Spring Gate Rehab Center Subject of Two Property Sales

     Spring Gate Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center at 3909 Covington Pike has changed hands twice recently, with the most recent sale topping $18 million.
     In the first transaction, dated in late January and filed Thursday in the Shelby County Register's Office, Health Care Property Investors Inc. sold the property to Kindred Nursing Centers East LLC for $15.2 million. Less than a week later, Kindred Nursing Centers East sold the property to CSE Memphis LLC for $18.6 million.
     The 66,000-square-foot Spring Gate center was built in 1978 and has 211 rooms. It sits on 5.71 acres on the northwest side of Covington Pike north of the street's intersection with New Covington Pike. The Shelby County Assessor's 2006 appraisal was $3.3 million.
     In conjunction with the later sale, CSE Memphis signed an agreement leasing the property to Teninone Acquisition Group LLC through Jan. 31, 2017, with the option to extend the lease for four periods of five years each.
     Details on the new ownership group were not available by press time.

IP Sells 13 Mills For $562 Million

     International Paper Co. has completed the sale of 13 lumber mills to West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. for about $325 million.
     The sale was announced in November.
     The transaction includes lumber mills in Citronelle, Maplesville and Opelika, Ala.; Leola, Ark.; McDavid and Whitehouse, Fla.; Augusta and Folkston, Ga.; Armour and Seaboard, N.C.; Newberry, S.C.; and New Boston and Henderson, Texas. The mills employ about 2,200 people and have a combined production capacity of about 1.8 billion board feet.
     The Memphis-based paper company also has completed the sale of five wood products mills to Georgia-Pacific Wood Products South LLC for about $237 million, including working capital. That sale was announced in December.
     The sale includes plywood and lumber complexes in Camden, Texas, Springhill, La., and Gurdon, Ark.; a plywood mill in Corrigan, Texas; and an engineered wood products mill in Thorsby, Ala.
     The mills employ about 2,400 people.

GM Names FedEx Supplier of the Year

     FedEx Global Supply Chain Services has been presented the General Motors 2006 Supplier of the Year award for its overall business performance in providing GM with world-class logistics services.
     The 15th annual award, called the "Best of the Best," was given during ceremonies Saturday in Orlando, Fla.
     FedEx Global Supply Chain Services, the first logistics provider to receive the GM Supplier of the Year award in 1998, is now the only logistics company to earn the honor for nine consecutive years.
     Since 1995, FedEx Global Supply Chain Services has managed the inbound transportation for more than 1,125 suppliers into 27 GM powertrain, engine, transmission and component plants, primarily in North America.
     FedEx Global Supply Chain Services is a division of Memphis-based FedEx Corp.

SunTrust Banks Confirms Eastward Move

     SunTrust Banks Inc. has confirmed the company plans to move from its 170,000-square-foot space in One Commerce Square in Downtown Memphis.
     The Atlanta-based bank has announced plans to consolidate five existing office buildings in three locations by 2009.
     SunTrust also has signed a lease to occupy 50,000 square feet in one of Boyle Investment Co.'s new six-story, 155,000-square-foot buildings in Ridgeway Center, according to a Friday Memphis Business Journal story.
     Phone messages left at SunTrust were not returned by press time.
     In the story, David Popwell, CEO of SunTrust Bank in Memphis, said the planned moves would take place over a period of two years.

Memphis Bioworks Foundation Receives 2007 Innovator Award

     The Memphis Bioworks Foundation has been named the Tennessee recipient of the 2007 Innovator Award. The award is given each year by the Southern Growth Policies Board, headquartered in Triangle Park, N.C.
     This year's ceremony will be held during the annual Southern Workforce Summit June 3 in St. Louis.
     Innovator Awards are presented each year to one organization in each state recognizing the initiatives that are improving the quality of life in the South. The 2007 winners were chosen based on programs that address workforce development challenges in the region.
     Workforce development is a key initiative in the Memphis Bioworks Foundation's mission to establish the region as an internationally recognized center for the development and commercialization of biomedical technology.

