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VOL. 123 | NO. 191 | Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Daily Digest

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Countrywood Owner Continues TIC Activity

Four more tenant-in-common (TIC) partners have bought into the Countrywood Crossing shopping center in Cordova, bringing the total to 19.

Countrywood 1031 LLC, the entity that bought the 175,000-square-foot shopping center for $55.2 million earlier this year, has sold $39 million worth of TIC shares since the March acquisition.

Selling TIC ownership is standard practice in the real estate exchange business, in which investors shed fractional interest in a property to other investors. A spokesman for Inland Real

Estate Exchange compared it to selling shares of stock in a company.

Countrywood 1031 is the locally based limited liability affiliate of Inland Real Estate Exchange Corp., an entity of Oak Brook, Ill.-based real estate investment trust (REIT) Inland Real Estate Group of Companies Inc.

Countrywood Crossing, a multi-building retail center that sits on about 60 acres at the intersection of Germantown Parkway and Market Plaza Drive, includes such tenants as Gordmans department store, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Shoe Carnival, Ulta cosmetics store, Ross Dress for Less and Kirkland’s Home, a home accessory store.

In this latest round of TIC sales, Countrywood 1031 sold 1.9 percent of the shopping center to Countrywood-Rothe LLC for $1.2 million; 1.5 percent to Countrywood-Don Page LLC for $933,397; 0.9 percent to Countrywood-Pielstock–1 LLC for $529,104; and 0.9 percent to Countrywood-Pielstock–2 LLC for $529,104.

Countrywood Crossing was built and sold by Round Rock, Texas-based StoneCrest Investors LLC, whose owners, Brad Smith and Greg Herman, formerly worked in Memphis for Weston Cos.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Bredesen Appoints Lee To Tenn. Supreme Court

Tennessee Appeals Court Judge Sharon Gail Lee is the newest member of the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed Lee, of Madisonville, Tenn., on Monday to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice William M. Barker.

Lee, 54, has been an Appeals Court judge for the eastern section of the state since 2004. She was an attorney for 26 years before that.

Her appointment means there are three women now serving on the five-member body including Chief Justice Janice Holder of Memphis and Justice Cornelia Clark of Nashville.

It also signifies a court heavily influenced by Bredesen. He has appointed four of the five justices now serving on the state’s highest court.

Baptist Cancer Center Receives Excellence Award

The Baptist Centers for Cancer Care-Memphis, which houses Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis’ radiation therapy services, recently won Outpatient Care Technology magazine’s 2008 Outpatient Excellence Award for oncology centers.

The award recognizes oncology centers for their clinical, financial and operational accomplishments and achievements. The BCCC-Memphis was one of the first in the area to offer a number of procedures that deliver radiation to cancerous tumors while reducing the amount of radiation absorbed by surrounding healthy tissue.

Outpatient Care Technology also named the BCCC-Memphis one of five Centers to Watch.

BCCC-Memphis, at 55 Humphreys Blvd., offers a number of radiation treatment therapies as well as nutritional guidance, social workers, support groups and educational programs.

Citigroup to Acquire Wachovia Banking Operations

In the latest byproduct of the widening global financial crisis, Citigroup Inc. will acquire the banking operations of Wachovia Corp. in a deal facilitated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Citigroup will absorb up to $42 billion of losses from Wachovia’s $312 billion loan portfolio, with the FDIC covering any remaining losses, the government agency reported Monday. Citigroup also will issue $12 billion in preferred stock and warrants to the FDIC.

The deal greatly expands Citigroup’s retail outlets and secures its place among the U.S. banking industry’s Big Three, along with Bank of America Corp. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. But it comes at a cost – Citigroup reported Monday it will seek to sell $10 billion in common stock and slashed its quarterly dividend in half to 16 cents to shore up its capital position.

The agreement comes after a fevered weekend courtship in which Citigroup and Wells Fargo & Co. both reportedly were studying the books of Wachovia, which suffers from mounting losses linked to its ill-timed 2006 acquisition of mortgage lender Golden West Financial Corp.

Golden West offered very low introductory payments and let borrowers defer some interest payments until later years. Delinquencies and defaults on these types of mortgages have skyrocketed in recent months, causing big losses for the banks.

The FDIC asserted Monday that Wachovia did not fail, and that all depositors are protected and there will be no cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund.

Wachovia’s problems stem largely from its acquisition of mortgage lender Golden West Financial Corp. in 2006 for roughly $25 billion at the height of the nation’s housing boom. With that purchase, Wachovia inherited a deteriorating $122 billion portfolio of Pick-A-Payment loans, Golden West’s specialty, which let borrowers skip some payments.

This summer, Wachovia reported a $9.11 billion loss for the second quarter, announced plans to cut 11,350 jobs – mostly in its mortgage business – and slashed its dividend. Wachovia also boosted its provision for loan losses to $5.57 billion during the second quarter, up from $179 million in the year-ago period.

With the acquisition of Wachovia, Citigroup has reclaimed its title as the biggest U.S. bank by total assets. Including Wachovia, the bank now has assets of $2.91 trillion, as of June 30.

Consumer Spending Hits Six-Month Low

Consumer spending in August turned in the weakest performance in six months, underscoring the threat the economy faces as the government’s stimulus program fades into the past.

The Commerce Department reported Monday that consumer spending was unchanged in August, even worse than the 0.2 percent gain economists had expected. It was the weakest showing since spending also was flat in February.

Personal incomes were up a better-than-expected 0.5 percent, a rebound after a 0.6 percent drop in July. After-tax incomes, which felt the impact of the stimulus program to a greater extent, dropped by 0.9 percent, however.

“Consumers are still earning some money but they have no interest in spending it,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa.

The government pumped out the bulk of $92 billion in stimulus payments from late April through mid-July. Another $1 billion in payments were made in August but this was far below the monthly peak of $48.1 billion in payments made in May.

Analysts are concerned the economy could falter now that the government’s stimulus payments have ended. Democrats have pushed for a second stimulus program. The Bush administration, worried about the impact of the stimulus on the budget deficit, has resisted that effort.

The overall economy grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the April-June quarter, bolstered by the stimulus payments.

But economists noted that consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of total economic activity, has slowed markedly in the current July-September quarter. Some analysts believe consumer spending will decline for the entire quarter, the first time that has occurred since 1991.

The report on personal spending and incomes showed that a price gauge tied to consumer spending was unchanged in August while prices, excluding energy and food, rose by 0.2 percent. Excluding energy and food, core prices are up by 2.6 percent over the past year, the biggest increase since a similar 2.6 percent rise in the 12 months ending in January 1995.

Family Cancer Center Receives Accreditation

The Family Cancer Center, which operates 10 facilities in the Memphis area, has been awarded a three-year accreditation in computed tomography services by the American College of Radiology.

Accreditation ensures that the physician interpreting scans has met stringent education and training standards and that the imaging equipment is surveyed regularly by a medical physicist to make sure it is functioning properly and taking optimal images.

The accreditation also ensures the technologists operating the equipment are certified by the appropriate body.

The American College of Radiology awards accreditation to facilities for achievement of high practice standards after a peer-review evaluation of the practice. The evaluations are conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists.

PROPERTY SALES 51 333 19,446
MORTGAGES 68 383 22,433
BUILDING PERMITS 138 688 40,004
BANKRUPTCIES 34 238 12,486