I-Bank Tower Sells For $14.4 Million

The I-Bank Tower at 5050 Poplar Ave. in East Memphis has traded hands for $14.4 million, although the sale appears to be an internal transfer as the result of a corporate acquisition.

An entity called Tomorrow Thirty Four White Station Tower LP sold the 360,496-square-foot tower to Rosemont White Station Operating LLC, with both companies using the same Santa Fe, N.M., address.

The sale occurred in a Sept. 14 special warranty deed that wasn’t recorded by the Shelby County Register of Deeds until Friday, Oct. 26.

The seller was affiliated with a Santa Fe-based company called BGK Group that was acquired two years ago by New York’s Rosemont Real Estate, a subsidiary of Rosemont Capital LLC.

The result of the merger was Rosemont Realty, whose headquarters remained in Santa Fe, and retained a 51 percent controlling interest of the combined companies’ portfolio, according to a 2010 article in the New Mexico Business Weekly.

Paul S. Gerwin, who signed the trust deed as president of the selling entity, is executive vice president of Rosemont Realty.

Built in 1967, the Class B office tower, formerly known as the White Station Tower, sits on 9.39 acres on the north side of Poplar next to Clark Tower. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal is $11.7 million.

Tomorrow Thirty Four White Station Tower bought the building for $20.1 million from Georgia-based Deck-White Station Tower LLC in October 2003.

The building has an interesting history. Before construction, it was the subject of an editorial cartoon that hung for years in the office of its developer, William B. “Bill” Clark, who developed both the White Station and Clark towers.

Clark’s grandson, Nick Clark, told The Daily News in 2010 that the cartoon, published in the Commercial Appeal in the mid-1960s, was an aerial view of Memphis that labeled the White Station Tower as “Clark’s Folly.”

The consensus among Memphis power brokers at the time was that the office building would be a failure, destined to sit empty on the outskirts of town rather than drive development east, as the elder Clark envisioned and soon realized.

The misguided moniker also inspired the name for another nearby institution, Folk’s Folly Prime Steak House.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

West Tennessee Sites Designated Foreign Trade Zone

The United States Foreign Trade Zone Board has announced the approval of a new Grant of Authority for West Tennessee.

The new designation will allow for existing and new companies to benefit from being located in a foreign trade zone. Ten sites have been designated in West Tennessee.

The Port of Cates Landing and its industrial area in Lake County, and the Memphis Mega Site in Haywood County are two of the 10 sites.

Other industrial parks that are now designated are in Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, Lauderdale, Madison, Obion and Tipton counties.

The newest zone approved in West Tennessee is number 283. The Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority sponsored the application, while the West Tennessee Industrial Association oversaw the preparation and review process by the Foreign Trade Zone Board in Washington.

WTIA will serve as the administrator, overseeing day-to-day activities and working with the companies to help them understand and use foreign trade zone procedures.

– Andy Meek

Settlement Reached in Mill Blast Lawsuit

A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit brought by a man who was injured in a deadly explosion at an International Paper Co. mill in Mississippi in 2008.

Jeb D. Slade settled his lawsuit after a hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Natchez, Miss. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The lawsuit was filed in January 2011.

International Paper spokesman Tom Ryan said in an email Friday that the company is pleased to resolve the lawsuit, but he wouldn’t comment on the terms.

Slade’s attorney, Jim Nobles, said Friday that the terms are confidential by order of the court.

Slade was a contract worker when a 12-story recovery boiler blew up as it was being restarted after annual maintenance at the Redwood plant on May 3, 2008.

The blast killed 28-year-old Marcus Christopher Broome of Bolton and injured nearly two dozen others, including Slade.

Slade was on the sixth floor of the plant as part of his job with Cumming, Ga.-based RMR Mechanical Inc. when the blast happened.

The lawsuit alleges Slade suffered a traumatic brain injury and other wounds in the blast and that he was totally disabled for two years. He also claims to have permanently lost some of his cognitive and reasoning power and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder with nightmares and flashbacks.

There were at least 11 lawsuits filed after the blast, and a number of them ended in settlements, but Ryan has declined to say exactly how many. Ryan said last week that “all issues related to this matter have been resolved with the exception of Slade” and the company was looking forward to putting the matter behind it.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in November 2008 that the boiler didn’t have adequate steam when it was restarted. OSHA proposed a $77,000 fine for two alleged violations. The company contested that and a formal settlement was reached for a $14,000 fine, according to OSHA records.

– The Associated Press

Universal Commercial to Host Networking Breakfast

Universal Commercial Real Estate LLC will host its monthly Regional Minority Business Entrepreneur Power Breakfast Friday, Nov. 2, with the topic, “Launching Memphis Entrepreneurs.”

The speaker is Andre Fowlkes, co-president of LaunchYourCity, an umbrella organization focused on growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Memphis and Shelby County. Through its subsidiary entities LaunchMemphis, Seed Hatchery and Wolf River Angels, and its program initiatives, LaunchYourCity cultivates early stage entrepreneurs and their business ideas, preparing and positioning them for growth and investment.

The event will be held from 7:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. at the University Club, 1346 Union Ave. General admission is $15.

– Sarah Baker

US Economic Growth Up To Still-Modest 2 Percent Rate

The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster 2 percent annual rate from July through September, buoyed by more spending by consumers and the federal government.

Even with the increase from a 1.3 percent growth rate in the April-June quarter, the economy remains too weak to rapidly boost job creation.

The report Friday from the Commerce Department is the last broad snapshot of the economy before Americans choose a president in 11 days.

The 1.74 percent annual growth rate for the first nine months of 2012 remains slightly behind last year’s 1.8 percent growth. That, in turn, trailed 2010’s growth of 2.4 percent.

President Barack Obama has argued that the economy is steadily improving. Analysts cautioned, though, that Friday’s report offered few signs that economic growth is gaining momentum.

“We suspect that growth will slow a little in the fourth quarter and expect it to remain close to 2 percent next year,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

The economy grew faster last quarter in part because consumer spending rose at a 2 percent annual rate, up from a 1.5 percent rate in the second quarter. Spending on homebuilding and renovations increased at an annual rate of more than 14 percent.

And federal spending surged, mainly because of the sharpest increase in defense spending in more than three years.

The government’s report covers gross domestic product. GDP measures the nation’s total output of goods and services — from restaurant meals and haircuts to airplanes, appliances and highways.

– The Associated Press