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VOL. 127 | NO. 152 | Monday, August 06, 2012

Daily Digest

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Grant Partnership Plans to Build in Collierville

Westbrook Crossing GP, a partnership comprised of Milton and Ruth Grant, has filed a $20 million construction loan to build adjacent to the FedEx World Technology Center in Collierville.

The 25-acre parcel, which Westbrook received via quitclaim from Grant Properties LLC, is on the north side of South Shea Road, northeast of the intersection of South Houston Levee Road and Bill Morris Parkway.

Grant Properties bought the land in 2007 for $2 million, or $80,000 an acre. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal is $462,800.

Milton Grant is part of the Grant family of homebuilders.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

MAA Q2 Net Income Reaches $28M

Memphis-based MAA reported a second quarter net income of $28.2 million, as compared to $7.4 million during the second quarter of 2011.

Net income results for the quarter ended June 30 included $13 million related to gains on the sale of real estate. Net income results for the quarter ended June 30, 2011, included $1.8 million of non-cash expense related to a cumulative adjustment to the company’s restricted stock plans recorded during the prior year.

Funds from operations was $48.3 million for Q2, as compared to $36.2 million for the Q2 2011. FFO results for Q2 2011 included $1.8 million of non-cash expense related to the cumulative adjustment to the company’s restricted stock plans.

MAA’s Q2 FFO results of $1.13 per share was a record high performance for the company, growing 15.3 percent over the prior year.

“Leasing conditions across our portfolio remain robust with average effective rents growing in each of our markets,” Eric Bolton, MAA chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Given the strong second quarter results, we are increasing FFO guidance to $4.37 to $4.57 per share and remain on track to capture record FFO performance this year.”

MAA is an apartment-only real estate investment trust, which currently owns or has ownership interest in 48,557 apartment units throughout the Sunbelt region of the U.S.

– Sarah Baker

Federal Funding Announced for Lamar Avenue Effort

The same day he and Tennessee Transportation Commissioner John Schroer appeared before the Regional Logistics Council to talk about congestion on Lamar Avenue, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, later announced $400,000 in federal funding for planning and preliminary design work on the southern leg of Lamar to the Mississippi state line.

Cohen also announced a second grant of $800,000 from the federal Department of Transportation to buy two water taxis and build docking connections for the water taxis on Mud Island and on the Memphis mainland side of the Wolf River harbor.

In separate remarks Thursday, Aug. 2, Cohen said federal aid was forthcoming on Lamar Avenue, which is the city’s major freight corridor. Schroer said to date all of the money spent on improving Lamar had been spent by the state.

– Bill Dries

Haslam Appoints Paragon VP to State Housing Dev. Board

Tenn. Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed Dorothy Cleaves, a first vice president and private banking relationship manager with Memphis-based Paragon National Bank, to the board of directors of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

The THDA is responsible for selling tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds to offer affordable mortgage funds to low- and moderate-income homebuyers through local lenders and to administer various housing programs targeted to that same demographic.

At Paragon, Cleaves is responsible for developing and managing depository and lending relationships for individuals, professionals, executives and small businesses. She has more than 25 years of financial industry experience including positions at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

– Andy Meek

TVA Operating Revenues Up 5 Percent This Quarter

Hot weather from April to June, including a heat wave that sent temperatures soaring above 100 degrees for four straight days, led to a 5 percent increase in operating revenues for the Tennessee Valley Authority this quarter.

But officials at the federal utility say it still wasn’t enough to overcome the loss TVA suffered earlier in the year amid the mildest winter in decades combined with a sluggish economy.

TVA reported a $290 million net loss in the first nine months of 2012. Last year the federal utility reported a $35 million loss during that same time period.

The announcement came Friday with the release of TVA’s third quarter report.

Officials said they were committed to low rates but would not be able to say whether there will be plans to increase utility rates until after its board meets later this month.

Because of the losses earlier in the year, TVA officials have instituted a cost-cutting program that calls for the elimination of 1,000 positions in addition to delaying some capital projects.

The utility had planned total operating revenues of $12.1 billion for 2012. Operating revenues were 7 percent below the planned amount during the first nine months of the fiscal year, officials said.

In spite of the shortfall, TVA officials said the system continued to prove itself reliable under intense demand for electricity during record highs in the summer.

TVA’s power system hit record demand on June 29 and then for the weekend of June 30-July 1 because of temperatures in the triple digits.

TVA provides electricity to about 9 million people in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

– The Associated Press

US Service Firms Grew Slightly Faster in July

U.S. service companies, which employ 90 percent of Americans, grew at a slightly faster pace in July.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Friday that its index of non-manufacturing activity picked up slightly last month with a reading of 52.6. That was up from June’s reading of 52.1, which had been the lowest since January 2010.

Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. The service sector has now grown for 31 straight months. But even with the July gain, the services index remains far below its recent high of 57.3 hit in February.

Part of the strength in the service sector in July came from a rise in the index component, which tracks new orders. Service companies include retail, construction, financial services, health care and hotels, among other industries.

Economists said the July reading was encouraging because it at least showed a small rebound after a decline in activity in June.

Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said an index reading at this level was consistent with growth in the overall economy at a sluggish pace of 1 percent to 1.5 percent in the current July-September quarter.

Overall economic growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, slowed to an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the April-June quarter, down from an already lackluster pace of 2 percent in the January-March period.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added 163,000 jobs in July, an encouraging sign after three months of sluggish hiring. The July gain was the strongest since February.

– The Associated Press

Oil Surges 4 Percent on Strong Jobs Growth

The price of oil jumped 5 percent Friday after the government reported a sharp rise in jobs growth for July.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $4.27 to $91.40 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which sets the price for oil imported into the U.S., climbed $3.08, 2.9 percent, to $108.98 per barrel in London.

After rising sharply the first three weeks of July, the price of oil steadied as investors waited to see if central banks in the U.S. and Europe would announce new stimulus measures.

Retail gasoline prices rose 3.3 cents to a national average of $3.567 per gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Gasoline prices have jumped by about 24 cents per gallon since the beginning of July.

In other futures trading, heating oil added 7.92 cents to $2.9215 per gallon while wholesale gasoline added 7.25 cents to $2.9421 per gallon. Natural gas was flat at $2.924 per 1,000 cubic feet.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 307 5,073
MORTGAGES 101 483 6,709
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 22 77 1,556
BUILDING PERMITS 0 720 11,979
BANKRUPTCIES 84 341 5,300
BUSINESS LICENSES 36 125 2,061
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 152 594 7,058
MARRIAGE LICENSES 36 117 1,458

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