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VOL. 122 | NO. 115 | Thursday, June 21, 2007

Daily Digest

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Memphis Self Storage Group Buys Second Facility

     A local investment group focused on acquiring self-storage properties has bought its second facility, a Storage USA site at 4175 Winchester Road. Memphis Self Storage Group, working under the name Memphis Storage II LP, bought the property from ESS PRISA LLC for $800,000.
     The site will be rebranded Memphis Self Storage.
     The seven-building, 340-unit facility was built in 1984 and sits on a little more than two acres on the south side of Winchester west of Goodlett Road. The Shelby County Assessor's 2007 appraisal was $1.1 million.
     Memphis Storage II financed the purchase with an $824,000 loan through Column Financial Inc.
     Memphis Self Storage Group is a new partnership headed by self-storage veteran Kenneth Cox. The group closed on its first center, an A-AAA Key Mini Storage at 3951 Lamar Ave., in late May. That property also has been rebranded as Memphis Self Storage.
     Cox said the investment group is in the process of acquiring two centers in DeSoto County. The deal on the first one, a DeSoto Mini Storage, is expected to close next week; the other deal should be complete in about two months, he said.
     For details on the partnership, see The Daily News' June 1 Daily Digest at www.memphisdailynews.com.

Public Works Committee To Discuss Homeland Security

     Shelby County Commissioner David Lillard will hold a public works committee meeting today at 9 a.m. in the fourth floor conference room at 160 N. Main St.
     Items to be discussed include an update of the Urban Area Homeland Security Strategy plan and a resolution amending the fiscal year 2006-2007 operating budget for the Department of Homeland Security Office of Preparedness. The amendment will increase authorized expenditure of the Weapons of Mass Destruction grant by $132,804.
     For more information, call Steve Summerall at 545-4301.

May Home Sales Experience Big Decline

     Residential home sales in Shelby County fell a staggering 19.9 percent from May 2006 to May 2007, according to data from real estate information service Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
     In May 2006, there were 2,390 home sales, with an average sales price of $152,838. This May, there were 1,915 home sales, with an average sales price of $159,429.
     Sales did increase 10.2 percent from April to May this year, signaling the start of the busy summer selling season. There were 1,738 homes sold in April.
     Meanwhile, condo sales suffered a much bigger slide, falling 35.6 percent from May 2006 to May 2007. Just 96 condos were sold this May, at an average sales price of $163,844, versus 149 sold in May 2006, with an average sales price of $167,425.
     The Downtown 38103 ZIP code - traditionally the largest submarket for condos - dropped 53.1 percent, with 64 condos sold in May 2006 and only 30 sold this May.
     Condo sales also were down 19.3 percent from April 2007 to May 2007.

FedEx Reports Increased Net Income

     FedEx Corp. reported net income of $610 million, up 7 percent from the $568 million the company saw during last year's fourth quarter.
     Company officials also reported earnings of $1.96 per diluted share for the fourth quarter ended May 31, compared to $1.82 per diluted share a year ago. The rise in this quarter's shares was attributed in part to a gain that resulted from a settlement with Airbus related to the A380 order cancellation.
     "FedEx delivered solid financial results in fiscal 2007 even though we were restrained by a slowing U.S. economy," said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer in a statement. "The weakened industrial sector is currently limiting demand for transportation services, but we expect the U.S. economy to begin to show modest year-over-year improvement in the late summer to early fall timeframe. We remain optimistic about prospects for global economic growth, and will continue to invest in projects critical to achieving strong long-term financial performance."
     The company also reported operating income of $1.01 billion, up 9 percent from $927 million a year ago.

