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VOL. 125 | NO. 69 | Friday, April 9, 2010

Daily Digest

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MCA Files Permit For South Main Building

The Memphis College of Art has filed a $2.2 million permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to renovate its newly acquired 49,025-square-foot building at 477 S. Main St. in the South Main Historic Arts District, where the college will house its graduate school.

Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC is the general contractor and Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects is the architect of record for the project.

MCA is spending about $3 million on the purchase and renovation of the building, slated to house everything from classroom to studio to gallery space for graduate faculty and students.

The college in February paid $400,000 for the 97-year-old building. The school also received $450,000 in public incentives from the Center City Development Corp. for the project.

MCA public relations director Michelle Byrd said the building will be overhauled in stages, with a couple floors of the five-story facility ready for the fall semester.

Then the remaining floors, including the basement, will be renovated to fully accommodate the graduate school’s 86 students, of which 20 are in the Master of Fine Arts program and 66 are in the graduate education programs (Master of Art in Art Education and Master of Art in Teaching).

“As time goes on and we have the need to expand, we’ll be able to do that,” Byrd said. “It will be ongoing after the opening in the fall.”

Founded in 1936, MCA’s main campus is at 1930 Poplar Ave. in Overton Park. The move Downtown will free up space on the school’s main campus for its undergraduate programs.

Built in 1913, the warehouse sits on 0.2 acres at the southwest corner of South Main Street and East Butler Avenue, across from the National Civil Rights Museum. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2009 appraisal of the building was slightly less than $400,000.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Rates on 30-Year Home Loans Rise

Rates for 30-year home loans surged last week, rising to the highest level in eight months due to the improving economy and the end of a government push to make mortgages cheaper.

The mortgage finance company Freddie Mac has reported the average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 5.21 percent this week, up from 5.08 percent a week earlier. That’s the highest since the week ending Aug. 13, 2009, when the average rate was 5.29 percent.

– The Associated Press

Local Airlines Report March Passenger Counts

The two airlines owned by Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines Corp., as well as Delta Air Lines Inc., which operates a hub here, have announced their March passenger traffic.

Pinnacle’s two companies are Pinnacle Airlines Inc. and Colgan Air Inc., regional airlines that reported vastly different results from last month.

Pinnacle Airlines flew 966,551 passengers in March, an 8.8 percent increase from 888,206 in March 2009. Year to date, the airline has flown 2.5 million passengers, up 2.9 percent from 2.4 million for the same period in 2009.

Colgan Air, on the other hand, has seen its passenger counts decline. The airline flew 222,072 passengers in March, a 1.1 percent dip from 224,649 in March 2009. Year to date, the airline has flown 554,979 passengers, down 3.7 percent from 576,553 for the same period in 2009.

Atlanta-based Delta flew 16.1 million domestic and international passengers in March, up 3 percent from 15.6 million passengers in March 2009.

Year to date, the global airline has seen traffic decrease. In 2010, it saw 26.6 million passengers, a 0.9 percent decrease from 26.8 million passengers in 2009.

– Eric Smith

Fred’s Reports Increase In March Total Sales

Memphis-based Fred’s Inc. has reported a 5 percent increase to $183.5 million in total sales for the five-week fiscal month of March.

Comparable store sales for the month rose 3.6 percent on top of an increase of 1.9 percent in the same period last year.

Fred’s total sales for the first two months of fiscal year 2010 increased 4 percent to $334.1 million, compared to $321.8 million for the same period in 2009.

On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales increased 2.9 percent, compared to an increase of 1.9 percent in the same period last year.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Downtown Trolley Out of Service

The trolley system along Main Street and the Riverfront Loop is not running because the Memphis Area Transit Authority is replacing and tightening the catenary wires, which power the system.

However, the Madison Line that runs from Midtown to Downtown remains open.

It could be the end of next week before the work is complete, said Alison Burton, director of marketing and customer service for MATA.

City buses are available to transport people while the Downtown loop is out of commission.

Tom Wilemon

Real Estate Open House Slated for Cooper-Young

The Cooper Young Development Corp. is holding an open house Saturday to drum up interest among Realtors and potential homebuyers in a group of houses on Seattle Street the CYDC wants to sell.

The open house is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will display the generally three-bedroom, two-bath homes that start at about $50,000.

Representatives of the city of Memphis and housing counselors will be on hand to also answer questions regarding assistance with home buying. Anyone interested in learning more should contact Sutton Mora Hayes at 272-1459.

Andy Meek

Wharton Sets Meeting With Nonprofit Community

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. will hold a town hall meeting with representatives of nonprofit organizations on April 21 beginning at 8 a.m. in the Spain Auditorium of Christian Brothers University at 650 East Parkway S.

The mayor will speak about measures his administration is taking to help the city’s nonprofits weather the recession. He will also discuss city priorities and take questions from participants.

The cost is free, but space is limited. Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence members are guaranteed a seat with early reservation.

For more information, contact Samantha Noel at 684-6605, Ext. 25, or snoel@npexcellence.org.

– Tom Wilemon

State Funding Board Expects Modest Revenue Growth

The State Funding Board has reported it’s expecting modest revenue growth in Tennessee during the next fiscal year.

However, the board said Thursday that the economic picture for the next 18 months is “still muddled,” and it anticipates negative revenue growth rates for the fiscal year ending June 30.

The general fund, the state’s primary funding source, is expected to be between -2.31 percent and -1.78 percent.

But for the fiscal year that begins July 1, the board anticipates a growth rate for the general fund to be between 2.05 percent and 2.30 percent.

Last month, state Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz said the state’s general fund revenue could fall short by an additional $75 million next year and will probably have to be recouped through the state’s reserves.

– The Associated Press

House Votes to Boost Prison Time for Robbery

The state House has passed a bill that would require people convicted of armed robbery to serve most of their sentences.

The chamber voted 88-4 Thursday for the measure sponsored by House Democratic Leader Gary Odom of Nashville to increase the minimum time served for aggravated robbery with a weapon from 30 percent of the sentence to 74 percent.

Odom said the change would mean offenders would serve at least six years, up from 2.4 years.

The bill would fund the longer prison time by transferring sentences for first-time convictions for 19 nonviolent felonies to community corrections programs.

The bill passed after Republican Rep. Matthew Hill of Jonesborough withdrew a proposed amendment that would have scuttled much of the funding mechanism.

– The Associated Press

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 20 39 190
BUILDING PERMITS 0 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 17 135 753
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 53 329
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0