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Editorial Results (free)

1. REI ‘Raises the Bar’ on Outdoor Recreation in Memphis -

REI’s new Memphis store is promoting local outdoor recreation areas in addition to the sales of its own camping and outdoor gear.

The consumer co-op not only is donating $20,000 total to the Wolf River, Overton Park and Shelby Farms Park conservancies for trail restoration and other improvements, but is leading its nearly 50 employees to engage with and volunteer in the parks.

2. Bike Share, Greenway and Bike Lane Efforts Point Toward Common Goal -

Four years after it made its tentative debut with the opening of the Overton Park Bike Gate, the Hampline, across East Parkway from the eastern end of Overton Park, is about to become permanent.

“The Hampline that exists today is about to be changed,” city bikeway and pedestrian program manager Nicholas Oyler said on WKNO-TV’s “Behind The Headlines.”

3. Local Schools Awarded Grants For Educational Food Gardens -

Tennessee Sen. Mark Norris joined United Health Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation at a kickoff event Wednesday, May 2, at Nexus STEM Academy in Memphis to announce grants totaling $81,000 to 39 Tennessee schools and youth organizations to build or expand existing vegetable gardens, salad bars or beehives, and provide educational resources about agriculture, caring for the environment and maintaining healthy lifestyles.

4. Monumental Decision -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland may not even get a discussion with the Tennessee Historical Commission Friday, Oct. 13, about moving the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest out of a city park.

5. Widening The Path -

He asked to only be a small part of this story. But when you come up with an idea so good, so powerful, that it’s named as one of the top 20 ideas in the Forbes Change the World Competition, you are the story’s foundation.

6. Home Sales Up, Price Slips in July -

As the housing market begins to head into a slower time of year with school restarting, home sales still continue to outpace last year’s figures despite a slight dip in average sales price.

The number of units sold in Shelby County was up 14 percent in July, with 1,808 sales recorded compared with 1,584 last July, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, chandlerreports.com.

7. Juxtaposing Views Greet Voting Change -

Memphis City Council members Edmund Ford Jr. and Patrice Robinson have each been on the winning side of a council runoff election and share a district border along Elvis Presley Boulevard in Whitehaven.

8. Events -

Germantown Community Library will hold an Estate Planning Basics workshop Tuesday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m. at 1925 Exeter Road. Explore the fundamentals of successful estate planning from Lansky Law Firm. Pre-registration required; call 901-757-7323.

9. Residents Embracing Big River Crossing -

On the first Saturday morning in which it was consistently autumn by the weather conditions as well as the calendar, political leaders on both sides of the Mississippi River walked from Memphis and West Memphis to meet in the middle of the Big River Crossing.

10. Grant & Co. Gets Into Luxury Home Market -

Grant & Co., a family-owned homebuilder in the Memphis area, has expanded into the luxury home market with new homes being built in Collierville’s Hearthstone neighborhood.

11. Justice Department Announces $20M for Police Body Cameras -

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – The Justice Department announced Monday it's awarding more than $20 million for law enforcement agencies around the country to establish or enhance their use of body cameras, a move that comes after several fatal shootings of black men by police that have prompted widespread protests.

12. Photographer Steber Captures Fading Legends on Blues Highway -

Bill Steber stood at the crossroads in the Mississippi Delta and made a deal with the devil that would allow him to not only master his photographic skills but become one of the most respected documentarians of Mississippi Delta blues. And kind of make a living (or at least fashion his life) while he’s at it.

13. Kustoff Claims 8th GOP Primary, Todd Upset by Lovell, Jenkins Over Newsom -

Former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff claimed the Republican nomination for Tennessee’s 8th Congressional district Thursday, Aug. 4, in a 15-county contest in which the eastern parts of Shelby County played a decisive role.

14. Last Word: Spec In East Memphis, Bike Share Test and Gannett Earnings -

Pinnacle Financial is the anchor for the first Class A spec office space in Memphis in just about a decade.

