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VOL. 124 | NO. 148 | Thursday, July 30, 2009

Daily Digest

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$8M Loan Filed For Alzheimer’s Facility

The developer of an Alzheimer’s facility called the Gardens of Germantown has filed an $8 million construction loan through Deutsche Bank Berkshire Mortgage Inc.

Alexander Enterprises, operating in the transaction as Gardens of Germantown LLC, filed the loan July 16. The company will bring a 48-unit, 62-bed facility to 3179 Professional Plaza, which runs between Poplar Avenue and Poplar Pike near the Germantown/Collierville border.

The 30,500-square-foot, single-story facility will sit on roughly half of a 4.36 acre-parcel backing up to the Village Shops of Forest Hill retail center. The property has been subdivided into two lots, with the Gardens of Germantown slated for the northwest corner of the property.

O.T. Marshall Architects is the architect and Patton and Taylor Enterprises is the contractor, according to the building permit filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement last fall. The start of construction was delayed because of a fiber-optic cable that had to be moved.

The facility will be managed by Beacon Communities Inc. of Cumming, Ga.

Alexander Enterprises principal Michael Alexander was unavailable for comment by press time, but last fall he told The Daily News this location was perfect because of its proximity to two eastern Shelby County hospitals.

“It’s about a mile and a half west of Collierville Baptist and a mile and a half east of Germantown Methodist,” Alexander said in October. “It’s a great spot.”

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Hollywood Tunica Revenues Increase in Second Quarter

Hollywood Casino Tunica had revenues of $23.7 million for the second quarter, compared to $22.1 million for the same period a year ago – a 7.2 percent increase in revenue.

The casino’s parent company, Penn National Gaming, released the earnings Wednesday when it issued its quarterly report. Companywide, it had earnings of $580.8 million compared to $620.6 million for the same period a year ago.

At a time when other casinos are looking to cut costs because of heavy debt burdens, Penn National is looking to build casinos in Maryland, Ohio and Kansas. Peter Carlino, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania-based company, provided an overview of the company’s development plans with the earnings report. Some of the projects depend on law changes, elections or being selected by a state for a limited number of casino licenses.

Worst of Recession is Over, Norfolk Southern Says

The last of the major U.S. railroads to report second-quarter earnings agrees with the others: It appears the worst of the recession is over.

But Norfolk Southern Corp. warned Wednesday of an “unstable and uncertain” finish to 2009.

Executive Vice President Donald W. Seale said in a conference call with analysts “it does appear we have experienced a bottom in the economy.”

He echoed similar comments from rival CSX Corp. earlier this month, as well as larger Western railroads Union Pacific Corp. and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.

CEO Wick Moorman added that Norfolk Southern has seen some pickup in business over the past few weeks.

“While I think it’s too early to tell if these are genuine green shoots or not, we’re at least encouraged we’re not seeing a large part of the lawn continue to die off,” he said.

Executives of the Norfolk, Va.-based railroad said they still expect shipping demand to slip through the end of the year compared to the same period in 2008.

Norfolk Southern said late Tuesday its second-quarter earnings sank 45 percent, as widespread cost cuts could not balance a steep downturn in shipping demand.

Moorman said Norfolk Southern “is looking everywhere to try and reduce costs.” He didn’t rule out stashing more trains and locomotives or cutting more employees should business remain sluggish.

The company said total traffic on its lines fell by 26 percent in the April-to-June period. The railroad slashed costs by 29 percent – furloughing workers and storing cars and locomotives because of slower demand.

Norfolk Southern operates a 50-acre intermodal facility called Forrest Yard near the Mid-South Fairgrounds. The railroad performs roughly 123,000 intermodal lifts a year and handles about 20 to 25 trains daily.

Those numbers will increase significantly when the company opens its $129 million Memphis Regional Intermodal Terminal in Rossville, in neighboring Fayette County. That facility, slated to open in 2012, will sit on 570 acres, allowing the railroad to quadruple its local lift capacity from 123,000 lifts to 535,000 lifts by 2022.

Verso Paper Launches New Printing Papers

Verso Paper Corp. has launched a new line of lightweight, uncoated Web printing papers: Versobook, Versotext and Versoblend.

The new line of papers represents an expansion of Verso’s product line and allows the company to offer paper that meets the needs of financial, educational, reference, magazine, catalog and other types of publications.  

The new line is designed for use in coldset and hotset printing applications and is available in a range of brightness levels.

The new line will be produced at Verso’s mill in Bucksport, Maine.

Based in Memphis, Verso Paper Corp. is a producer of coated papers, including coated groundwood and coated freesheet, and supercalendered and specialty products.

Appeals Court Denies Challenge to Tennessee Plan

A federal appellate court has denied an appeal challenging the constitutionality of the way Tennessee Supreme Court justices are appointed.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday that affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Drew Johnson, president of the conservative Tennessee Center for Policy Research, and former Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Jay Hooker.

They argued that a process approved in 1994 prevented them from voting in a popular election for candidates for the Supreme Court.

Under the plan, a Judicial Selection Commission presents a panel of three candidates from which the governor chooses a justice. Every eight years, voters decide whether to retain the sitting justices.

West Clinic Opens New Clinic, Adds Doctor

The West Clinic will open a new satellite office Aug. 13 in Somerville that will be staffed by Dr. Johnetta Blakely and Dr. Michael Martin, who are medical oncologists.

The new clinic at 201 Lakeview Road will offer patients in Fayette County and surrounding areas cancer care in their home community. It will provide laboratory services and chemotherapy.

Blakely joined the West Clinic in July 2004. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and completed her fellowship in medical oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where she spent three years training.

Martin, a native Memphian, is a new member of the West Clinic team. He received his medical degree from UTHSC and then completed internship and residency programs at Duke University Medical Center and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Martin will also see patients at the Midtown clinic.

Durable Goods Orders Drop 2.5 Percent in June

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket durable goods plunged in June by the largest amount in five months, reflecting the continuing troubles in the auto industry and a steep drop in demand for commercial aircraft.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday that orders for durable goods fell 2.5 percent last month, much larger than the 0.6 percent decline that economists had expected. It was the biggest setback since a 7.8 percent fall in January.

Much of the weakness reflected a 38.5 percent decline in orders for commercial aircraft, an industry that has been hurt by the global recession, which has crimped air travel and triggered some airlines to cancel existing orders for planes.

Orders for motor vehicles and parts fell by 1 percent in June after an even larger 8.7 percent drop in May. The weakness reflected the disruptions caused by the bankruptcy filings of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which shut their plants for most of June, plus the need for the entire industry to work down a backlog of unsold cars.

Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders for durable goods were actually up by 1.1 percent in June, a better performance than the flat reading economists had expected.

Private economists said the big drop in the overall number overstated the weakness in the orders report and that the 1.1 percent rise, excluding transportation, was a far better measure of where manufacturing is heading at the moment.

It was the biggest increase outside of transportation since February.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 151 1,493
MORTGAGES 45 105 1,152
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 14 204
BUILDING PERMITS 0 209 3,265
BANKRUPTCIES 0 84 837
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 23 352
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0