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VOL. 122 | NO. 34 | Friday, February 23, 2007

Daily Digest

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Sleep Out Louie's To Close This Weekend

     Since Sleep Out Louie's opened 20 years ago, its customers have sported a variety of ties.
     A group of lawyers originally owned the gathering spot, which might explain the practice over the years of patrons unfastening their neckties after work, the way an overworked lawyer might, and donating them to be framed.

Riverfront Building Bought By Out-of-State Developers

     The riverfront property housing The Butcher Shop and The Pier restaurants has sold to out-of-state developers who might build a hotel or condominiums there in the future.
     Sachs-Haynes Development LLC bought the 99-105 S. Front St. property from River Enterprises Ltd. Inc. for $2.2 million, financing it with a $1 million loan through First Tennessee Bank.
     "We're very excited. We think it's one of the best locations in Downtown Memphis - right on the water," said Jerry Sachs, New York-based partner in Sachs-Haynes, of the six-story, more than 150,000-square-foot building.
     Sachs said the partnership is doing due diligence on the property now and would go forward with development when they decide the best use for it.
     The property, which is bounded by South Front Street and Wagner Place north of Gayoso Avenue, is about half an acre. The Butcher Shop faces Front, while The Pier faces Wagner.
     "We're thinking possibly a hotel could go there, or it could be a rental apartment building or a condo - or maybe even a combination of a hotel with condo on top or maybe a rental with office," Sachs said. "There are so many things that it could be ... that we don't want to go half-cocked."
     He said the developers could hold the property for as long as a few years before deciding what to do with it. In the meantime, the restaurants will continue to operate as is.
     River Enterprises, the company that sold the building, bought it in 1978 for a little more than $67,000. As of 2006, the Shelby County Assessor's appraisal of the two-parcel tract totaled a little less than half a million dollars.
     Sachs said the city most likely would not let the developers raze the building, adding, "We may build with that façade in place and build right through the middle of it."
     And when asked whether it would remain six stories tall, he said, "It may be even 40 stories when we're finished."
     This is the group's first foray into the Memphis market. Sachs said the Haynes family, the other half of the Sachs-Haynes partnership, told him about the potential of the Downtown building.
     The Haynes family is based in Bentonville, Ark., and the partnership is "heavily invested" there. The group's coming developments in that town, home of Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters, include shopping centers, apartments and office buildings.

Nike Receives Tax Benefit For New Raleigh Facility

     The Memphis and Shelby County Industrial Development Board granted Nike a 13-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) benefit Wednesday for the company's new Memphis facility.
     Nike, headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., is consolidating its facilities on Winchester Road and in Wilsonville, Ore., into a 1.1-million square-foot facility at New Allen Road and Frayser Boulevard in Raleigh.
     The 500-acre plot at Northridge Industrial Park currently is owned by Belz Enterprises.
     Nike is planning to invest $107 million in the new distribution center. The PILOT plan is estimated to save the company about $21 million.
     The Winchester center has about 250 full-time employees, and nearly all of them will relocate to Raleigh. The Oregon facility employs 232 full-time workers, and they will be offered relocation to Shelby County or other U.S. sites, said Nike representatives.
     The new facility will bring about 250 new jobs with it. Nike's Shelby Drive facility will be unaffected by the consolidation.

Q4 Commercial Real Estate Index Hovering at Record High

     The Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity has increased for seven consecutive quarters and is holding at the highest level on record, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
     The commercial leading indicator rose 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter to a level of 120.1 from an index of 120.0 in the third quarter, and is 1.8 percent above the fourth quarter of 2005 when it stood at 118.1. NAR's track of the index dates to 1990.
     David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said growth in the commercial real estate sectors appears to be reaching a plateau.
     "Our commercial leading indicator is at a record high, but it is now leveling out," he said in a statement. "The rate of expansion has been fairly tame over the last three quarters, which means that growth in commercial real estate sectors is likely to be modest."
     After respectable growth in 2005 and 2006, the slight rise in the index means net absorption of space in the industrial and office sectors should be fairly steady over the next six to nine months, with modestly higher completions of overall office, warehouse, retail and lodging structures.
     Net absorption in the office and industrial sectors in the second quarter of 2007 is expected to be 5 million to 15 million square feet, with about $315 billion to $320 billion in new, completed commercial construction activity, compared with $311 billion of new construction recorded in the fourth quarter of last year.
     Commercial real estate practitioners could anticipate leasing and sales activity in the second quarter of this year to be about 1.8 percent higher than the second quarter of 2006.

Supreme Court Favors Bredesen In Judicial Selection Case

     The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Gov. Phil Bredesen in a case to determine how to fill a vacant seat on the state's high court.
     The opinion, written by Chief Justice William M. Barker and joined by three others, affirmed an earlier opinion that a second list of nominees to the governor was not a valid list.
     "The governor's rejection of a first panel of nominees must be understood not only as a rejection of the panel but also as a rejection of each person nominated by the Judicial Selection Commission to be on the panel," Chief Justice William M. Barker wrote in the opinion.
     It was ruled in August that Covington attorney J. Houston Gordon and attorney George T. "Buck" Lewis of Memphis were not eligible to be included in a second panel of candidates after they were part of a first panel rejected by Bredesen.
     Last summer, Bredesen rejected the first panel of candidates submitted by the commission after Davidson County Chancellor Richard Dinkins - the only minority candidate - withdrew his name from consideration, citing family reasons. For more details, see our Feb. 8 Law Focus at www.memphisdailynews.com.

Cascades Group Plans Upgrade to Memphis Facility

     Quebec-based Cascades Tissue Group announced Thursday that the company plans to invest $15 million at its Memphis mill on Thomas Street in order to equip it with a de-inking unit enabling the plant to produce products that are 100 percent recycled post-consumer waste.
     The Memphis plant will get its supply of raw materials solely from recycled SOP (sorted office papers) and will use a Chlorine-free bleaching process, thus fulfilling the requirements of the high environmental standards that Cascades Tissue Group has set for itself, officials said in a release.
     Phone messages left at Cascades Tissue were not returned by press time.
     The Memphis plant, acquired in 2004 from American Tissue, has an annual production capacity of 45,000 tons.
     Cascades Tissue Group was founded in 1964. The company produces, transforms and markets packaging products, tissue paper and fine papers that are composed mainly of recycled fibers.

Ronald McDonald House Names Board Members

     The Ronald McDonald House of Memphis announced Wednesday its new board of directors.
     Sandra McQuain has been named president, Allison Tweel Gilbert was named vice president, John E. Kimbrough was named treasurer and Ginger Leonard was named secretary.
     The 2007 board members include Shelly Baker, Jim Byrd, Patricia Cathey, Jim Dixon, Steve Doss, Susan Hadley, Tina Haggerty, Scott Harris, Mark Hendricks, Karen Keeler, Steve Lykins, John McCormick, Evelyn Makowsky, Ashley Pace, Dan Quinn, Buddy Ritchey, Bret Roy, Lane Sorgen, Lauren Tagg, Barbara Thornton, Chad Tillman, Mark Vorder-Bruegge and Janet Whaley.
     The 2007 advisory board includes Penny Aviotti, Pan Awsumb, Christopher Campbell, Pam Dotson, Jonathan Epstein, Bev Hart, Jamie Holmes, Bob Hudson, Don Hutcherson, Judge Holly Kirby, Shaun Micheel, Ceil Walker Norris, Dena Quertermous, Jim Rout, Kerry Sewell, Fred Tillman and Jean Atkeison Vernon.
     The Ronald McDonald House was founded in 1991 as a home-away-from-home for children receiving treatment for cancer from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
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