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Editorial Results (free)

1. Lynnfield Place Apartments Sell for $22.4 Million -

1400 Lynnfield Road
Memphis, TN 38119
Sale Amount: $22.4 million

Sale Date: Nov. 7, 2014
Buyer: Lynnfield Apartments LLC
Seller: Lynnfield Holdings LLC
Loan Amount: $20 million
Loan Date: Nov. 3, 2014
Borrower: Lynnfield Apartments LLC
Lender: Arbor Commercial Funding LLC
Details: The Lynnfield Place apartment community in East Memphis has sold for $22.4 million.

2. Bigger LIFT -

The former Cadence Bank branch on Court Avenue Downtown is the new and bigger home for Community LIFT, the local intermediary with community development corporations founded by a coalition of nonprofits and the city of Memphis four years ago.

3. Viability of Black Creative Districts Explored -

Several weeks ago, Eric Robertson, the president of the neighborhood revitalization intermediary Community LIFT, was showing a group of visitors around the city’s various creative and entertainment districts.

4. What Does Local Really Mean? -

I make my living helping retail entrepreneurs, franchisees, national restaurants and retailers find the best home for their business in the Mid-South.

Over the past 11 years, I had the opportunity to work with several national branded franchise quick service restaurants, sometimes known in the industry as a “QSR” concept. Many of these franchises are owned by local Mid-South entrepreneurs.

5. Frayser Town Center Would be Based on Manhattan Park -

The town center plan for Frayser that debuted this past weekend at the first annual “Frayser Day” celebration is built on the model of Bryant Park in Manhattan only on a smaller scale to fit the Frayser Plaza Shopping Center.

6. Civic Celebration -

Shep Wilbun describes “Frayser Day” as “MEMfix on steroids,” referring to the efforts by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team to reanimate business districts or blocks in several parts of the city.

7. Caught in the Middle -

Even before the Affordable Care Act came along, Deborah Casey was living between a logistical rock and an economic hard place. Casey, a 61-year-old widow, draws a monthly Social Security check based on her husband’s earnings. She works part-time for Shelby County (no benefits), and to continue receiving the same amount in that Social Security check, she has to keep tabs on how much she makes. This is exactly how someone who wants to provide for herself winds up on a “fixed income.”

8. Northgate’s Shift -

When the Kroger store opened at Northgate shopping center in Frayser 58 years ago, the store gave away a Shetland pony.

When the store closed Tuesday, Feb. 18, it was the last of the original tenants in a center whose changing fortunes mirror those of the blue-collar suburb still feeling the loss of its blue-collar jobs.

9. CDC Leaders Have Challenges in Communities -

Community development corporations are designed to help create more housing in areas where investors and banks might not normally invest without incentives.

But the CDCs, as they are known, are increasingly in the business of adding business development to the housing in a combination of community building.

10. PILOT Reform -

Nike is in the midst of a $301 million expansion of its Northridge plant in Frayser, a project that means the Beaverton, Ore.-based company will create 250 new jobs and retain 1,600 existing local jobs.

11. Jobs Explosion -

Conduit Global will hire 1,000 people over the next three to five years to staff a large call center in Shelby County, the company announced Wednesday, Jan. 22.

Conduit Global president Bryce Hayes said the New York-based company will start hiring 300 immediately for the $8 million call center serving Verizon.

12. Flipping the Switch -

Tim Bolding, executive director of United Housing Inc., had become increasingly interested over the years in energy efficiency, sustainability and alternate energy sources when he saw homes in New Orleans being rebuilt with solar panels.

13. GiVE 365 Grants $88,000 to 12 Nonprofits -

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis made it easier for a dozen Memphis nonprofits to continue the good they do in the community when it announced the recipients of this year’s GiVE 365 grantees last week.

14. Cresthaven Medical Building Sells for $2.5 Million -

1068 Cresthaven Road Memphis, TN 38119

Sale Amount: $2.5 million

Sale Date: May 2, 2013

15. Nike Distribution Center Issued $4.4 Million Permit -

The city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement has issued a $4.4 million mechanical permit for work on Nike Inc.’s North Memphis distribution center at 3100 New Frayser Blvd.

16. Oakhaven Warehouse Sells After Foreclosure -

4120 Air Trans Road, Memphis, TN 38118

Sale Amount: $2.5 million

Sale Date: May 7, 2013

17. Nike Files $3 Million Permit for Distribution Center -

Nike Inc. has filed a $3 million permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for work on its North Memphis distribution center at 3100 New Frayser Blvd.

18. Commitment to Memphis Shows in Wolowicz’s Work -

Melissa Wolowicz is up with the chickens every morning, working to make Memphis a better place.

The new vice president of development for BRIDGES has been raising chickens in her backyard since she, husband Shawn and son Grayson moved into Midtown and a house shaded by a canopy of trees.

19. Council Approves Rehab of Memphis Slim House -

The Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, April 2, a special use permit for converting the old Memphis Slim house at 1130 College St. at McLemore Avenue in Soulsville into a neighborhood arts center. Eric Robertson of Community Lift, the group undertaking the center, said the next step is to assess how much renovation the structure will need.

