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VOL. 128 | NO. 165 | Friday, August 23, 2013

Daily Digest

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Florida Company Buys Multi-Tenant Building on U.S. 64

A local affiliate of Delray Beach, Fla.-based Belford Ventures has paid $3 million for the multi-tenant retail building at 7859 U.S. 64 (Stage Road) in Northeast Memphis.

The entity 7859 Stage LLC bought the 72,472-square-foot building in an Aug. 19 warranty deed from Memphis-based CM&W GP, a partnership composed of Phil Chamberlain, Jon McCreery and Jack Whitaker. That group bought the property in 2005 from SKN LLC for $2.5 million.

Built in 1993, the retail property sits on 2.8 acres on the south side of Stage Road east of Kate Bond Road and near Wolfchase Galleria. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal is $3.2 million.

The building formerly housed Richwell Furniture Gallery and is now home to American Freight Furniture and Mattress, which opened its first Memphis store in November. The store marked the Delaware, Ohio-based retailer’s fifth location in Tennessee and 75th store nationwide.

In conjunction with the purchase, 7859 Stage LLC filed a $1.8 million loan through JPMorgan Chase Bank NA. William Belford signed the trust deed as managing member of the borrower.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

River Oaks Wine Program Wins Recognition

River Oaks restaurant has received an award for its wine program.

The Award of Excellence was presented to River Oaks in July and published in the August issue of Wine Spectator magazine. River Oaks’ wine list showcases more than 300 selections available by the bottle and more than 75 available by the glass, and it was one of only eight restaurants in Memphis to receive this 2013 restaurant award.

The magazine’s restaurant wine list awards recognize restaurants who offer an appealing and interesting selection of wines that are appropriate to their cuisine offerings.

– Andy Meek

Opera Memphis Opens Season With Free Shows

Opera Memphis is opening its 2013-2014 season with a month of free opera performances staged at various public venues around Memphis and Shelby County.

The free performances will be presented every day in September, and will lead up to the company’s season-opening production of Rigoletto on Oct. 3 and 5.

Ned Canty, general director of Opera Memphis, said more than $70,000 in national and local grant support helped finance the month of free performances, called 30 Days of Opera. Evolve Trust & Bank is the presenting sponsor for a second year.

“Along with other donor gifts, this funding has helped us reach a five-year high in total giving,” Canty said. “In a decade when opera companies in many other cities – Baltimore, Md.; Rochester, N.Y.; Santa Ana, Calif.; and Hartford, Conn. – have been forced to close, Opera Memphis is doing what Memphis musicians have always done: innovate.”

This season’s financial support is a result of the company’s work in seeking out and applying for grants from national organizations like OPERA America, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Getty Foundation and the Harnisch Foundation, as well as receiving local support from Watkins Uiberall and the Downtown Memphis Commission.

The full calendar will be available after Aug. 31 at www.operamemphis.org.

– Jennifer Johnson Backer

Birchett Memorial Service Set for Saturday

Memphis publisher and entrepreneur Tina Birchett will be remembered at a memorial service Saturday, Aug. 24, at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, 70 N. Bellevue Boulevard.

Birchett, the publisher of Grace magazine and organizer of the annual Sisterhood Showcase, died Aug. 18 from cancer.

The memorial service will be at 9:30 a.m.

– Bill Dries

Huckabee Raising Funds for Alexander Re-Election

Former Arkansas Gov. and Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has joined U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s campaign for re-election in 2014.

Huckabee, who carried Shelby County and Tennessee in the 2008 Republican presidential primary, sent a statewide fundraising letter this week on Alexander’s behalf.

The appeal to Tennessee citizens compares Alexander to former President Ronald Reagan.

The Huckabee letter comes the same week that State Rep. Joe Carr announced he will challenge Alexander in the August 2014 Republican Senate primary.

– Bill Dries

30-Year Mortgage Rate Rises to 4.58 Percent

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages rose this week to their highest levels in two years, driven by heightened speculation that the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases later this year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan jumped to 4.58 percent, up from 4.40 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan rose to 3.60 percent from 3.44 percent. Both averages are the highest since July 2011.

Rates have risen more than a full percentage point since May. Last week’s spike comes after more Fed members signaled they could be open to reducing the bond purchases as early as September. The purchases have helped keep long-term interest rates low, including mortgage rates.

Despite the increase, mortgage rates remain low by historical standards. And recent reports suggest the jump in rates has yet to sap the housing recovery’s momentum.

Mortgage rates are rising because they tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The yield has also surged on speculation that the Fed’s stimulus will slow. It rose to 2.90 percent Thursday morning, its highest level in two years.

– The Associated Press

US Unemployment Aid Applications on the Rise

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week after reaching the lowest level in 5.5 years. But the broader trend suggests companies are laying off fewer workers and could step up hiring in the months ahead.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications for first-time benefits rose 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000 in the week ending Aug. 17. That’s up from 323,000 in the previous week, which was the lowest since Jan. 2008.

The four-week average, which smoothes week to week fluctuations, fell by 2,250 to 330,500. That’s the sixth straight decline and the lowest for the average since November 2007.

At the depths of the recession in March 2009, applications numbered 670,000.

Applications for unemployment benefits generally reflect layoffs. The four-week average has fallen 5 percent in the past month. The drop suggests employers added nearly 200,000 jobs in August, an improvement from the 162,000 added in July.

The unemployment rate fell to a 4.5-year low of 7.4 percent last month, down from 7.6 percent in June. That’s still well above the 5 percent to 6 percent range associated with a normal economy.

The drop in layoffs helps explain why job growth has increased this year to an average of 192,000 net jobs a month, even while overall economic growth has stayed sluggish.

– The Associated Press

Gauge of Economic Health Rose 0.6 Percent in July

A gauge of the U.S. economy’s health rose in July, pointing to stronger growth in the second half of the year.

The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 percent last month to a reading of 96.0. The increase followed no change in June and a 0.2 percent increase in May.

The index from the business research group is comprised of several previously released data points and can signal economic conditions over the next three to six months.

The solid gain suggests economic growth is picking up after a weak start. The economy grew at an annual rate of 1.4 percent from January through June. Many economists expect growth could improve to a 2.5 percent rate in the second half of 2013.

The pace of growth measured by the index over the last six months has nearly doubled, “pointing to a gradually strengthening expansion through the end of the year,” said Conference Board economist Ataman Ozyildirim.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 72 238 10,116
MORTGAGES 103 297 13,172
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 40 2,578
BUILDING PERMITS 192 562 24,086
BANKRUPTCIES 75 227 9,760
BUSINESS LICENSES 20 71 3,674
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 126 390 14,353
MARRIAGE LICENSES 15 68 3,131

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