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VOL. 123 | NO. 126 | Friday, June 27, 2008

Daily Digest

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ProLogis to Begin Rehab On Hickory Hill Warehouse

Denver-based ProLogis has filed a $1.1 million permit application to rebuild the foundation of its warehouse at 5700 Challenge Drive. The building, in the Memphis Distribution Center near Raines and Hickory Hill roads, was damaged in the Feb. 5 storm that ripped through the industrial section of Southeast Memphis.

ProLogis applied for the permit through the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement listing The Conlan Co. of Atlanta as contractor.

The 427,500-square-foot warehouse sits on 19.49 acres in the Hickory Hill North neighborhood and was built in 1995. Its 2008 appraisal is $12.1 million, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

Renovation is slated to begin soon with completion set for the end of the year, said ProLogis spokeswoman Mo Sheahan. She said the 5700 Challenge Drive property was the only ProLogis building “that needed to be repaired to this extent.”

Sheahan said tenants in the building were moved to other properties following the storm. Currently, the company does not have tenants lined up for the warehouse being renovated.

“Once that space is available, it will be up for lease,” Sheahan said.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

AutoZone OKs Share Buyback Increase up to $500M

AutoZone Inc. said Thursday its board has approved the repurchase of an additional $500 million in stock, bringing its current unused share repurchase authorization to $608 million.

The auto parts retailer also said it will increase its debt leverage to “better optimize its current capital structure.”

AutoZone said it signed an agreement with shareholder ESL Investments Inc., a hedge fund owned by billionaire investor and Sears Holdings Corp. Chairman Edward Lampert. The fund currently owns about 36.2 percent of AutoZone’s outstanding common stock.

Under the deal’s terms, if ESL’s stake reaches 40 percent of shares outstanding, the firm will vote its shares above that mark in a similar proportion to other shareholders.

That threshold will be lowered to 37.5 percent after the 2009 annual meeting, AutoZone said.

AutoZone said the deal also states that out of three directors it plans to add to its board in the near future, two will be nominated by ESL. The move will increase the board to 12 directors.

After that, the company said it will cut its board back to 10 members ahead of the 2008 annual meeting in December.

Lampert stepped down from fellow auto retailer AutoNation’s board last year to devote more time to ESL Investments and Sears. He is currently AutoNation’s largest shareholder.

Medtronic Raises Fiscal 2009 Dividend

Medical device maker Medtronic Inc. said Thursday its board approved an increase in its dividend by 50 percent to 75 cents per share for fiscal year 2009, which ends next April.

Medtronic said it has tripled its dividend in six years.

The dividend is payable July 25 to shareholders of record on July 3.

The company said it is able to boost the dividend because of strong cash flow, which it also has used to make share repurchases.

The Minneapolis-based company’s spinal and biologics business is based in Memphis.

Memphis Receives Grant For Hazardous Waste Facility

Gov. Phil Bredesen and Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke have announced a $340,000 grant for the operation and maintenance of Memphis’ new permanent household hazardous waste facility over the next four years.

The Tennessee General Assembly provides for household hazardous waste assistance through the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991. Grants are supported from the Tennessee Solid Waste Management Fund administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation.

The fund receives its revenues from a tipping fee surcharge on each ton of solid waste disposed in Class I landfills and from a pre-disposal fee on new tires sold in the state.

The city of Memphis became eligible for a household hazardous waste operation and maintenance grant in May. The cities of Chattanooga, Knoxville and Metro Nashville received similar grants in October.

The average home in Tennessee produces 20 pounds of household hazardous waste each year. Examples of items that are accepted at household hazardous waste collection sites include cleaning fluids, batteries, mercury thermometers, swimming pool chemicals and unwanted pesticides.

Finard Properties Awards $25K to MCS

Burlington, Mass.-based Finard Properties LLC, the owner and manager of Poplar Plaza Shopping Center, has honored several Memphis City Schools students with the Scholarship of Excellence.

The Scholarship of Excellence is a $5,000 scholarship that goes toward the student’s first year of higher education.

The scholarships are awarded annually to five high school seniors. The criteria for the scholarships are based on academic excellence, exhibition of leadership potential and community or volunteer service.

Livable Communities Summit To be Held Saturday

Community organizers will gather Saturday for the second Coalition for Livable Communities summit that will be comprised of lectures and workshops about how neighborhoods are affected by development trends in Memphis.

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. will give the keynote address at the event, which is being called “Creating Livable Communities: A Summit for Neighborhood Leaders.”

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Urban Child Institute, 600 Jefferson Ave. The summit is free and open to the public, but registration is required by contacting the coalition at 725-8361.

Saturday’s event will be put on by the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis, along with the Memphis branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the University of Memphis Center for Community Building and Neighborhood Action, and the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis.

Jobless Claims Hold Steady

New filings for unemployment benefits held steady last week but were still at a high level, pointing to a cooler jobs market.

The Labor Department, in a new report Thursday, said new applications for unemployment insurance stayed at 384,000 for the week ending June 21, marking no change from the previous week. The figure was higher than the 375,000 claims level economists were forecasting.

The four-week moving average of claims, which smoothes out week-to-week fluctuations, rose by 2,250 last week to 378,250.

PROPERTY SALES 97 418 8,253
MORTGAGES 112 508 9,293
BUILDING PERMITS 194 1,059 18,126
BANKRUPTCIES 46 208 5,367