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VOL. 125 | NO. 17 | Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Daily Digest

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EK Properties Files $2.6M Permit for Building

EK Properties LLC has filed a $2.6 million permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to build an office building on a vacant parcel near Bartlett. The permit lists an address of 1631 Century Center Parkway, but the Shelby County Assessor of Property lists it as 1591 Century Center Parkway.

The 5.1-acre property sits along the west side of Century Center Parkway near the intersection of Kirby-Whitten and Macon roads, just south of Interstate 40. The assessor’s 2009 appraisal of the land was $667,500.

EK Properties, an entity related to Ewing/Kessler Mechanical Solutions, last month filed a $2.8 million construction loan through First Tennessee Bank NA for the new building.

Linkous Construction Co. Inc. is listed as the general contractor. Calls to Ewing and Linkous were not immediately returned, and no project details were available by press time.

Christopher Ewing, a principal at Ewing/Kessler, signed the trust deed as president of EK Properties. Ewing/Kessler bought the land Oct. 2 for $726,601 from Community Foundation Realty Inc. in a special warranty deed.

Ewing/Kessler, which “specializes in engineered solutions for sustainable design and energy efficient HVAC systems,” according to its Web site, currently operates its lone Memphis-area office at 7876 Stage Hills Blvd. in Bartlett. It also has offices in Starkville and Jackson, Miss.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Eric Smith

Board of Adjustment To Discuss Plan Revisions

Among the projects on tap for today’s meeting of the Memphis-Shelby County Board of Adjustment is a proposed revision to plans for the site at 2021-2025 Madison Ave.

The revision would reduce the number of required parking spaces from 40 to 21 and the number of shared parking spots from 26 to seven spaces.

Also scheduled for discussion is a proposed modification to the site plan for 8821 Walnut Grove Road, which entails demolishing two existing buildings and replacing them with a new office building.

The board will meet at 1 p.m. today at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

Andy Meek

Sitel Cuts More Than Half of Local Work Force

Nashville-based Sitel is laying off almost 55 percent of the work force at its Memphis call center at 1699 Sycamore View Road.

Shaving the center’s 775-employee staff will include laying off 264 temporary workers and 162 other positions filled by workers that vary from hourly to salaried. The layoffs include 426 workers.

“We have been an active part of the Memphis business community for a number of years, so the decision to reduce our site here does not come easy,” said Tim Wallace, site director of Sitel’s Memphis facility, in a statement about the layoffs. “This reduction is due to the changing business needs of our client and is in no way reflective of the quality of customer care provided by our associates.”

Andy Meek

ArtsMemphis Awards Grants for Local Projects

ArtsMemphis has awarded more than $75,000 in grants to 45 organizations in Shelby, Lauderdale and Tipton counties.

The money was provided by the Arts Build Communities grants, which are funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered by ArtsMemphis in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission.

ABC grants offer financial support for arts projects in all arts disciplines recognized by the TAC. The grants ranged from $500 to $3,000.

To qualify for the money, organizations must be state-recognized, nonprofit or government entities and must be able to provide a dollar-for-dollar match toward projects.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Le Bonheur Team Ready For Haiti Deployment

A team from Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center is among the first dedicated pediatric surgical teams from the U.S. being deployed to Haiti.

The team, which will leave this week, will be working at the Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis clinic in Croix des Bouquets near Port-au-Prince.

Dr. Sunny Anand, director of pediatric critical care at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, will lead the team. Other members include Dr. Gordon Kraus, Dr. Derek Kelly, Dr. Josh Meier, Dr. Trey Eubanks, Dr. Joel Saltzman, certified registered nurse and anesthetist Gordon Corder and surgery technician Jacob Howell.

Tom Wilemon

BBA Announces Speaker for BENNY Awards Gala

The Black Business Association of Memphis has announced that Don Hutson, the chief executive officer of U.S. Learning, will deliver the keynote address at the organization’s 24th annual BENNY Awards Dinner & Gala. The theme for this year’s BENNY (Black Entrepreneurship and Networking Needs You) Awards is “Entrepreneurial Essentials for 2010.”

The gala will be held Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave.

A member of the International Speakers Hall of Fame, Hutson is past president of the National Speakers Association. He also is the co-author of “The One-Minute Entrepreneur.”

Tom Wilemon

Hard Drive Thefts Cost BCBS More Than $7 Million

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has reported the theft of computer hard drives containing the personal information of hundreds of thousands of members has already cost the insurer more than $7 million.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press has reported the theft has become one of the city’s most expensive property crimes of the year.

The insurer has already contacted 220,000 members in Tennessee and elsewhere who were affected, but company officials have said as many as 500,000 members eventually could be identified as facing a risk of identity theft.

More than 700 workers have been working to determine what was on the 57 hard drives and assess the backup copies of the missing records.

— The Associated Press

Dyersburg Business Wins Statewide Video Award

Dyersburg has won a statewide entrepreneurship video competition.

The company won $500 in cash and a professional marketing package valued at $2,000 in the “What Makes You an Entrepreneur?” contest.

The competition was sponsored by the state Department of Economic and Community Development. It was designed to draw attention to the entrepreneurial spirit in Tennessee.

– The Associated Press

Home Prices Rise for 6th Straight Month

Home prices rose for the sixth straight month in November, fueled by tax credits for homebuyers.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday inched up 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted reading of 145.49. The index was off 5.3 percent from November last year, nearly matching analysts’ estimates that it would fall by 5.1 percent.

The index is now up more than 3 percent from its bottom in May, but still 30 percent below its peak in May 2006.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 41 308 2,265
MORTGAGES 47 379 2,607
BUILDING PERMITS 128 1,018 6,068
BANKRUPTCIES 53 255 1,787