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VOL. 122 | NO. 113 | Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Daily Digest

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Acura of Memphis Dealership Slated for June 28 Auction

     The real estate at 2680 Mt. Moriah Road, currently home to Acura of Memphis, is slated to be auctioned June 28.
     The auction will include a 5.9-acre site with 23,466 square feet of dealership facilities. The site is zoned for commercial use and has nearly 500 feet of frontage on Mt. Moriah.
     The property contains two structures. The first is a two-story building with more than 20,000 square feet, housing office space, an auto showroom and an auto parts and service center. The smaller building, which has more than 3,300 square feet, houses used car services and administration.
     The Shelby County Assessor's 2006 appraisal was more than $2 million.
     The location at Mt. Moriah has been Memphis' Acura flagship since 1986. The dealership's move to its new location at 2611 Ridgeway Road is slated to occur in early September.
     "It is a wonderful opportunity for someone - or a company - that can utilize the location there to capitalize on the success of Mt. Moriah Road," said Jack Granger, president of Granger, Thagard and Associates Inc., the company auctioning the property.
     Details of the auction and a virtual tour of the grounds are available at the company's Web site, www.gtauctions.com.

City Council Re-Examines Beale Street Landing

     Though the Memphis City Council approved funding this month to get the ball rolling on the $29 million Beale Street Landing project, the council is re-examining the project today at its Capital Improvements Project budget committee meeting, which begins at 12:30 p.m. in Room 501 at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.
     Letters have been sent to people who addressed council members at the last meeting explaining that they'll have an opportunity to speak at today's meeting as well. Beale Street Landing is a project ambitious in scope, including a series of walkways and a floating dock planned for the foot of Beale Street.
     In other action today, the council's Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division (MLGW) committee will discuss the utility company's interest in Memphis Networx, the cash-strapped telecom venture owned in part by MLGW. After years of it operating as a money-losing enterprise, the board of Memphis Networx has begun the process of selling off the business.

Johnson Leaves City Schools For Boston Super Post

     City officials in Boston are expected to announce today they have tapped Memphis City Schools superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson to fill the same job in Boston, said Mayor Thomas Menino. Johnson is expected to attend the news conference in Boston, during which the announcement will be made.
     Johnson currently is superintendent of Memphis City Schools, the largest school district in Tennessee, with 115,000 students.
     She was the best of several finalists to fill the Boston slot leading the city's 57,000-student school system, Menino said.
     During her tenure, she successfully removed more than 100 Memphis City Schools from the state's No Child Left Behind "high priority" list, reducing the number of schools on the list by more than half.
     "She'll give us the leadership we need in these schools," Menino told the Boston Sunday Globe. "I think she'll bring us to the next level. We're very fortunate to attract a talent as strong as Carol."
     Johnson will become the second black woman to lead Boston schools. The choice of Johnson ends an 18-month search to replace former Boston school superintendent Thomas W. Payzant, who retired in June 2006 after 11 years.
     Johnson's current salary is $204,516 a year. Contract negotiations are still under way between Johnson and Boston's school committee, but she is expected to have a salary in the mid- to high-$200,000s, according to an article in Monday's Boston Globe.
     Jeff Warren, a member of the Memphis City Schools Board of Education, said city officials would do everything in their power to retain Johnson, according to the Globe.
     "We're brokenhearted," Warren told the Globe. "We're doing everything we can to get her not to take [Boston's] offer. The bottom line is we're going to try to keep her. You don't need Dr. Johnson. We need her."

Bredesen Appoints Koch To State Supreme Court

     Gov. Phil Bredesen has appointed Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge William C. Koch Jr. to fill the final vacancy on the Tennessee Supreme Court.
     Bredesen chose Koch, a white Republican, after two court battles over the state's procedures for picking justices. One of the battles stemmed from Bredesen's rejection of a panel for a lack of qualified minority candidates.
     The selection of Koch, 59, leaves the five-member court with no justices who are minorities. Two of the justices are women.
     "While I have expressed concerns about the judicial selection process in our state, there is no question that Bill Koch will be an excellent justice on our Supreme Court," Bredesen, a
      Democrat, said in a news release announcing his decision.
     Koch served as legal counsel to then-Gov. Lamar Alexander, who named him to the Court of Appeals in 1984.
     The vacancy Bredesen filled occurred last year with the retirement of two justices, including the only black judge on the court, Justice Adolpho A. Birch Jr. The first vacancy was filled quickly but the second ran into trouble that centered on the state's multistep process for filling judgeships, called the Tennessee Plan.
     Circuit Judge D'Army Bailey of Memphis, the only black candidate of the three Bredesen chose from, said Friday he was disappointed with the governor's appointment.
     "It's very important to the state to have a diversity of input on the highest court of our state," Bailey said.

Home Sales Down 15% From May 2006

     The Memphis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR) has reported that total homes sales for May, as recorded by Memphis-area Realtors in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), totaled 1,605, down 15 percent from the record sales level in May 2006 but ahead of May 2005 sales of 1,589.
     "Although sales are down from last year's record levels, we are on track to make 2007 the second-best year in Memphis real estate history," said MAAR president Neil Hubbard in a statement. "Home values continue to show the stable, moderate increases that have become hallmarks of our market and that make Memphis one of the best places to buy a home and realize a consistent return on your investment. And with affordable mortgage rates and a good supply of homes, now is a great time to buy."
     May home sales contributed more than $280 million to the Memphis-area economy, a decline of 16.4 percent.
     The median sales price rose 0.7 percent, from $145,000 to $146,000, while the average sales price fell 1.7 percent, from $178,000 to $175,000.
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047