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VOL. 114 | NO. 95 | Tuesday, May 16, 2000

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By Stacey Wiedower SBC plan to bring 124 jobs to county By Stacey Wiedower The Daily News Several projects that would create jobs and add industry to the Memphis area are scheduled for consideration by the Industrial Development Board at its monthly meeting, set for 3 p.m. Wednesday in Conference Room A of City Hall, 125 N. Main St. SBC Services, a Fortune 500 company whose subsidiaries and affiliates provide wireline and wireless telecommunications services and equipment, directory advertising, electronic security services and cable television services, plans to locate a facility at Southpoint distribution park, 5155 Citation Drive, Suite 104, in Shelby County. The $9.1 million venture would create 124 jobs over the next two years with a median salary of $30,756. The 284,000-square-foot facility would be used as a distribution center for Ameritech Corp., which merged with SBC last year. SBC has applied for a five-year full tax assessment freeze on real and personal property involved in the project. San Antonio, Texas-based SBC will use the new facility to store and distribute cellular phones, batteries and accessories throughout the nation, company officials said. Since SBC planned to launch its Memphis operations in July, the company needed space it could occupy quickly. The speculative building, under development by Panattoni Development, met SBCs requirements, said Jim Mercer, senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis, who represented SBC in the transaction. The company operates in more than 25 states and has international telecommunications investments in 22 countries outside the United States, and serves more than 87.3 million voice grade equivalent lines and 10.3 million wireless subscribers, according to its payment-in-lieu-of-taxes application. Also up for consideration by the board is a five-year, full tax freeze on real and personal property for an expansion of Bluff City Steel. The companys $6.4 million project would create 16 additional jobs in three years with a median wage of $24,000. Bluff City Steel was founded in 1996 and provides processed wire, bar and rod products to the automotive, appliance, furniture and residential/commercial construction industries. The company does 65 percent of its business within a 250-mile radius of Memphis. Its 67,500-square-foot expansion into the former Laclede Steel facility at 1175 Harbor Ave. on Presidents Island would allow growth of at least 120 percent over current production levels, according to the PILOT application. In addition, the expansion would give many former Laclede and Birmingham Steel workers a chance to re-enter the industry in Memphis. Bluff City purchased the space from now-defunct Laclede in the late 1990s and has been expanding on Presidents Island ever since. The IDB also will consider a four-year tax freeze for Ledbetter Packing Co. for a 7,310-square-foot expansion of its current location at 1837 Harbor Ave. on Presidents Island. The company was founded in the 1950s as a meat manufacturer and supplier to Memphis restaurants. In 1987, Empire Food Brokers created Empire Packing Co. to purchase and operate Ledbetter. It moved from an 18,000-square-foot facility on Third Street to its present 92,000-square-foot facility in 1998. Ledbetters $5.3 million expansion would create 80 new jobs over the next two years with a median salary of $18,928. The IDB also will consider an eight-year tax freeze for a $25 million venture by Penn Specialty Chemical that will create 25 jobs in the next three years. In other business, the board will discuss its 1999 Annual Report update, a board luncheon, its 1999 Annual Audit update and hear a status report on Birmingham Steel.
PROPERTY SALES 89 339 12,708
MORTGAGES 42 227 7,982
BUILDING PERMITS 171 518 29,639
BANKRUPTCIES 32 129 6,029