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VOL. 127 | NO. 7 | Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Daily Digest

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Memphis Co. Buys Hacks Cross Acreage

Memphis-based PHC Real Estate LLC has bought 18.6 acres near the southwest corner of Hacks Cross Road and Tournament Drive from CRM Central Properties Inc. for $1.2 million.

The land is part of about 38 acres Atlanta-based CRM bought in June from G. Benjamin Clark and Nicholas G. Clark in lieu of foreclosure. That site was appraised by the Shelby County Assessor of Property in 2011 at nearly $1.5 million.

The acreage is in the 112-acre Tournament Center Planned Development, third amendment. A 2009 plat filed with the Shelby County Register of Deeds shows the planned development includes about 60 acres zoned for general office uses and about 50 acres zoned as an “office/multifamily community.” The plat lists Clark & Clark as the developer.

PHC Real Estate filed articles of organization as a limited liability company with the Tennessee Secretary of State in July. It shares a Memphis address with Poplar Healthcare, a laboratory services parent company of GI Pathology, D-PATH Dermatopathology and OncoMetrix.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

MAAR: Home Sales Drop 10 Pct. in Dec.

Memphis-area home sales for December fell 10 percent from a year ago, with 898 total sales recorded in the Memphis Area Association of Realtors MAARdata property records database, which includes records of all property transactions in Shelby, Fayette and Tipton counties.

Total sales for all of 2011 dropped 8.4 percent from 2010, with 12,790 recorded sales.

Average sales price year-over-year for Q4 was down 7.1 percent and for all of 2011 was off 2.9 percent at $125,448.

Inventory was down 6.2 percent from the previous month, with 7,194 units listed for sale. Sales volume from 2010 to 2011 fell 11.1 percent to $1.6 billion.

– Sarah Baker

General Assembly Back in Session

Tennessee lawmakers went back to work Tuesday, Jan. 10, opening their session for the second year of 107th General Assembly.

House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey called the two chambers into order shortly after noon.

Top issues facing lawmakers this year are redistricting, grappling with a proposal to change lottery scholarship requirements to halt a drain on the program’s cash reserves and passing a balanced spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1.

The Republican proposal for redistricting is expected to be come up soon, possibly as early as Thursday, Jan. 12.

Republicans seem likely to pass the plan, despite complaints from Democrats that it is likely to reduce the number of African-Americans serving in the legislature.

– The Associated Press

Fisher & Phillips Law Firm Opens Memphis Office

Fisher & Phillips LLP, a national labor and employment law firm, has opened an office in Memphis.

The Memphis office will be led by employment attorney Jeff Weintraub and will initially do business as “The Weintraub Firm PC, a partner in Fisher & Phillips LLP.” He’ll be joined by another partner, Craig Cowart, who comes from Kiesewetter Wise Kaplan Prather PLC.

Weintraub has more than 30 years of experience representing public and private employers. For nearly 20 years, Cowart has represented management clients in state and federal employment litigation and in administrative proceedings before state and federal agencies.

Fisher & Phillips also announced Tuesday, Jan. 10, that it opened an office in Boston.

– Andy Meek

Chamber to Host TNTrade Overview

An overview meeting for local companies interested in applying for the TNTrade Program will be held Thursday, Jan. 12, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Greater Memphis Chamber, 22 N. Front St.

Bill Hagerty, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, announced in December the kickoff of TNTrade, a statewide initiative created to increase exports by Tennessee’s small businesses.

The two key aspects of the program are an April medical device trade mission to China and South Korea, and the Market Access Program, which will provide reimbursement for export-related costs.

The meeting will be hosted by the Greater Memphis Chamber, in partnership with the state’s Economic and Community Development Department, U.S. Commercial Services, Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce and Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

– Aisling Maki

State Rep. Curry Todd's Court Hearing Delayed

State Rep. Curry Todd’s hearing on charges of drunken driving and carrying a loaded handgun while intoxicated has been delayed until next month.

The Collierville Republican was arrested in Nashville on Oct. 11.

Todd is a retired Memphis police officer and the main architect of a new state law allowing handgun carry permit holders to be armed in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

He stepped down as chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee after his arrest.

– The Associated Press

IP Declares Q1 Dividend

Memphis-based International Paper has declared a quarterly dividend of 26 cents per share for the first calendar quarter of 2012. The dividend is payable March 15 to holders of common stock at the close of business on Feb. 15.

IP executives also announced a $1 per-share regular quarterly dividend to March 31 on the cumulative $4 preferred stock of the company. That dividend is payable on March 15 under the same terms.

– Bill Dries

Commissioners Confirm County Computer Chief

Shelby County commissioners have approved the appointment of John Halbert Jr. as the county’s new chief information officer. Halbert comes to the job from Jefferson County, Ala., government.

Halbert will head the consolidated Shelby County computer and information technology system created last year after considerable debate between the administration of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and county commissioners.

Luttrell favored a CIO with more authority over elected officials outside the county administration, including court clerks. The commission ultimately approved an agreement that allowed the clerks some degree of autonomy in the information technology they use.

– Bill Dries

License Plate on Sale to Benefit the Arts

Tennesseans for the Arts, the statewide advocacy group that supports the Tennessee Arts Commission, is accepting preorders for the winning design from “State Your Plate,” the statewide contest to create Tennessee’s next specialty license plate.

Designed by Nashville artist Leslie Haines, the plate is available for $35 at www.stateyourplate.org, with proceeds benefiting the arts throughout the state.

Haines’ design was selected by the public from 10 finalists after two weeks of online voting. Haines designed the new plate in response to TFTA’s launch of the “State Your Plate” contest in August. She is the academic director of graphic design and advertising for The Art Institute of Tennessee – Nashville.

The state requires that 500 people preorder the plate before it becomes a permanent option for Tennessee drivers. Advanced orders of the plate do not have to coincide with drivers’ regular registration.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Wholesale Stockpiles Rose in November

Wholesale businesses barely increased their stockpiles in November, even though their sales grew strongly.

The data suggest many companies underestimated consumer demand and may boost their stock levels in the coming months, which would lift growth.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday, Jan. 10, that inventories at the wholesale level edged up 0.1 percent in November. Sales at the wholesale level rose 0.6 percent after an even stronger 0.8 percent increase in October. The modest increase in inventories pushed total wholesale stockpiles up to $468.9 billion.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 91 293 13,051
MORTGAGES 58 168 8,171
BUILDING PERMITS 99 744 30,678
BANKRUPTCIES 34 156 6,220