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VOL. 123 | NO. 137 | Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Daily Digest

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Kroger Exercises Option On East Memphis Office

The Kroger Co. has bought through a special sale deed its Memphis office at 800 Ridge Lake Blvd. for $6 million. The seller was Newkirk Altenn LP.

The Kroger Co. was leasing the property until the sale on June 30.

“We exercised a purchase option on it, and it’s been a ground lease up until that time (of the sale),” said Brian Middleton, real estate supervisor at the Memphis office of Kroger.

In conjunction with the sale is a termination of sublease agreement between Newkirk Altenn LP and The Kroger Co. that was dated June 1, 1983.

The property is a 4-acre lot off Ridge Lake Boulevard just south of Ridge Bend Road. The building is 75,537 square feet and was built in 1982, according to local real estate company Chandler Reports.

The Shelby County Assessor’s 2008 appraisal of the property is $6 million.

The sale included three easements and rights set forth in two agreements and one warranty deed, all recorded Feb. 3, 1981.

Source: The Daily News Online and Chandler Reports

City Council to Consider New Fire Director

The Memphis City Council today will consider the appointment of Alvin D. Benson as the city’s new director of Fire Services.

Benson, who is deputy director, has been nominated by Mayor Willie Herenton to replace Director Richard Arwood, who recently retired. Herenton also has nominated City Court Judge Earnestine Hunt Dorse to serve as administrative judge of the three divisions of City Court.

The council will meet today at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

nexAir’s Heppel Retires as CFO

Scott Heppel, chief financial officer of Memphis-based nexAir, is retiring after 30 years with the company. nexAir is one of the largest distributors of atmospheric gases and welding supplies in the United States.

Heppel will continue to work with nexAir as a consultant for its 401(k) and profit sharing programs as well as serve on its board.

Heppel began his career in the industry in 1978 as vice president of Mid-South Oxygen Co. and was promoted to CFO in 1980. He remained CFO after the merger of Mid-South Oxygen Co. and Standard Welders Supply/Standard Oxygen Service and helped shape the new nexAir brand image.

In retirement, Heppel will continue his involvement with Memphis-area charities and serve as a board member and officer for Yellowstone National Park.

Memphis Named 2009 Host For GEP Executive Summit

Memphis has been named host city for the 2009 Global Event Partners (GEP) Executive Summit, an annual convention of destination management executives and meetings industry professionals. The convention will be held June 25-28 at The Peabody Memphis.

The announcement of Memphis as the location for next year’s convention was made last week in front of more than 250 delegates at the end of the 2008 Executive Summit in Paris, France. An aggressive effort on behalf of Destination King in Memphis, The Peabody Memphis and the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau brought the 2009 convention to Memphis, and the local commitment to host the event exceeds $750,000.

Education Realty Declares Quarterly Dividend

Memphis-based Education Realty Trust Inc. last week said its board declared a quarterly dividend of 20.5 cents.

The real estate investment trust said the dividend is payable Aug. 15 to shareholders of record July 31.

Business Classes Going Online

Classes in business management will be taught live over the Internet with an online audience as far away as Texas.

The Strategic Management Learning System has been offered in the classroom by the Tennessee Small Business Development Council in Knoxville since 2002. The council has exclusive rights to expand the program to the Web.

September will mark the first of such interactive online classes. Small-business centers in Oak Ridge, Chattanooga, Gallatin and Memphis already have been certified to participate. Those counselors will serve as class consultants to clients in their respective cities.

A center in Austin, Texas, is next on the list for certification. Other states also have expressed interest.

“It will all be taught in Knoxville. We’re trying to find ways to serve our clients. This saves them gas and windshield time,” said Larry Rossini, executive director of the development council, a division of Pellissippi State Technical Community College. “Everything is shifting toward the Web. That’s the trend.”

Counselors at the small-business centers must be certified because they conduct follow-up sessions with individual business owners after each module and offer assistance well after the program ends.

The SMLS program, created by entrepreneur and consultant William Osgood of New Hampshire, covers 12 management topics that help entrepreneurs develop the skills required to manage a small business ranging from marketing and cash flow to inventory and strategic analysis.

“If every center teaches this on the ground, they’ve got to have teachers and a place to teach it. With us teaching it online, they don’t have to. They just have to understand it to be able to follow up with their clients. It’s efficient for everyone,” Rossini said.

Fitch Ratings Shifts Airlines To Negative Outlook

High fuel prices and slowing demand for travel have raised the risk that airlines could default on aircraft leases, Fitch Ratings said Monday.

Fitch revised its outlook for the industry to negative, saying downgrades are likely to outnumber upgrades over the next year.

The ratings agency said fuel costs and waning demand could pressure the airlines to write down the values of their planes. Fitch revised its asset-performance outlook for aircraft securitizations to declining and said downgrades were most likely to cover older, less fuel-efficient aircraft.

This month, the parent of American Airlines – AMR Corp. – did just that. AMR reported it will take a charge of $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion in the second quarter to cover the lower value of its MD-80 and Embraer RJ-135 fleets. The MD-80s are heavy fuel burners.

On Friday, Continental Airlines Inc. reported it would take a non-cash charge of about $51 million to write down the value of its Boeing 737 fleets, and it warned of more write-downs in the third quarter.

Jet fuel prices, the largest single cost for most airlines, have risen more than 50 percent this year.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047