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VOL. 123 | NO. 49 | Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Daily Digest

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Riverdale Shopping Center Sells for $1.8 Million

     A 14,400-square-foot shopping center at 3695-3723 Riverdale Road in Germantown has sold for $1.8 million to a Florida limited liability company.
     Germantown Plaza LLC, which lists an address in Oldsmar, Fla., bought the property from Memphis-based Germantown Plaza GP.
     Built in 1984, the neighborhood shopping center sits on 1.6 acres on the west side of Riverdale Road south of Winchester Road. The Shelby County Assessor's 2007 appraisal was $929,500.
     In conjunction with the purchase, Germantown Plaza LLC on March 4 assumed a $1.26 million loan owned by Wells Fargo Bank NA as trustee. Germantown Plaza GP originally received the $1.35 million loan through Column Financial Inc. in June 2003.
     Representatives for the buying and selling entities could not be reached by press time.

8 South Main Project Goes Before CCRFC

     The Center City Revenue Finance Corp. at today's meeting will consider a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) request for the 8 S. Main St. project.
     Eight S Main LLC plans to develop the four-story building into three rental apartments and 1,800 square feet of commercial space.
     The committee also will consider a PILOT request for Finard Court Square LLC in connection with the 31,000-square-foot Welcome Wagon/Snyder Building at 30 N. Second St. Finard plans to develop the property for mixed- commercial use.
     The meeting begins at 9 a.m. today at the CCC, 114 N. Main St.

Residential Lending Dips Again in February

     The housing industry's downward spiral continued in February as the number of mortgages, average mortgage amount and total dollar amount all suffered dropoffs, according to the latest Residential Lender Analysis by real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
     Mortgage filings in Shelby County totaled 784 in the month, down 3.8 percent from the 815 filed in February 2007 and also down 20.6 percent from the 987 filed in January 2008.
     The average mortgage amount for the month was $139,976, down 11.2 percent from February 2007's average of $157,682 and 2.4 percent from January 2008's average of $143,475.
     The total amount for mortgages during the month was $109.7 million, a 14.6 percent decline from $128.5 million in February 2007 and a 22.5 percent decline from the $141.6 million in January 2008.
     The top lender for the month in terms of number of mortgages was Bank of America NA with 50. It was followed by First Tennessee Bank NA with 48, Wells Fargo Ltd. with 46 and SunTrust Mortgage Inc. with 42.
     The embattled Countrywide Home Loans ranked fifth locally during the month with 33 mortgages. Countrywide is being investigated by the FBI for securities fraud, according to an Associated Press report. (See related story on Page 1).
     First Tennessee led the way in total dollar amount with $8.2 million in mortgages, followed by Wells Fargo ($7.7 million), SunTrust ($6.8 million), Countrywide ($6.2 million) and Bank of America ($5.7 million).
     Commercial Bank and Trust registered the highest average mortgage amount at $577,244, although that was based on just one loan made during the month.

May Resigns As President of FedEx Kinko's

     Ken May has resigned as president and chief executive of FedEx Kinko's.
     May's resignation is effective March 31. He has served in the position since January 2006.
     In a letter to FedEx officials, May said it was time to "resign and refocus my energy on my family, friends and other personal interests."
     The package delivery company said Brian Philips, chief operating officer of FedEx Kinko's, will become acting CEO.

Dotson Makes First Court Appearance

     Jessie L. Dotson made a brief court appearance Monday, his first since being charged with six counts of first degree murder and three counts of attempted first degree murder.
     He was denied bond. A public defender is expected to be appointed to represent him.
     Dotson was charged Saturday in the deaths of his brother, Cecil Dewayne Dotson, three other adults and two children at Cecil Dotson's home at 722 Lester St.
     It is one of the worst mass murders in modern Memphis history. Police allege Dotson killed the six people and tried to kill three other children in the house on March 2 after an ongoing argument with his brother escalated to violence. Police discovered the bodies and the wounded children the next evening when relatives said they were getting no answer to phone calls and knocks on the door.
     The children who survived continue to recover at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center. One of the children identified Jessie Dotson as their attacker, according to police investigators.

Retailer Breakfast Planned for Wednesday

     Retail employers in Memphis are the intended audience of a free breakfast presentation Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Memphis Hilton at 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. The event will be attended by representatives of the Memphis Regional Chamber, the National Retail Federation Foundation and Seedco, a workforce and economic development nonprofit group.
     The presentation will focus on how to recruit retail talent in Memphis and include information about recruitment and hiring strategies, customer service and sales training. Attendees also will have the opportunity to participate in one-on-one discussions with representatives.
     For more information, call Beverly Davis with the chamber at 543-3547.

BlueCross BlueShield Postpones Online Report

     BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has indefinitely postponed an online report about health care providers and costs after doctors said the insurer uses misleading and, in some cases, inaccurate information.
     Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield agreed to delay the planned April online publication.
     Executives of the state's largest health insurer indefinitely postponed a deadline for doctors to correct their online profiles, some of which physicians say are rife with inaccuracies.
     The insurer's chief medical officer, Dr. David Maroney, said the delay is aimed at fixing the mistakes.

Race Relations Panel To be Held Today

     The second New Path/Memphis Urban League 2008 "Race Relations in Memphis" panel series takes place today from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave.
     Featured panelists include Chris Peck, editor at the Commercial Appeal; Karanja Ajanaku, executive editor at the Tri-State Defender; and Leon Gray, former radio host. Mediaverse founder Richard Thompson will serve as moderator.
     The goal for the forum is to take a closer look at how local media outlets may play a direct role in determining race relations in the city and to analyze whether race factors into equal and fair media coverage, representation and the perpetuation of stereotypes for different citizens.

Legislation to Regulate For-Profit Schools Proposed

     Tennessee lawmakers are proposing legislation that would better regulate for-profit colleges and universities amid rising complaints from students.
     About 73,000 Tennesseans attend 168 for-profit schools on 335 campuses.
     Students say the schools are attractive because of their flexible schedules - such as offering night, weekend and online classes - and admission standards that aren't as strict as other institutions.
     But despite the convenience, complaints against for-profit schools have continued to rise. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has received 12 this year, putting it on pace to eclipse its record of 29 in 2003.
     The complaints range from half-truths about accreditation to surprise closings without notice.
     To address such concerns, a state legislative study committee recently produced proposals to more heavily regulate for-profit schools, including a requirement of regional accreditation.
     Many for-profit schools are nationally accredited, meaning their credits don't usually transfer to regionally accredited schools with tougher faculty requirements.
     Other proposed legislation would require schools to disclose more information to students, including upfront tuition costs, credit transferability and graduation rates.
PROPERTY SALES 51 333 19,446
MORTGAGES 68 383 22,433
BUILDING PERMITS 138 688 40,004
BANKRUPTCIES 34 238 12,486