20. Council Approves Memphis Slim House Renovation -

The Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, April 2, a special use permit for converting the old Memphis Slim house at 1130 College St. at McLemore Avenue in Soulsville into a neighborhood arts center. Eric Robertson of Community Lift, the group undertaking the center, said the next step is to assess how much renovation the structure will need.

21. Council OKs Registry for Blighted Properties -

For months, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and the Memphis City Council had delayed final votes on his proposal to require the registration of property to make it easier for the city to find the owners of blighted property.

22. City Council Approves Amended Property Registry -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. won a partial victory in his emphasis on fighting blight with final Memphis City Council approval Tuesday, April 2, of a property registration ordinance.

But the council amended out a provision in the ordinance that would have required the registration of all property. What is left is a registry of vacant and abandoned property where property taxes are delinquent and code enforcement finds violations.

23. City Council to Vote on Property Registration Ordinance -

Memphis City Council members take up third and final reading Tuesday, April 2, of an ordinance that requires registration and a fee for owners of property within the city.

The council meets at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

24. City Council Approves Fairgrounds TDZ Request -

Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, Feb. 19, plans for a tourism development zone to capture sales tax revenue in a large area for a renovation of the Fairgrounds property at first.

The boundaries of the zone go to the state for approval and city Community and Housing Development division director Robert Lipscomb said such a proposal could be at the state building commission in Nashville in April.

25. Nike Buys Frayser Land From Belz for Expansion -

200 acres in Frayser Sale Amount: $2.2 million

Sale Date: Jan. 24, 2013

Buyer: Nike TN Inc.

26. Nike Buys Frayser Land From Belz for Expansion -

Nike Inc. has paid $2.2 million for about 200 acres of vacant land in Frayser from Belz Investco GP for an expansion of its North Memphis distribution center.

27. 2012 Bankruptcies Steady in Shelby County -

Bankruptcy filings in Shelby County were up slightly in 2012 compared to 2011. Chapter 13 filings with repayment plans made up most of the total.

The 12,471 filings in 2012, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com, were 57 more than for 2011, or a 0.4 percent increase.

28. Public Relations Firm Hosts Business Symposiums -

The Carter Malone Group LLC wants to help area small business owners figure out how the cookie crumbles, so to speak, when it comes to entrepreneurship and owning a business venture.

29. City Liberty Bowl Moves Raise Questions About Coliseum -

Memphis City Council members approved $12 million in funding for the coming design and renovation of Liberty Bowl stadium to make it comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And the architect working on that project as well as the overall Fairgrounds renovation for the administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. told council members Tuesday, Jan. 8, plans for the Mid-South Coliseum are still to come.

30. Council Debates Golf Courses Fate -

Four golf courses owned and run by the city of Memphis are closed for the winter season as the Memphis City Council continues to debate the fate of the Whitehaven golf course, one of the four, which was to be closed permanently starting this month.

31. Nike Wins $57.8 Million Tax Break -

Project Victory isn’t in the bag just yet. There is competition. Project Victory is what local economic development officials were calling the proposed $301 million expansion of the Nike Inc. plant in Frayser.

32. Nike Gets 15 Year $57.8 Million PILOT For Tentative Frayser Expansion -

The board of the Memphis and Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine approved Wednesday, Oct. 17, a 15-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement with Nike Tn. Inc. for a $301 million expansion of its Northridge plant in Frayser.

33. Foreclosures Continue Rise in Third Quarter -

At a public gathering at Calvary Episcopal Church last week, the city’s Housing and Community Development director Robert Lipscomb lamented the pervasiveness of poverty in Memphis.

34. Council Approves Non Discrimination Ordinance, Adds Resolution -

Memphis City Council members approved on third and final reading an ordinance Tuesday, Oct. 16, that forbids the city from discriminating in hiring, firing or promotion based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

35. City Council to Vote on Discrimination Ordinance -

With a legal opinion from City Attorney Herman Morris in hand, Memphis City Council members on Tuesday, Oct. 16, again take up an ordinance that would ban the city from discriminating in hiring and promotions based on sexual orientation.

36. Momentum Builds as Money to Fight Northaven Blight Arrives -

When Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell announced in Northaven a week ago a $600,000 effort to fight blight in three parts of unincorporated Shelby, he got a lot of questions about the exact terms for home improvements – half of the funding.

37. Planning Continues for Broad, Binghampton -

As after-school traffic made its way north and south on Tillman Street last week, a crossing guard whistled children across one of the narrow streets by Lester Community Center.

The traffic was mostly cars, but the occasional bicycle from the nearby western terminus of the Shelby Farms Greenline whizzed by as well.

38. Federal Funds to Aid Efforts in Binghampton, Frayser -

Two Memphis neighborhood revitalization efforts will split $225,000 in federal funds awarded Monday, Aug. 6, to the Greater Memphis Partnership – a coalition of local agencies.

