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VOL. 129 | NO. 37 | Monday, February 24, 2014

Daily Digest

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Polo Shops Sells for $3.1 Million After Foreclosure

The Polo Shops retail center on Winchester Road in Southeast Memphis has sold for $3.1 million following a foreclosure.

An entity called TOP11 - 7444 Winchester RD LLC bought the property, whose addresses are 7444 Winchester Road and 7464 Winchester Road, in a Feb. 19 substitute trustee’s deed from R. Spencer Clift III of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC.

The buyer is an affiliate of special servicer C-III Asset Management LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Irving, Texas-based C-III Capital Partners

The property went in foreclosure after owner MPI/Polo I & II defaulted on a $3.9 million loan, according to a first-run foreclosure notice last year in The Daily News.

The Class A shopping center was built in 2002 and sits on a combined 2.6 acres at the northwest corner of Winchester and South Germantown roads, across the street from Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The 7444 Winchester Road parcel includes a 12,320-square-foot strip center on 1 acre. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal was close to $2 million.

And the 7464 Winchester Road parcel includes a 15,825-square-foot strip center on 1.6 acres. The assessor’s 2013 appraisal was $2.6 million.

Polo Shops’ previous owner, Bonnie Lane Offices LLC, financed it for $3.9 million in 2003 through Principal Commercial Funding LLC. MPI/Polo assumed the loan when it bought the center for $5.1 million a year later.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

MLGW Board Offers Streetlight Fee Changes

The Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division board is sending to the Memphis City Council a new rate structure for streetlight service fees that would keep apartment and residential non-apartment rates the same, while setting a new single rate for commercial properties large and small.

The existing rates distinguish between small and large commercial properties based on their frontage. The rate for small commercial properties is $6.48 a month, and for large it is $19.07 a month.

The utility board proposed setting a single commercial rate of $8.65 a month while keeping the apartment unit rate at $1.08 a month and the residential non-apartment rate at $4.32.

The recommendation goes to the council next month for approval.

The rate change was prompted by calls by some council members for exemptions in areas that don’t have streetlights and for planned unit developments that pay for their own streetlights. Other council members said the purpose of the fees is to pay for streetlights used by citizens no matter where they might live. They argued there should be no exemptions.

The rates must generate $12.9 million in revenue to pay the cost of the equipment and the electricity used.

The council voted last year to take the streetlight line item out of the city budget and transfer the service to Memphis Light, Gas and Water.

– Bill Dries

UTHSC Doctor Wins Grant for Diabetes Study

Dr. Karen C. Johnson, professor and interim chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Science Health Center, has received $1.6 million to fund the observational phase of a national diabetes study.

The Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) Study, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, began in 2001 to examine whether weight loss and increased physical activity would prevent cardiovascular events in those with type 2 diabetes.

The observational portion of the study here is now funded through 2015 to follow long-term effects on the participants. Johnson and co-investigator Dr. Helmut Steinberg, professor of endocrinology at UTHSC, hope to extend the observational phase through 2020.

– Don Wade

Affordable Townhome Community Opens in Holly Springs

A new affordable townhome community in Holly Springs, Miss., opened Friday, Feb. 21.

Murphy Lane, a community of 36 townhomes, was developed by Rosedale Corp. of Oxford, Miss., with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which provide a dollar-for-dollar reduction on federal income tax for developers.

Holly Springs officials said Murphy Lane, which has been certified as a National Green Building development, demonstrates that affordable housing does not have to sacrifice quality or sustainability.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to bring this high-quality community to Holly Springs, and, considering the competitiveness of the application as well as the high demand for quality homes in Holly Springs, it is a blessing for the city,” said Alfred Moore, executive director of the Holly Springs Housing Authority, in a statement.

– Amos Maki

US Home Sales Drop 5.1 Percent in January

Sales of existing U.S. homes plummeted in January to the worst pace in 18 months. Cold weather, limited supplies of homes on the market and higher buying costs held back purchases.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million units last month. That was down 5.1 percent from the December pace. The sales rate declined 5.1 percent over the previous 12 months.

Higher mortgage rates and higher prices have contributed to a slowdown in home buying in five of the past six months. Freezing temperatures and snowstorms have also caused most housing activity to slip this winter. The flagging sales suggest a deceleration from the momentum for much of 2013, when 5.09 million homes were sold, the most in seven years.

"Such a picture confirms that the U.S. housing market reached its peak at the end of 2013 and further reacceleration is unlikely near term," Annalisa Piazza of Newedge Strategy said in a research note.

– The Associated Press

Analyst: Wal-Mart Facing More Issues

The growing list of issues facing Wal-Mart is becoming more of a concern for a Stifel Nicolaus analyst, who downgraded the world's biggest retailer on Friday.

On Thursday, Wal-Mart reported a 21 percent decline in its fourth-quarter profit. The company said that the Nov. 1 expiration of a temporary boost in food stamps is hurting its shoppers' ability to spend. It's also caught up in the debate about minimum wages and dealing with increasing competition from dollar stores and grocers. That's in addition to increased taxes, tighter credit and bad winter weather keeping some shoppers away from stores.

David Schick of Stifel Nicolaus said in a client note that the growing pressures comes at a time when Wal-Mart is in a transitional period as some executives settle into their new roles. Among them is Doug McMillon, who took over as CEO on Feb. 1.

The analyst said that while he thinks Wal-Mart has become more realistic about its opportunities, strengths and weaknesses, its list of positives is offset by a much longer list of concerns.

Schick lowered his rating for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to "Hold" from "Buy."

But Jefferies' Daniel Binder recommends investors stay with Wal-Mart a little longer to see what McMillon can do now that he's at the helm.

"McMillon appears ready to get this business moving in the right direction," he wrote.

Binder maintained a "Buy" rating and price target of $87.

Wal-Mart does not comment on analyst reports.

– The Associated Press

Fannie Mae Earns $6.5 Billion in Quarter

Fannie Mae posted net income of $6.5 billion from October through December, its eighth straight profitable quarter. Fannie will have repaid its full government bailout after paying its fourth-quarter dividend.

Fannie said Friday that its full-year profit of $84 billion for 2013 was boosted by rising home prices and an accounting move capitalizing on tax benefits it had accumulated from losses on mortgages during the financial crisis.

The fourth-quarter profit slipped from earnings of $7.6 billion in the same period of 2012.

Washington-based Fannie will pay a dividend of $7.2 billion to the U.S. Treasury next month. With its previous payments totaling about $114 billion, it will have more than fully repaid the $116 billion it received from taxpayers.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 220 17,575
MORTGAGES 0 246 22,897
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 38 4,467
BUILDING PERMITS 0 514 41,739
BANKRUPTCIES 0 176 16,568
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 50 5,751
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 196 25,067
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 66 5,351

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