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VOL. 124 | NO. 20 | Friday, January 30, 2009

Daily Digest

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Southridge Nursing Files $4 Million Loan

Southridge Nursing LLC has filed a $4 million loan through Financial Federal Savings Bank on 1.9 acres in Collierville’s Schilling Farms Planned Development. Southridge Nursing is the local limited liability company of Sikeston, Mo.-based Americare.

The company bought the land in 2005 for $500,000 from developer Schilling Farms LLC. James Reiker of Americare signed the trust deed.

Americare is opening an assisted living facility called Arbors at Schilling Gardens at 15 Schilling Bend Commons in Collierville, according to the company’s Web site.

Calls to Americare’s corporate office and the Schilling Gardens assisted living facility were not immediately returned.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

MSCAA Board Sets Meeting Date

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority has rescheduled its January board meeting for Feb. 9 at 8 a.m. in the Airport Authority boardroom inside the airport terminal building.

This week’s meeting was postponed because of inclement weather. MSCAA board meetings are open to the public.

Wachovia Securities Inks Wolf River Blvd. Lease

Cypress Realty Holdings Co., a private real estate investment trust managed by Price Ford and Joe Jarratt, has signed Wachovia Securities, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Co., to a 10-year lease for 7,550 square feet of office space in the Wolf River Medical Arts Facility, 7550 Wolf River Blvd.

Steven Levy of Levy Commercial Realty and Lee Diamond of CB Richard Ellis in Denver represented Wachovia Securities, which will move into the space May 1.

The 44,000-square-foot, two-story Class A medical office building was completed in 2008. About 12,000 square feet remain in the facility.

Ford and Jarratt are developing another medical office building next door to the Wolf River Medical Arts Facility. The proposed 32,000-square-foot facility has been approved by the city of Germantown.

New Home Sales Post 14.7% Drop in December

Sales of new homes plunged to the slowest pace on record last month as the hobbled homebuilding industry posted its worst annual sales results in more than two decades.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported Thursday that new home sales fell 14.7 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 331,000, from a downwardly revised November figure of 388,000.

“This is an awful report. ... Builders just can’t cut back fast enough, so prices remain under downward pressure,” Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research note.

December’s sales pace was the lowest on records dating back to 1963. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected sales would fall to a rate of 400,000 homes.

For 2008, builders sold 482,000 homes, the weakest results since 1982, when 412,000 homes were sold.

The median price of a new home sold in December was $206,500, a drop of 9.3 percent from a year ago. The median is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less.

Builders have been forced to slash production during a prolonged and severe slump in housing in which sales and prices have plummeted.

The inventory of unsold new homes stood at a seasonally adjusted 357,000 in December, down 10 percent from November. But at the current sales pace, it would take more than a year to exhaust the stock as houses are dumped onto a market already glutted by a tide of foreclosures.

“The inventory of unsold new homes is still too high,” wrote Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc. “Prices need to fall further to stimulate sufficient demand to begin to balance the market.”

Jobless Benefits Hit Record

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits has reached an all-time record, the government reported Thursday, and more layoffs are spreading throughout the economy.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of Americans continuing to claim unemployment insurance for the week ending Jan. 17 was a seasonally adjusted 4.78 million, the highest on records dating back to 1967. That’s an increase of 159,000 from the previous week and worse than economists’ expectations of 4.65 million.

As a proportion of the work force, the tally of unemployment benefit recipients is the highest since August 1983, a department analyst said.

The total released by the department doesn’t include about 1.7 million people receiving benefits under an extended unemployment compensation program authorized by Congress last summer. That means the total number of recipients is actually closer to 6.5 million people.

The tally of Americans filing new jobless benefit claims rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 588,000 last week, from a downwardly revised figure of 585,000 the previous week. That also was worse than analysts’ forecast of 575,000 new claims.

The number of initial claims is close to the 26-year high of 589,000 reached in late December, though the work force has grown by about half since then.

The record number of ongoing benefit claims is an indication that laid-off workers are having a difficult time finding new jobs, economists said.

“This highlights the key point that the trend in gross hirings has slowed as abruptly as the trend in gross firings ... has risen,” Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research note.

A year ago, continuing claims stood at about 2.7 million, less than half their current level when the extended unemployment program is included.

FEMA Awards $1.1M To Memphis Fire Services

The United States Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Administration has awarded a grant of more than $1.1 million to the city of Memphis Division of Fire Services for operations and safety under the 2008 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.

The program provides grants to fire departments so they can obtain equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public from fire and related hazards.

The program will award approximately $500 million in competitive grants to fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations throughout the country.

Durable Goods Orders Drop 2.6 Percent

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods fell for the fifth straight month in December, closing out a dismal year in which demand dropped by the largest amount since the recession year of 2001.

Given the severity of the current recession, manufacturers face bleak prospects this year as well.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported Thursday that new orders for durable goods dropped by 2.6 percent last month, an even bigger decline than the 2 percent decline that economists expected.

Orders fell 5.7 percent for the year, the second biggest drop on government records, exceeded only by a 10.7 percent plunge in 2001.

There were big drops in demand last month for commercial aircraft, primary metals, machinery and computers. Orders for defense aircraft and electrical appliances were among the few places showing increased demand.

UTHSC Professors Receive Technology Grants

The University of Tennessee Research Foundation has selected five research teams at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to receive technology development grants. The five awards total $75,000 and include $15,000 in matching funds from Nashville-based Cumberland Emerging Technologies for two of the proposals.

A grant related to preventing biofilms from forming on medical devices was awarded based on a proposal submitted by Julian Hurdle, Richard Lee and Yunzhi Yang.

A grant related to research on breast and lung cancer biomarkers was awarded based on a proposal submitted by Daniel Kestler and Alan Solomon.

A grant related to research on anti-melanoma agents was awarded for a proposal submitted by Wei Li, Shao Wang, Yan Lu, Jianjun Chen and Duane Miller.

A grant related to therapy for prostate cancer was awarded to a proposal submitted by Len Lothstein and Trevor Sweatman.

A grant related to research on tissue damage associated with heart attacks to a proposal submitted by Judith Soberman, Polly Hofmann and Guy Reed.

The MED Receives Grant For Neonatal Ventilator

The fundraising arm of the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, The MED Foundation, has granted $10,995 to the hospital for an MRI compatible neonatal ventilator.

The new equipment is used when magnetic resonance imaging services are needed for an ill or premature baby who needs a ventilator for breathing support.

Baptist Memorial Receives Quality Award

For the second consecutive year, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis has earned the HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award, putting it among the top 5 percent of hospitals in the nation for overall quality.

Baptist Memorial was the only hospital in West Tennessee to receive the award. The distinction is based on an independent study of the nation’s nearly 5,000 nonfederal hospitals released by HealthGrades, a national health care ratings company. HealthGrades analyzed almost 41 million Medicare hospitalization records from 2005 to 2007. No hospital can opt out of the rating process because the records come from the federal government.

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