ridley traveled down to Columbia to see how the creative class is helping revitalize the center of the Maury County seat — without the not-so-good-at-all side effects that redevelopment has brought with it in parts of Nashville.
What's different is the energy feeding into the square these days. Startlingly affordable property, coupled with a zoning mix downtown that allows first-floor commercial and second-floor residential, is luring tech businesses, music companies, restaurants and a variety of boutiques back to the once fading town hub. So far, they say, there's no sign of the hipster poisoning, ruthless development or chain proliferation that has infected many Middle Tennessee hot spots.
(Photo by Eric England)
Columbia-based Community First Bank & Trust is, as of Sept. 29, no longer operating under any sort of extra regulatory requirements. The bank, which runs eight offices in Maury, Hickman and Williamson counties, had been under an informal memorandum of understanding with regulators since late last year. As recently as 2012, the bank faced a $15 million capital gap as it tried to bounce back from the real estate bust and meet the stringent extra conditions regulators were demanding.
Said Chairman Eslick Daniel in a statement this week: “The board is excited to be planning our future with a focus on serving our community and shareholders rather than correcting the problems of the past. We appreciate the support our regulators have shown in our efforts to improve the health of the Bank, and believe that the lessons of our past will make us a stronger Bank in the future.”
Gigi's Cupcakes has revamped its store in The Crossings shopping center in Spring Hill, a move that is highlighted by the addition of a test kitchen for new products. The location also will serve as the training headquarters for workers at nearly 100 Gigi’s stores around the country.
The Spring Hill store will offer new menu items such as breakfast quiches, muffins and an ice cream line featuring three proprietary flavors that work cupcake flavors into the ice cream.
"I'm so thrilled about our redesigned location in Spring Hill," said Gigi Butler, company founder. "I know the residents of Spring Hill are really excited to have Gigi's Cupcakes to help celebrate all of their special occasions and we are excited to have such an ideal location for our employee training and test kitchen."
Murfreesboro-based National HealthCare Corp. will break ground this week on a 112-bed skilled nursing center in Maury County.
The new Columbia facility is a joint venture between NHC and Maury Regional Medical Center and represents an $18 million investment. Last October, NHC began work on a similar facility in Bellevue. NHC Place at the Trace is expected to open next spring.
Shares of NHC (Ticker: NHC) were $62.80 Monday afternoon. Year to date, they're flat.
Commerce Union Bancshares officials have announced shares of the company started traded on the Nasdaq today:
“We are pleased to announce that Commerce Union Bancshares’ stock will begin trading on The Nasdaq Stock Market effective July 7th,” stated William R. DeBerry, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe the Nasdaq listing will provide increased visibility for our company with investors and increased marketability of our shares for our stockholders.”
Commenting on the listing, DeVan Ard, President of Commerce Union stated, “The Nasdaq listing represents an important milestone in our combination of Commerce Union and Reliant banks. The merger strengthened our capital base, increased our lending limits, expanded the reach of our combined banks and improved our operating synergies. We believe the Nasdaq listing highlights our continued progress to build long-term shareholder value by combining our resources.”
Trading as CUBN, shares opened at $14.50.
C&H Financial Services, an Illinois-based payment processor, has acquired Regal Payment Systems out of Columbia. A release on the deal doesn't provide many details but does make Regal's operation C&H's first in Tennessee and adds the First Data processing platform to its lineup. The purchase of Regal also puts C&H on track to process $5 billion in transactions this year.
Global tile manufacturing conglomerate Gruppo Concorde will build its first U.S. factory on nearly 100 acres in Mt. Pleasant and hire 180 people to operate it. Concorde's UST Inc. division will invest about $80 million to build the 600,000-square-foot facility. Those numbers are up significantly from the $55 million and 500,000 square feet that were being discussed by Maury County officials more than a year ago.
“We have chosen Tennessee for a number of reasons, including the state’s vibrant and business-friendly environment and the warm and proactive welcome we have received from the local community in Maury County,” Gruppo Concorde Executive and UST Inc. President and CEO Federico Curioni said. “Tennessee is also very close to some of the most important raw material used in the tile industry, such as plastic clay and feldspar, which greatly benefits our production capabilities.”
The plant is expected to start production in the second half of 2016.
Spring Hill-based technology company Experimental Design and Analysis Solutions has announced it is now called Apex Turbine Testing Technologies.
The name change is part of a company rebranding campaign, according to a release.
“There are many reasons for our name change, but mostly we think it better describes what we do,” Kurt Nichol, CEO and president of Apex Turbine, said in the release. “We are still under the same ownership and are still under the same management with the same staff. We are the same company.”
Apex specializes in software analysis products and offers installation and engineering services.
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