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VOL. 126 | NO. 149 | Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Daily Digest

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Plans Move Forward for Cordova Staples

Plans for a Staples office-supply store in Cordova are moving forward.

Greenville, S.C.-based TN Cordova Germantown LLC has bought a 1.7-acre parcel in The Galleria of Memphis Planned Development, phase IV, from Kohl’s Department Stores Inc. for $850,000. The site is part of an 11.5-acre site at the northwest corner of North Germantown Parkway and Market Place that currently houses an 88,840-square-foot Kohl’s department store.

TN Cordova Germantown LLC financed the purchase with a $2.1 million loan through RBC Bank (USA). The loan matures in July 2013.

In conjunction with the sale and financing, a lease memorandum was filed in which TN Cordova Germantown LLC, in care of RealtyLink, will lease about 18,000 square feet to Framingham, Mass.-based Staples the Office Superstore East Inc., for 10 years starting Feb. 11, 2011. The parties have the opportunity to extend the lease four times for five years each.

The city-county Land Use Control Board in April granted site plan approval for the Staples store. A setback variance was needed to accommodate “the size of the Staples prototype building,” according to a staff report.

Staples Inc. entered the Memphis market in February by signing a 17,945-square-foot lease at Ridgeway Trace at Poplar Avenue and Interstate 240.

The office products company has historically limited its locations to smaller markets, but with Office Max and Office Depot having financial difficulties in a sluggish economy, the retailer saw potential in Memphis, Scott Barton told The Daily News in April. Barton is senior vice president of retail services at CB Richard Ellis Memphis.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Delta To Expand FAA Tax Refunds

Delta Air Lines executives announced Monday, Aug. 1, they will give tax refunds to customers charged federal aviation taxes during the time non-essential services of the Federal Aviation Administration have been suspended.

The FAA suspension began the weekend of July 23. Delta, which has a hub at Memphis International Airport, stopped collecting several taxes on ticket sales.

But the Internal Revenue Service says those who paid for tickets before the shutdown to fly during the shutdown also are entitled to a refund on the taxes they paid.

Delta said in a statement Monday it is awaiting specific guidelines from the IRS on how to process the refunds.

“However, in order to streamline the process, the airline will process refunds directly for customers once an agreement is reached with the IRS on the procedure for doing so,” the company statement reads.

Some air carriers have been criticized for raising their rates during the FAA shutdown, which didn’t change ticket prices but gave the airlines a financial windfall in what had been tax revenue.

– Bill Dries

Pinnacle Notes Changes to 2nd Quarter Report

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. executives are preparing analysts and shareholders for a larger loss per share in the second quarter than originally anticipated.

The Memphis-based company filed a notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Friday, July 29, saying the loss would probably be between 10 cents and 20 cents per share because of fuel expenses for the quarter that ended June 30 and pilot pay cost changes. The pay cost changes because Pinnacle had to reallocate crews to handle schedule changes with major airlines with whom the regional carrier has contracts.

The SEC filing comes in advance of the Aug. 4, second quarter earnings report.

– Bill Dries

Memphis Chamber Begins 2011 Membership Drive

The Greater Memphis Chamber’s annual membership drive is now under way.

The 2011 Fuel the Fire Membership Drive is a two-month initiative in which volunteers from the existing membership base persuade others to join the chamber and to get existing members to sponsor and buy advertising.

Chamber member benefits include member-to-member discounts, networking events with Memphis top business and political leaders and an array of other services and resources. The chamber’s 2011 goals include adding 200 members.

– Andy Meek

MATA Proposes Fare Increase

The Memphis Area Transit Authority has recently announced a proposed fare increase for fixed-route service, MATAplus and trolley service. The proposed fare increase, the first in four years, would go into effect Nov. 7. The increase is due to mounting fuel prices as well as the rising costs of health care and bus parts.

Officials say a further delay in enacting a fare increase will compound budget shortfalls.

“Our fares are lower than most of our peer transit agencies,” said William Hudson, MATA president and general manager. “Transportation agencies across the United States are in the midst of unprecedented budgetary challenges as a result of the current recession.”

The 31-day FastPass fares will remain at $50.00 to protect customers who rely heavily on MATA for daily transportation. Daily fares will increase no more than 25 cents on buses and trolleys. MATAplus service will increase from $3.00 to $3.50 per ride.

MATA has scheduled a public hearing for Aug. 9 at 5 p.m. at Central Station, 545 S. Main St.

– Houston Cofield

Southern Belle Restaurant Opens on Madison

Southern Belle: Take-Out Hot Lunch and Catering has recently opened at 1329 Madison Ave.

Owner and chef David Johnson is serving hot Southern plate lunches Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Menu items include blackened chicken pasta and crawfish etouffee over rice. All food is served as take-out, but seating is available for customers who prefer sit-down service. The restaurant will begin offering delivery services this month.

Johnson moved to Memphis from Little Rock and attended Memphis Culinary Academy.

After culinary school, he began working for chef Jeff Duhnam at The Grove Grill and also cooked food for The Memphis Country Club. He was a sous chef at Jarrett’s, working under chef Rick Farmer, and executive chef at the DoubleTree Hotel East Memphis.

– Houston Cofield

MAA Completes Offering of Senior Unsecured Notes

Memphis-based MAA and its operating partnership, Mid-America Apartments LP, have completed an issuance of $135 million of Senior Unsecured Notes.

The notes were offered in a private placement with three maturity tranches – $50 million seven-year maturity at 4.68 percent, $72.75 million 10-year maturity at 5.4 percent, and $12.25 million 12-year maturity at 5.57 percent. The total $135 million issuance represents a weighted average term of 9.1 years and a weighted average interest rate of 5.15 percent.

MAA, formerly known as Mid-America Apartment Communities, plans to use the proceeds to repay an $80 million portion of outstanding indebtedness under its Federal National Mortgage Association Credit Facilities and for general corporate purposes.

MAA on June 6 received an initial credit rating from Fitch Ratings of BBB, along with a BBB Unsecured Senior Notes rating for Mid-America Apartments LP, the company’s operating partnership, which was an essential part of completing this transaction.

The lead placement agent was Jefferies & Co. Inc. with KeyBanc Capital Markets LLC serving as co-placement agent.

Al Campbell, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said MAA’s first unsecured bond transaction represents an important element of the firm’s long-term financing goals.

“Receiving an initial BBB rating from Fitch was a strong testament to the overall strength of our balance sheet and business strategy,” Campbell said in a release. “Completing this transaction further protects our balance sheet, expands our financing relationships to a group of new investors and supports continued growth of the company.”

MAA is a self-administered, self-managed apartment-only real estate investment trust that currently owns or has ownership interest in 48,189 apartment units throughout the Sunbelt region of the U.S.

– Sarah Baker

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751