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VOL. 123 | NO. 213 | Thursday, October 30, 2008

Daily Digest

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New Orleans-Style Center Comes to Cordova

A $1.6 million retail center with a French Quarter motif is being built in Cordova. The Commons at Dexter Lake LLC has filed a $1.2 million construction loan to build a 10,400-square-foot retail center, dubbed Vieux Carré, at the southwest corner of Germantown Parkway and Dexter Road. Construction started this week.

The development team bought the land from John B. Maxwell Jr., trustee, for $334,541 and filed the construction loan through First Citizens National Bank. Commons at Dexter Lake LLC principal Nancy Waddell signed the trust deed.

The center will sit on a 9-acre parcel west of the Jason’s Deli off Dexter Road. The property is near the Commons at Dexter Lake retail center and the Reserve at Dexter Lake apartments.

A spokesman for the developer said the seven-bay center already has five leases signed. Tenants include a Belle Meade salon, financial planner Martin Hearn, a Crown Trophy store and a florist/gift shop.

Jeff Blackledge is architect for Vieux Carré. KT Construction LLC, whose partners are Scott Turnage and Riley Kail, will be the general contractor. Turnage said the company is “stripping the lot off right now and pushing hard for the first of the year” to complete the center.

“We’re going to go for kind of a hybrid French Quarter style – we’re going to be doing more of a Bourbon Street look,” Turnage said. “It’s going to be a strip center, but we’re going to try to give each space individuality, using depth and height offsets to try to give each space somewhat of a unique appearance.”

More retail space will be coming to the site soon.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Jobless Rate Spikes In Memphis Area

The unemployment rate in the Memphis metropolitan statistical area for the past two months is up significantly from the same period a year ago, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The September unemployment rate was 7.3 percent compared to 5.2 percent during September 2007. The August unemployment rate was 7.1 percent compared to 5.1 percent for the same month in 2007.

Overall, unemployment rates for September increased in 349 of 369 metropolitan areas. El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz, had the highest unemployment rates of 24.5 percent and 20.5 percent, respectively. The lowest unemployment rate of 2.5 percent occurred in Bismarck, N.D., Casper, Wyo., Logan, Utah-Idaho and Sioux Falls, S.D.

Metropolitan areas near Memphis also experienced increases in unemployment.

The rate in St. Louis was 6.8 percent in September compared to 5.4 percent the same period a year ago. However, the rate was down from the 7.3 percent reported in August 2008.

In the Nashville area, the September rate of 6.1 percent was up from 4 percent a year ago. It was also an increase over the 5.7 percent rate for August.

Buckeye Technologies Q1 Profit Falls 34%

Memphis-based Buckeye Technologies Inc. has reported that its fiscal first-quarter profit fell 34 percent as input costs surged.

The supplier of chemical cellulose earned $8.9 million, or 23 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. That compares to profit of $13.5 million, or 34 cents per share, a year ago.

Buckeye’s per-share profit a year ago included a 6-cent per share benefit from a tax rate paid in Germany.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $221.3 million in the quarter. However, the cost of goods sold increased 19 percent to $186 million, and its margins declined to 16 percent of sales from 20.6 percent.

Sept. Durable Goods Rise By Largest Since June

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods posted an unexpectedly strong showing in September – the largest gain in three months – on a surge in demand for airplanes and autos, government data showed Wednesday.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that orders for durable goods rose by 0.8 percent, surprising economists who had expected a decline. Orders had fallen by 5.5 percent in August, which was the biggest setback in nearly two years.

The September increase was the largest gain since a 1.4 percent rise in June, but all the strength came in the transportation sector. Demand for commercial aircraft, an extremely volatile category, shot up by 29.7 percent and orders for motor vehicles rose by 3 percent, the biggest gain in more than a year.

The big increase in orders for motor vehicles probably reflected the use of incentive packages by automakers trying to spur lagging demand during a generally dismal sales year. Orders for motor vehicles and parts had fallen by a sharp 8.8 percent in August. Demand is expected to remain weak.

Outside of transportation, orders fell by 1.1 percent following an even bigger 4.1 percent drop in August. The back-to-back declines in these areas indicated the pressures facing manufacturing now as the U.S. economy appears to be falling into a recession.

The 0.8 percent overall increase last month left orders for durable goods, products expected to last at least three years, totaling $207.8 billion.

Outside of transportation, the weakness reflected declines in such areas as primary metals such as steel, where demand fell by 4.5 percent, and computers, where demand was down 1.4 percent.

Orders for non-defense capital goods, considered a good barometer of business investment plans, fell by 1.4 percent in September, the second monthly decline.

Foreclosure Help Agency Faces Lawsuit

A Memphis-based company that offers protection against foreclosure is being sued by the state attorney general’s office and a Memphis legal group.

The suits filed Tuesday against Tennessee Home Protection Agency Inc. allege the company used unfair and deceptive acts in offering and charging for foreclosure rescue plans to consumers.

The suit filed by Attorney General Robert Cooper states that since June 2007, Mark Jones, executive director of the firm, and Ted Houston, program director, and the nonprofit firm collected more than $100,000 from more than 100 people for services they said would help them avoid having homes foreclosed.

Memphis Area Legal Services filed suits for seven people, charging the firm collected fees from the clients but did not provide the promised foreclosure prevention services.

Brett Schubert, lawyer for the firm, said the agency had helped about 200 people save their homes or modify terms of their loans to prevent foreclosure.

MORTGAGES 54 374 1,120
BUILDING PERMITS 177 767 2,425