G.I.C.M. Finances Germantown Site

A limited liability company named G.I.C.M. FHI has financed property at 2999 Centre Oak Way through First Tennessee Bank. The $1.2 million loan is dated Nov. 8, with a maturity date of Aug. 1, 2021.

The property is about an acre in Forest Hill-Irene Commercial Subdivision. As of the most recent assessment, the Shelby County Assessor of Property listed it as vacant land assessed at $272,300.

G.I.C.M. Real Estate LLC – an entity related to the borrower – bought the property from Tom Fisher & Associates LLC in August for $375,000.

David Harano signed the loan documents as president of G.I.C.M. Real Estate. Harano is executive director of Gastro One, formerly Gastroenterology Center of the MidSouth, according to Gastro One’s website.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Lowery Named New Council Chairman

Myron Lowery is the new Memphis City Council chairman for 2011 and Bill Morrison is slated to be vice chairman. Lowery was the only nominee at Tuesday’s council session, as was Morrison.

Lowery’s nomination was seconded by current council vice chairman Bill Boyd, who by council custom would have been next in line for the chairmanship.

The selection of Lowery allows him another chance at a full year as chairman. Lowery’s tenure as chairman in 2009 was cut short when Mayor Willie Herenton resigned and Lowery became interim mayor. Lowery ran in the special election for mayor and lost, but under council rules Harold Collins remained chairman even though Lowery returned to the council.

Collins was elected to a full year as council chairman this year by his fellow council members.

– Bill Dries

Construction Unemployment Rises to 17.3 Pct. in October

The construction industry unemployment rate rose to 17.3 percent in October, up slightly from September’s 17.2 percent, but down from 18.7 percent a year ago, according to the Nov. 5 jobs report by the U.S. Labor Department.

Nonresidential building construction employment lost 1,800 jobs in October and is down 12,200 jobs, or 1.7 percent, since October 2009. On the other hand, residential building construction lost 2,200 jobs in October and 28,500 jobs, or 4.7 percent, from the same time last year.

“The struggling economy is causing both nonresidential and residential construction to continue to slump, with the exception of a handful of stimulus-impacted segments such as highway/street and conservation/development,” Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu said.

But for the fifth consecutive month, heavy and civil engineering construction employment gained jobs – 4,800 in October. On a year-over-year basis, heavy and civil engineering construction has added 28,500 jobs, or 3.5 percent.

Total employment across all industries rose by 151,000 jobs following four consecutive months of job losses, and is up by 829,000 jobs, or 0.6 percent, from October 2009. But overall, the nation’s employment level is down by 330,000 jobs in October, leaving the national unemployment rate unchanged at 9.6 percent from the previous month.

– Sarah Baker

Council Approves Frayser Dump Going Public

The City Council has approved a change in status for a private construction waste landfill in Frayser. The dump on U.S. 51 near Stage Road is owned by Memphis Wrecking Co. and opened in 2007 as a private construction landfill. The change makes it a public landfill for construction debris only. The change drew vocal opposition from homeowners in the area as well as the Memphis City Schools system.

“How many of you would by a house by a landfill?” asked opponent Gladys Adams, who lives near the site.

Attorney Nathan Bicks, representing Memphis Wrecking, argued some of the most expensive homes in Shelby County are built at Halle Plantation near what was once a landfill. He also said the Frayser site is already a landfill.

“The landfill is there. The landfill will be there tomorrow,” he said. “The only issue there is who is going to be able to bring construction debris to the landfill and how fast will it fill up.”

Neighbors hired experts who told council members the new status would result in increased truck traffic along a stretch of the highway that is already heavily used.

– Bill Dries

Poplar Plaza Bookstar Closing in January

Barnes and Noble is shuttering another Memphis-area bookstore about a year after a previous closure.

Bookstar, a longtime tenant of the Poplar Plaza shopping center and one of Barnes and Noble’s brands, is closing at the end of January, according to The Commercial Appeal. That’s about a year after the nation’s largest book retailer announced the closure of the Barnes and Noble store at 6385 Winchester Road. David Deason, vice president of development at Barnes and Noble, told The Daily News at the time sales were “not sufficient to continue to operate” at Winchester.

Closing the Poplar Plaza store will mean the retailer’s brick and mortar presence in Memphis is half what it was a year ago, when it had four stores in the area. The retailer will now be down to stores at Wolfchase Galleria and in Collierville’s The Avenue Carriage Crossing.

– Andy Meek

Terminix President Wins Crown Leadership Award

Terminix President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Brackett has been recognized as a winner of the 2010 Crown Leadership Awards.

The Crown Leadership Awards are presented by Syngenta Professional Products and Pest Control Technology magazine. The award annually recognizes 10 individuals from the pest control industry who uphold the highest standards of industry ethics and integrity, while devoting their talents to professional and civic organizations.

Brackett, who has been president of Terminix since 2006, joined the company in 1992 and has served as a branch manager, sales manager, regional sales manager, region manager, division vice president and chief operating officer during his 18-year career with Terminix.

Terminix, a division of The ServiceMaster Co., is headquartered in Memphis. Terminix services more than 3 million customers in 46 states and 14 countries, making it the largest pest control provider in the nation.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Memphis Arts Collective Returns to 1501 Union Ave.

The Memphis Arts Collective will return to 1501 Union Ave. in Midtown this holiday season.

This is the fifth year for the cooperative sales initiative by artists. The shop will have more than 25 vendors.

The opening celebration is set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 3.

The Memphis Arts Collective will remain open through Christmas Eve. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and on Saturdays; 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays; and noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Items sold will include paintings, pottery, mixed media art, fused glass art, stained glass art, vintage collectibles, word stones, fiber dolls and photography.

– Tom Wilemon

Jobless Claims Fall to 4-Month Low

Fewer people applied for unemployment aid last week, the third drop in four weeks and evidence that the job market is showing signs of life.

If the decline continues, it could signal more hiring in the near future. The report comes after the Labor Department said last week that private employers added the most jobs in six months in October.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that initial claims for jobless aid dropped by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 435,000. Many Wall Street economists expected a smaller decrease.

The four-week average of claims, a less volatile measure, fell 10,000 to 446,500. That’s the lowest level for the average since the week that ended Sept. 13, 2008, just before the financial crisis intensified that weekend with the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

It’s only the second time the four-week average has fallen below 450,000 this year. The first time was in March, just before a large spurt of hiring in April.

“The pace of hiring has picked up in the past few months,” said Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo. If the drop in claims is sustained, he said, net job gains could rise from this year’s average of 90,000 a month to 140,000 next year.

– The Associated Press