The grants are through the Building Neighborhood Capacity Program, a White House initiative directed at distressed neighborhoods. The Greater Memphis Partnership will match the federal funding for a total of $450,000 that goes for technical assistance on revitalization plans in Binghampton and Frayser.

39. Northaven’s Padgett Picture of Dedication -

The hard-fought recovery under way in Northaven is a reminder of just how invaluable a good school with a dedicated leader is to a sense of community.

Louis Padgett, the principal of Northaven Elementary School, is the closest thing the area of unincorporated Shelby County between Shelby Forest and Frayser has to a mayor. He’s a mayor and a chamber of commerce based in a school building that is a rallying point in a community coming back from years of isolation that rolled right into a drug problem and gang domination.

40. Saving the Haven -

With lush vegetation and a smattering of homes on large lots, Northaven is reminiscent of neighboring Shelby Forest.

But the community that sits north of Memphis and south of Millington also contains plenty of homes on smaller lots with the traditional layout of a 1970s-era suburban neighborhood. Northaven isn’t Shelby Forest. It isn’t Memphis, either. The unincorporated Shelby County neighborhood is where rural and suburban meet – and the combination hasn’t aged well.

41. City Moves Forward With 25-Square Blight Strategy -

The city started a pilot program last year to clean up blight by utilizing a 25-square-block strategy.

Due to the program’s success, the 25-square strategy is being implemented as the strategy for neighborhood improvement going forward. The program entails crews working in predetermined “target zones” to mitigate grass and weed overgrowth, abandoned and dilapidated houses, litter and debris, impassable sidewalks, congested alleys, potholes and vacant lots.

42. White Joins BankTennessee As Mortgage Specialist -

Judy Sulton White has joined BankTennessee as a mortgage loan specialist. White has worked in the mortgage industry for 30 years and will focus on new-home financing options, mortgage refinances and custom construction loans.

43. Foreclosures Up 30 Pct. in Q1 -

The timing and backdrop seem fitting. During the first quarter of 2012, the same three-month period in which the state of Tennessee announced its participation in a $25 billion settlement with some of the biggest lenders over foreclosure abuses, the number of foreclosures in Shelby County swelled by almost 30 percent.

44. Blight Fight -

Memphis is one of five cities to receive a $25,000 grant from the National Association of Realtors to demolish about 20 vacant, blighted homes.

More than 30 cities applied for a NAR “Game Changer” grant, a new program with somewhat open-ended criteria centered on bettering the real estate industry and America’s homeowners.

45. United Housing Opens Smart Classroom -

United Housing Inc. has revolutionized its Homebuyer Education classroom at its office, 51 N. Cooper St., to a smart one with funds from a City of Memphis Strategic Community Investment Fund grant.

46. Tennessee St. Office Bldg. Again in Foreclosure -

460 Tennessee St.
Memphis, TN 38103

Sale Amount: $3 million

Sale Date: Dec. 1, 2011

47. MAAR Honors Members at Awards Luncheon -

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors named the recipients of its 2011 awards at a luncheon Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Shorty Watkins of Century 21 Maselle & Associates was named 2011 Realtor of the Year. Mindy Creech of RE/MAX on Track was named 2011 Realtor-Associate of the Year.

48. Clearing a Path -

The nonprofit group assembling a plan to restore parts of and add Shelby County connections to the Mississippi River Trail for bicycles and pedestrians talked about old unmarked roads and attractions at a Monday, Dec. 12, hearing in Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park.

49. City of Memphis Adopts Overgrown Lot Pilot Program -

The city of Memphis has a $50-a-lot strategy for mowing vacant lots in eight parts of the city through community development corporations in those parts of town.

The city’s Division of Community Enhancement began working with neighborhood associations across the city this summer to identify more than 300 overgrown lots. Each association identified such lots in a 25-square-block area to clear them in one concentrated effort.

50. Vote for Me -

Four years after the biggest turnover on the Memphis City Council, the Oct. 6 city elections could see the biggest return of incumbents ever on the council. Early voting begins Friday, Sept. 16.

Twelve of the 13 incumbents are seeking re-election. It would have been 13 had Barbara Swearengen Ware not taken a plea deal on an official misconduct charge.

51. Agape Launches GED Pilot Program -

The Bluff City has been an active player in the Talent Dividend, an initiative to increase the number of college graduates in the Memphis Metropolitan area by 1 percent over the next five years, which could generate a $1 billion annual increase in personal income.

52. On the Right Path -

Greenlines, greenbelts and greenways are already under way and are expected to grow and converge across the city in the years to come.

And while property owners should see increasing values as the Shelby Farms Greenline and other green assets become community fixtures and expand throughout the area, so far the depressed housing market is keeping all property values – no matter their location – in check.

53. Nike Adds 400K Square Feet To Local Portfolio -

The world’s largest maker of athletic gear has signed a lease in Memphis’ Southeast industrial submarket to handle its newly acquired NFL contract.