Loan Limits Increase For Homes in Rural Areas

     Tennessee Rural Development area director Harriett Cannon on Friday announced the maximum loan limits for the agency's home-ownership loan program has increased to $144,300 for new home loans in rural areas of Fayette, Tipton and Shelby counties.
     "Average home prices have increased by 20 percent or more in many parts of the state over the last five years, making it harder for many families to buy or build a home," Cannon said in a statement. "This increase will help more people in the mid-state take advantage of the low interest loans and other assistance Rural Development has available to help them achieve the dream of homeownership."
     Eligibility for Rural Development housing programs is based on family income and varies by county. For example, in Fayette, Tipton and Shelby counties, a two-person household with an adjusted household income up to $36,700 may qualify for a low-interest loan.
     Rural Development's housing programs are designed to increase homeownership by assisting eligible families and individuals in purchasing or building a home in rural areas of Tennessee. Loans may be made without a down payment and eligible applicants may qualify for loan financing up to 100 percent of the appraised value.
     Depending on an applicant's income, the interest rate can be as low as 1 percent. Loans are typically made for 33 years at a fixed interest rate, with a maximum loan amount of $144,300 in these three counties. Monthly payment assistance also is available for those who qualify.
     Rural Development also offers a Guaranteed Home Loan program to assist private lenders increase the number of affordable home loans they make in rural areas.

Class is in Session: Great Outdoors University Turns Lakes Into Chalkboards and Trees Into Desks

     For the second consecutive year, local young people are getting the opportunity to see a side of nature they often aren't able to enjoy.
     Through the Tennessee Wildlife Federation's (TWF) Great Outdoors University (GOU), area youths associated with the Boy Scouts of America's Scoutreach Mentoring Program and Girls Inc. are being transported from their everyday lives via hiking, fishing or overnight camping trips.
     Martha Lyle Ford, director of GOU, said participants may be from low-income neighborhoods, "but that's really not our litmus test." The idea is to give a glimpse of nature to kids who usually don't have much experience with it.
     Thirty-five outings are scheduled this year. They began in March and will continue through June and then pick back up in September after the hottest months are past. The program will end for the year in November.
How it happened
GOU began as the brainchild of Daily News president and CEO Peter Schutt, an avid outdoors enthusiast and former TWF board member. Last year, Schutt approached TWF leaders with the idea of providing transportation and manpower to make the outings possible.
     Then The Daily News provided funding to launch GOU. The first outing took place in March 2006 when about 35 Boy Scouts visited Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park.
     "This is Peter's vision and he has had this vision for several years," Ford said. "About a year and a half ago it just came together."
     Schutt said he decided to get involved because he's always been an active outdoorsman and knows how being exposed to the outdoors can mold a person's life.
     "I began fishing at 4 years of age," Schutt said. "I also was a Boy Scout and had the opportunity to attend summer camp and weekend campouts."
     The initiative he showed during the program's inaugural year earned Schutt TWF's President's Award, which was presented to him two weeks ago in Nashville. Schutt was recognized for "volunteerism beyond what is typically observed."
     "Mr. Schutt believes, and I might add, rightly so, that if you place children in the great outdoors and expose them to the land, forests, water and wildlife of our great state, these children begin to change for the better," TWF president Jean Maddox said at the awards ceremony. "And this is exactly what Mr. Schutt and The Memphis Daily News dreamed of when they worked with TWF to create the new Great Outdoors University program."
     Mike Butler, TWF executive director, praised Schutt in an e-mail for his efforts in getting the GOU program started.
     "Peter's leadership and support personally and through The Memphis Daily News are the reason TWF's Great Outdoors University exists," Butler said. "He has taken his vision, shared it with many, and has made it happen. And, in the end, the children of Memphis are better for it."
Why it continues
Girls Inc. became a partner organization with GOU after TWF last year sent out a request for interested organizations to become involved in the program.
     Since two of the core competency areas for Girls Inc. participants are sports and adventure, the partnership was a natural fit, said Girls Inc. program services administrative assistant Netisha Burnett.
     Burnett referred to a recent trip as a "connection trip" for the girls who participated.
     Last week about 50 girls associated with Girls Inc. traveled to the Land Between the Lakes in Dover, Tenn.
     "Many of them had never been in that type of environment and it really had a positive effect on them," Burnett said. "The looks on their faces while they watched the sunrise were priceless.
     "During the fall semester of 2006, the girls were able to go and fishing and hiking trips," she said. "So, this trip actually brought everything together for them and gave them a true sense of the great outdoors."
     This spring, girls who couldn't participate in the fall will get their chance.
     Burnett said she believes the overall experience was enjoyable for all the girls.
     "Their energy levels were high while they built survival shelters and even when they made the two-mile hike pond for pond samples," she said. "The night hike probably was the best for them because they were able to use their senses besides sight to identify objects."
     The best part about the entire trip, she said, was that the girls were able to listen to nature without the hustle and bustle of city life.
     To find out more about GOU, visit www.tnwf.org.