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VOL. 124 | NO. 182 | Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Daily Digest

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Pair of Apartments Sold Back to Bank

Two apartment complexes in the University of Memphis area – the 38-unit Southern Station Apartments at 3341 Southern Ave. and 40-unit Barclay House Apartments at 3427 Southern Ave. – have sold for a combined $2.5 million back to the lender, Sycamore Bank, following a foreclosure. Southern Station sold for $1.2 million and Barclay House sold for $1.3 million.

The properties’ prior owner, Memphis-based Porter Properties LLC, defaulted on a $1.5 million loan through Sycamore Bank dated Nov. 30, 2005.

Richard J. Myers of the law firm Apperson, Crump & Maxwell PLC was appointed substitute trustee in July and sold the apartment complexes to Sycamore Bank in a substitute trustee’s sale Aug. 31 on the steps of the southwest corner of the Shelby County Courthouse.

The multifamily properties are situated among eight other apartment complexes on the south side of Southern Avenue and the west side of South Highland Street in the U of M area.

Porter Properties bought the Southern Station Apartments for $780,000 from Southern Station Ltd. Porter Properties bought the Barclay House Apartments for $680,000 from Makowsky Family LP and Ringel Family LP.

Southern Station, built in 1968, is a 34,133-square-foot complex on 1.58 acres; the Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2009 appraisal is $921,800. Barclay House, built in 1964, is a 25,100-square-foot complex on 1.39 acres; its appraisal is $727,000.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

CCDC to Consider Two Business Loans

The Center City Development Corp. is scheduled to consider two loan applications from a pair of Downtown businesses at the board’s meeting this morning.

Eel Etc. Fashions at 333 Beale St. is requesting a loan from the board of a little more than $19,000 to consolidate debt, make store improvements, pursue advertising opportunities and create a store Web site.

Delphinium Boutique at 107 G.E. Patterson Ave. is requesting a $14,000 loan to consolidate debt, mount an ad campaign and pay product expenses as needed.

The CCDC will meet at 9 a.m. in the Center City Commission office at 114 N. Main St.

Nettleton Auction Yields 30 Condo Sales

The local housing market had one of its busiest days in recent memory Saturday when the Nettleton sold out 30 condominiums at a real estate auction.

J.P. King Auction Co. of Gadsden, Ala., held the auction, which netted $5.5 million for the previously unsold, foreclosed condo units at 435 S. Front St. in the South Main Historic Arts District. The average sales price of the condos was $183,333.

More than 350 people attended the standing-room-only auction at The Peabody hotel, with 150 registered bidders from eight states vying for a condo.

Built in 1915 on the northwest corner of South Front Street and Nettleton Avenue, the four-story Nettleton originally was a warehouse for Piggly Wiggly grocery stores before being renovated into condominiums in the past two years.

The developer hit a financial snag and lost the property to foreclosure, so the lender, Merchants & Farmers Bank, contracted J.P. King to auction the unsold units.

That company successfully sold condos at the River Tower at South Bluffs last year.

Longtime Law Librarian Remembered for Service

Ora Lee Mitchell, a familiar face to anyone who used the Shelby County Law Library, died Saturday from cancer. She was 75.

Mitchell, library assistant, had marked her 50th year as a county employee this year. In 1959, the Shelby County Courthouse was the seat of city and county government.

The courthouse was 50 years old when Mitchell went to work there. Her death comes just weeks before the courthouse marks its 100th anniversary.

This past May, Mitchell had trouble picking up books with one of her hands. When the problem persisted, she saw her doctor, who diagnosed Mitchell with a brain tumor.

As a law librarian, she assisted attorneys and judges as well as the public.

“She loved the place and she was so friendly,” said library administrator Gary Johnson.

He and others relied on Mitchell’s keen memory, which included more than where a certain section of the library or a particular volume was. Mitchell could point to pictures on the library walls of one-time political powers of the day and recall personal stories about them.

“The City Commission had its offices out those doors and on the second floor,” Mitchell recalled in a 2008 interview with The Daily News as she pointed to two wooden doors at one end of the library. “The county school board was right out here. They had it all in that little corner.”

Mitchell worked out of a cozy workspace at one end of the library with photos and clippings tacked to the wall.

She oversaw a staff of temporary employees who worked as runners among the various offices and courtrooms. They included future judges such as General Sessions Court Criminal Court Judge Tim Dwyer and Jury Commissioner Clyde Carson.

“Tim Dwyer started as a boy doing filing from Circuit Court,” Mitchell recalled in the 2008 interview. “They weren’t nothing but children under me and now they’ve both made it to the top.”

Mitchell’s funeral will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at New Gilfield Baptist Church, 608 Gilleas Road.

Retail Sales Rise More Than Expected

Retail sales jumped in August by the largest amount in more than three years, spurred by widespread gains beyond the expected increases of auto sales from the government’s Cash for Clunkers auto exchange program.

And while inflation at the wholesale level also rose last month as gasoline prices surged the most in a decade, the retail sales report is a sign consumers may be less cautious about spending as the economy recovers.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 2.7 percent last month, after falling 0.2 percent in July. That’s the largest gain in three-and-a-half years and beat analysts’ expectations of a 2 percent increase, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

Excluding autos, sales rose 1.1 percent, ahead of an expected 0.4 percent jump. Excluding autos and gas, sales rose 0.6 percent, the most in six months.

The Commerce Department report showed auto sales soared 10.6 percent last month, the most in almost eight years, mainly because of the clunkers program. Gas station sales rose 5.1 percent, as prices at the pump rose. Economists expected increases in both categories, but sales also rose at electronics and appliance stores, department and sporting goods stores.

The clunkers program, which ended last month, provided consumers rebates of up to $4,500 if they traded in older gas-guzzlers for new, more fuel-efficient models. The incentive boosted car sales 30 percent in August, after a 2.4 percent rise in July.

Rep. Deberry Holds Diversity Training for Staff

A Memphis Democrat who proposed mandatory diversity training for Tennessee legislative staffers said he’s not trying to change their beliefs but educate them about inappropriate behavior on the job and the possible consequences.

State Rep. John Deberry on Tuesday held the first of two diversity training sessions this month.

The sessions follow a revelation in June that a Tennessee legislative staffer sent a racist e-mail about President Barack Obama from her state computer.

The incident drew national attention and many wanted the woman fired. But legislative leaders agreed with Deberry’s proposed mandatory diversity training for all state legislative staffers as a deterrent to such actions.

Deberry said he doesn’t expect everyone to agree and “have a group hug” after the sessions, but he does hope to “most certainly alter some of their behavior.”

Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum Launches New Web Site

The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum has launched its newly redesigned Web site, www.memphisrocknsoul.org.

The museum’s goal was to re-create the site visually and enhance it as a marketing tool for the museum.

The new site now promotes the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum’s social networking presences on Facebook and Twitter and features an easily accessible online store and photos from the museum as well as links to local music Web sites and other Memphis-area historical locations.

The museum hired Memphis-based SPEAK! Creative to develop the site. SPEAK! Creative utilizes the content management system SiteWrench, which allows clients to manage the Web sites the company builds.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 32 344 10,222
MORTGAGES 52 452 13,327
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 30 106 2,644
BUILDING PERMITS 0 783 24,307
BANKRUPTCIES 60 359 9,892
BUSINESS LICENSES 23 133 3,736
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 76 595 14,558
MARRIAGE LICENSES 23 104 3,167

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