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VOL. 124 | NO. 189 | Friday, September 25, 2009

Daily Digest

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Dollar General Coming to Raleigh

SW Properties LLC of Coldwater, Miss., has filed a $497,000 permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to build a Dollar General store at 3609 James Road in Raleigh. The store will be built on 1.43 acres on the south side of James Road, east of the intersection with North Highland Road.

SW Properties on Aug. 4 bought the acreage for $60,000 from Greater Imani Baptist Church Inc., which owns a 17.69-acre tract of land. SW Properties on the same day filed a $690,000 construction loan through Southern Bancorp Bank NA to build the store. The transaction also included an assignment of rents between the borrower and the lender.

SW Properties is related to Ware Properties LLC, which is the exclusive developer of Dollar General stores in West Tennessee and North Mississippi. Typically, Dollar General builds 9,000-square-foot stores that sit on slightly more than an acre of land.

Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General Corp. has 15 stores in Memphis, including a handful of new stores that have opened within the past year, and 425 in Tennessee. Dollar General is looking to add as many as 450 new stores in the coming year and also to renovate other locations as part of a corporate growth strategy.

Calls to SW Properties and Dollar General’s media relations office were not immediately returned.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Onyx Medical Corp. Granted Seven-Year PILOT

Onyx Medical Corp., a Memphis-based manufacturer of medical devices, has been approved for a seven-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) award from the city-county Industrial Development Board. The PILOT will save the company a little less than $850,000 in taxes.

The company is planning to make a $6.5 million capital investment as part of the development of a new manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters and will create at least 17 new jobs.

Also, companies SFI and Steel Warehouse, steel parts fabricating and manufacturing operations, were awarded a nine-year PILOT on personal and real property for their planned capital investment of $8 million into their facility with the creation of 250 jobs. That PILOT will save the companies a little more than $2.2 million in taxes.

US Home Sales Drop 2.7 Percent

Home sales dipped unexpectedly last month after a four-month streak of gains, providing evidence the housing market recovery remains fragile.

Sales dropped 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.1 million in August, from a pace of 5.24 million in July, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Compared to a year ago, however, home sales are up 3.4 percent.

The results surprised analysts, who had expected sales to rise to an annual pace of 5.35 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

“We suspect it is just a temporary blip in the improving trend rather than a sign of renewed weakness,” wrote Paul Dales, U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

In a positive sign, the inventory of unsold homes on the market fell to 3.6 million, from 4 million in July. That’s an 8.5-month supply at the current sales pace, the lowest level in more than two years.

Nevertheless, there is a key unknown on the horizon. A tax credit of up to $8,000 for new homeowners expires Nov. 30. Congress is facing intense pressure from real estate agents and homebuilders to extend it, but it’s unclear whether lawmakers want to spend more money to prop up the housing market.

First-time buyers have purchased almost one in three homes in August. Together with investors snapping up foreclosures, they have provided most of the momentum in the market this year.

Nationwide sales are up nearly 14 percent from their bottom in January, but are still down nearly 30 percent from their peak nearly four years ago. For the housing market to truly return to normal, said Lawrence Yun, the Realtors’ chief economist, sales would need to rise to a pace of around 5.5 million to 6 million per year.

Nationally, the median sales price was $177,700, down 12.5 percent from the same month last year. Prices were also down 2.1 percent from a month earlier.

Chamber: It’s OK To Not Shake Hands

The Greater Memphis Chamber launched a new “No Hand-Shaking” campaign Thursday in an effort to contain the spread of the H1N1 flu virus.

Chamber staff distributed “No Hand-Shaking” stickers during the Thursday morning breakfast forum. Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi are all areas where the presence of the virus is widespread, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pharmacy Firm Announces Expansion

Memphis-based Comprehensive Pharmacy Services has announced it is expanding its business by adding a remote entry services division.

CPS’ new division will offer remote prescription approval and order entry for the health care industry. It will be branded as RemoteSolutions.

CPS acquired RxKnights Inc. of Naperville, Ill., with the new initiative. The acquisition enables CPS to offer the service immediately to multiple states and provides a platform for rapid national expansion.

CPS already works with more than 250 client facilities in 44 states, and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Zoo Recreates Yellowstone In Newest Exhibit

The Memphis Zoo’s newest exhibit, Teton Trek, will open with a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 10.

The day will begin at 8 a.m. with a picnic for zoo members. The ribbon cutting and unveiling of the winning artwork, by local students, to be displayed throughout the exhibit will be held at 10 a.m.  

Teton Trek is a re-creation of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The exhibit will feature grizzly bears, elk, grey wolves, sandhill cranes and trumpeter swans as well as information about the history and culture of Yellowstone.  

Teton Trek cost more than $16 million and was funded by private and corporate donations. It is to the east of the Northwest Passage exhibit.

Zoo members can preview the exhibit Oct. 2 through Oct. 8.

USDA to Fund Miss. River Conservation

The troubled basin of the Mississippi River is set to receive a $320 million boost from the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday he is creating the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, which will fund efforts in 12 states along the 2,350-mile long Mississippi River.

Over four years, the funding will be used to improve water quality and remove pollutants.

Vilsack’s message was to be delivered by video to the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force Thursday. The task force, with members from five federal agencies and 10 state agencies, was formed in 1997 to develop a plan to reduce the size of the so-called dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

The dead zone is an area in the gulf that lacks oxygen for much of the summer and as a result cannot support sea life. It varies in size each year, but its primary cause is excess nutrients from farm fertilizer runoff in the Mississippi River.

The nutrients cause algae blooms and after the algae dies, bacteria on the bottom of the sea eat the algae, removing vital oxygen from the water.

The size of the dead zone in 2009 was 3,000 square miles, one of the smallest on record. But scientists and environmental groups worried about the gulf’s ecosystem have advocated doing more to limit the chemicals entering the Mississippi, which feeds into the Gulf of Mexico.

Vilsack was to announce USDA plans to partner with farmers to improve conservation and prevent water pollution.

The funding will go to efforts in 12 states that are either along the Mississippi River or have tributaries that feed into it: Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Retailers Warned Against Selling Single Cigarettes

State agencies are warning tobacco retailers to stop selling individual cigarettes that can be as cheap as 25 cents apiece, but pose a health threat to young people.

The state Attorney General’s Office has notified 23 retailers who are allegedly selling single cigarettes that have been removed from the packs, called “loosies.”

Retailers could face penalties up to $1,000 per violation for selling single cigarettes. Because of the low price of single cigarettes, health officials are concerned it may attract young people as an easy, affordable way to start smoking.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 16 53 275
BUILDING PERMITS 0 569 5,701
BANKRUPTCIES 0 87 993
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 110 491
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0