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VOL. 123 | NO. 40 | Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Daily Digest

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Oakleaf Office Building Sells for $1.8 Million

     A 14,000-square-foot office building at 699 Oakleaf Office Lane has sold for $1.8 million. An entity called Rosecrest bought the property from Oakwood Professional Building LLC, with the deal closing last week.
     Built in 2003, the two-story building sits on just less than an acre at the northwest corner of Spottswood Avenue and Oakleaf Office Lane just east of South Perkins Road. The Shelby County Assessor's 2007 appraisal was $953,900.
     Tenants include Fitness First Studio, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, and Fish and Associates financial planning services, among others.
     Representatives of Rosecrest could not be reached by press time.

Joint City, County Session To be Held Today

     The Shelby County Board of Commissioners and Memphis City Council are scheduled to hold a joint committee session today at 1:30 p.m. at 160 N. Main St. to discuss the Ericson Group's Pyramid Harbor proposal.
     The company's owner, Greg Ericson, continues lobbying the bodies to develop a theme park in the long-vacant Pyramid arena. Meanwhile, both groups continue to review a tentative development agreement with Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops.
     Ericson Group has submitted its own version of a development agreement to the city and county. The Pyramid Harbor development also would involve attractions on Mud Island and the surrounding riverfront. But Ericson has agreed to develop The Pyramid first after council members said finding a use for the structure was their priority.
     The Ericson plan would involve the city and county selling The Pyramid and the city selling Mud Island River Park for the development.
     If the Bass Pro deal is chosen, Bass Pro would lease The Pyramid from the city and the county. Bass Pro has no plans to develop Mud Island River Park.

Builders' January Sales Fall Short of 2007

     Residential building in Shelby County for January dropped by 13.6 percent from last year's mark. Sales by builders totaled 95 for the month, down from the 110 homes sold by builders in January 2007, according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
     January 2008 also fell shy of December 2007, which notched 100 homes sold by county builders.
     As for total sales dollars, January registered $22.6 million, with an average sale amount of $237,840. That fell short of the January 2007 totals of $27.7 million in sales dollars and $252,190 in average sales amount.
     For December, sales totaled $22.4 million and the average sales amount was $223,523.
     The top individual builder for January in terms of sales count was Compass Pointe Homes LLC, which notched 10 sales totaling $1.8 million.
     Compass Pointe was followed by Rivertown LLC with four sales totaling $1.4 million; FaxonGillis Homes with six sales totaling $1.2 million; John Worley Jr. Builder Inc. with two sales totaling $958,800; and Phillip Baum with two sales totaling $870,000.
     Bowden was the top seller in January 2007 with 17 sales totaling $3.9 million, while Phil Chamberlain (of Chamberlain & McCreery Inc.) led all builders in December 2007 with 12 sales totaling $2.5 million.
     One major difference between the first month last year and the first month this year was how many homes each builder sold. In January 2008, 45 builders sold at least one home for an average of about two sales per builder.
     In January 2007, just 29 builders sold at least one home for an average of close to four sales per builder.

More Foreclosures Filed Against Alexander

     Two first-run foreclosure notices appear beginning on Page 34 of today's Daily News for properties owned by Charles W. Alexander, who has seen more than 20 foreclosure notices filed on his properties in the past two weeks.
     The properties facing foreclosure are 2019 Southern Ave. and 3151 Highland Park Place. Both properties were mortgaged in September 2004. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. (MERS) is the owner and holder of the debts for both properties.
     The Highland Park Place address is scheduled for sale March 20 at noon at the southwest Adams Avenue entrance of the Shelby County Courthouse. The Southern Avenue property is slated for sale March 27 at the same location.
     Today's notices are in addition to two first-run notices published Monday for Alexander properties at 1409 Doris Ave. and 2253 Corry Road, both of which are scheduled for sale March 20 at noon at the Shelby County Courthouse. MERS is the owner and holder of the debts for these properties.
     All four of the properties are subject to a tax lien filed by the Internal Revenue Service in October 2006 for $1,247.10.
     For more information on previous foreclosure notices filed against Alexander, visit www.memphisdailynews.com.

AutoZone Profit Up, Sales Slowing

     AutoZone Inc. said Tuesday its fiscal second-quarter profit rose as consumers bought more auto parts and accessories.
     However, the auto retailer also noted that inventory levels rose as sales began to falter and that higher occupancy costs cut into profits.
     AutoZone posted a 3.6 percent rise in profit to $106.7 million, or $1.67 per share, from $103 million, or $1.45 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to $1.34 billion in the three months ended Feb. 9 from $1.3 billion.
     Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected a profit of $1.62 per share on revenue of $1.35 billion, on average.
     Though earnings beat Wall Street expectations, AutoZone's inventory levels rose during the quarter as the company "experienced some decelerations in sales trends from the first fiscal quarter," Chief Executive Bill Rhodes said in a statement.

County Commission Agrees To New Forensic Center Site

     The Shelby County Board of Commissioners has seconded the idea of a new Regional Forensic Center on part of the Juvenile Court parking lot. County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. announced the site last week after a three-year search.
     The state of Tennessee will fund the center's construction to the tune of around $14 million, which is expected to be the bulk of the bill for the state-of-the-art center. The new center will be used to perform autopsies and other pathological work not just for Shelby County but for surrounding counties that pay a fee.
     The chairman of the board of trustees of Collins Chapel CME Church, which is next to the site, said church members voted over the weekend to back the site. But Scott Blake, chairman of the Victorian Village Community Development Corp., said the morgue wouldn't fit in with plans to bring back some residential development to the neighborhood.
     "We need more live bodies, not dead ones," Blake said.
     The commission resolution backing the site left the exact boundaries general so the administration can talk with Blake and others with concerns. But Wharton said the location shouldn't have been a surprise.
     "It's almost becoming a mockery now. ... This building ought to be built forthwith on property that we own with money we now have in hand that is not costing taxpayers of Shelby County one red cent," he said. "We want to build it now, not after I leave office."

Driving School Raided By Federal, State Agencies

     Federal authorities were not commenting Tuesday on an FBI investigation of the Swift Transportation office in Millington.
     Swift spokesman Dave Berry of Phoenix said Tuesday federal officials had told Swift executives the company is not a target of the probe. Swift is cooperating, according to Berry, in what he said is an investigation of how commercial driver's licenses are issued.
     FBI agents served search warrants on the Phoenix-based trucking company's commercial truck driving school in Millington Monday. The search warrants also included a state center that issues driver's licenses.
     No one has been charged in the probe, which was confirmed by the Tennessee Department of Safety. The written statement from state safety officials said they temporarily have suspended issuing commercial driver's licenses at that center until the investigation is complete. They have not offered specifics on what the investigation might involve.
     The Criminal Investigation Division of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which also is part of the Department of Safety, is working with the FBI in conducting the investigation, as are the Inspector General's office of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
PROPERTY SALES 38 38 20,670
MORTGAGES 45 45 23,790
BUILDING PERMITS 187 187 42,781
BANKRUPTCIES 57 57 13,237