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VOL. 123 | NO. 227 | Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Daily Digest

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Cypress Realty Buys Red Robin Ground Lease

Memphis-based Cypress Realty Holdings Co. has paid $1.4 million for the ground lease of the Red Robin restaurant at 1231 N. Germantown Parkway in Cordova. The building sits on a 1.68-acre outparcel of the former Kmart at 1245 N. Germantown Parkway. That center was redeveloped into an America’s Incredible Pizza Co. and other stores by NPK Cordova LLC, which sold the ground lease to Cypress Realty Holdings.

Operating in the deal as Cypress Realty Holdings Co. II LLC, the company filed a $675,000 loan through Financial Federal Savings Bank for the purchase. The transaction included an assignment of memorandum of ground lease and a quitclaim – or transfer – deed to the new owner. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2008 appraisal is $1.8 million.

Cypress Realty Holdings has developed nearby retail centers, including the Parkway Collection across the street, which has a Chili’s as an outparcel, and another center that includes a Danver’s outparcel.

Cypress Realty Holdings Co. II LLC principal Joe Jarratt said the purchase was a good addition to the company’s portfolio, and it won’t result in any changes to the restaurant or the land.

“We just bought the ground lease,” Jarratt said. “It’s a long-term ground lease with Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, a publicly listed company. We just plan on holding that.”

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

CCDC to Discuss Loan Extension

The Center City Development Corp. board of directors today will discuss a variety of items including a monthly financial report, loan closing analysis and various topics related to development loans the group routinely makes available.

On tap for today’s meeting is a development loan financial analysis as well as a discussion of a development loan extension request related to a project at 115 Union Ave. and a development loan request for a project at 267 Greenlaw Ave. CCC President Jeff Sanford also will make a general report to the board.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the Center City Commission, 114 N. Main St.

First Horizon Receives Government Investment

First Horizon National Corp. officials said late Monday the Memphis-based bank received $866 million as part of the government’s $700 billion bank rescue package.

The government investment, administered by the U.S. Treasury Department, is part of a broader program to invest in banks amid the ongoing credit crisis in an effort to stabilize the financial services sector and spur lending between banks and to consumers and other businesses.

Many banks have been hit hard over the past year and a half by a sharp rise in mortgage defaults and a freezing of credit markets. As some financial firms collapsed in recent months, banks shied away from lending to each other and to customers for fear that losses would mount.

The program calls for the U.S. Treasury Department to receive preferred stock and warrants to purchase common stock in return for the investment.

First Horizon said it will use the money to increase lending and invest in its regional banking and capital markets businesses.

TDOT Launches SmartWay in Memphis

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has launched SmartWay, a new intelligent transportation system for the Memphis area.

From a transportation management center, the SmartWay system monitors 85 miles of interstate with 115 traffic cameras, 42 message signs and more than 350 speed and congestion monitoring stations to spot traffic flow interruptions.

Television stations will have access to live feeds from the SmartWay cameras and anyone may access the traffic cameras by visiting the TDOT SmartWay Web site at www.tdot.state.tn.us/tdotsmartway/. A highway advisory radio station broadcasts on AM 1660.

Rhodes College Among Top Study Abroad Programs

Rhodes College is among the nation’s top undergraduate institutions for study abroad, according to the Open Doors 2008 report released this week by the Institute of International Education.

Rhodes ranked in three categories: 12th for percentage of undergraduate participation, 20th for sending students abroad for a short-term duration and 40th for total numbers of study abroad students.

The report analyzes data from the 2006-2007 academic year collected in the 2007-2008 academic year and is the most recent data available. Findings can be accessed at www.opendoors.iienetwork.org.

October Wholesale Prices Plunge Record 2.8 Percent

Wholesale prices plunged a record amount in October as energy prices fell by the largest amount in 22 years.

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that wholesale prices dropped by 2.8 percent in October, the biggest one-month decline on records that go back more than 60 years. The previous record holder was a 1.6 percent fall in October 2001, the month after the terrorist attacks.

The overall decline in the department’s Producer Price Index was bigger than the 1.8 percent drop analysts had expected. However, core inflation, which excludes energy and food, was not as well-behaved, rising by a bigger-than-expected 0.4 percent.

The 0.4 percent rise in core inflation did not alter the view that plunging energy prices and a sharply slowing economy were combining to slash inflation pressures.

Analysts said much of the jump in core prices reflected the lingering impact of the huge rise in energy costs earlier in the year and should retreat in coming months as those costs continue to fall.

Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, predicted that core wholesale prices would retreat significantly in coming months.

The 2.8 percent overall decrease marked the third straight month that wholesale prices have fallen.

The PPI report showed that energy prices dropped by 12.8 percent in October, the biggest one-month fall since a 14 percent decline in July 1986.

All types of energy showed big declines with gasoline falling by a record 24.9 percent, surpassing the old mark of a 22.1 percent drop in March 1986.

Home heating oil prices were down 9.6 percent, natural gas intended for home uses fell by 5.9 percent, and liquefied petroleum gas dropped by 27.6 percent, the biggest decline in more than three decades.

Food costs edged down 0.2 percent last month, as declines in the price of milk and meats offset a big jump in vegetable prices.

Excluding food and energy, the 0.4 percent increase in core prices reflected higher costs for light trucks, the category that includes sport utility vehicles. The price of tires, civilian aircraft and malt beverages also were higher, although the cost of passenger cars fell by 1.7 percent.

U of M Law Grads Pass Bar at High Rate

University of Memphis law graduates continue to pass the bar exam at a high rate, according to statistics reported by the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.

Graduates of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law who were first-time takers of the exam last summer scored a 94.1 percent passage rate.

From the University of Memphis, 102 graduates took the exam and 96 passed. Statewide, 651 law school graduates took the test and 557 passed.

The average first-time passage rate statewide was 85.6 percent.

The exam was given in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville on July 30 and July 31.

Lottery Chief Frets Over Powerball

Tennessee officials are hedging their bets on Powerball to lift the lottery out of a slight sales slump that could hurt revenue projections for education.

Lottery CEO Rebecca Paul Hargrove said lottery sales have been running about $400,000 less per week than last year since the fiscal year began July 1.

She blames Powerball. The jackpot topped $300 million at one point last year but hasn’t reached that level yet this year. Bigger jackpots increase sales.

The Knoxville News Sentinel has reported the lottery chief told Gov. Phil Bredesen in budget sessions Monday in Nashville that the lottery is now projecting about $288.6 million in revenues for education this fiscal year.

That’s about $2.5 million more than last year, but about $3.5 million less than earlier estimates.

Minority Business Council To Present Awards

The Mid-South Minority Business Council will host its 23rd Robert R. Church Awards Luncheon and annual meeting from noon to 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis at 3700 Central Ave.

The organization will name its Minority Business of the Year, Advocate of the Year and Corporation of the Year. It also will present a Creative Visionary Supplier of the Year Award.

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396