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VOL. 122 | NO. 241 | Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Daily Digest

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Calif. Net-Lease Co. Buys Four BYB Sites

     Realty Income Corp., a real estate investment company based in Escondido, Calif., has bought four Back Yard Burgers properties in the Memphis area for nearly $4.2 million and is leasing the sites back to the restaurant chain.
     Back Yard Burgers Inc. sold the property at 436 Perkins Road Extended for $1.1 million, 3601 Houston Levee Road in Collierville for $1.2 million, 1723 Union Ave. for $869,604 and 2110 West St. in Germantown for $1 million.
     The 2,688-square-foot Perkins site was built in 1998 on the east side of Perkins Extended north of Poplar Avenue and was appraised by the Shelby County Assessor in 2007 at $717,900. The 3,568-square-foot Houston Levee site was built in 2006 on the east side of Houston Levee between West Poplar Avenue and Winchester Road and was appraised at $1.2 million. The 834-square-foot Union Avenue site was built in 1994 at the southwest corner of Union and Lemaster Street and was appraised at $382,800. The 3,506-square-foot West Street location was built in 1987 on the east side of West Street south of Poplar and was appraised at $638,100.
     Realty Income will lease the properties to Back Yard Burgers through Nov. 30, 2027, with two options to extend for 10 years each.
     Realty Income has bought Memphis properties in the past and currently has two sites for lease, according to the company's Web site. Those properties include a 6,750-square-foot building at 4619 Elvis Presley Blvd. originally built for Advance Auto Parts and a 51,500-square-foot building at 4883 American Way originally built for a furniture store.
     Realty Income Corp. and Back Yard Burgers representatives did not immediately return phone calls.

Medtronic Expanding In Chinese Market

     Medical device maker Medtronic Inc. said Tuesday it will acquire a 15 percent stake in Shandong Weigao Group Medical Polymer Co. Ltd. for $221 million and form a joint venture with the China-based company.
     The joint venture will market Medtronic spinal products and Weigao orthopedic products in China, with Medtronic owning a 51 percent interest in the collaboration.
     Minneapolis-based Medtronic has its Spinal and Biologics business in Memphis.

Home Sales Slow In November, MAAR Reports

     The Memphis Area Association of Realtors has reported that total home sales for November, as recorded by Memphis-area Realtors in the Multiple Listing Service, totaled 1,071, down 21.8 percent from the 1,369 sales recorded in November 2006.
     Year-to-date sales were 15,698, down 14.4 percent from the record sales set in the same period last year.
     Although the average sales price in November declined 2.5 percent from November 2006, the average sales price year-to-date has held relatively steady compared to the same period for 2006, increasing just less than 1 percent. Inventory levels declined 4.6 percent from October.

Fed Unveils Plan to Curb Shady Home Lending Practices

     The Federal Reserve endorsed new rules Tuesday that would give people taking out home mortgages new protections against shady lending practices.
     The proposed rules are geared to providing safeguards to the riskiest subprime borrowers, already painfully stung by the housing and credit debacles. The proposal is expected to apply to new loans made by all types of lenders, including banks and brokers. The plan could be finalized next year.
     New rules proposed include forcing lenders to make sure subprime borrowers set aside money to pay for taxes and insurance, barring lenders from making loans when they don't have proof of the borrower's income and prohibiting lenders from engaging in a pattern or practice of lending without considering a borrower's ability to repay a home loan from sources other than the home's value.
     Fed policymakers also are considering requiring financial disclosures to borrowers early enough to use while shopping for a mortgage. Lenders could not charge fees - except for a fee to obtain a credit report - until after the consumer receives the disclosures. The Fed also will consider prohibiting certain types of misleading or deceptive advertising for certain loans. It also would require that all applicable rates or payments be disclosed in ads with equal prominence as advertised introductory "teaser" rates.
     In addition, the Fed is expected to propose barring lenders from paying mortgage brokers a fee that exceeds the amount the would-be borrower had agreed to in advance that the broker would receive.
     Before taking effect, the rules must be voted on again following a period of public comment and possible revisions.

Butler Snow Forms Health-Oriented Group

     Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens and Cannada PLLC is forming a Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Healthcare Industry Group, which is comprised of two major sections handling business and litigation cases.
     The group will be co-chaired by Christy D. Jones and Charles F. Johnson III. Jones, a veteran trial lawyer, is one of just five recognized pharmaceutical lawyers in the country and has served as lead counsel on major pharmaceutical and medical device cases.
     Johnson has more than 30 years of experience handling corporate and commercial matters for businesses, and for the past 10 years has focused on the health care industry. Currently, he serves as general counsel for a Chicago-based national physician practice management and ambulatory services company.
     The Memphis office, which began in 1998 as a specialized health care compliance practice, has expanded to 40 attorneys, more than half of which are members of the new Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Group.
     The firm has served as lead counsel in several regional and national cases, such as the case in which Jones served as co-counsel for Merck & Co. in a legal battle regarding the drug Vioxx.

MLGW Begins Payment Moratorium

     The annual payment moratorium for Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division has begun and runs through Jan. 14.
     MLGW will not disconnect utility service to customers unable to pay their bill during that period except in cases of theft or customer safety concerns.
     Charges continue to accrue during the payment moratorium, however, and the utility company's policy states that MLGW will discontinue the moratorium for individual customers if they default on a pre-made payment arrangement.

Sen. Kyle to Present $40K to Memphis Library

     Sen. James F. Kyle, D-Tenn., will present the Memphis Public Library & Information Center with a $40,000 check today at 2:30 p.m. at the Hollywood Branch, 1530 N. Hollywood St.
     The money is part of a community enhancement grant and will be used for the collections at the Hollywood, Frayser, Raleigh and Randolph branches. The branches will split the money equally and will purchase resources that meet the demand of the populations serviced by each of the respective neighborhood libraries.

BBB Warns Of Fraudulent Loan Company

     The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South this week issued a warning to consumers about a company called First Equity Loans. The company advertises low interest loans that are tailored to meet the customer's financial needs, but it is actually an advance fee loan scam.
      The BBB began receiving inquiries on the company and opened its file on First Equity Loans Dec. 10. Since then, the BBB has received more than 184 inquiries on the company from consumers across the country.
     First Equity Loans' Web site is www.firstequityloans.net, and though the company lists a 6075 Poplar Ave. address on its commitment letter and contract, it is not there. A local 901 fax number is listed, but the only phone number consumers can call is an 866 toll-free number.
     First Equity Loans is not licensed to provide loans of any kind, according to the Tennessee Department of Financial Institution.
     Consumers who have contacted the company are sent a commitment letter and loan agreement. The BBB received a copy of one of the agreements. It states that for a $5,000 loan the borrower must pay four monthly collateral payments of $233.75 before receiving the loan. With advance fee loan scams, consumers send in their collateral payments but never receive a loan in return.
PROPERTY SALES 40 220 16,417
MORTGAGES 28 85 10,172
BUILDING PERMITS 161 826 39,370
BANKRUPTCIES 29 136 7,733