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VOL. 123 | NO. 10 | Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Daily Digest

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EPE Buys Royal Oaks For $1.6 Million

     Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. has bought the Royal Oaks Apartments at 1032 Craft Road from Michael E. Reed for $1.6 million.
     The Royal Oaks is a 13-building apartment complex built in 1963. The complex has about 80 units and sits on a 5.2-acre lot on the north side of Craft Road west of Elvis Presley Boulevard.
     No one answered a phone number for the apartments; an answering machine states it is the number for MBM Properties. Representatives from EPE were not available for comment by press time.
     Nearly two years ago, New York-based CKX acquired an 85 percent stake in EPE, with Lisa Marie Presley retaining 15 percent interest.
     CKX recently announced a $250 million plan to develop Graceland into a tourism development zone centered on Graceland and spreading to surrounding property.
     The plan calls for "building an expanded visitors center, developing new attractions and merchandising shops and building a boutique convention hotel," CKX management wrote in the company's most recent annual report.
     For details, search for keyword CKX at The Daily News' editorial archives at www.memphisdailynews.com.

Commercial Sales Activity Increases in December

     Shelby County commercial sales soared more than 40 percent from November to December, but still fell short of the pace in December 2006, according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
     There were 99 commercial sales in December totaling $83.7 million, which is almost double the total sales price of November's 70 sales of $49.5 million. It was still much lower than December 2006, when sales totaled $152.2 million.
     The average sales price of $845,624 per transaction for the month marked a 16.4 percent increase over the $706,996 average sales price during November.
     The 38141 ZIP code of Hickory Hill led the way in dollar amount with one sale totaling $16 million. The 38104 ZIP of Midtown had the highest number of sales with nine, for a total average sales price of $296,722.
     In terms of total sales for the year, 2007 showed a slight increase compared to 2006. The 1,162 sales through Dec. 31 are up 4 percent from the same period in 2006 when there were 1,116 sales.

Victorian Village Efforts Helped by $10K State Grant

     A nonprofit group that's working to build interest in the historic Memphis neighborhood known as Victorian Village has been given a $10,000 community enhancement grant from the state of Tennessee.
     That money will go toward the creation of an hour-long documentary produced by well-known
     Memphis videographer and historian William Bearden, whose earlier film works include documentaries on Overton Park, Elmwood Cemetery and the cotton business.
     Victorian Village Inc. (VVI) Community Development Corp. is the group working to revitalize the historic neighborhood. The film is one of the first building blocks in creating a heritage tourism program centered around 19th-century Memphis, VVI CDC chairman Scott Blake said.

Northwest CEO Suggests Merger Could be Beneficial

     The chief executive of Northwest Airlines said his carrier could benefit from a merger - if it's the right deal.
     As the Delta Air Lines Inc. board met to discuss the issue, Northwest Airlines Corp. chief Doug Steenland sent an internal memo to employees Friday saying his airline's board and management team would analyze any deal carefully.
     "Most importantly, we will carefully consider the impacts on our own employees and ensure that the outstanding employees of Northwest Airlines are included in this process," he wrote. "The right transaction could be of benefit to our employees, our shareholders and the communities we serve."
     Steenland didn't say whether Delta had approached Northwest, which has a hub at Memphis International Airport.
     Delta officials were mum on the outcome of that company's board meeting Friday.
     According to two people familiar with the situation, Delta's board was expected to be asked to allow formal talks between Delta and Northwest and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, with the idea that Delta ultimately would choose to combine with one of the two.
     The people spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
     Steenland said Northwest, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, is better positioned than most of its competitors to run profitably.
     But he said fuel price increases have run above the carrier's projections, making it harder to maintain the same level of profitability and reinvest profits.

Memphis Library Honored by First Lady

     The Memphis Public Library & Information Center was among 10 cultural institutions recognized by first lady Laura Bush in a ceremony in Washington Monday.
     Bush handed out the 2007 Institute of Museum and Library Services medals to five museums and five libraries.
     Bush received a surprise honor of her own at the White House ceremony. The institute gave her a medal for her efforts to support public libraries and museums.
     The Memphis library was recognized for its increased attendance, literacy programs and broad appeal to its community.

New Policy Could Require High School Finance Class

     A new educational policy expected to be approved this month by the state Board of Education would require high school students to take a personal finance class.
     The policy to be voted on Jan. 25 is meant to strengthen graduation requirements and better prepare young people for college and the work force.
     David Sevier, the education board's policy adviser, said the measure is expected to pass and that local districts will determine which year of high school to offer the course.
     The requirement stems from last year's roundtable meetings Gov. Phil Bredesen held with business leaders who said Tennessee graduates lack basic academic and life skills.
     At least seven other states offer similar courses that cover investing, credit cards and recordkeeping, according to a survey by National Council on Economic Education.
     Many Tennessee high schools already offer a personal finance course as an elective. But a 2006 survey by JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy shows that only 29.8 percent of Tennessee students who took a personal finance test passed it.
     Nationally, 38 percent of students who took the test passed it.

Auto Loans Not Affected By Subprime Woes, GM Exec Says

     General Motors Corp.'s top finance executive said Sunday he doesn't see the subprime mortgage mess spreading into auto loans at the company's former credit arm, GMAC financial services.
     Chief Financial Officer Fritz Henderson said that although GMAC auto loan delinquencies were up slightly in the third quarter compared to the same time in 2006, the problems are nowhere near the troubles due to real estate loans made to people with less-than-stellar credit.
     GMAC's auto loan delinquencies rose from 2.4 percent in the third quarter 2006 to 2.6 percent in the same period of 2007, Henderson said.
     "Yes they've ticked up, but viewed in any sort of historical way, they were still at quite acceptable levels," Henderson said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
     "I think it's more sort of normal credit behavior over the course of a cycle than what we've seen in housing, for example. But we'll all have to stay tuned."
     GMAC formerly was controlled by GM. Cerberus Capital Management LP and other private-equity firms bought a 51 percent stake in GMAC in November 2006, before weakness in the mortgage industry became widely known.
     GMAC in November posted a $1.6 billion loss for the third quarter. It included a $2.3 billion loss at ResCap, its mortgage arm, which offset profits elsewhere.
     GMAC has more than $100 billion in its auto loan portfolio worldwide, so the loans "are something we need to watch, but not at all like what we've seen in mortgages," Henderson said.
PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396