Madeline Faber breaking the Boyle lease news for the $20-million office tower at 949 S. Shady Grove Road. This is what office-space developers have been talking about for quite some time and as more time passed there was apprehension about the window for spec office space running out.

15. Lot Availability, Prices Putting Home Construction Behind Demand -

The recent uptick in the residential real estate market is devouring what’s left of lot development that lagged during the recession, and tight supply is raising home prices in the Memphis area.

16. Urban Treasure -

They were at the 2007 National Recreation and Park Association conference in Indianapolis and they had been dutifully attending the seminars and taking notes. But one day this two-woman contingent from Memphis and the newly formed Shelby Farms Park Conservancy skipped out of the afternoon workshops.

17. United Housing Gets Grant from First Tennessee -

First Tennessee Bank has made a $5,000 grant to United Housing Inc. to support the nonprofit organization’s financial counseling programs.

18. United Housing Gets Grant from First Tennessee -

First Tennessee Bank has made a $5,000 grant to United Housing Inc. to support the nonprofit organization’s financial counseling programs.

19. Hughes Promoted at Harris Shelton -

Brett Hughes has been promoted to managing member at Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh PLLC law firm. In his new role, Hughes will provide managerial support to the firm’s three offices. His primary responsibility will be to manage the firm’s administration and committees, particularly on issues that impact client service, as well as the morale, compensation, growth and development of the firm.

20. Under Pressure -

The Urban Child Institute’s research produces data. That data provides guidance for making decisions about how to best help Memphis children age 3 and younger. And The Urban Child Institute’s assets, around $150 million in 2013, offer a means to that end.

21. CFGM Grants $220K To Group of 17 Nonprofits -

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis has announced its latest round of grants, some $220,000 in “capacity building” funds for area nonprofits.

“These grants are for mature nonprofits,” said Ashley Harper, director of grants and initiatives for the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. “This is not startup funding. We feel like with our limited budget, this is a good niche for us.”

22. Turbett Joins First Horizon as CRA Officer -

Keith D. Turbett has joined First Horizon National Corp., parent company of First Tennessee Bank, as corporate Community Reinvestment Act officer and community development manager. In that role, Turbett ensures First Tennessee is making credit and financial products available in all parts of the community, consistent with safe and sound banking practices.

23. Grand Island Owners File $22.5 Million Loan -

The owners of Grand Island Apartment Homes, a high-end apartment community on Mud Island, have filed a $22.5 million mortgage on the property with backing from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

24. Memphis College Prep Renovating Former Dunn Avenue Elementary -

1500 Dunn Ave.
Memphis, TN 38106

Permit Amount: $1.4 million

Application Date: Sept. 30

25. Grand Island Owners File $22.5 Million Loan -

The owners of Grand Island Apartment Homes, a high-end apartment community on Mud Island, have filed a $22.5 million mortgage on the property with backing from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

26. Outbid on Your Dream House? Just Wait for Deal to Fall Through -

The real estate market remains frenzied with every passing week, with multiple-offer scenarios on numerous listings. As has been noted in this column, these spontaneous sales have often led to buyer’s remorse and, as a result, more terminated contracts than ever before.

27. Builders Start, Sell Fewer Memphis-Area Homes in May -

Hampered by a severe lot shortage, homebuilding activity in Memphis and Shelby County slowed considerably in May, with builders starting and selling fewer new homes than last year.

Builders filed 67 permits in May, down 17.3 percent from 81 permits filed in May 2014, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports. Builders sold 58 new homes in May, down 23.6 percent from 76 new homes sold last year.

28. Homebuilders Enjoying Steady Start to 2015 -

The Shelby County homebuilding industry surged ahead in April with builders pulling more permits and selling more new homes at higher prices, a positive start to the peak building season.

