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VOL. 126 | NO. 106 | Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Daily Digest

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Core Memphis Buys Medical Bldg. for $3.1M

Columbus, Ohio-based Core Memphis LLC has bought two tracts with parcels on Union Avenue and South Willett Street from West Union Partners LLC for $3.1 million.

The purchase was financed with a $3.3 million loan through American National Insurance Co.

A spokeswoman for West Clinic, which operates its Midtown clinic at the site and uses the address 1588 Union, said the transaction was a sale-leaseback in which West sold the property to Core Memphis, which is now leasing the property back to West;

The parcels include a 13,735-square-foot medical office building built in 1963 at 1580 Union Ave. bounded by Monroe Avenue to the north (partial frontage), South Willett Street to the west, South Avalon Street to the east and Union Avenue to the south; an adjacent 0.2-acre parcel at the southeast corner of Monroe and South Willett; and a 0.2-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Monroe and South Willett.

A quitclaim deed was filed in conjunction with the sale documents. In it, West Partners LLC quitclaimed the vacant parcel at the southeast corner of Monroe and South Willett to West Union Partners.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s combined 2011 appraisal is about $1.5 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Local Captain D's Franchisee Files for Bankruptcy

On Thursday, May 26, SONFISH LLC, 5858 Ridgeway Center Parkway, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Tennessee.

The company, founded in 2009, claims to be one of the largest Captain D’s franchisees in the country, operating 21 restaurants in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Attorney Jonathan Scharff, who represents SONFISH LLC, said “this company, like others, has been hit hard by the recession, and they aren’t able to make each of the locations profitable.”

He said the company plans to shut down between four and six locations that are not profitable while continuing to operate about 15 others.

Employees from closing businesses, Scharff said, will be transferred to other locations, and while there’s no guarantee that all jobs 363 jobs will be saved, he said, “That’s what we’re hoping.”

SONFISH LLC operating partner Joe Guido declined comment.

– Aisling Maki

Analyst Expects FedEx to Meet Expectations

Memphis-based FedEx Corp. is a company with earnings power, according to an analyst with Baird, who told investors to pick up shares before it reports fourth-quarter results next month.

Analyst Jon A. Langenfeld said investors don’t have high expectations for the final quarter of the year, but he thinks the concerns are unwarranted.

Langenfeld expects the company to meet Wall Street expectations despite significantly higher fuel costs. Those costs are in line with what was expected and Langenfeld believes the package delivery company’s earnings expectations for the current fiscal year will give more confidence to investors.

And while broader economic risks still remain, the analyst thinks growth is still likely. A continued focus on lean inventories by U.S. businesses remains a huge driver for FedEx Express demand, prices and in turn, earnings growth..

Meanwhile, FedEx Express executives announced Tuesday, May 31, that they opened international direct service throughout Colombia. The FedEx division had been using a service provider in Colombia since 1993.

The direct involvement in Colombia will mean 200 new jobs over the next two years for the cargo giant.

– Bill Dries/Associated Press

MAAR to Participate in Realtor Open House

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors has teamed up with Realtor associations across the country for the Nationwide Open House Weekend Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5.

The purpose of the open house weekend is to encourage prospective homebuyers to discover the quality and affordability of homes in the Memphis market. This is the second annual National Open House Weekend.

“The Open House Weekend not only brings buyers and sellers together, but also provides an opportunity for consumers to ask Realtors questions about the buying process and local market conditions,” MAAR president Leon Dickson said in a statement. “This is an excellent opportunity to tour dozens of homes in one weekend and to see first-hand the affordability of homes currently on the market in the Memphis area.”

Consumers should look for the blue Realtor balloons, which will signify the homes participating in the Nationwide Open House. To search for open houses around Memphis scheduled for that weekend or any time, visit maar.org/openhouse.

– Sarah Baker

Gas Prices Lower, Still High in Tennessee

The average price of gas in Tennessee as of Sunday, May 29, was almost $3.59, down from almost $3.68 one week earlier but up almost a dollar from the $2.61 price level during the same time in 2010, according to the AAA Auto Club South

The national average price of unleaded regular gasoline is $3.79 a gallon, 6 cents less than one week earlier.

“Oil is projected to increase this week as unrest in the Middle East escalates in Yemen and Syria,” said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman, AAA Auto Club South. “OPEC may increase oil production after their June 8 meeting as a result of disruptions to Libya’s exports. However, retail gas prices continued to drop and consumers may see prices fall again this week, although the rate of decrease will start to slow if oil prices increase this week as anticipated.”

“No Octane,” the cover story in the current issue of The Memphis News, sister publication of The Daily News, looks at gas prices and the broader factors at play in shaping what’s becoming one of the dominant economic stories affecting consumers around the world.

– Andy Meek

Local Arts Organizations Receive Endowment Grants

ArtsMemphis, Beale Street Caravan Inc. and Center for Southern Folklore have been recommended for grants totaling $80,000 by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the agency’s second round of fiscal year 2011 grants.

ArtsMemphis received $30,000 to support the production of a series of arts events featuring Memphis arts organizations and artists for the benefit of identified, underserved communities.

Beale Street Caravan Inc. received $10,000 to support the production and national broadcast of the public radio series “Beale Street Caravan,” weekly, one-hour programs featuring performances by blues artists broadcast to more than 280 public, community and college radio stations nationwide.

The Center for Southern Folklore received $40,000 to support a project called “Urban Memphis and the Rural Delta: Its Voices, Its Beats.” The project will organize and digitize various media, including audiotapes, videotapes, films, slides and photographs and will be made available to the public through the creation of searchable online databases and exhibits.

In total, the Arts Endowment will distribute more than $88 million to support projects throughout the country.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Winners Chosen in MSO Competition

Three conductors have taken top honors in the first Memphis International Conducting Competition and will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to conduct the Memphis Symphony Orchestra in a concert in October.

Ken Lam, a native of Hong Kong and assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, won first place and $7,500.

Roger Kalia, a native of New York and music director of the Columbus (Indiana) Symphony, won second place and $3,000.

Aram Demijrian, a conducting student at the New England Conservatory, won third place and $1,000.

The winners will conduct pieces of Dvorak, Hindemith and Ravel, respectively, in October.

The three-round competition held over two days received 236 applications representing 35 countries and more than 30 states. Ten contestants were selected.

– Taylor Shoptaw

PROPERTY SALES 38 38 12,796
MORTGAGES 27 27 8,030
BUILDING PERMITS 137 137 30,071
BANKRUPTCIES 44 44 6,108