Nike Inc. inked a 400,000-square-foot warehouse lease in Centerpointe Distribution Center No. 1, 3461 E. Raines Road. Built in 1994, the property, owned by San Francisco-based Prologis Inc., features 38 dock doors and an 11,687-square-foot office space component.

54. Coming Back -

If you were a beautician in Frayser in the 1960s, you probably trained for your job at the Jett School of Beauty either at the Northgate Shopping Center or a strip shopping center on North Watkins Street in the Georgian Hills section of Frayser.

55. Hyde Takes Reins Of Alco Management -

After starting at Alco Management Inc. in 2002, Robert Hyde has been named president of the company that has become a national leader in affordable housing during the past 35 years.

56. Flood Brings Out Best, Raises Valid Concerns -

The response to the historic flooding isn’t over, as Shelby County preparedness director Bob Nations has been quick to point out.

The muddy water from the Mississippi River and its five tributaries will be with us for weeks more.

57. Special Coverage: Mid-South Flooding -

Coverage of the rising waters in the Memphis area

MIM Triathlon Still Planned

Despite rising floodwaters, next weekend’s Memphis in May Triathlon event is still on, the Tunica Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced.

58. Foreclosure Notice Bill Heads to State Senate -

The Tennessee General Assembly is moving closer toward reducing the number of newspaper notices lenders are required to run before foreclosing on a home.

State Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, and State Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir, filed companion bills that originally sought to reduce the required number of newspaper notices from three to one. Along with that reduction would come less of a description of the property.

59. Bill Would Alter Foreclosure Notices -

The judiciary committees in the House and Senate of the Tennessee General Assembly are scheduled to vote on companion bills Tuesday that would give homeowners less advance warning before their homes are foreclosed.

60. Tenn. Bill Would Reduce Foreclosure Notices -

The judiciary committees in the House and Senate of the Tennessee General Assembly are scheduled to vote on companion bills Tuesday that would give homeowners less advance warning before their homes are foreclosed.

61. MAAR to Host Affordable Housing Event -

In recognition of Fair Housing Month, the Memphis Area Association of Realtors will present the fifth annual Fair & Affordable Housing event on Wednesday.

The program is geared toward educating Realtors about the many resources available to assist first-time homebuyers, low- to moderate-income buyers and people facing foreclosure.

62. NHOM Brings Housing Opportunities to Working Poor -

For more than two decades, Neighborhood Housing Opportunities Management Executive Director Howard Eddings and his team have worked to rebuild Memphis neighborhoods most plagued by urban decay, whose broken windows and overgrown lots have become familiar eyesores in the wake of the Great Recession.

63. Medtronic Shows Students Possibilities in Engineering -

Horn Lake High School senior Carlos Perez hopes to head to Georgia Tech this fall to study mechanical engineering, but he’s already making valuable connections in the industry with the help of Medtronic.

64. Haslam Chimes in on Local Issues -

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has a warning about his developing set of regional economic development strategies.

“The days where government was able to be seen as somebody who was always giving something are gone, quite frankly,” Haslam told a group of 40 business and civic leaders at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. “They’re gone for at least the foreseeable future.”

65. United Housing Helps Prospective Homeowners Realize Goals -

Three years and 50 houses.

That was the mandate handed to Tim Bolding in 1994 when United Way of the Mid-South hired him to operate United Housing, a new community development corporation devoted to helping homebuyers.

66. Shadows of Doubt -

As the housing market continues to improve, a significant backlog of foreclosed and distressed properties that have not been put on the market could bring the recovery to a screeching halt.

Many lenders across the nation – mostly banks – are struggling to keep up with the overwhelming number of borrowers who have stopped making their mortgage payments. And with the fledgling recovery in housing still weak, banks, institutional investors and even some homeowners who want to sell their homes are waiting until the market shows marked improvement.

67. Election Guide 2010 -

A rundown of the key issues and races that voters will decide when they go to the ballot  for early voting through Oct. 28 or on Election Day, Nov. 2.

GOVERNOR'S RACE

Tennessee voters choose a successor to Gov. Phil Bredesen in the Nov. 2 elections. Here’s a summary of where Democratic nominee Mike McWherter and Republican nominee Bill Haslam stand on the major issues:

68. Foreclosures Hit Higher-Income Suburbs -

The rate of foreclosures in the suburbs surged during the third quarter, while the problem showed signs of ebbing in some of Memphis’ hardest hit neighborhoods, according to ZIP code data compiled by real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

69. Cut Tuition Could Make Way Back to City Budget -

Memphis City Council members will consider restoring a tuition reimbursement program cut from the city budget this past July when it meets Tuesday.

The resolution on Tuesday’s council agenda would restore $902,211 in funding, which was the level the city funded the program at in the current fiscal year.

70. Charter 411 -

The metro government charter, to be voted on Nov. 2, would combine the Memphis and Shelby County governments into one new local government.

The 49-page charter is the work of the 15-member Metro Charter Commission, which began in November and completed its work just weeks ago.

71. Commission Considers Pay Raise for Firefighters -

Shelby County Commissioners consider a 1.5 percent pay hike for county firefighters at Monday’s meeting of the body.

