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VOL. 122 | NO. 201 | Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Daily Digest

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Graceland Manor Apartments Sells for $1.1 Million

     Graceland Manor Apartments on East Raines Road has sold for $1.1 million to a Memphis limited liability company. Graceland Apartment Complex LLC bought the property last week from Graceland Manor LLC.
     The 80-unit complex was built in 1973 and sits on five acres on the north side of East Raines west of Airways Road. It includes two- and three-bedroom units in two-story buildings.
     The Shelby County Assessor's 2007 appraisal was $1.4 million.
     Graceland Manor LLC, a Utah limited liability company, sold the property to California-based Oasis Graceland Manor Townhomes and Apartments LLC in October 2006 for $1.4 million. Oasis financed the purchase with a $1.3 million wrap-around loan through the seller, Graceland Manor. A wrap-around loan is a mortgage that includes in its balance an underlying mortgage.
     Oasis defaulted on its loan and the property was sold at a foreclosure sale in July. Graceland Manor repurchased the property for $200,000.
     The most recent buyer, Graceland Apartment Complex filed articles of organization as a limited liability company with the Tennessee Secretary of State on Oct. 15.
     Representatives of Graceland Manor Apartments and Graceland Apartment Complex LLC could not be reached by press time.

Back Yard Burgers Files Complaint Vs. Insurers

     Memphis-based Back Yard Burgers Inc. (BYB) has filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com. The complaint was filed last week against two companies through which Back Yard Burgers carries insurance policies, Valley Forge Insurance Co. and Continental Casualty Co.
     The two companies did not provide coverage or a defense for the chain following the recent filing of a class-action complaint alleging violations of the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, according to the complaint.
     BYB settled that complaint, Plank v. Back Yard Burgers Inc. et. al., only after the two insurers did not respond with coverage or options for a defense, BYB argues. BYB paid the settlement and attorneys' fees for the defense following the settlement on Sept. 12.
     At the time the class-action complaint was filed, BYB said it did not know the impact that suit would have on a pending acquisition of the company by investment partnership BBAC LLC. The closing of that acquisition has been extended to some time later this month.

U of M to Host Urban Design Program

     The University of Memphis and Urban Land Institute (ULI) Memphis will host "Urban Design and Placemaking: A New Model for Growth and Redevelopment around Universities and Other Major Institutions."
     The program begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the U of M's Fogelman Executive Center. It is a series of workshops that will explore high-quality examples of how universities and other major urban institutions, such as medical centers, are partnering in their communities to strategically address growth needs and community quality of life.
     Earlier this year ULI Memphis received one of only a few Community Action Grants from ULI National. The grant is designed to build on the work of a Placemaking Symposium hosted by the U of M and other partners last April to discuss the benefits and practice of urban design and placemaking.
     The kickoff presenter in this year-long series is Omar Blaik, president and CEO of Philadelphia-based U3 Ventures, which integrates the space between urban universities and surrounding communities.
     U3 Ventures invests in these areas by working collaboratively with universities and other major institutions to further their institutional objectives. Blaik will talk about his work and how universities and other major institutions can better integrate with surrounding neighborhoods.
     The event is free and open to the public.

FedEx Adds Hybrid Vehicles To European Fleet

     FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., announced Monday plans to introduce 10 hybrid-electric/diesel vehicles to its European fleet. The vehicles will bring the worldwide total of hybrid vehicles in revenue service at FedEx to more than 100 in North America, Asia and Europe.
     The vans initially will be trialed close to the manufacturer's site in Turin, Italy. The vehicles were manufactured by Italy-based Iveco and will be the first hybrid-electric/diesel vehicles operated by FedEx in Europe.
     The van and the hardware that enables it to operate on both electric and diesel systems will be unveiled at the European Road Transport Show in Amsterdam, Wednesday through Nov. 3.
     In 2004, FedEx Express introduced the FedEx OptiFleet E700, an environmentally friendly delivery truck, into its delivery fleet. FedEx now has 95 hybrid-electric vehicles in service worldwide that have traveled more than 1 million miles.

National Commercial Market Sees Slowdown

     The excesses that led to a bust in the housing boom haven't spread to the commercial real estate market, where the outlook is cautious but decidedly upbeat.
     Led by strong growth in the office and retail segments, national commercial property sales hit $401 billion through Oct. 18, outpacing last year's $359 billion total, according to Real Capital Analytics, a New York-based real-estate research firm.
     Construction spending on office buildings, shopping centers and other private, nonresidential projects jumped 15.2 percent in August, the Commerce Department said last month.
     There are some signs of slowing growth, analysts say, but nothing compared to the residential real estate market, where foreclosures and mortgage defaults are still rising rapidly, mainly from subprime mortgages extended to risky borrowers. Most economists forecast further declines in home sales and prices, making it "the most significant current risk to our economy," Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said last week.
     The commercial market has not been dragged down by the residential mortgage mess because, for the most part, buyers and sellers are more sophisticated and they have more financial flexibility and resources to ride out credit-market turmoil, experts said.
     "It's a different animal than the nonresidential construction business with the direct relationship between banks and business leaders, not banks and homeowners," said Bernard Baumohl, managing director of The Economic Outlook Group in Princeton, N.J.
     That doesn't mean the market would be unaffected if economic growth stalls.
     "As home prices continue to fall, people feel poor and spend less," and that puts pressure on the profits that fuel corporate spending, said William Wheaton, research director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Real Estate. He puts 50-50 odds on a mild recession in the U.S. within the next six months.

ACEC of Tennessee Looks For Engineering Excellence

     The American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee (ACEC of Tennessee), a statewide organization of more than 110 engineering firms, is accepting entries from firms across the state for its annual Engineering Excellence Awards.
     Winners of the awards will be announced at a banquet to be held March 4 at the Hilton Nashville Downtown.
     Firms do not have to be a member of ACEC of Tennessee to enter the competition. Projects of any size or budget are eligible, said David Harrell, vice president of the Knoxville engineering firm Vaughn and Melton and chair of the awards program, in a statement.
     A one-page entry form is available at the ACEC Web site, www.acectn.org, or by contacting Judy Logue at 615-242-2486 or at jlogue@tnec.org.

Local Volunteer Organization To Receive CODA Award

     Live from Memphis, a grassroots organization representing Memphis music, film and arts, will receive the Award for Outstanding Service to the Arts from the Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts (CODA) at Rhodes College.
     The organization will receive the award Thursday at a banquet to be held at Rhodes as part of CODA's "Arts Leadership: New Directions" conference.
     The award honors "the individual or group who best exemplifies the spirit of arts in our community, and who works to enhance the creative landscape of the city in a capacity beyond the requirements of their actual job," said CODA assistant director John Weeden.
     An advisory committee of local arts workers and supporters representing educational, nonprofit, private market and freelance fields chose Live from Memphis as the award recipient.
     Live from Memphis runs several volunteer programs, including The Live from Memphis Music Video Showcase; The Li'l Film Fest; The Memphis Music, Film and Arts Directory; LFM Streaming Radio; Li'l Art Rag; and LFM U, an outreach program that coaches future artists and arts workers in ways to support local arts.
MORTGAGES 0 79 1,199
BUILDING PERMITS 146 146 2,571