Builders filed 84 permits in April, a 10.5 jump over the 76 permits filed in April 2014 and a 47.3 percent jump from the 57 permits filed in March of this year, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

29. Keeping Promises -

With more than 50,000 high school seniors applying for free community college tuition and fees through Gov. Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise, it’s reasonable to wonder if Tennessee’s community colleges have the infrastructure – including classroom space and instructors – to handle such an influx of new students.

30. Work Begins on Big River Crossing -

Work began Monday, Nov. 10, on the Harahan Bridge boardwalk in a Downtown conference room as the contractor on the $17.5 million project, OCCI Inc. of Fulton, Mo., met with city leaders and explained the construction plan to come for what is now called the “Big River Crossing.”

31. Concert Series Comes to Harbor Town -

A six-concert series is coming to Harbor Town later this month.

The River Series, benefitting The Maria Montessori School, is coming to the Harbor Town Amphitheater at 740 Harbor Bend Road starting Aug. 23.

32. Winter Drags Down Q1 Building Permits -

Shelby County’s homebuilding industry, plagued by poor weather early in 2014, got off to a slow start in the first quarter, with builders filing 14.2 percent fewer permits than in the same three-month period a year ago.

33. New Home Permits See Slight Bump -

Despite bitterly cold temperatures that plagued the Memphis area last month, homebuilders pulled slightly more housing permits in January when compared to the same month last year.

Shelby County homebuilders filed 64 permits in January, up from 57 permits filed in January 2013 and 53 permits in December 2013, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

34. Pioneering Woman -

It was 2004 and Kim Grant Brown had just finished her junior year at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

During the break from her studies, Grant Brown, then 20 years old, acquired a loan and built her first house in Arlington.

35. CubeSmart Sells Storage Facility for $7.9 Million -

2700 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38112
Sale Amount: $7.9 million

Sale Date: Nov. 4, 2013
Buyer: WCP/DSSH Holdings 16 LLC
Seller: CubeSmart LP
Details: Wayne, Va.-based self-storage real estate investment trust CubeSmart LP has sold the U-Store-It facility at 2700 Poplar Ave. in the 38112 ZIP code for $7.9 million.

36. Harbor Island Buys Land, Files Loan for Apartments -

Harbor Island Partners LLC has acquired 10.5 acres on Mud Island and filed a construction loan for a 134-unit apartment complex on the property.

37. Shelby County Building Permits ‘Stable’ in August -

Shelby County home building activity was relatively flat in August, with builders pulling slightly more permits while selling fewer new homes compared to August 2012.

Homebuilders pulled 72 permits in August, up 9 percent from 66 permits filed in August 2012, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

38. Groups Race to Hire, Train 'Obamacare' Guides -

CHICAGO (AP) – With the program known as "Obamacare" only weeks away from its key launch date, hectic preparations are in motion in communities across the country to deal with one of its major practical challenges: hiring and training a small army of instant experts who can explain the intricacies of health insurance to people who've never had it.

39. Building Permit Activity Cools in July -

Shelby County home building activity cooled in July, with builders pulling fewer permits and selling fewer new homes compared to July 2012.

Homebuilders pulled 77 permits in July, down 6.1 percent from 82 permits filed in July 2012, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. The average permit in July measured 2,958 square feet and $225,199 compared to 3,080 and $229,633 in July 2012.

40. Shelby County Building Permits Increase 5 Percent -

Editor's Note: The original story that ran in the June 13 issue of The Daily News contained inaccurate building permit data. The story has been corrected and appears below. The Daily News regrets the error.

41. Corporate Contribution -

On a beautiful spring morning last week more than 100 local FedEx employees came together along the banks of the Wolf River to do a beautiful thing.

It was the 40th anniversary of FedEx, whose employees volunteered with the Wolf River Conservancy to pull up invasive privet, plant wildflowers and trees, paint sewer vents and build nesting boxes for indigenous birds.

42. Market Stability -

Home permit activity held stable for the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year, and local builders expect to see continued gradual improvement through this year and into next.

