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VOL. 123 | NO. 38 | Monday, February 25, 2008

Daily Digest

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Hope Credit Union Buys Land for New Branch

     Hope Community Credit Union, which is planning to open its first Memphis branch in the next few months, has received ownership of the Madison Avenue property it plans to call home.
     Enterprise Corp. of the Delta - the sponsor organization of HOPE - received the 4,028-square-foot bank building at 1451 Madison from Regions Bank through a deed of gift. The amount listed on the deed is $810,000. ECD then transferred the property to HOPE via a deed of gift listing the same amount. The bank was built in 1960 and sits on .41 acres at the southeast corner of Madison and Raines Road. The sale also includes a .21-acre vacant parcel.
     The Shelby County Assessor's combined 2007 appraisal was $322,900.
     "HOPE is a community development credit union, which just speaks to our mission," said Scot Slay, marketing and communications director. "Our mission is strengthening communities, building assets and improving lives in economically distressed areas of the Mid-South - and that's Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana."
     That's accomplished by offering affordable financial services to low- and moderate-income individuals, including ones who might currently be unbanked or who have fallen victim to predatory loan practices.
     HOPE will open an account for anyone regardless of prior history, Slay said. The organization also offers loans to community development organizations and businesses.
     The credit union is sponsored by ECD, a private, nonprofit organization that offers affordable financial products and services in the Mid-South.
     HOPE currently has two retail branches in Jackson, Miss., and one in New Orleans. The Memphis branch is expected to open in the next few months, Slay said. The organization also is building a retail branch in Biloxi, Miss.
     Slay said HOPE was drawn to Memphis because of needs here, including high numbers of foreclosures and bankruptcies.
     "We're there to change that. ... The Mid-South has got a lot of potential, and people just need the right tools to be successful," he said.

Commission to Vote On New Medical Examiner's Office

     The Shelby County Board of Commissioners today will vote on a proposal to build a state-of the-art medical examiner's office on the Juvenile Court parking lot between Poplar Avenue and Washington Street. The current Regional Forensic Center is on Madison Avenue.
     Commission members also will vote on a resolution to approve a contract for $225,000 with the Memphis Police Department to furnish of drug and alcohol treatment programs to the Shelby County Drug Court.
     Board members also will discuss at today's meeting plans for 11 single-family homes at the corner of Billy Maher Road and Egypt Central Road. The project by St. Elisabeth's Episcopal Church has a minimum lot size of 10,527 square feet. It also includes commercial and office space in the mixed-use planned development.
     The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Shelby County Administration Building at 160 N. Main St.

Commercial Sales Activity Drops in January

     Commercial sales in Shelby County began 2008 on a low note, posting a 12.4 percent decline in January compared to the same month in 2007, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
     Just 106 commercial sales totaling $138 million were recorded in January, down from the 121 sales totaling $460 million in January 2007.
     The average square footage and sales price suffered more dramatic falls. Square footage decreased from 73,975 square feet per sale in January 2007 to just 22,180 square feet in January 2008, marking a 233.5 percent decline.
     And the average sales price dropped from $3.8 million per sale in January 2007 to $1.3 million in January 2008 for a 192.1 percent decline.
     The only gain came in average price per square foot, which rose from $59.33 to $66.76 year-over-year for January.
     The biggest hits came in the 38115 ZIP code of Hickory Hill North and the 38118 ZIP code of Oakhaven/Parkway Village, which posted 15 sales apiece averaging more than $9 million in January 2007. A year later, the two areas combined for just nine sales averaging about $700,000.
     The top area for number of sales in January was the 38017 ZIP of Collierville with 10 sales (averaging $4.7 million per sale), while the top area for dollar amount was the 38018 ZIP of Cordova South with an average sale price of $5.9 million (on two sales).

Commercial Lenders See Up and Down Month

     Commercial mortgages increased 35 percent from January 2007 to January 2008 in Shelby County, although the total dollar amount and average mortgage amount decreased significantly, according to the most recent Commercial Lender Analysis by real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
     Lenders issued 50 commercial mortgages in January, compared to just 37 in January 2007. But the total dollar amount was only $88.4 million compared to $792.5 million a year ago, and the average mortgage amount was only $1.8 million this year compared to $21.4 million a year ago.
     The top individual commercial lender for January in terms of number of mortgages was SunTrust Bank, which issued six mortgages totaling $9.4 million.
     SunTrust was followed by First Tennessee Bank NA with five mortgages totaling $3.5 million, and Regions Bank (dba Regions Mortgage) with three mortgages totaling $14.8 million.
     Wells Fargo Ltd. led the way in total dollar amount with $16 million on just two mortgages.

Residential Lending Slumps to Start Year

     Evidence of a soft housing market was revealed once again in the most recent Residential Lender Analysis by real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
     Residential lending decreased 17 percent from January 2007 to January 2008 in Shelby County as the number of loans fell from 1,251 to 1,035.
     Also, the average mortgage amount decreased from $148,193 to $146,995 from January 2007 to January 2008, and the total dollar amount for residential mortgages dropped from $185.4 million to $112.5 million.
     Wells Fargo Ltd. issued more loans in January than any other single lender, with 70 residential mortgage loans averaging $170,269 for a total of $11.9 million. That total also was tops in the county.
     Wells Fargo's number of loans was followed by Countrywide Home Loans with 57 loans averaging $167,741 for a total of $9.6 million, and First Tennessee Bank NA with 48 loans averaging $160,185 for a total of $7.7 million.

Charter Commission Greenlights Staggered Terms

     There were no fireworks or waterworks for the Memphis Charter Commission last week. Thursday's City Hall session was the first since a Feb. 7 meeting where Charter Commissioner Janis Fullilove launched an emotional and tearful appeal against any attempt to limit the terms of elected officials.
     The commission approved a ballot item limiting council members and the mayor to no more than two terms of office over her objections. Fullilove was not present for Thursday's meeting. She called chairman Myron Lowery in advance and said she was not feeling well.
     The commission added another item to the list of charter changes that will go to voters in a city-wide referendum later this year. All six commissioners present voted to put the question of staggered terms for City Council members to voters. All 13 City Council members now are elected at the same time every four years.
     The commission still must decide on a specific mechanism for staggering the terms that would involve some council members either serving a shorter term or a longer term on a one-time only basis.
     The Charter Commission also will consider moving city elections to coincide with November general elections to save money since staggering terms would mean city elections every two years.
     The group's next meeting is March 6 at 3 p.m. at City Hall.

Film Forum Rebrands As On Location: Memphis

     The board of directors of the Memphis Film Forum, the premier event of which is an international film festival hosted each year, has come up with a new brand and concept for the group of cinema lovers.
     On Location: Memphis is the group's new name as well as the name of its annual film festival. To coincide with the new concept and branding, a DVD release party will be held Tuesday at Dan McGuinness Pub at 4698 Spottswood Ave., with the new DVD including a compilation of short films and TV coverage from the group's festival in 2007. That year, the group's international film festival presented 58 films from 13 countries.

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PROPERTY SALES 119 482 10,051
MORTGAGES 119 497 11,811
BUILDING PERMITS 268 1,056 21,366
BANKRUPTCIES 50 263 6,700

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