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VOL. 122 | NO. 248 | Monday, December 31, 2007

Daily Digest

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Meritex Sells Memphis Site In Softer Industrial Market

     Minneapolis-St. Paul-based Meritex Enterprises Inc. has sold its third-party logistics site on Hickory Hill Road in a sale-leaseback transaction, citing a softer industrial real estate market in the area.
     The buyer is an entity affiliated with Irvine, Calif.-based Crown Realty & Development Corp.
     The site is completely leased to Meritex Logistics, a division of Meritex Enterprises.
     "We were the tenant before, we're the tenant now. We're just rather than being a tenant of our own parent company, we're a tenant of another party," said Meritex Logistics senior vice president Gregg Johnson.
     Meritex, working as an entity named Meritex Hickory Hill LLC, sold the property to a Crown-affiliated entity named Crown Memphis Associates LLC for $16.1 million. The buyer financed the purchase with a $13 million loan through Bank of America National Association.
     Crown representatives could not be reached by press time.
     The 640,640-square-foot warehouse was built in 1984 and sits on 28.25 acres at 4836 Hickory Hill Road, south of Shelby Drive. The Shelby County Assessor's 2007 appraisal was $11.1 million.
     "We bought the building in 1995 when we bought ... Southern States Distribution. They were the original owners, they built the building and they operated the building here," Johnson said. "Shortly after buying it, we sold it to a life insurance company and then ended up buying it back again, so we've bought and sold it a few times."
     The warehouse is operated as a third-party logistics site - also known as a public warehouse, Johnson said.
     "People bring us their goods, we unload it, store it and ship it out at their direction, and we commingle accounts within the building," he said, adding the building usually has 30 to 40 customers.
     The warehouse specializes in food and grocery logistics, he said, adding it has cool storage areas - for storing items such as candy, confectionary and raisins - but is not a cold-storage facility.
     Tenants range from Fortune 500 companies to smaller businesses.
     Meritex now is focusing its investments in the Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio, markets, Johnson said.
     "Right now, we just view the Memphis real estate market for industrial real estate space to be a little bit soft, so that's why we're selling in Memphis and no longer have a real estate investment in the Memphis area," he said.
     Meritex has real estate interests in a number of markets, including Atlanta, Houston, Denver, Indianapolis and other cities. The company operates third-party logistics sites in Nashville, Kansas City, Kan., Youngstown/Warren, Ohio, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Johnson said.
     

Luminetx Inks Deal With GPO Amerinet

     Luminetx Corp. has had signed a three-year contract with Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO) Amerinet Inc., which represents the Memphis-based company's first group purchasing contract, Luminetx announced Friday.
     A group purchasing organization is an entity that leverages the buying power of a group of businesses to obtain discounts from vendors.
     Through the deal, Amerinet's 24,000-plus member base, of which more than 2,000 are acute care institutions, will have access to custom Amerinet group purchasing discounts as they relate to the VeinViewer by Luminetx, the company's signature product.
     VeinViewer is the first and only patented technology to locate subcutaneous veins and project real-time images directly onto the surface of the skin.
     

Discussion of 1906 Case On Tap for MBA Event

     The author of a book about a century-old Chattanooga rape case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court and set legal precedents will be the featured speaker at a February Memphis Bar Association event.
     Mark Curriden will talk about his book, "Contempt of Court: The Turn of the Century Lynching that Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism." The continuing legal education event will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 20 at The Peabody Hotel.
     Curriden, who wrote the book in 2000, is director of communications for the Texas-based law firm Vinson & Elkins LLP and a former reporter for The Dallas Morning News.
     His book explores the 1906 rape allegations made against Ed Johnson in Chattanooga. Johnson, a black man, was accused of raping a white woman in 1906 when lynchings of black citizens were common, even in cases where no formal charges were filed.
     Johnson's original attorneys convinced him to waive his right to appeal his conviction by an all-white jury, and his death sentence. But two other attorneys took up the case on appeal and filed the first federal habeas petition in a state criminal case.
     They argued Johnson's 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection had been denied. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which issued a stay of execution - its first ever in a state criminal case.
     Days before the high court was to hear oral arguments in the case, Johnson, who had survived two previous lynching attempts during his trial, was killed by a lynch mob. The Supreme Court ordered a federal investigation that concluded the sheriff of Hamilton County and his deputies were members of the lynch mob.
     They were charged with contempt of court.
     

AutoZone Extends Liberty Bowl Sponsorship

     Memphis-based AutoZone Inc. has forged an agreement with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl that will extend its title sponsorship of the college football bowl game through 2013, the company announced last week.
     AutoZone is currently in the fourth year of a five-year title sponsorship of the event. After serving as a presenting sponsor for many years, AutoZone became the title sponsor of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in 2004.
     Conference USA champion the University of Central Florida and Southeastern Conference representative Mississippi State University this weekend played the 49th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
     The game sold out in 10 days, namely because of Mississippi State's appearance - its campus is in Starkville, just a short drive from Memphis.
     

Corker Vies to Lead Nat'l GOP Senate Group

     Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker is reportedly under consideration for a plum leadership role in the Republican ranks of the U.S. Senate.
     Reports are circulating that Corker, the freshman senator from Tennessee, is one of the leading contenders to head the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a fundraising, communications and strategy arm of Senate Republicans.
     Corker may have a leg up on the man perceived to be his chief rival for the seat, Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman; the latter is up for re-election next year.
     Corker won't have to face re-election again until 2012.
     To read more about Corker and his recent visit with slain former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, see today's Trends & Analysis Focus on Page 1.
     

IRS Tax Filings Stalled By Computer Systems Work

     The coming tax season is expected to begin on time for everyone except people who might be affected by the late enactment of the Alternative Minimum Tax patch, the Internal Revenue Service has said.
     As many as 13.5 million taxpayers using five forms related to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) legislation will have to wait to file tax returns until the IRS completes the reprogramming of its systems for the new law.
     The alternative minimum tax was passed in 1969 and was aimed at about 155 very wealthy families who used deductions to avoid paying any federal income tax.
     The AMT disallows certain deductions and credits. It was not adjusted for inflation; as a result, over the years it has hit a growing number of middle-income taxpayers.
     The five forms affected by the delay include the following: Form 8863, Education Credits; Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits; Form 1040A's Schedule 2, Child and Dependent Care Expenses; Form 8396, Mortgage Interest Credit; and Form 8859, District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit.
     The IRS has set Feb. 11 as the potential starting date for taxpayers to begin submitting the five AMT-related returns affected by the legislation.
     

Primacy Ranks No. 1 For Customer Satisfaction

     Primacy Relocation, a Memphis-based provider of employee relocation and global assignment management services, has received the highest average score for overall satisfaction by relocation managers, according to Trippel Survey and Research's annual nationwide Relocation Managers Survey.
     This is the third consecutive year Primacy has taken the top spot in overall satisfaction.
     Trippel's Managers Survey polled 276 corporate relocation managers during October, asking about their satisfaction with the relocation management services firms that administered their companies' employee relocations.
     Primacy also earned its third consecutive No. 1 ranking in Trippel's Transferee Survey.
     
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 20 39 190
BUILDING PERMITS 0 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 17 135 753
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 53 329
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0