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VOL. 127 | NO. 184 | Thursday, September 20, 2012

Daily Digest

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Ike's, Super D Parent Sells Collierville Land for $800K

Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy Inc. of Little Rock – the former parent of retail pharmacies Ike’s, Super D, USA Drug, Drug Warehouse and Med-X – has sold 1.41 acres on the south side of West Poplar Avenue (Tenn. 57) near its intersection with Maynard Way.

The company transferred the land to an entity called STAMJA-LP TN for $812,871 in a Sept. 10 warranty deed.

Stephen L. LaFrance had planned to build a 10,000-square-foot Ike’s on the vacant land, but soon after buying the property in 2009 decided to shutter its Memphis-area Ike’s and Super D stores.

And just this week Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings Inc. sold its portfolio of regional drugstores – USA Drug, Super D Drug and Med-X – to Walgreen Co. for $438 million.

Walgreen, a Deerfield, Ill.-based company, announced the deal in July and then said Monday afternoon that it closed.

The deal involves the purchase of 144 stores in a chain focused on the Mid-South from the privately held Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings.

Stephen L. LaFrance had bought the Collierville land for the exact same amount, $812,871. Its 2012 appraisal is $742,500, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Pera's Name Placed on Forum Lease

The Memphis City Council Tuesday, Sept. 18, approved adding the name of the new owner of the Memphis Grizzlies basketball franchise to the lease on FedExForum.

The city and county own FedExForum and the NBA franchise leases the forum from both local governments.

The council replaced Michael Heisley’s Hoops LP group with Robert Pera’s RJP Group LLC.

RJP Group assumes all obligations of Hoops under the lease, which does not change in its terms with the transfer.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration brought the resolution to the council on short notice arguing the approval was necessary as a requirement for the NBA’s board of governors to approve Pera as the new team owner. The Shelby County Commission will also have to approve the change.

The start of NBA training camp is just weeks away.

It was the council’s first introduction to the ownership group. Pera was represented by David Carlock with Ed Dobbs representing the local ownership group whose membership is still in flux.

Council member Janis Fullilove’s first comment to Carlock was to ask, “Why don’t the city council members get tickets?”

Carlock said there are legal prohibitions.

“We’ve got a box,” responded council member Joe Brown.

The council also approved a planned development at South Third Street and Lucerne Place that is a 3.32-acre dorm and education and training center for the Calvary Rescue Mission.

And the council approved $19,900 for the replacement of the roof on the Mallory-Neely House in Victorian Village.

– Bill Dries

First Tennessee Parent Picks Up Awards

Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp., the parent company of First Tennessee Bank, has picked up a few new national employer of choice awards.

For the 18th consecutive year First Horizon has earned a spot on Working Mother magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies for working mothers. And the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption again has honored First Horizon with a spot on its list of best adoption-friendly workplaces.

Working Mother recognizes companies for progressive workplace programs including child care, flexibility, advancement and paid family leave. Rankings for the best adoption-friendly workplaces were based on benefits available to employees who adopt, such as financial reimbursement and paid leave.

– Andy Meek

Fred's Super Dollar to Open Winchester Store Friday

Fred’s Super Dollar will have a grand opening of its new store at 7143 Winchester Road at 8:45 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 21.

The 16,000-square-foot store will have special offers and activities for the occasion, which also celebrates 65 years of fred’s serving the Memphis area.

Changes in layout, lighting, shelving, aisle widths and signage characterize this new prototype store. Other features include an expanded food section and a drive-thru pharmacy.

Memphis-based fred’s Super Dollar operates more than 700 discount general merchandise stores, including 21 franchised fred’s stores in 15 states in the Southeastern U.S.

– Sarah Baker

US Housing Starts Rose 2.3 Percent in August

U.S. builders started work on more homes in August, driven by the fastest pace of single-family home construction in more than two years. The increase points to steady progress in the housing recovery.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that construction of homes and apartments rose 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000 last month. That’s up from 733,000 in July, which was revised lower from last month’s initial estimate.

Single-family housing starts rose 5.5 percent to an annual rate of 535,000 homes, the best pace since April 2010. Apartment construction, which can be volatile from month to month, fell 4.9 percent.

Applications for building permits, a good sign of future construction, fell to an annual rate of 803,000. Still, that’s down from a four-year high of 811,000 in July, which was revised higher.

The rate of home construction has risen nearly 60 percent since hitting a recession low of 478,000 in April 2009. It’s still half the pace considered healthy. But the steady gains suggest the housing recovery could endure.

“Housing is clearly in a recovery mode,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. He said home construction should add about 0.3 percentage point to overall economic growth this year.

The August gains in housing starts were uneven across the country. They were led by a sharp 20.7 percent increase in new construction of homes and apartments in the Midwest. Starts also rose 3.7 percent in the South. But they fell 12.6 percent in the Northeast and 4.3 percent in the West.

– The Associated Press

Barges Backed Up Near St. Louis

Crews are scrambling to make repairs near the busiest lock on a vital Mississippi River commerce corridor near St. Louis.

Hundreds of barges and tugboats remained snarled Wednesday in a backlog that was growing worse by the hour.

Workers closed Lock 27 last Saturday after discovering that a protection cell had split open, spilling enough of the rock into the river to obstruct passage. The cell is a rock-filled steel cylinder against which barges rub to help align them for proper entry into the lock.

The Army Corps of Engineers spokesman says the portion has been exposed because the river’s level has been lowered dramatically by the nation’s drought.

As of Wednesday morning, nearly five dozen tugboats and more than 400 barges were caught up in the logjam.

– The Associated Press

Mississippi Eyes Overhaul of Prepaid Tuition Program

State Treasurer Lynn Fitch has told lawmakers that she suspended the state’s prepaid college tuition program because it is struggling financially and an audit will show whether it needs to be overhauled or scrapped.

Flitch said the audit could show the program needs to be overhauled.

Until the audit is completed, Fitch says the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program will not enroll any new participants.

Fitch said the nearly 22,293 people enrolled in the program are protected but that new enrollment in the program is being halted.

Fitch said it is only 76.8 percent funded, leaving a $94 million shortfall. She said investment earnings last year were only 0.6 percent. Actuaries said it must earn 7.8 percent a year to stay in the black, with college tuition increasing about 7 percent a year.

The program was created in 1996 to allow families to purchase the cost of tuition for a future student at today’s prices.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 50 299 14,717
MORTGAGES 59 436 19,330
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 14 91 3,796
BUILDING PERMITS 135 697 35,330
BANKRUPTCIES 58 306 14,034
BUSINESS LICENSES 22 87 5,013
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 121 483 21,433
MARRIAGE LICENSES 22 104 4,557

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