43. Solid Foundation -

Local homebuilders filed 26 percent more permits in 2012 than 2011, the culmination of a dramatic change in the market that began last May.

Shelby County saw 884 permits filed in 2012, up from 700 in 2011, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. Overall, sales of new houses in 2012 were basically unchanged with 774 new home sales recorded for the year compared to 781 recorded in 2011.

44. Permits Up 89 Percent in October -

Local homebuilders filed 89 percent more new home permits during October compared to October of last year.

Shelby County homebuilders filed 83 permits last month, a healthy boost from the 44 filed during October 2011, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. October permits also posted a 6 percent increase from the 78 permits filed during September.

45. Residential Greening -

There was a time not so long ago when potential homebuyers had to demand energy efficiency in new homes.

Nowadays, green features are more of an expectation than an extra.

“I would venture to say that just about everybody asks about energy efficiency,” said Martha Fondren, director of sales and marketing for Grant & Co. “They may not say it in those words, but they ask us about what kind of furnaces we are using, what kind of faucets, what kind of insulation. What are the standard things that people can expect when they walk in the home in order to save them money on the utility bills because that’s a huge expense.”

46. Grant to Enhance West Memphis Port -

The rails at the Port of West Memphis will meet the edge of the levee with $10.9 million in federal funding announced last week in Washington.

The port won funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the TIGER – Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery – grant program.

47. Homebuilding Permits Rise During May -

May’s new home permit totals saw a significant upswing year over year, and homebuilders attribute the improvement to low inventory levels and low interest rates.

Shelby County homebuilders filed 91 permits in May – a 78 percent increase from the 51 filed during May 2011 – according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

48. Gaining Steam -

Local homebuilders filed 20 percent more new home permits during the first quarter compared with the same period last year, but industry experts say the market won’t see significant recovery until next year.

49. $1.5 Million Loan Filed For Future Vantage Point Golf -

Future Vantage Point Golf Center

Loan Amount: $1.5 million

Loan Date: Feb. 28, 2012

Maturity Date: March 1, 2037

Borrower: Vantage Point Holdings LLC

50. Parkview Apartments Sells for $2.6 Million -

Collierville-based Parkview Memphis Apartments LP has bought Parkview Apartments at 4616 Scott Crossing Drive from Los Angeles-based City National Bank for $2.6 million.

51. New Home Permits Climb 29 Pct. -

New home construction was up 28.9 percent last month, and local industry professionals hope the trend continues into spring.

Shelby County homebuilders filed 49 permits in January compared to 38 the same month a year ago, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

52. Moore Takes Reins of Home Builders Association -

As a homebuilder, philanthropist and body builder, Jimmy Moore is a well-rounded individual.

And as the newly installed president of the Memphis Area Home Builders Association, he is poised to lead the trade organization by example and with empathy for its members.

53. Several New Businesses on Tap for South Main -

The Center City Development Corp. at its Wednesday, Nov. 16, meeting will be voting on applications for development incentives totaling almost $27,000 for six Downtown projects that include new restaurants, retail stores and office locations. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the Downtown Memphis Commission at 114 N. Main St.

54. Grant Installed as State Homebuilders Prez -

Keith Grant of Keith & David Grant Homes LLC was inducted Saturday, Nov. 5, as 2012 president of the Tennessee Homebuilders Association Inc. – more than 50 years after his grandfather called the first meeting in Nashville.

55. Grant Named President of TN Home Builders Assn. -

Keith Grant of Keith & David Grant Homes will be inducted as 2012 president of the Home Builders Association of Tennessee Inc. in a ceremony Nov. 5 at the Memphis Hilton, 939 Ridge Lake Blvd.

56. $8M Apt. Project on Tap for Mud Island -

The developers of a roughly $8 million apartment development planned for Mud Island are scheduled to go before the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. Tuesday, Sept. 13, to apply for a nine-year tax freeze for the project.

