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VOL. 127 | NO. 91 | Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Daily Digest

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Distriplex Center Property Sells for $3.8 Million

Salt Lake City-based 4665 Distriplex Drive LLC has bought Class A warehouses in Distriplex Center from Road Bay Investments LLC for $3.9 million, filing a $3.7 million construction loan through Wells Fargo Bank NA at the time of purchase.

The property includes two adjacent parcels comprising the addresses 4599 Distriplex Drive W., 4635 Distriplex Drive W., 4665 Distriplex Drive W., 3648 Shelby Drive, as well as a 1-acre vacant lot.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property lists the occupied parcels as totaling 14.8 acres with two Class A warehouses – 208,540 square feet and 118,640 square feet – built in 1997. Those parcels are on the northwest corner of East Shelby Drive and Distriplex Drive West. The assessor’s 2012 combined appraisal is $8.5 million

The 1-acre vacant parcel is on the east side of Distriplex Drive West, directly across from the other parcels. Its 2012 appraisal is $166,400.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Commission Approves Redistricting on First Reading

Shelby County Commissioners had little trouble Monday approving the first of three readings of a redistricting plan.

There were a few questions about procedure as the commission makes its fourth try at setting new district lines for itself. But commissioners didn’t get into any of the specifics of a plan. That should change on second reading in two weeks.

For this week, the ordinance had nine votes. It only needed seven to pass on first and second readings. It needs a nine-vote, two-thirds majority for third reading.

The commission is renewing its redistricting efforts because some on the body want to avoid a Chancery Court ruling that might not only set new district lines but might void the Shelby County charter requirement of a nine-vote, two-thirds majority to pass any ordinance on third and final reading. State law requires only a seven-vote simple majority to approve a redistricting plan.

In other action, the commission approved using $1.2 million in gasoline tax revenues for a set of road resurfacing projects in the county outside Memphis.

The commission also approved a $3 million one-year extension of the county’s contract with Rural/Metro Mid South LP to provide ambulance services for the unincorporated county as well as Arlington, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington.

– Bill Dries

Bon Ton Café Files Electrical Permit

Plans are moving forward with the remodel of Bon Ton Café at 150 Madison Ave., according to a recent filing for an electrical permit through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement.

The permit, which lists Fuchs Electrical Contractors Inc. as contractor, was filed about a year after one for the same location.

Bon Ton has been closed since 2008, when then-owner Sam Zambelis died. The more-than-a-century-old space includes two levels – 7,000 square feet on the ground level and a 3,500-square-foot space upstairs.

– Sarah Baker

UTHSC Prof. Receives $325K For Drug Discovery Instrument

Dr. Wei Li, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), is the principal investigator of a $325,000 grant from the Office of the Director, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health.

The grant will support the purchase of a state-of-the-art quadruple time-of-flight high- resolution mass spectrometer – an instrument that will have significantly greater sensitivity than its predecessors and the capability to obtain exact mass for both small and large molecules.

Compared with the low-resolution mass spectrometer currently available in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the new mass spectrometer will dramatically reduce the ambiguity of molecular formula for unknown compounds encountered in chemical synthetic intermediates, natural products or drug metabolites.

The addition of this new equipment will help to significantly enhance the research capabilities of investigators across the campus.

It will also support many extensive small-molecular drug discovery and drug delivery programs for faculty at UTHSC in the areas of cancer, obesity, diabetes, radiation protection, radiation mitigation, bacteria inflection and inflammation diseases.

UTHSC says local biotechnology companies such as GTx Inc. and RxBio Inc. will also benefit from indirect access to this sophisticated instrument through established service contracts with the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

– Aisling Maki

HORNE LLP Names Havens Executive Partner

Accounting and business advisory firm HORNE LLP, which has three office locations in Tennessee, has a new executive partner.

Joe Havens stepped into that role effective May 3. His move into the job of executive partner was part of the planned retirement strategy of Hugh Parker, who has been the executive partner at HORNE since 2003.

Havens’ move up comes at a moment when the firm is celebrating a big milestone – 50 years in business. Ranked as one of the top CPA and business advisory firms in the U.S., HORNE has offices throughout the Southeast in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas.

– Andy Meek

Small Biz Optimism Rose in April

Small-business owners recovered some of their optimism during April, but they’re still wary about the economy.

The National Federation of Independent Business said Tuesday its index of small business optimism rose 2 points last month, bringing it to 94.5. That makes up for the 2 points lost in March, but only returns the index to its February 2011 level. William Dunkelberg, the NFIB’s chief economist, still classifies the reading as weak.

Dunkelberg said owners’ plans to hire rose during April. And he said a greater number of small companies reported higher sales and profits.

But he noted that news about the U.S. economy is bad — the government reported that gross domestic product growth slowed to an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the first quarter, from 3 percent in the final three months of 2011. And Europe’s debt crisis still shows no signs of easing. Also, inflation could become more of a worry because more NFIB members say they’ve raised their prices in the last three months.

Economists have cited owners’ unease about the economy as a reason for the slow growth this year. The Labor Department said Friday that 115,000 jobs were created last month, the fewest since October.

“Most likely, there will be only small improvements on Main Street in optimism or hiring and spending this year,” Dunkelberg said in a statement.

The index was compiled from a survey of 1,817 NFIB members. The group represents and lobbies on behalf of 350,000 business owners.

– The Associated Press

US Employers Posted 3.74M March Jobs

U.S. companies in March posted the highest number of job openings in nearly four years, a sign that hiring could strengthen in the coming months after slowing this spring.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised 3.74 million job openings in March.

That’s up from a revised 3.57 million in February 2012 and the most since July 2008, just before the financial crisis erupted.

The increase in U.S. job openings suggests that weaker hiring gains in March and April could be temporary. It usually takes one to three months for employers to fill openings.

Even with the increase, roughly 12.7 million people were unemployed in March. That means an average of 3.4 people competed for each open job.

Tuesday’s report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTs, showed that more people quit their jobs in March.

More quits are a good sign because most people quit in order to move to a new job. Rising quits suggest workers are finding more opportunities in the job market.

Nearly 4.36 million people were hired in March, slightly fewer than in February. The JOLTs report measures gross job gains, while the monthly jobs reports are net figures that are calculated after subtracting layoffs and quits.

The increase in openings reflected gains in two sectors vital to the economy’s health: manufacturing and construction.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 51 333 19,446
MORTGAGES 68 383 22,433
BUILDING PERMITS 138 688 40,004
BANKRUPTCIES 34 238 12,486