The proposal comes two weeks after the commission approved an extra 1 percent pay raise for Shelby County sheriff’s deputies.

72. Tough Crowd -

The Metro Charter Commission never drew close to a hundred citizens at all but one of its public hearings earlier this month. The exception was the first hearing at Memphis Botanic Garden.

But the group did find an interesting array of opinions even when the numbers were small.

73. U.S. Judiciary Cmte. to Hold Field Briefing in Memphis -

A U.S. House Judiciary Committee subcommittee is holding a field briefing in Memphis Monday on “Home Foreclosures in Memphis” at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Downtown.

74. Stimulus Funds New Christ Community Dental Clinics -

Federal stimulus money financed the construction of two dental clinics for Christ Community Health Services, but the 24 permanent positions created by the project will carry on after that funding has run its course.

75. Stabilization Program Garners First Home Purchase in Shelby -

Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford last week announced the first home purchase thanks to Shelby County’s involvement with the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a federal effort that pumps money into communities to spur the redevelopment of foreclosed and abandoned residential properties.

76. Shelby County Schools Files Permit For Millington Central Renovations -

8057 Wilkinsville Road
Millington, TN 38053
Permit Amount: $3.9 Million

Project Cost: $5 million
Permit Date: Applied June 2010
Completion: July 2011
Owner: Shelby County Schools
Tenant: Millington Central High School
Contractor: Barnes & Brower Inc.
Architect: Steve Landwehr, Fleming/Associates/Architects PC

77. $2.4 Million Loan On CCHS Property Recorded -

Christ Community Health Services’ $2.4 million loan through First Tennessee Bank NA was recorded Friday by the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

78. Christ Community Granted $2.4 M in Revenue Bonds -

This week’s city-county Industrial Development Board meeting proved fruitful for Christ Community Health Services.

The IDB approved $2.4 million in revenue bonds to help the faith-based nonprofit organization double its Memphis footprint during the next five years.

79. Christ Community Health Services Granted $2.4M in Revenue Bonds -

Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the city-county Industrial Development Board proved fruitful for Christ Community Health Services.

The IDB approved $2.4 million in revenue bonds to help the faith-based nonprofit organization double its Memphis footprint during the next five years.

80. Changing Tide -

The foreclosure crisis took an interesting twist in the past year.

No longer was the problem relegated only to blighted communities like Frayser, Raleigh and Hickory Hill.

Although those areas were still severely afflicted by loan defaults and vacant homes, the biggest foreclosure headlines of the previous 12 months centered on some of the area’s most ambitious projects and most prominent properties.

81. PILOT Approval Clears Way for $90M Investment at Lucite -

Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the city-county Industrial Development Board brought two companies – Lucite International and Christ Community Health Services – closer to expanding their Memphis operations.

The IDB unanimously approved a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILOT) retention program for Lucite International to invest $90 million in its Memphis-area operation and keep 200 jobs intact.

82. Q1 Property Foreclosures Up Slightly -

Lenders repossessed almost as many homes, apartment buildings and other properties in Shelby County during the first quarter of this year as they did during the same period in 2009.

And in what’s akin to the real estate version of the game hot potato, lenders worked fast to unload what they collected.

83. Project Greenway -

There’s no doubt 2010 will go down as a watershed year for the Wolf River Greenway, the $28 million, 22-mile nature corridor that traces the Wolf River from Memphis’ eastern border to Downtown.

The team responsible for giving life to the Greenway – the city parks department, the Wolf River Conservancy and the Hyde Family Foundations – has achieved a pair of key milestones, both of which are being celebrated as the jumpstart this project sorely needed.

84. 2010 -

Is it over yet? That may be the most frequently asked question in the New Year. “It” is the worst national economic recession since the Great Depression.

Accurately reading the indicators will not be easy. Some will predict the recession is about to end, just as new indicators point to continuing economic agony for thousands of Memphians.

85. City’s Dilemma: Fight Crime or Bust Blight? -

Some Memphis City Council members question whether the city’s crackdown on crime is coming at the expense of efforts to eliminate or prevent blight in neighborhoods.

That sentiment surfaced in a council committee session this week. It came the same week that Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. talked of an emerging anti-crime strategy at his first town hall meeting.

86. Emotions High Surrounding Buehler Homes Approval -

Supporters wore blue and opponents wore red.

The political fight over a plan by Buehler Homes to build 125 rental homes on 140 parcels of tax delinquent land was approved this week by the Shelby County Commission.

87. Mayoral Hopefuls Make Last-Minute Play for Votes -

Jerry Lawler is pitching his campaign for mayor from interstate overpasses and a wrestling ring he’s set up in the parking lots of the city’s shopping centers.

88. Stimulus Money To Return Foreclosures To Marketplace -

Part of the latest dose of federal stimulus money to arrive in Shelby County predates the Obama administration.

This week at the Frayser Community Development Corp., office, home and mortgage lenders as well as leaders of the various CDCs across the county gathered to mark the awarding of almost $27 million in federal funding. The money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development comes from Washington through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and other state agencies.