57. New Apartment Development Planned for Mud Island -

The developers of a roughly $8 million apartment development planned for Mud Island are scheduled to go before the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. Tuesday to apply for a 9-year tax freeze for the project.

58. New-Home Permits Improve 12 Percent -

Local homebuilder permits saw a healthy bump last month, and industry experts said the rest of year looks promising as well.

Shelby County homebuilders filed 61 permits in July, an 11.7 percent increase from 55 filed the same month a year ago and a 35.5 percent increase from 45 filed in June, according to the real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

59. MC Ionic Solutions US Begins Work on Fite Rd. Site -

2665 Fite Road
Memphis, TN 38127
Permit Amount: $1.3 million

Permit Date: Applied July 2011

60. Grants Buy Lots in Kensington PD -

Three companies related to the Grant family of homebuilders have bought the remaining 105 lots in Arlington’s Kensington Planned Development for a combined $2.6 million from BancorpSouth Bank. Kensington was approved for 109 lots on 45.4 acres.

61. Builder Struggles Continue Into Spring -

As permits decline and construction costs rise, local builders urge prospective buyers to act now before the price of new homes continues to climb.

Shelby County builders filed 46 new home permits in April, a 58 percent decrease from 111 permits in April 2010, according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

62. MLGW Unveils Electric Vehicle Charging Stations -

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division officials Wednesday unveiled a set of 69 proposed sites for stations to charge electric vehicles.

The sites across Shelby County include seven Memphis public libraries as well as the Millington public library and seven MLGW facilities that would add the electric charging stations.

63. Homebuilding Points to Improvement -

Shelby County builders filed 70 permits last month – a 16.7 percent increase from 60 permits in February 2010 – a sign that the market may be able to salvage a decent first quarter.

February’s activity also marked a 191.7 percent leap from January’s showing with 24 permits and an 89.2 percent uptick from December’s 37, according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

64. Grant & Co. to Launch Joint Advertising Initiative -

As companies reduce advertising efforts to cope with the slumping economy, Grant & Co. has created a marketing program with its vendors where they are able to pool their money together for radio advertising.

65. Building Blocks -

Shelby County builders filed 681 new home permits last year, a 13.8 percent increase from 587 permits in 2009 according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

66. CEO Named for Health Information Exchange -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A chief executive officer has been named for Tennessee's Health Information Exchange.

Keith Cox, a health information technology veteran, will lead the creation of a statewide health information exchange for providers, physicians, hospitals, other health care organizations and consumers.

67. Adding Value -

Many of the Mid-South’s most successful homebuilders are weathering the slowdown in home sales across the region by getting creative to lower prices and attract potential buyers.

Sales have been down across the area, and with the traditionally slower winter sales months ahead savvy builders are looking to tweak their product to meet market demands.

68. DeSoto’s Housing Market Levels Out -

The DeSoto County residential market seems to be leveling off after several years of declining numbers. Sales figures for the year-to-date are slightly up, showing small surges and dropoffs after possibly bottoming out in 2008 and 2009.

69. Builders Hoping for Market Turnaround -

Local homebuilders matched the number of new-home permits for the third quarter compared to last year, but the recent data indicates the market is facing a doubled-edged sword.

Homebuilders filed 151 permits in Shelby County during Q3 (July 1 to Sept. 30), just one permit shy from 152 permits the same quarter last year, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. New homes during Q3 averaged 3,010 square feet and $207,216 in value.

70. Kroger to Build Store In Poplar Plaza -

3444 Plaza Ave.
Memphis, TN 38111
Permit Amount: $10 Million

Project Cost: n/a
Permit Date: Applied September 2010
Completion: n/a
Owner: Kroger, Delta Division
Tenant: Kroger
Contractor: n/a
Architect: n/a

71. Material Costs Shift With Weaker Demand -

The federal first-time buyer tax credit that prompted an increase in home sales – and to a lesser extent, new home construction – earlier this year had a similar impact on the price of building materials.

