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VOL. 124 | NO. 185 | Monday, September 21, 2009

Daily Digest

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Office Depot Slated For Centennial Commons

Michael Lightman Realty Co. has filed an $800,000 permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to build an Office Depot store at 7726 Polo Grounds Blvd. in the Centennial Commons retail center.

The development, at Winchester Road and Tenn. 385, features stores such as JCPenney, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores and Dollar Tree Stores Inc. Outparcels include Arby’s and Red Lobster restaurants.

Linkous Construction Co. Inc. is the contractor for the office store, which will be 16,000 square feet, slightly smaller than the company’s typical 20,000- to 25,000-square-foot stores.

Michael Lightman Realty principal Michael Lightman Sr. was unavailable for comment by press time.

Centennial Commons is near the multiphase Centennial Gardens apartment complex, both of which are part of Lightman’s overall commercial development in the area, a 300-acre project called Centennial Park.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

36,000 Tennesseans File For Special Tax Credit

The Internal Revenue Service reported about 36,000 Tennesseans have filed claims for a first-time homebuyer credit.

The 35,892 claims in the state ranks as 13th highest in the country, according to the IRS.

Home buyers must complete their first-time home purchases before Dec. 1 to qualify for the special credit.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 extended the tax credit, which so far has provided a tax benefit to more than 1.4 million taxpayers nationwide.

The credit of up to $8,000 is generally available to those with qualifying income levels who have never owned a home or have not owned one in the past three years.

The credit cannot be claimed until after the purchase is completed.

FDIC Chief Considers Tapping Treasury for Funds

The chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said she is “considering all options, including borrowing from Treasury,” to replenish the dwindling fund that insures bank deposits.

“I never say never,” FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair told an audience at Georgetown University Friday.

Bair’s remarks go beyond what she said just three weeks ago when asked about tapping the Treasury after the fund that insures regular deposit accounts up to $250,000 hit its lowest point since 1992, at the height of the savings-and-loan crisis. “Not at this point in time,” she said Aug. 27.

The FDIC estimates bank failures will cost the fund around $70 billion through 2013. Ninety-two banks have failed so far this year. Hundreds more are expected to fail in coming years largely because of souring loans for commercial real estate.

The FDIC’s fund has slipped to 0.22 percent of insured deposits, below a congressionally mandated minimum of 1.15 percent. The $10.4 billion in the fund at the end of June is down from $13 billion at the end of March, and $45.2 billion in the second quarter of 2008.

The FDIC board will meet at the end of the month and will likely put out several options, Bair said Friday, including tapping a Treasury credit line, assessing fees on banks in advance and increasing the fees that banks must pay.

American in Joint Bid To Help Japan Airlines

American Airlines Inc., British Airways Plc and Qantas Airways Ltd. have offered broad financial and business support to struggling alliance partner Japan Airlines Corp., including a possible investment of several hundred million dollars from American, a Japanese newspaper reported Friday.

The Nikkei business daily said the three airlines jointly offered to help the Japanese carrier obtain fresh capital, as well as assist in its restructuring by combining operation centers and providing consulting. The Nikkei didn’t reveal its sources.

JAL spokesman Taro Nanba said his company declined to comment.

The news comes as JAL mulls a tie-up with Delta Air Lines Inc., the world’s largest airline operator. A person briefed on talks between the two companies recently said Delta was considering a cash infusion of several hundred million dollars.

Delta is part of the SkyTeam alliance, which doesn’t have a Japanese partner.

Japan Airlines is currently part of the rival OneWorld alliance, which also includes American, British Airways and Qantas.

The Japanese carrier is Asia’s biggest airline group and is currently in the midst of a major restructuring. The company booked its biggest-ever quarterly net loss of $1 billion in the three months to June.

Delta has a hub at Memphis International Airport.

Fixed-Rate Loan Rates Fall to 5.38%, Bankrate Says

The average interest rate for 30-year mortgages fell last week to the lowest levels since May, edging down 0.02 points to 5.38 percent, Bankrate.com reported Friday.

The company’s national survey showed borrowers also paid an average 0.32 percent in discount and origination points. Tame inflation data reassured investors in government and mortgage-backed bonds, keeping mortgage rates low.

The average 15-year fixed-rate loan also retreated, dropping to 4.72 percent.

Adjustable-rate mortgages were mostly lower, with the average 1-year ARM inching downward to 5.26 percent and the 3-year ARM plunging to 4.87 percent.

But rates on large jumbo mortgage jumped to 6.6 percent from 6.4, back to levels last seen in early August, as lenders sought higher rates for loans that lack government backing.

Mortgage rates are much lower than one year ago. This time last year, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.16 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,219.75. With the average rate now 5.38 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,120.57, a savings of nearly $100 a month for a homeowner refinancing now.

Artists, Events Announced For Broad Avenue Art Walk

The Historic Broad Avenue Arts District has announced the lineup for this year’s Art Walk, which will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 2.

The event will take place in the area bounded by Sam Cooper Boulevard and Broad Avenue, between Hollywood and Collins streets.

Russian contemporary artist Yan Karpovich will have an opening for “Dark Days, White Nights” at T Clifton Art Gallery. It will be his first opening outside of Europe.

Annette Elizabeth Fournet, a photographer who lives part-time in Prague, will have “Lost Promises” at Guy Weaver’s studio.

Although the event will have an international flair, Memphis artists will be well represented. Jeanne Reynolds will exhibit at Splash Creative. Greely Myatt will have an exhibit at Hamlett Dobbin’s gallery.

Other artists taking part include Margaret Wilmot, Leigh Wilmot, Mid-South Cartoonists Association, Jerry Couillard, Dan Spector, David Nester, Paula Cravens, Teresa White, Dory Lerner, Tommi Sparenburg and Wendy Kusler.

Broadway Pizza and The Cove will offer food and drink specials. There also will be live entertainment. Sultana and Michaela Caitlin will perform at The Cove. Bluff City Backsliders will perform at Odessa.

ACEC of Tennessee Accepts Engineering Award Entries

The American Council of Engineering Cos. of Tennessee is accepting entries from all Tennessee engineering firms for its 21st annual Engineering Excellence Awards program.

The awards program includes 11 categories: Studies, Research and Consulting Engineering Services; Building/Technology Systems; Structural Systems; Survey & Mapping Technology; Environmental; Water and Wastewater; Water Resources; Transportation; Special Projects; Small Projects; and Energy Projects.

All project entries must be completed by Dec. 31.

The one-page entry form must be sent to ACEC of Tennessee by Nov. 6 to participate in the competition. For entry forms, go to www.acectn.org,  or contactJudy Logue at 615-242-2486 or jlogue@tnec.org.

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