89. Mixed-Use Development Slated For Southeast Shelby County -

50 acres at Forest Hill-Irene Road and Tenn. 385
Memphis, TN 38125
Sale Amount: $4 Million

Sale Date: June 26, 2009
Buyer: Edward Rose Development Co. LLC
Seller: Turley LP

90. Stimulus Funds Allocated to Erase Neighborhood Blight -

Bit by bit, it’s becoming clearer how millions of dollars in emergency federal money flowing to cities and agencies across the country will be used to repair Memphis neighborhoods ravaged by foreclosure and blight.

91. Events -

Christian Brothers University will present the third session of its Family Business Enrichment Series today from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in the Spain Auditorium in Buckman Hall. The topic of the lecture is “Survival of the Fittest – How to Make Your Family Business Thrive.” For reservations, call 321-3999 or e-mail rsvp@cbu.edu.

92. Foreclosures Slow After Subprime Spigot Begins to Trickle -

In the fight against foreclosure, even the smallest victories should be celebrated, from a family staying in its home to a predatory lender going out of business.

Go ahead and count the latest figures as another reason to cheer.

93. Foreclosures Mellow in Q1 -

Shelby County’s usual spate of foreclosures appears to be slowing.

From every vantage point of the foreclosure process – the original foreclosure notice, the lender seizing property and the sale to a new owner – the numbers fell in the first quarter.

94. Officials: Toppled PILOT Rules Should Help Lure Jobs -

The Memphis City Council has signed off on changes to the system of tax breaks used to recruit new businesses and encourage business expansion in Shelby County.

The unanimous 13-0 council vote this week bookends a unanimous vote by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners earlier this month.

95. City Closer to Injecting Foreclosure Relief -

The city of Memphis has checked off one more thing it has to do so $11.5 million in federal aid can be deployed in neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosure.

The city’s Division of Housing and Community Development has issued a request for qualifications, or RFQ, for firms that want to apply for a piece of the millions in housing-related aid coming to Memphis.

96. City Council To Consider Frayser Foreclosure Woes -

Steve Lockwood, executive director of the Frayser Community Development Corp., offers a nine-digit figure when quantifying the pain of the housing slump in Frayser, the epicenter of foreclosure activity in Shelby County.

97. Payday Loan Vote Foreshadows Next Step - This week’s vote by the Memphis City Council regulating the location of payday lenders, check-cashing and title loan businesses in the city generated pointed questions about demographics, money, private business, the threat of litigation and the role of the council.

If that vote is any indication, Monday’s vote by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners on the same joint city-county ordinance likely will do the same thing.

The third and final reading by the City Council on a measure that would put new restrictions on where those fringe-lending businesses can operate passed Tuesday night on a unanimous vote.

The County Commission’s third and final reading of the same ordinance – which limits those businesses to operating no closer than 1,000 feet from each other – will take place during Monday’s commission meeting.

Politics, politics

Bill Morrison is the council member who sponsored the ordinance on the city side and who first got the idea to try and clamp down on where those businesses can operate.

He said he began sketching out a plan for the ordinance, which would create new zoning guidelines for the businesses, with officials such as Assistant City Attorney Thomas Pacello and Mary Baker, deputy director of the city-county Office of Planning and Development.

But for a body that often has gone out of its way to keep a focus on the financial burdens of city taxpayers and residents, Morrison’s idea sparked a surprising mix of responses.

In addition to that, representatives of the businesses and of the fringe-lending industry itself mounted an intense behind-the-scenes effort against Morrison’s original proposal, the basic idea of which was to break up the existing clusters of check-cashing stores, payday loan and title loan shops around the city.

Working the angles

That lobbying effort continued throughout Tuesday night’s council meeting, when individual council members repeatedly left the dais to venture into the audience and huddle with representatives of the industry.

Steve Lockwood, executive director of the Frayser Community Development Corp. and an opponent of the fringe lenders, brandished statistics at Tuesday’s meeting showing how one debtor ended up paying after one year more than $800 on a $440 payday loan.

Several council members, including Barbara Swearengen Ware, promoted one of the same arguments put forward repeatedly by representatives of the industry in private discussions about the issue. That argument was this:

“When you talk about regulating a legal business, you’re treading on thin ice, to say the least,” she said. “And to say that where they locate – the regulation needs to be in the interest rates (they charge) ... We’re not talking about strip clubs, people.”

After some inaudible whispering among council members, Ware continued: “You say strip joints are legal? Well, let’s make them illegal ... It’s supply and demand that’s driving these businesses. Nobody’s holding a gun to these people to make them walk in and hand somebody the title to their car.”

‘Opening shot’

That argument about the businesses having a legal and proper right to operate is the same idea Chuck Welch, an attorney from the Nashville office of Farris Bobango Branan PLC, shared with The Daily News in a conversation a few days before the council vote. Welch is one of the industry representatives who has been meeting with local legislators who have for the last few weeks been mulling over the issue.