72. Homebuilding Shows Slight Improvement -

Memphis area homebuilders agree that business is looking up, but they also agree that a complete recovery will be slow in coming.

Local builders filed 725 permits between September 2009 and August 2010, according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

73. 23 Lots in Maple Grove Sell for $805,000 -

Twenty-three lots in Arlington’s Maple Grove Planned Development have sold for $805,000. L1 Properties LLC bought the lots, which are in phase two of the development, from Maple Grove Partners.

74. Taking Care of Business -

A diverse mix of Memphis businesses is defying the odds and finding success spanning multiple family generations. Grant & Co., Champion Awards, Jim’s Place East, Barden Stone and Broadway Pizza are among the Memphis institutions thriving under second- and third-generation ownership and management.

75. State Files Permit to Replace Oakhaven Driver Service Center -

3200 E. Shelby Drive
Memphis, TN 38118
Permit Amount: $2.6 Million

Project Cost: $2.6 million
Permit Date: Applied April 2010
Completion: End of 2010
Owner: State of Tennessee
Tenant: State of Tennessee Department of Safety
Contractor: Mayer Construction Co. Inc.
Architect: Looney Ricks Kiss Architects Inc.

76. RiverTown Fetches $1.6M For Six Condo Units -

RiverTown LLC, the company that developed and built RiverTown on the Island condominiums, has sold six units in the complex’s building No. 3 to a pair of investors for a combined $1.6 million.

77. Mortgage Numbers Drop In February -

Like anyone in the real estate business, mortgage bankers have April 30 circled on their calendars.

That’s when the federal homebuyers tax credit is set to expire, bringing an end to the program that gives cash for a home purchase.

78. Poor January Home Starts Blamed on Inclement Weather -

January’s foul weather wreaked havoc on homebuilders, as the barrage of snow, ice and cold temperatures severely limited the ability to start homes.

Shelby County builders filed just 36 new home permits last month, half of December’s 72, but a slight increase from the January 2009 total of 31, according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

79. 2010 -

Is it over yet? That may be the most frequently asked question in the New Year. “It” is the worst national economic recession since the Great Depression.

Accurately reading the indicators will not be easy. Some will predict the recession is about to end, just as new indicators point to continuing economic agony for thousands of Memphians.

80. New MAHBA Leader Has Deep Roots In Local Industry -

Tommy Byrnes has been building homes longer than he’s been driving. From his preteen days to high school and even through college, Byrnes spent his summers working for the homebuilding business his father, Ronnie, ran with Max Ostner.

81. Byrnes to Take MAHBA Reins -

Tommy Byrnes of Byrnes Ostner Investments Inc. will serve as 2010 president of the Memphis Area Home Builders Association, the group’s executive director, Don Glays, said this week.

82. Residential Building Heats Up in November -

Arlington is back in the news, although this time it has nothing to do with Mayor Russell Wiseman posting remarks on his Facebook page about President Obama and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” television special.

83. Grand Island Files Permit For Mud Island Apartment Complex -

300 Grand Island Drive
Memphis, TN 38103
Permit Amount: $12.1 Million

Project Cost: $19 million
Permit Date: Applied November 2009
Completion: 2012
Owner: Grand Island Partners
Tenant: Grand Island
Contractor: Keith and David Grant Homes LLC
Architect: MMH Hall Architects and Planners Inc.

84. Building Permit Filed For Grand Island Apartments -

The group bringing the 204-unit Grand Island apartments to Mud Island has filed a $12.1 million building permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement. Grand Island Partners, an affiliate of Grant & Co., filed the permit with plans to break ground in the spring, said company president Keith Grant.

85. Housing Divided -

A couple of years ago, when Clay Thompson of Memphis decided it was time to stop renting, he set his sights on the Downtown condominium market. He was especially interested in the old warehouses in the South Main Historic Arts District that had been converted to condos.

