Cypress Realty Buys G'town Office Building

     Memphis-based Cypress Realty Holdings Co. has bought an office building at 7628 W. Farmington Blvd., on the northwest corner of Farmington and Germantown Road in Germantown, for $634,615. Operating as Cypress Realty Holdings Co. II LLC, the company bought the building from Lyle E. and Mary C. Muller on May 1.
     The 6,206-square-foot building was completed in 2007 and houses a Fidelity Investments office. It sits west of the Walgreens at 7650 Farmington Blvd. and east of the Shops of Saddle Creek North.
     "It's an investment for us, it's something that we're looking at for a long-term hold and it's something that fits in well with some of the other properties that we have," said Cypress Realty Holdings principal Joe Jarratt. "It's a high-quality building and triple-A location."
     Fidelity is the only tenant in the building, which was a build-to-suit for that company. The Shelby County Assessor of Property's 2008 appraisal is $730,900. The building sits on .78 acres in the Walgreens at Saddle Creek PUD.

Highwoods Project on Hold Despite Filed Permits

     Three building permits totaling $30.1 million were filed by Highwoods Properties Inc. this week for an office building and two parking garages at Poplar Avenue and Shady Grove Road, according to The Daily News Online, But the project - to be called Triad Centre III - is still on hold, said Steve Guinn, division vice president for the Raleigh, N.C.-based company.
     "We're not doing anything on it yet," he said. "My contractor just did the permit to be ready in case we move forward."
     One permit for $15.1 million was for a new office building, while two for $7.5 million each were for new parking garages.
     The applications for permit, filed with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement by contractor Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC, were formalities that will pave the way for starting construction when the timing is right, which could be at least another month, Guinn said.

Downtown's Corkscrew Reopens on Front Street

     The Corkscrew liquor and wine retailer has reopened Downtown at 511 S. Front St. Tuesday was the first day back in business for the store, which closed in 2006.
     The entrance to the building was decorated with brightly colored ribbons Tuesday afternoon, while inside, merchandise was still being priced. The store's reopening was solidified at the beginning of the week with a vote by the Center City Development Corp. to subordinate the remaining $22,000 out of a $35,500 loan the board granted to The Corkscrew's owners in March 2000 to the Bank of Bartlett, which is extending the business a $250,000 loan.
     Developers Hank and Barbara Cowles sought the loan from Bank of Bartlett to renovate and make improvements to The Corkscrew's location, which they own.

GTx Appoints Robinson To Board of Directors

     Former state Commissioner of Health Dr. Kenneth S. Robinson has been appointed to the board of directors for Memphis-based GTx Inc.
     Robinson will serve as a member of the board's nominating and corporate governance committees.
     Robinson received a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He also received a master of divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School.
     From 2003 to 2007, Robinson served in the cabinet of Gov. Phil Bredesen as commissioner of health, overseeing 3,500 state employees and a $548 million budget.
     From 1982 to 1991, Robinson taught and practiced internal medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and from 1991 through 2003, he was an assistant dean at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine.
     Since 1991, he has served as pastor and chief executive of St. Andrew AME Church.

UTHSC Student Association Honored for Minority Work

     The Student National Medical Association at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center has received an honorable mention award as part of the American Psychiatric Foundation's 2008 Advancing Minority Mental Health Awards.
     The Student National Medical Association was selected for the honor because of its dedication to recruitment and retention of minority medical students, the development of culturally competent and clinically excellent physicians and the delivery of health care in underserved populations.
     The American Psychiatric Foundation Awards for Advancing Minority Mental Health honor psychiatrists and mental health programs that are undertaking special efforts to increase public awareness of mental health care, increasing access to mental health services, and enhancing the quality of care for underserved minorities, especially those who suffer from severe mental illness.

Memphis Music Foundation Adds Mann as Director

     Cameron Mann has joined the staff of the Memphis Music Foundation as director of Music Industry Programs.
     In his role, he will oversee the opening of the Memphis Music Resource Center and be the primary liaison to the Memphis and international music communities.
     Mann, a native Memphian, is half of the Memphis-based "aristocrunk" duo Lord T & Eloise. He also is known on the Memphis music scene as studio manager of Young Avenue Sound recording studios and Memphis Records. He is an executive committee member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and serves on the Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission and the Cooper-Young Business Association.

Baker Donelson Launches Minority Scholarship

     Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC is accepting applicants for a new scholarship program it has launched for minority law school students.
     The Baker Donelson Diversity Scholarship Program will award three scholarships a year to minority law school students who have completed their first year of law school.
     The firm also will award each scholarship recipient a salaried, second-year summer associate position in one of the firm's offices.
     After completion of the summer associate position, the firm will provide a $10,000 scholarship for the students' third year of law school.
     Applications for the Baker Donelson Diversity Scholarship Program are being accepted until June 2.

Pending Home Sales Drop to New Low

     An industry group said Wednesday that pending U.S. home sales dropped to a new low in March, signaling the housing slump has yet to bottom out even as the spring selling season gets under way.
     The National Association of Realtors' seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes fell to 83.0 from a downwardly revised February reading of 83.8, the index's previous low. The index stood at 103.9 in March 2007.
     A reading of 100 is equal to the average level of sales activity in 2001, when the index started.
     Falling home prices and a tight credit environment have pummeled the housing market and sent potential buyers to the sidelines to wait out the slump. So far, there's been no evidence that the traditionally strong spring selling season is jump-starting any sales activity.
     "The fact that the pending home sales index fell again in March reaffirms fears that the housing market correction still has room to run," a report from Moody's said.
     On Tuesday, Fannie Mae, the country's largest buyer of home loans, reported a $2.2 billion first quarter loss, and its CEO said home prices in the period fell "faster than anyone anticipated." The company forecast a nationwide drop in home prices in 2008 of 7 percent to 9 percent.
     Moody's also expects the weak numbers in March to lead to further softness in April and May since there's usually a one- to two-month lag between when a buyer signs a home sales contract and the closing of the deal.
     NAR takes on a more optimistic outlook and forecasts existing home sales activity and the economy to pick up in the second half of the year as larger home loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration become more widely available. The FHA recently raised the mortgage limits for loans it guarantees.
     NAR expects existing-home sales to edge up to an annual pace of 5.82 million in the fourth quarter from 4.95 million in the first quarter. For the year, the group estimates sales will total 5.39 million and then increase 6.1 percent in 2009 to 5.72 million.
     It also expects the median price to decline 2.4 percent in 2008 to $213,700 before gaining 4.1 percent to $222,6000 next year.