“What you’ve got is a lawful business that’s a commercial retail establishment, and it’s permitted and regulated by the state of Tennessee,” Welch said.

Council member Joe Brown questioned Morrison during the meeting about whether he was being supported in his effort to push the ordinance by any entity that stands to profit from its passage. That’s something at least one of the industry representatives told a reporter privately before the vote – that some of the bill’s supporters might be able to capitalize on legislation curbing the growth of fringe-lending operations.

Morrison, during Tuesday’s meeting, reiterated the fact that he came up with the plan on his own, with help from officials like Pacello and Baker.

“It does leave something to be desired … but (this ordinance) is a step in the right direction for our city,” Morrison said.

Lockwood called it “an opening shot across the bow.”

...

98. Lee To Announce Next Step In Legal Fees Flap - The Memphis City Council Tuesday affirmed its vote in Oct. to reject paying the legal fees of former Memphis Light Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee.

The bill for Lee’s legal defense in a grand jury probe that led to his indictment as well as a hearing before the council came to $426,422. The corruption charges were later dropped by federal prosecutors.

The 7-6 vote came at the end of a day in which MLGW president Jerry Collins told council members talks between the utility and Lee’s attorney, Robert Spence, failed to reach any terms for a lesser amount.

Spence told The Daily News an announcement on a decision by Lee about pursuing the legal fees in a lawsuit against the city could be made as early as today.

The council has also given final approval Tuesday to an ordinance regulating the location of financial services, payday loan and title loan businesses.

The council vote was unanimous on third and final reading. Third and final vote before the Shelby County Commission is scheduled for Dec. 8.

The council passed an amended version that emerged as a compromise during this week’s council session.

The ordinance bans the businesses from being with 1,000 feet of each other. The compromise worked out by council member Bill Morrison, with agreement from the payday loan industry, deals with a 90 day grace period for existing businesses to apply for a waiver.

Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware argued the location of the businesses isn’t the problem. It’s the high interest rates the companies charge – up to 264 percent annually.

“We need to deal with the root of the problem,” she said. “And if we could regulate how much (of an) interest rate is charged or how much the fees are, then we would be doing a service to the community,” Ware said. “I know we mean well here, but it’s supply and demand that is driving these businesses.”

But usery rates are regulated by the state and not the city council.

Morrison said the businesses cluster in his district which covers Frayser and Raleigh. Frayser is among the areas of the city hardest hit by home foreclosures.

Council member Harold Collins, whose district includes Hickory Hill – also hit hard by home foreclosures – said there is a connection. He counted at least 20 pay day lenders along one stretch of Winchester.

“Maybe they’re not contributing to the fact that many of the people in my district are losing their homes. But they are sure out there,” he said. “There needs to be some kind of line drawn that will keep the people in Hickory Hill from losing their homes.”

Steve Lockwood, head of the Frayser Community Development Corporation, said the close proximity of the lenders allows people in desperate financial straits to get around a limit of two loans totaling $500 from a particular lender by simply going to the payday lender next door.

He termed the location limits “an opening shot across the bow.” He said his organization’s financial counselors see a connection between the lenders and foreclosures.

“I think that the neighborhoods that are really going to benefit from this are in Cordova,” Lockwood said. “If you want Cordova to look like Winchester or Frayser, don’t pass this.”

In other action, a Fairgrounds development agreement is tentatively set to have the first of three Memphis City Council votes in two weeks.

The city picked Fair Ground LLC to develop a master plan for the property that includes the Mid-South Coliseum, The Liberty Bowl and The Children’s Museum of Memphis. What is still being worked out is a contract with the terms for drawing up that master plan.

There are still several formidable obstacles to putting a development agreement in writing.

Shelby County government owns some of the Fairgrounds land including some of the land under The Liberty Bowl.

City Housing & Community Development director Robert Lipscomb told City Council members he will again pursue an agreement in which the county would sell its share in The Fairgrounds as well as The Pyramid.

The Shelby County Commission rejected such a sell-off by the county during consideration of a development agreement for The Pyramid involving Bass Pro Shops.

The commission eventually approved the development agreement after the agreement won approval from the city council.

Without a sell-off, the Fairgrounds development agreement appears on its way to the same dual track debate and voting process.

Lipscomb also told The Daily News there are conflicting legal opinions on the amount of public infrastructure financing the city would have to put up to leverage private investment.

He said the amounts vary from $75 million to $200 million. The city is seeking legal opinions on the public amount required under terms of Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) financing. If the amount is $200 million or close to it, Lipscomb said it makes the Fairgrounds renovation much harder to accomplish.

Henry Turley, one of several developer partners in Fair Ground LLC, said he considers the city’s contribution to be $75 million. Turley was instrumental in drafting the state legislation that allowed for the Tourism Development Zones.

The TDZs allow for financing of bonds through sales tax revenue generated in the designated area or zone.

Turley wants to include a big box retail store on the site and possibly a hotel according to tentative plans that are fluid on the location of those and other parts of an overall plan. The sales tax revenue from the store would go to pay off the TDZ bonds. No local government general fund revenue would be used.