86. Arlington Subdivision Coughs to Life -

After a few years of starts and stops, a host of liens and other financial woes, the Cambridge Manor Planned Development in Arlington is finally getting under way.

Grant & Co. paid almost $1.9 million for all 45 lots of the subdivision’s first phase and plans to bring a model home plus six speculative homes to the development within the next 90 to 100 days, said company president Keith Grant.

87. More Building Permits Bode Well for Housing Market -

For the second straight quarter, homebuilders pulled more permits than the previous period, perhaps signaling the beginning of the end for the housing crisis.

Builders started 144 homes during Q3 (July through September), according to the latest data from Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. That marked a 47.3 percent drop from 273 starts in Q3 2008, but it also marked a slight improvement over 141 permits made during the second quarter of 2009.

88. MAHBA Insurance Program To Soothe Skittish Buyers -

The Memphis Area Home Builders Association is launching a mortgage protection insurance program that will cover a homebuyer’s principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) for one year if the buyer becomes involuntarily unemployed.

89. Q2 Building Permits Continue Downward Trend -

The homebuilding industry in the mid-2000s distinguished itself through a record-setting pace – each year it seemingly topped the previous one in terms of housing starts.

Now, the converse of that is true as builders consistently set new lows because of the ongoing housing crunch and credit crisis.

90. Mud Island Apartments to Bolster Existing Condos -

It took a tax break from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. to get the project going, but construction of Grand Island, a $19 million, 204-unit apartment complex slated for Mud Island, got the green light this week and will commence in November.

91. Commission To Consider Fite Road Bridge -

Members of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners today will consider $68,000 in funding for environmental and design work on a bridge that would span Fite Road in northern Shelby County from U.S. 51 to Woodstock Boulevard.

92. Initiative Brings Home Closer for Downtown Workers - Local homebuilder Grant & Co. is launching a program it hopes will entice Downtown employees to live closer to their workplaces.

The “Work Downtown, Live Downtown” promotion kicks off this week for the company’s RiverTown on the Island condominiums, providing a variety of incentives to any Downtown worker who buys a home there.

The first phase of RiverTown – on Mud Island just south of HarborTown – was recently completed. Its four buildings contain 39 units, which range from 1,200 to 3,200 square feet and in price from $199,000 to $650,000.

The company spent the past several months doing the standard billboard, radio and print marketing campaign for the development’s condos, selling 12 homes in the process. Now it hopes to jumpstart condo sales activity with this latest promotion.

Grant & Co. president Keith Grant said the company will target Downtown’s largest employers – such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Morgan Keegan & Co., Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, AutoZone and First Tennessee.

Grant figures the Downtown work force must include a huge untapped market of people interested in living closer to their offices.

“There’s 70,000 people that work Downtown and there’s only (27,000) that live Downtown,” he said. “This is an incentive designed specifically for Downtown businesses.”

Touting the perks

The promotion will revolve around “white glove” tours starting Sept. 6 and held each weekend next month to showcase the homes and tout the benefits of living Downtown for those who already work there.

First of all, Grant said the company hopes to single out the convenience factor.

“Rather than fight the traffic, why not live in an area like the Island, where you can relax in the afternoons looking off your balcony at the Mississippi River and not have to worry about driving 30 minutes home,” he said. “You can drive five minutes home, or walk home or take the trolley home.”

Next comes the amenities on and near Mud Island, which have been enhanced in the past few years with numerous shops and services within the HarborTown development and in neighboring Uptown.

“When HarborTown first started, it started kind of slow just because they didn’t have those kinds of amenities – you didn’t have a grocery store to go to, there wasn’t a gas station, there weren’t any schools at the time, no restaurants to speak of,” Grant said. “So, it’s definitely made it a lot nicer to live on the island now that you have all that on that end of Downtown.”

