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VOL. 122 | NO. 134 | Thursday, July 19, 2007

Daily Digest

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Foreign Group Buys Portfolio Including Three Memphis Sites

     A group of foreign investors has bought three Memphis distribution sites as part of a $270 million, 22-building deal.
     The investors, working under the name Distribution I TL Owner LLC, bought the portfolio from Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA). New York-based Falcon Real Estate Investment Co. LP advised the investors in the deal.
     The Memphis properties include a 714,700-square-foot building at 4755 Southpoint Drive, a 505,400-square-foot building at 5015 Citation Drive and a 409,550-square-foot building at 4895 Pleasant Hill Road. The Southpoint building is leased to Kaz Inc. and the Citation building is leased to Carrier Corp., said Laurence Dooley, director of Falcon Real Estate Investment Co.
     Dooley said the same investors bought the nine-building, 1.1 million-square-foot Memphis International Airport Center portfolio from Colliers International in December. That deal totaled more than $37 million. For details, see The Daily News' Jan. 29 Daily Digest at www.memphisdailynews.com.
     The latest transaction was financed with a $186 million loan through Column Financial Inc.
     The Memphis sites were built in 1996 and 1997, and the Shelby County Assessor of Property's 2007 appraisal of the three totaled about $46 million.
     Dooley said Colliers likely will take over management of the properties.

AutoZone Files $3M Lawsuit Against Mizco International

     AutoZone Parts Inc. has filed a lawsuit in Shelby County Chancery Court against Mizco International and the company's CEO Albert Mizrahi and vice president of operations Sam Mizrahi, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.
     AutoZone is suing the New York-based company for breach of contract and fraud and is seeking $3 million in compensatory damages and the reimbursement of $115,000 in labor costs.
     Mizco International is a supplier of multiple products including cellular phone accessories such as chargers, cases, headsets and other products.
     AutoZone claims Mizco violated the terms of their vendor agreement when it shipped mislabeled products to various AutoZone locations. In September, AutoZone officials said they noticed some of the items shipped from Mizco were improperly mislabeled. For instance, when a cashier would ring up earphones, the UPC code would identify it as an FM radio.
     "When scanned by the cashier, the earphones would ring up as if they were an FM radio, and the customer would be charged the FM radio price," the suit alleges.
     "Mizco had intentionally mislabeled products because it had run out of some of the products that AutoZone ordered," AutoZone officials claim in the suit. "Mizco chose to fill AutoZone's orders with different products labeled as if they were the products that had been ordered."
     Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC filed the suit on behalf of AutoZone.

Memphis MPO Holds Meeting For Long-Range Plan

     The Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organization will hold a public meeting for the Memphis 2030 Long-Range Transportation Plan Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Memphis Leadership Foundation, 1548 Poplar Ave.
     The public is invited to share ideas about the future of transportation in Memphis and Shelby County. This includes city streets, highways, public transportation and bike paths. Public comments will be used in the compilation of the Memphis 2030 Long-Range Transportation Plan commissioned by the city.
     For more information about the plan, visit www.memphismobility.com. Anyone planning to attend the meeting should call Trust Marketing at 521-1300.

DA Disputes Release Of Inmates from Fayette Jail

     A judge has released 28 jail inmates from Fayette County's aging jail, which the judge has described as a "fire trap."
     District Attorney General Mike Dunavant told WMC-TV that General Sessions Judge Mike Whitaker released 28 jail inmates this past weekend on their own recognizance.
     Dunavant said Whitaker doesn't have the authority to release inmates without a bond hearing first and said he's working with the state attorney general's office to see if Whitaker is breaking the law.
     Whitaker declined to tell the television station why he's releasing the inmates.
     The state has sued Whitaker in a dispute over the early release of inmates. The lawsuit was filed in Fayette County Circuit Court on behalf of Dunavant.
     At least 15 inmates were freed last month from the jail in Somerville under Whitaker's orders, either to probation, drug rehabilitation or home.
     The lawsuit says Whitaker has usurped the constitutional and statutory authority of the attorney general in deciding which cases would proceed to prosecution. The judge also failed to follow state guidelines on the early release of inmates, the complaint said.
     The lawsuit asks the court to void Whitaker's May 21 order that limits charges police may bring on misdemeanor cases and calls for the early release of certain inmates.
     Whitaker has said the jail built in 1957 threatens the safety of inmates. He said he could not wait until November, when the county's new $16 million jail opens.
     Sheriff Bobby Riles has disagreed with Whitaker's assessment of the jail, saying it passed fire inspection last August and has received $35,000 in upgrades in recent months.

One Beale Sales Brisk A Week After Beginning

     Customers have been snapping up units at One Beale, the $175 million mixed-use project being developed at the foot of Beale Street.
     A week after sales began, reservations have been placed on 16 of 68 residences in the North Tower of One Beale that were offered to buyers in the initial sales release. That 16 includes five of 12 penthouses.
     In all, the project has seen nearly $17 million in sales since beginning about a week ago. Meanwhile, the Carlisle Corp. development team is preparing for the launch of the next phase of condominiums in the coming weeks. Units available for sale in the North Tower of One Beale range in size from 1,300 to 4,380 square feet, with prices between $554,000 and $1.8 million.  All of the three-bedroom penthouses are reserved, priced between $1.73 million and 1.84 million. One Beale is slated to break ground in early 2008.

NWA Files for Two Routes From Detroit to China

     Northwest Airlines has filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for new rights to operate nonstop service between Detroit and Shanghai and Detroit and Beijing, the company announced this week.
     The Eagan, Minn.-based airline's application is in response to DOT's invitation to carriers interested in using the rights that are available under a landmark new aviation agreement with China.
     DOT plans to award six new routes that become available to China between 2007 and 2009.
     "Northwest wants to begin new service to China just as soon as possible," said Doug Steenland, Northwest president and chief executive officer, in a statement. "Northwest's WorldGateway hub at Detroit offers an unmatched combination of broad network coverage of the entire eastern half of the United States, convenient direct routings, and a new, state-of-the-art terminal facility.
     "Northwest would provide attractive connecting service to China from more than 100 U.S. cities. If the DOT wants to benefit the most U.S. passengers and the most U.S. cities, Northwest is the clear first choice."
     DOT has indicated a preference for a new entrant carrier in 2007, but remains open to other options.
     If selected for 2009 service, Northwest, which operates a hub in Memphis, plans to use Boeing 787 Dreamliners for both routes.

Graceland Prepares For 30th Elvis Week

     Graceland is preparing for Elvis Week 2007, which marks the 30th anniversary of Elvis' passing Aug. 16, 1977.
     Each year since Elvis' death, thousands of visitors have gathered at Graceland, his mansion home, to celebrate his life. The nine-day celebration at Graceland this year will feature movies and music on the mansion's front lawn, charity fundraisers and the first ever "Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist" Contest.
     For those who cannot attend Elvis Week, www.elvis.com has created ways for people to participate in the celebration. Visitors to the site can participate with a podcast, photos, videos, fan blogs and more features.
     During the Candlelight Vigil, www.elvis.com will include a Vigil LiveCam of fans gathering in the Meditation Garden of Graceland.
PROPERTY SALES 57 57 1,266
MORTGAGES 48 48 964