...

99. Council Again Rejects Lee Legal Fees -

The Memphis City Council this evening affirmed its vote in Oct. to reject paying the legal fees of former Memphis Light Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee.

The bill for Lee’s legal defense in a grand jury probe that led to his indictment as well as a hearing before the council came to $426,422. The corruption charges were later dropped by federal prosecutors.

The 7-6 vote came at the end of a day in which MLGW president Jerry Collins told council members talks between the utility and Lee’s attorney, Robert Spence, failed to reach any terms for a lesser amount.

Council members voting against the proposed settlement were: Bill Boyd, Kemp Conrad, Shea Flinn, Reid Hedgepeth, Myron Lowery, Bill Morrison and Jim Strickland. Those voting for it were: Joe Brown, Harold Collins, Edmund Ford Jr., Janis Fullilove, Wanda Halbert and Barbara Swearengen Ware.

Spence told The Daily News an announcement on a decision by Lee about pursuing the legal fees in a lawsuit against the city could be made as early as Tuesday.

The council has also given final approval this evening to an ordinance regulating the location of financial services, payday loan and title loan businesses.

The council vote was unanimous on third and final reading. Third and final vote before the Shelby County Commission is scheduled for Dec. 8.

The council passed an amended version that emerged as a compromise during today’s council session.

The ordinance bans the businesses from being with 1,000 feet of each other. The compromise worked out by council member Bill Morrison, with agreement from the payday loan industry, deals with a 90 day grace period for existing businesses to apply for a waiver.

Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware argued the location of the businesses isn’t the problem. It’s the high interest rates the companies charge – up to 264 percent annually.

“We need to deal with the root of the problem,” she said. “And if we could regulate how much (of an) interest rate is charged or how much the fees are, then we would be doing a service to the community,” Ware said. “I know we mean well here, but it’s supply and demand that is driving these businesses.”

But usery rates are regulated by the state and not the city council.

Morrison said the businesses cluster in his district which covers Frayser and Raleigh. Frayser is among the areas of the city hardest hit by home foreclosures.

Council member Harold Collins, whose district includes Hickory Hill – also hit hard by home foreclosures – said there is a connection. He counted at least 20 pay day lenders along one stretch of Winchester.

“Maybe they’re not contributing to the fact that many of the people in my district are losing their homes. But they are sure out there,” he said. “There needs to be some kind of line drawn that will keep the people in Hickory Hill from losing their homes.”

Steve Lockwood, head of the Frayser Community Development Corporation, said the close proximity of the lenders allows people in desperate financial straits to get around a limit of two loans totaling $500 from a particular lender by simply going to the payday lender next door.

He termed the location limits “an opening shot across the bow.” He said his organization’s financial counselors see a connection between the lenders and foreclosures.

“I think that the neighborhoods that are really going to benefit from this are in Cordova,” Lockwood said. “If you want Cordova to look like Winchester or Frayser, don’t pass this.”

In other action, a Fairgrounds development agreement is tentatively set to have the first of three Memphis City Council votes in two weeks.

The city picked Fair Ground LLC to develop a master plan for the property that includes the Mid-South Coliseum, The Liberty Bowl and The Children’s Museum of Memphis. What is still being worked out is a contract with the terms for drawing up that master plan.

There are still several formidable obstacles to putting a development agreement in writing.

Shelby County government owns some of the Fairgrounds land including some of the land under The Liberty Bowl.

City Housing & Community Development director Robert Lipscomb told City Council members he will again pursue an agreement in which the county would sell its share in The Fairgrounds as well as The Pyramid.

The Shelby County Commission rejected such a sell-off by the county during consideration of a development agreement for The Pyramid involving Bass Pro Shops.

The commission eventually approved the development agreement after the agreement won approval from the city council.

Without a sell-off, the Fairgrounds development agreement appears on its way to the same dual track debate and voting process.

Lipscomb also told The Daily News there are conflicting legal opinions on the amount of public infrastructure financing the city would have to put up to leverage private investment.

He said the amounts vary from $75 million to $200 million. The city is seeking legal opinions on the public amount required under terms of Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) financing. If the amount is $200 million or close to it, Lipscomb said it makes the Fairgrounds renovation much harder to accomplish.

Henry Turley, one of several developer partners in Fair Ground LLC, said he considers the city’s contribution to be $75 million. Turley was instrumental in drafting the state legislation that allowed for the Tourism Development Zones.

The TDZs allow for financing of bonds through sales tax revenue generated in the designated area or zone.

Turley wants to include a big box retail store on the site and possibly a hotel according to tentative plans that are fluid on the location of those and other parts of an overall plan. The sales tax revenue from the store would go to pay off the TDZ bonds. No local government general fund revenue would be used.

...

100. October Foreclosures Present Good News, Bad News -

October was the epitome of one step forward, two steps back on the foreclosure front in Shelby County. While residential foreclosures decreased compared to the same month a year ago, they were up from the previous month. Also, the year-to-date figures remain high, and the toll that foreclosures are taking on home values in the area remains strong.