Grant & Co. will offer buyers one of three incentive packages valued at $3,000 each: an appliance package that includes a refrigerator and washer/dryer; an entertainment package that includes a plasma screen TV; and a decorator package that includes a choice of multiple wall colors and blinds.

‘Building the market’

Getting people to move Downtown has proven more difficult this year. Residential sales in Downtown’s 38103 ZIP code declined 32.7 percent in the first seven months of 2008 compared to the same period last year.

Just 224 homes sold from January through July this year, down from 333 in 2007, according to the latest data from Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

Downtown’s condo market, though still the most robust in Shelby County, decreased 33.9 percent through the end July; the year has seen 125 condo sales Downtown compared with 189 in the same period of 2007.

Condo sales Downtown did increase in July from the previous month and the same month a year ago, a positive note in the eyes of Jeff Sanford, president of the Center City Commission.

“No question, the housing market has slowed, but I would suggest that Downtown has fared better than other parts of the community,” Sanford said. “One, apartment occupancy rates have held over 90 percent. Secondly, the number of condos being sold Downtown – while short of what they were in comparable periods two and three years ago – nonetheless are showing strength. These are not the best of times, but Downtown is more than holding its own.”

How much it continues to hold its own remains to be seen. While Grant & Co. harbors long-term plans for RiverTown of bringing 200 homes to the site, that is on hold until sales of existing units pick up.

Grant said he hopes the latest promotion brings the needed spark.

“One of the reasons we developed it the way we did with multiple buildings was so we could continue at a pace that fits the market,” Grant said. “Some people have to put up a building with 50 or more units in it, then what happens is you encounter a slower market like we’re in now and you slash prices to move property. In our situation, we’re building to the market. We’ll start new buildings as we sell the homes that we have now.”


93. Keith and David Grant HomesFinances Lots in Two Devs. -      Memphis homebuilder Keith and David Grant Homes LLC has taken out a $3.2 million construction loan and a $3.2 million revolving line of credit, both through SunTrust Bank, secured by property in Bartlett and Lakeland sub

94. Down Time -

It was the year the Cordova headquarters of Shelby County's largest homebuilder was foreclosed and sold at auction.

Yet 2007 was the same year that four homebuilders broke ground on the massive six-phase Villages at White Oaks development near Arlington.

95. Builders Hand OutAwards at Gala -      The Memphis Area Home Builders Association (MAHBA) closed the year - and began looking toward 2008 - late last week at its inaugural gala and awards ceremony, held in the ballroom of the association's Cordova headquarter

96. Numbers Confirm That '07 Construction Went From High-Octane to Running on Fumes -

As president of one of Memphis' largest homebuilders and a 35-year industry veteran, Jerry Gillis of FaxonGillis Homes had no trouble summing up construction activity during the past year: "It started out with a bang and ended with a whimper." Indeed it did.

97. Collins to ServeAs 2008 MAHBA President -      Doug Collins of Sovereign Homes LLC and Prudential Collins-Maury Realtors will serve as president of the Memphis Area Home Builders Association for 2008.
     He has been a member of the asso

98. Barrett Opens Design and Marketing Firm -

Stefanie Barrett has opened Barrett Creative, a full-service graphic design and marketing firm. Barrett has more than 15 years of experience. She is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), the Memphis Chamber of Commerce and Women on the Move, and serves as the marketing sponsor for the Commission on Missing and Exploited Children (COMEC) and the Small Business Chamber.

99. Local Investment CompanyBuys Collierville Property -      Local investor Grant Properties LLC has bought vacant lots in Collierville's The Villages at Porter Farms in Collierville. Two sales deeds for $2 million and $2.1 million were signed Sept. 27.

100. Slippery Slope -

For numerous homebuilders, the Mid-South Parade of Homes can't come soon enough.

As home sales continue to slide, the buzz created by the debut of this four-county, 161-home bonanza - with its wide variety of builders, locales and price points - could be the shot in the arm that many companies need to finish the year strong.