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VOL. 122 | NO. 198 | Thursday, October 18, 2007

Daily Digest

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California Investors Buy S. Third Wendy's Site

     A California-based limited liability company has bought the South Third Street property housing a Wendy's fast food restaurant for $1.7 million.
     Vlachakis Properties LLC, based in Altadena, Calif., bought the property last week from CNL Net Lease Funding 2003 LLC. The purchase was financed with a $1.1 million loan through Pacific Capital Bank NA.
     At 3990 South Third St. (also known as U.S. 61 South), the .86-acre site houses a 3,000-square-foot, one-story Wendy's built in 1993. The Shelby County Assessor's 2007 appraisal was $411,500.
     The property is one of 10 local Wendy's sites Valenti Mid-South Realty II LLC sold to CNL, an affiliate of Orlando, Fla.-based Trustreet Properties, in late 2006 as part of a sale-leaseback transaction. A sale-leaseback is a deal in which a property owner sells his property then leases it back from the new owners.
     In conjunction with the South Third property sale, CNL transferred the September 2006 lease agreement with Valenti to Vlachakis Properties, making Vlachakis the new landlord.
     CNL's sale of the South Third Wendy's site is the company's latest resale among the properties it bought last year. Since December, Wendy's sites on Frayser and Elvis Presley boulevards, Summer Avenue, and Highland and Thomas streets have been sold to separate investors, all from California.

September Home Sales Drop 25 Percent

     Memphis-area home sales dropped nearly 25 percent for September, according to the Memphis Area Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.
     Homes sales for the month totaled 1,143, down 24.9 percent from 1,522 homes sold during the same month in 2006.
     As actual sales continue to decline, Memphis-area home values continue to hold relatively steady, with the average sales price declining just 1.3 percent from September 2006 levels.
     The average sales price in September 2006 was $173,200, compared to $171,000 last month.
     Year-to-date home sales were 13,152, down 14.3 percent from the 15,354 sales reported for the first nine months of 2006, which was a record-setting year in Memphis.

ServiceMaster Renews Ridgeway Center Leases

     The ServiceMaster Co., which is in the midst of relocating its corporate headquarters from the Chicago area to Memphis, recently renewed its leases at four buildings in Boyle's Ridgeway Center on Ridge Lake Boulevard.
     The company signed an agreement earlier this week, extending its existing leases by 10 years.
     ServiceMaster occupies 290,000 square feet of office space at 850, 860, 889 and 855 Ridge Lake.
     Boyle and several partners own the first three buildings, and the fourth building is owned by Ezon Investment Co. of Naples, Fla. Mark Halperin and Kathy Pampuro of Boyle represented the building owners.
     Ridgeway Center is a 204-acre, multiple-use development at Poplar Avenue and Interstate 240 in East Memphis.

C-SPAN's Book TV Bus Makes Memphis Visit

     C-SPAN's Book TV Bus is making a stop in Memphis this month on a nationwide tour promoting the channel's unique programming - a tour that will include visits to libraries, bookstores and book festivals.
     The bus, a 45-foot-long mobile television production studio, will be at Burke's Book Store and the University of Memphis today and will visit the Borders book store at 6685 Poplar Ave. Friday. Book TV will interview two local authors while at Burke's: Phyllis Tickle, author of "Prayer is a Place," and Molly Crosby, author of "American Plague."

U.S. Housing Construction Plunges to 14-Year Low

     Problems in the housing industry intensified last month with construction of new homes plunging to the lowest level in 14 years. Consumer prices, meanwhile, rose at the fastest pace in four months, reflecting higher energy and food costs.
     The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that construction of new homes fell 10.2 percent last month compared to August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.191 million units. That was the slowest building pace since March 1993 and was far bigger than the 4.2 percent decline economists had been expecting.
     Analysts said the bigger-than-expected drop in housing construction could be signaling that the housing downturn, already the worst in 16 years, may be headed for bigger troubles. Housing activity is now 30.8 percent below the level of a year ago.
     Both Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warned this week that the housing downturn was likely to persist longer than had been expected.
     The National Association of Homebuilders reported Tuesday that its index of builder confidence fell for the eighth consecutive month in October, pushing the index to a record low of 18 from a reading of 20 in September.
     Many economists believe that housing will trim economic growth by more than a percentage point in the current quarter. However, they also think the country will avoid a recession because they believe the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates further should there be more signs that the housing downturn is affecting the overall economy.

Gates Foundation Gives $8M To African Program

     The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given $8 million to a program created by a Memphis company to increase cotton yields in Africa.
     Dunavant Enterprises of Memphis set up the program in Mozambique, where cotton farming is a primary source of income for thousands of rural families.
     More than 35,000 farmers are enrolled in the program, called Dunavant Mozambique, according to the National Cooperative Business Association, an organization that will oversee the grant.
     The business association, which promotes investment in small and medium-sized businesses, said the grant will help double the number of farmers in the program.
     Dunavant Enterprises buys cotton around the world and resells it to textile mills.

Lyons Named Interim Director At Brooks Museum

     Al Lyons has been named interim director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Lyons will replace current director Kaywin Feldman, who is retiring at the end of the year to accept a position at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
     Lyons takes over the new post Jan. 1. As interim director, he will oversee daily operations of the museum while the search for a permanent director proceeds.
     Lyons is president of The Bodine Co. in Collierville. He will be retiring from that position at the end of the year.
     Lyons has served on several corporate boards and currently serves on the Ballet Memphis, Collierville Chamber of Commerce, Memphis in May, and RiverArtsFest boards, in addition to acting as vice president of the Brooks board of trustees.
PROPERTY SALES 61 61 6,453
MORTGAGES 46 46 4,081
BUILDING PERMITS 113 113 15,474