GSL Files Permit For New Building

Grace St. Luke’s (GSL) Episcopal School has filed a $7.5 million permit application with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement to build a 42,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility at 250 Lemaster St., which is on the southeast corner of Lemaster and Linden Avenue on its Midtown campus.

The PreK-8 school, with an enrollment of 500 students, recently announced plans to construct the building. The school also plans a 2,600-square-foot expansion and renovation of an existing building on campus. The expansion of the preschool, called Miss Lee’s, should be completed by summer of 2009.

Construction on both buildings is slated to begin in January. The new building should take about a year and will open in 2010, said a spokesperson for the school. The new facility will include a gymnasium, library, full-service kitchen and dining hall, outdoor dining space, science lab, art and music classrooms and after-school space.

Funding for the expansion was part of a campaign called “Anchoring the Future,” which has raised $4.5 million to date.

“While Grace-St. Luke’s is immensely proud of its past 60 years here, our constant focus is on successfully preparing our students for the future,” GSL headmaster Tom Beazley said in a statement.

“We are committed to this beautiful Midtown neighborhood, and we are dedicated to providing an excellent educational experience for the 350-plus families we serve. This new building and our expansion will allow us to serve greater numbers of

students and fulfill our desire to give them the best possible educational foundation for the future, in the best facilities we can provide.”

Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC is the general contractor and Hnedak Bobo Group is the architect for the project.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Pending Home Sales Fall 4.6 Percent in September

Pending U.S. home sales fell more than expected in September, after posting a big jump in the previous month.

The National Association of Realtors reported Friday that its seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes fell 4.6 percent to a reading of 89.2. That’s down from an upwardly revised August reading of 93.5.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a September reading of 90.6.

The index was 1.6 percent above year-ago levels. It sunk to a record low of 83 in March, and stood at 87.8 in September 2007.

The reading should provide a preview of October’s existing home sales numbers when the Realtors group releases them on Nov. 24.

Home sales are considered pending when the seller has accepted an offer, but the deal has not yet closed. Typically there is a one- to two-month lag before a sale is completed.

The U.S. has been coping with the worst housing recession in decades, and many in the real estate and mortgage industries are poring through each month’s data for signs of a bottom.

An index reading of 100 is equal to the average level of sales activity in 2001, when the index started.

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun highlighted one positive sign: The pending sales index has been above year-ago levels for two straight months, though prices continue to sink.

Yun noted sales increases in California, Florida, Long Island, N.Y., Boston, Minneapolis, Denver and Washington, D.C. Much of that gain, however, likely comes from buyers who are snapping up foreclosed properties at discounted prices.

The Realtors group forecasts U.S. home prices will rise slightly next year to a median of $200,800 after two consecutive years of declines. It forecasts existing home sales will pick up next year to 5.3

million after sliding to a projected 5 million this year.

Verso Paper Reports $18.5M Net Income

Verso Paper Corp. has reported a net income of $18.5 million for the third quarter of 2008, compared to a net loss of $25.8 million the previous year.

Net sales were $485.4 million, an increase from $450.6 million during the third quarter of 2007.

Operating income for the third quarter was $46.2 million, compared to $10.5 million the previous year.

For the first nine months of 2008, Verso has reported a net loss of $29.3 million, which includes $43.3 million of charges related to the company’s initial public offering and the acquisition of its business from International Paper Co. in 2006. Verso had a net loss of $103.4 million for the same period in 2007.

Net sales, however, have increased 17.6 percent in the first nine months of this year compared to last year.

Verso Paper also has announced the appointment of Thomas Gutierrez to its board of directors. Gutierrez was most recently the chief executive officer and a director of Xerium Technologies Inc.

Newby’s, BMI Close to Settlement

Newby’s and Broadcast Music Inc. appear to have settled a copyright infringement lawsuit BMI filed last year against the popular college bar along the Highland Strip, according to newly filed court records.

The latest filings don’t go into much detail and Todd Adams, the owner of Newby’s, could not be reached for comment by press time.

BMI, a nonprofit group that licenses the music of songwriters and publishers, brought the suit against Adams because the Memphis bar owner was allowing copyrighted songs to be played at his business without owning a BMI license, according to the suit. As a term of the apparent settlement of the case, an order signed this month by U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla reads: “The defendants will pay a certain consideration over a period of time not to exceed July 1, 2013.”

Wholesale Inventories Drop Unexpectedly

Wholesale inventories held by distributors fell in September, the government reported Friday, as companies cut stockpiles in the face of the economic slowdown.

The Commerce Department reported inventories fell by 0.1 percent. Analysts had expected them to grow by 0.3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters. The department also revised August’s reading down to a 0.6 percent increase from 0.8 percent.

Wholesale sales also dropped in September, by 1.5 percent, the department reported, following a revised 1.6 decline the previous month.

The steep drop in sales caused the inventories-to-sales ratio to increase to 1.12 from 1.1, meaning that distributors have enough goods to last 1.12 months at the current sales levels.

The increased ratio also means that distributors are having difficulty cutting their stockpiles fast enough to match slowing sales. If inventories get too high, companies will cut back on the production of new goods.

Wholesale inventories are goods held by distributors who generally buy from manufacturers and sell to retailers. They make up about 25 percent of all business stockpiles.

Factories hold another third, and the Commerce Department said last week factory inventories dropped by 0.7 percent.

The rest is held by retailers.

Smith & Nephew Launches New Product

Smith & Nephew has launched the Acticoat Flex, a device designed for injuries at high risk of infection, such as awkward areas like the face and hands.

The device is an addition to the Acticoat line for wound management.

Joe Woody, president of Smith & Nephew Wound Management, said the new device was developed in response to listening to physicians.

Smith & Nephew specializes in orthopedic reconstruction, orthopedic trauma and clinical therapies, endoscopy and advanced wound management. The company’s orthopedic operations are based in Memphis.

Rhodes to Share Construction Expertise

David Rhodes, principal of TRO Jung/Brannen, will be in Washington this week to speak about “Designing the Large Hospital: The New 2,000 Bed Shenzhen Bin Hai Hospital” at Healthcare Design 08.

Another architect with the firm, Paul Fallon, will moderate a roundtable discussion on “Designing Inpatient Units for Mixed Acuity in Community and Critical Access Hospitals.”

Since 1993, Rhodes has lead his firm’s efforts in Asia on the design of more than 15 international hospitals in Shenzhen, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Tianjin, Chongqing, Chengdu and Shanghai, China.

Veterinarian Licensed To Use Cancer Vaccine

Kathy Mitchener of Angel Care Cancer Clinic for Animals in Bartlett has been authorized to use a therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of cancer in animals.

The vaccine has been conditionally licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to treat canine oral melanoma, a common yet deadly form of cancer in dogs. The only other facility in Tennessee approved to use the vaccine is the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Mitchener, past president of the Tennessee Association of Veterinary Medicine, is nationally renowned as a pioneer in the use of stem-cell therapies, acupuncture and veterinary oncology in both large and small animals.