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VOL. 124 | NO. 128 | Thursday, July 2, 2009

Daily Digest

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Ark. Car Wash Co. Files Loan For New Arlington Location

An entity called Memphis Hwy. 64 Carwash Holding LLC has taken out a $1.7 million construction loan from Cross Country Bank for a new car wash at 9809 U.S. 64 in Arlington. The loan has a maturity date of June 26, 2012.

In May, the same company filed a $625,000 building permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to build a new car wash on the site. Memphis Hwy. 64 Carwash Holding LLC is listed as the owner of the property, while Boomerang Carwash is listed as the tenant.

The Arkansas Secretary of State’s Web site shows this entity is affiliated with a North Little Rock, Ark.-based company called Bentonville Walton Blvd. Carwash Holding LLC. The phone number given for the company is a Little Rock cell phone number, at which there was no answer when called.

James Burks signed the loan papers as an authorized representative of the company. The Arkansas Secretary of State shows Burks is the manager and incorporator of the company.

The Arlington property is a 6-acre lot on the south side of U.S. 64 east of North Houston Levee Road. It currently is zoned for residential single-family use. The Shelby County Assessor’s 2008 appraisal of the property and the building was $615,200.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Pending Home Sales Up Fourth Straight Month

U.S. pending home sales rose in May for the fourth straight month, spurred by low prices and a first-time homebuyers tax credit, fresh evidence that the housing sector may be recovering.

The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted index of pending sales increased by 0.1 percent in May to 90.7. Analysts expected no change, according to Thomson Reuters.

While the increase was small, it followed a 7.1 percent jump in the index in April.

“The pronounced increase in April and the fact that May sustained this rise does indicate that actual existing home sales are poised to rise in the coming month or two,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist for economic forecasting firm MFR Inc., in a note to clients.

The index, which tracks signed contracts to purchase previously occupied homes, is considered a barometer for future home sales. Typically there is a one- to two-month lag between a sales contract and a completed deal.

The index is now 6.7 percent higher than in May 2008, when it was 85. The last time it increased for four straight months was in October 2004, NAR said.

Low home prices and an $8,000 first-time homebuyers’ tax credit, included in the Obama administration’s stimulus package, are spurring greater interest among home buyers, the Realtors said.

On a regional basis, the pending home sales index rose 3.1 percent to 80.9 in the Northeast while also increasing 2.2 percent to 96.9 in the West. The index dropped 1.3 percent to 89.2 in the Midwest and fell 1.7 percent to 92.6 in the South.

HUD Awards $39M For Tenn. Affordable Housing

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development has awarded $39 million to jumpstart affordable housing programs in Tennessee through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 .

HUD’s Tax Credit Assistance Program will allow the Tennessee Housing Development Agency to resume funding of affordable rental housing projects across the state while stimulating employment in the construction trades.

HUD is awarding TCAP grants by formula to state housing credit agencies to complete construction of qualified housing projects that will provide affordable housing to an estimated 35,000 households nationwide.

Australian Co. Could Buy MGM Mirage Casinos

An article in The Australian this week quotes Merrill Lynch gaming analyst Daniel Renshaw as speculating that Crown, which has gambling operations in Australia, is a strong candidate to buy casinos that MGM Mirage is selling.

The company is considering offers on Gold Strike in Tunica, Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss., and Grand Detroit. MGM Mirage Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren, in an interview with Bloomberg news service in mid-June, said the company “within the next month” would decide whether to sell the casinos.

The company has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to assist with the possible sale of the casinos.

Lawsuit Seeks to Stop Guns in Bars Law

A lawsuit has been filed to stop a law that allows handguns to be carried in Tennessee bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Davidson County Chancery Court by a restaurant owner and nine restaurant workers.

It seeks a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction to stop the law from taking effect July 14.

Plaintiffs say the law is unconstitutional and an unlawful public nuisance that threatens the safety of the public.

Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen vetoed the measure in May, but the Tennessee General Assembly voted last month to override the veto.

Memphis Invest Adds Mokros to Staff

Memphis Invest LLC, a local real estate investment, acquisition and management firm, has hired Dawn Mokros as a sales and marketing coordinator.

Mokros, who has previous experience as a sales associate with Mednikow Jewelers and with the designer women’s clothing business CAbi, will coordinate marketing for the firm as well as handle sales and customer services needs.

Manufacturing Index Shrinks Less Than Expected

A report on manufacturing activity shows the sector contracted less than expected in June, posting its best showing since last August and another sign that a recovery may be near.

Manufacturing sectors overseas also are rebounding a bit, according to new reports.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said its manufacturing index registered 44.8 in June, up from 42.8 in May. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a reading of 44.5.

“A slow recovery for manufacturing is forming,” said Norbert Ore, chair of the ISM’s manufacturing business survey committee.

A reading below 50 indicates contraction. June’s reading marks the 17th straight month of deterioration in manufacturing.

Still, there is an encouraging pattern in recent ISM manufacturing reports. This is the second straight month that the index has been above 41.2 after seven consecutive declines. The ISM says a reading above that level is consistent with expansion in the overall economy – even though the manufacturing sector itself is still shrinking.

“This latest gain suggests the recession may finally have ended at the close of the second quarter, a mere 19 months after it started,” said Capital Economics’ analysts. “However, there is little evidence that this tepid recovery will turn into anything much stronger.”

Other countries’ manufacturing sectors also are recovering. Two reports from China, the world’s third-largest economy, showed small gains in surveys of manufacturers. Elsewhere, the purchasing managers index from the 16-nation euro zone showed a slower pace of decline in June, and the equivalent index in Britain hit a 15-month high of 47.

British manufacturing output rose for the first time since March 2008. Big Japanese manufacturers reported being slightly more optimistic about business conditions, but cut capital spending sharply.

While encouraging, the ISM survey hasn’t noted growth in manufacturing since January 2008. The manufacturing index includes new orders, production, employment, inventories, prices, and export and import orders. It is based on a survey of the Tempe, Ariz.-based ISM’s members from 18 industries.

Medical Journal Critical Of Bone Growth Products

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times on Wednesday published articles questioning the use of bone-growth products, such as Medtronic Inc.’s Infuse, after researchers said the products increased hospital charges.

The researchers’ findings are reported this week in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Infuse is a bone graft that consists of an engineered human bone protein and a sponge made from cow collagen. It releases protein, providing a framework for new bone to grow into.

Medtronic’s Spinal and Biologics Business is based in Memphis.

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