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VOL. 129 | NO. 36 | Friday, February 21, 2014

Daily Digest

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Lamar Fred’s Sells for $2.5 Million

The recently built fred’s Super Dollar store at 1290 Lamar Ave. in Midtown has sold for $2.5 million.

M & T Enterprises Inc. of Greenville, S.C., bought the 16,530-square-foot retail property in a Jan. 29 warranty deed from Erb Walker-Tennessee GP, the developer that brought the store to market last year.

Memphis-based Fred’s Inc. held a grand-opening, ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Class A store in December. The store, which features Fred’s new prototype design, sits on 2.2 acres at the intersection of Lamar and South Cleveland Street.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal was $247,300, a figure that doesn’t include the building value.

In conjunction with the purchase, M & T Enterprises filed a $3.6 million deed of trust, assignment of leases and rents, security agreement and fixture filing through Park Sterling Bank.

Ted Siachos signed the trust deed as president of the borrower.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Wind Energy Project Receives Tax Freeze

The Economic Development and Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County has granted an 11-year tax incentive to a wind energy firm considering a $259.8 million investment in energy transfer infrastructure in Shelby County.

Clean Line Energy, operating as Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC, plans on building a 700-mile-long transmission system to deliver around 3,500 megawatts of wind generated in the Oklahoma panhandle to the Mid-South and the Southeast.

The wind power generated in Oklahoma would be sent to the Tennessee Valley Authority system, which supplies Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division and dozens of other utilities, via a station near Millington. The company is in late-stage talks with TVA to allow its system to connect to the TVA grid.

The project would create 16 permanent jobs with an average salary of $56,875. The payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive approved Wednesday, Feb. 19, would save the company around $24.2 million. However, the project would create around $36.2 million in new tax revenue over the 11-year PILOT period.

Clean Line would build a station in the city of Millington’s reserve area to convert the direct current wind energy to the alternating current power grid. The site currently pays $2,975 per year in Shelby County property taxes. After construction, Shelby County would receive an estimated $3.2 million annually for the term of the PILOT and $5.4 million annually after the PILOT expires.

The project still needs to get environmental approval from the U.S. Department of Energy. Construction could begin in 2016 and be complete by 2018.

– Amos Maki

Huey’s Teams With Nonprofit to Grow Garden

Huey’s has teamed up with local nonprofit GAIA to turn the grassy property at 1895 Madison Ave. next to the Huey’s home office into a garden.

GAIA’s mission is to create awareness about environmental issues, and it will use the property to grow a vegetable, herb and flower garden. The garden will showcase greens, tomatoes, carrots, beans, broccoli, beets, squash, herbs and wildflowers in raised beds, and all products will be donated to local food banks and shelters.

This month, GAIA is planting seedlings into pots, and between March and May will transfer plants into the raised beds. Products will be harvested throughout the year.

GAIA also intends to use the space as a water-collection site and to host field trips for local schools.

– Andy Meek

Schools Closing Proposal to Be Released Tuesday

Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson told school board members Wednesday, Feb. 19, he will announce his final recommendations on school closings for the next academic year at the board’s voting meeting Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Hopson proposed a list of 13 schools for possible closure. After two sets of public hearings in the affected areas, Hopson told the board he is considering some scenarios for keeping Alcy Elementary open and may seek county funding to build a new school to replace Raineshaven Elementary and combine two neighboring elementary schools in the process. The condition of the Raineshaven building was a major factor in the exploration of closing the school.

Any funding for a new school building would depend on finding seven votes on the Shelby County Commission.

Hopson also announced seven new principals for the next academic year. Ami Marsh, who had been principal of Millington Middle, was named the new Germantown Middle principal, and Barbara Harmon was named the permanent Germantown High School after holding the job on an interim basis.

Hopson tapped Curtis Weathers, executive director of the Memphis Academy of Health Sciences, to be the new principal of Hamilton High. Millington Central High principal Mark Neal will become principal at Melrose High next school year.

– Bill Dries

Applications for Jobless Benefits Drop to 336,000

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell a slight 3,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 336,000, a sign that layoffs remain low.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 338,500.

The average is roughly in line with pre-recession levels and indicates that companies are cutting few jobs. Applications are a rough proxy for layoffs.

The number of applicants has stabilized in recent weeks despite modest levels of hiring in January and February. When applications for unemployment benefits remain fairly steady from week to week, it suggests that businesses are confident that customer demand will be strong enough to justify retaining their workers.

A total of 3.53 million Americans received benefits as of Feb. 1 – the latest period for which figures are available – up from 3.52 million the previous week.

In recent months, snowstorms and frigid weather have contributed to a slowdown in hiring, retail sales and home construction. A scant 113,000 jobs were added in January. That follows the addition of just 75,000 jobs in December. Job growth for the past two months is only about half the monthly average for the previous two years.

Some positive signs did emerge in January's jobs report. The unemployment rate reached a five-year low of 6.6 percent. The decline from 6.7 percent occurred because more of those out of work found jobs. It was an improvement from December, when the rate fell mainly because many of the unemployed stopped searching for work. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively looking for a job.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 73 114 11,552
MORTGAGES 100 142 15,121
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 47 47 2,958
BUILDING PERMITS 198 392 27,646
BANKRUPTCIES 60 128 11,090
BUSINESS LICENSES 19 37 4,075
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 120 323 16,809
MARRIAGE LICENSES 21 43 3,507

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