State Seeks Dismissal Of Federal He Petition

     The state is asking a federal judge to dismiss a petition aimed at stopping the court-ordered reunion of an 8-year-old girl with her Chinese parents.
     An American couple, Jerry and Louise Baker, have raised Anna Mae He, now a second grader, since she was a month old and tried to adopt her over her parents' objections.
     Shaoqiang "Jack" and Qin Luo "Casey" He put Anna Mae in foster care in 1999 after her father lost his graduate school scholarship at the University of Memphis and was unemployed.
     The custody fight over Anna Mae dragged through Tennessee courts for seven years. But the state Supreme Court ruled in January that she must be returned to her birth parents.
     The Bakers have filed a U.S. District Court petition trying to overturn the state Supreme Court decision.
     State Attorney General Robert Cooper, named as a respondent to that petition, filed a request Monday to have it dismissed.
     The federal court lacks jurisdiction to hear the Bakers' claims, and the state Supreme Court has clearly held that Anna Mae should be returned to her parents, Cooper said.
     The Bakers contend Anna Mae will be emotionally crushed by leaving the only family she has known, but the state Supreme Court said she will not suffer "the substantial harm required to prevent the parents from regaining custody," Cooper argued.
     No date has been set for further arguments in the dispute.
     In March, the Hes began a series of visits with their daughter as part of the reunion process and are expected to regain custody in late July.

Salon.com Raves About Memphis Airport

     Memphis International Airport got a small dose of favorable publicity over Father's Day weekend at Salon.com, the Internet-based daily magazine.
     In Salon's regularly published aviation column "Ask the Pilot," several hundred readers write in with opinions on the best, the good and the not-so-good airports around the country. Four readers in a recent column gave props to Memphis International Airport, the busiest cargo airport in the world and site of an extreme makeover during the past couple of years.
     "With a barbecue stand seemingly every 10 feet, the air is thick with the aroma of grilled meat and savory sauce," one reader wrote. "Curses on my half-hour layover! If there was any justice, I'd be slumped in a waiting area, sauce-smeared and happy even as we speak."

Miss. Accounting Firm Opens Office in Memphis

     The Jackson, Miss.-based accounting firm HORNE LLP has opened an office in Memphis at 1715 Aaron Brenner Drive in the Renaissance Center.
     HORNE's Memphis office initially will focus on assurance services with plans to add tax, general accounting, and business planning and advisory services. Rusty Butcher, director of financial institutions, will oversee operations of the Memphis location.
     HORNE, whose origins date to 1962, is one of the top 60 accounting and business advisory firms in the country as reported by Public Accounting Report. It's also one of the top 10 accounting and business advisory firms in the Southeast.
     With 12 offices in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and Arizona, the firm has more than 500 team members serving clients in 48 states.

Letters Sent to TVA Protest Nuclear Reactor

     More than 1,200 people from across the country have written letters to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) opposing the federal utility's plans for building a second nuclear reactor at the Watts Bar station in Tennessee.
     The 1,229 form letters addressed general concerns about nuclear power, radioactive waste and security as well as some specific worries about raising water temperature in the Tennessee River, which supports Watts Bar's cooling towers some 50 miles south of Knoxville.
     TVA responded in a 160-page supplemental environmental impact statement to be published Friday in the Federal Register.
     "It found that there was no significant environmental impact if TVA decides to complete construction and operate Unit Two at Watts Bar," TVA spokesman John Moulton told the Associated Press.
     The agency said that drawing water from the Tennessee River should have minimal impact on river temperature and water loss, spent fuel storage onsite should not be a problem, security against terrorists already has been upgraded and there should be no harm to wildlife or habitat.
     The one impact noted by the report is increased demand on local government services during the construction project. The report recommends "a supplemental allocation" from TVA's annual in-lieu-of taxes payments.
     The decision to build Watts Bar Two will rest with the TVA board of directors, which will be meeting Aug. 1. A $30 million feasibility study on building the reactor is expected by then. TVA still holds a decades-old construction license on Watts Bar Two.
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 91 158 16,219
MORTGAGES 98 179 18,735
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 13 36 2,497
BUILDING PERMITS 136 349 33,738
BANKRUPTCIES 63 115 10,429
BUSINESS LICENSES 30 47 5,350
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 24 53 6,326
MARRIAGE LICENSES 19 52 3,563