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VOL. 122 | NO. 233 | Friday, December 7, 2007

Daily Digest

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Uni-Select Warehouse Site Sells for $2.2 Million

     A Phelan Avenue warehouse leased to auto parts distributor Uni-Select USA has sold, marking the second time in less than a year the property has changed hands. Russell D. Jeter, as trustee of the R. Jeter Family Trust, bought the property from UTF Memphis LLC for $2.2 million.
     The property is a roughly 110,000-square-foot warehouse at 633-641 Phelan Ave. It sits on 3.12 acres on the south side of Phelan west of E.H. Crump Boulevard.
     The Shelby County Assessor's 2007 appraisal was $908,200.
     The seller, UTF Memphis LLC, bought the property in May for $1.8 million. The limited liability company is affiliated with United Trust Fund, a Miami-based real estate investment company that specializes in sale-leaseback transactions.
     Representatives of the Jeter trust, which lists an address in Washington state, and UTF were unable to be reached.
     At the time UTF bought the property earlier this year, a sale-leaseback was in place through which UTF planned to lease the property to Uni-Select through May 31, 2019, with the option to extend for four terms of five years each, a UTF representative said at the time. The sale-leaseback deal also included a property in Iowa, he added.
     For details, see The Daily News' June 26 Real Estate Recap at
     www.memphisdailynews.com.
     

Mortgage Rates Dip To Near 2005 Levels

     U.S. fixed-rate mortgages fell in the last week, according to Freddie Mac's survey released Thursday.
     The national average interest rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate loan averaged 5.96 percent in the week ending Thursday, down from 6.1 percent a week ago and 6.11 percent a year ago. The current 30-year rate has not been lower since the week ended Sept. 29, 2005, when it averaged 5.91 percent.
     The 15-year fixed-rate loan averaged 5.65 percent, down from 5.73 percent a week ago and 5.84 percent a year ago. The current rate on that loan hasn't been lower since the week ended Oct. 13, 2005, when it averaged 5.62 percent.
     The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 5.75 percent, compared with 5.86 percent a week ago and 5.92 percent a year ago.
     

Northwest Traffic Down for November

     Northwest Airlines Corp. and its regional partners flew 5.3 million passengers in November, a 1.7 percent decrease from the 5.4 million the airline flew in November 2006, the Eagan-Minn.-based company reported this week.
     The airline logged 6.1 billion revenue passenger miles for the month, just a slight dip - 0.1 percent - from the same period last year. But its passenger load factor rose 0.7 points from 81.7 percent to 82.4 percent.
     Year to date, Northwest has flown 61.2 million passengers, down 1.6 percent from the 62.2 million it had flown at this point in 2006.
     The company operates one of its three domestic hubs in Memphis.
     

Robert White Promoted To Wharton's Exec Asst.

     Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has promoted former adviser to the mayor Robert White to executive assistant. White succeeds Sybille Noble, who resigned to accept the position as new chief contracting officer for the Memphis City Schools.
     White will oversee the new Core Cities Initiative and Land Bank Department, Shelby County Housing Authority, and Prisoner Re-entry and will serve as the county representative for Operation Safe Community.
     White started with the county earlier this year. A 2007 graduate of Leadership Memphis, White was introduced to public service as a student organizer for Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson.
     Following graduation from Morehouse College, he was inspired to work as an inner-city high school instructor before accepting a position with the advance team for President Bill Clinton. White later served for an extended period as executive assistant and district director with the Office of U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tenn.
     As the former community relations manager to Bishop G.E. Patterson, White has been heavily involved with projects that partner the faith and civic community.
     

Alexander Wins Senate Leadership Job

     Senate Republicans chose Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., to be their third-ranking leader Thursday, turning aside a bid by Richard Burr of North Carolina.
     Alexander, a former Tennessee governor and presidential candidate, was elected chairman of the Republican Conference in secret balloting at a closed meeting in the Capitol. He succeeds Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, who was unopposed in ascending to the second-highest party post, Republican whip.
     Kyl replaces Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, who is resigning from the Senate.
     Alexander was elected to the Senate in 2002 after two terms as Tennessee governor and a stint as U.S. secretary of education. Burr was elected in 2004, after 10 years in the House.
     Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell remains the Senate Republican leader.
     

Bredesen Holds Budget Hearings

     Gov. Phil Bredesen will conclude his sixth round of open state budget hearings today at the Capitol in Nashville.
     At the hearing, Bredesen will discuss his health care initiative Cover Tennessee and the departments of Children's Services and TennCare.
     The final day of hearings will include a second interactive civics lesson for high school students from schools in Bradley, Madison, Putnam and Rutherford counties. The students will watch the Department of Health's budget hearing at 10 a.m. via streaming video and participate in a virtual question-and-answer session with Bredesen and Health Commissioner Susan Cooper.
     Bredesen's open budget hearings began Nov. 30 with a similar interactive civics lesson based on the Department of Education's budget hearing that involved students from Carter, Hamilton, Knox and Shelby counties.
     

Corker Returns From Asia Trip

     U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., returned Tuesday from a trip to Asia where he joined a congressional delegation visiting Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. During the eight-day tour, the congressional leaders met in Afghanistan with the country's president, Hamid Karzai, as
     well as U.S. troops and military and embassy leaders.
     Corker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, also led the delegation's meetings in Pakistan with President Pervez Musharraf and former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. That was the first U.S. delegation to meet with Musharraf since he officially stepped down as chief of the army and was sworn in recently as a civilian president.
     The meeting also was a first between a U.S. delegation and Bhutto since she returned to Pakistan in October from a self-imposed exile.
     

Unemployment Claims Lowest in Months

     The number of laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell last week by the largest amount in three months.
     The Labor Department reported that applications for jobless benefits dipped by 15,000 last week to a total of 338,000. The decline was the largest since the level of claims had dipped by 22,000 in the first week of September.
     Analysts cautioned against reading too much into the improvement given the volatility in the numbers around holiday periods.
     Claims had surged the previous week to the
     highest level since February.
     The four-week average for claims continued rising to 340,250, the highest level for this gauge in two years.
     The government will release the November employment report today. It is expected to show that the jobless rate edged up to 4.8 percent, from 4.7 percent in October.
     Overall economic growth is expected to slow to a barely discernible 1.5 percent in the current October-December period and weaken even further in the first quarter of 2008.
     Analysts said growth rates this low raise the threat of a possible recession. Federal Reserve officials have noted the slowdown in recent comments and Wall Street is hoping the central bank will ride to the rescue with another rate cut when Fed officials meet Tuesday.
     
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 116 288 17,672
MORTGAGES 143 337 20,372
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 11 2,656
BUILDING PERMITS 0 349 36,295
BANKRUPTCIES 40 155 11,319
BUSINESS LICENSES 35 93 5,802
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 27 6,741
MARRIAGE LICENSES 18 86 4,002