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VOL. 127 | NO. 195 | Friday, October 5, 2012

Daily Digest

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Willow Oaks Apartment Complex Sells for $1.1 Million

Bountiful, Utah-based Noall Investment Properties LLC has paid $1.1 million for the 346-unit Willow Oaks apartment complex at 2429 Ketchum Road.

Noall Investment Properties bought the multifamily property in the Defense Depot’s 38114 ZIP code Sept. 25 from Willow Oaks Apartments LLC.

Aviv Bernstein and Susan Bernstein signed the warranty deed as members of the New York-based seller, which bought the property in 2005 for $4 million.

Built in 1966, the 257,838-square-foot, Class D multifamily complex sits on 18.74 acres on the south side of Ketchum Road near its intersection with Airways Boulevard. The south side of the property abuts Interstate 240.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal is $2.5 million.

In conjunction with the sale, Noall Investment Properties filed $500,000 and $100,000 loans. Alan Noall signed both trust deeds as manager of the buying entity.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

September Sales Figure Drops 3.8 Percent at Fred's

Discount-store operator Fred’s Inc. said Thursday that a key revenue figure fell 3.8 percent in September, hurt by a shift of drug sales from name brand to generic in its pharmacy department.

Analysts expected a smaller 1.8 percent drop in revenue in stores open at least one year, according to Thomson Reuters. The measure is important to retailers because it excludes sales from new stores and stores that have closed recently.

Total sales for the five weeks ended Sept. 29 rose 1 percent to $170.9 million.

“The impact of generic pricing on the major brand conversions was dramatic,” said CEO Bruce Efird.

Usually, market changes occur over six to nine months, but this conversion happened at a more rapid pace, involving a period of only 30 to 45 days.

Lower tobacco sales also hurt results. Pet products, hardware and food were stronger categories.

Year-to-date, revenue in stores open at least one year fell 1.2 percent and total revenue rose 3 percent to $1.28 billion.

Memphis-based Fred’s operates about 700 discount stores in the Southeast.

– The Associated Press

Blight Program Announced for Unincorporated Areas

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell announced a $600,000 effort in Northaven, Waverly Farms and Southeast Shelby County to fight blight and help homeowners fix up their properties. The funding for the two-part effort in the unincorporated areas of Shelby County is part of $7.5 million Shelby County government and the city of Memphis government are to receive from Wells Fargo Bank.

The Wells Fargo payment is a settlement of the lawsuit filed by both governments against the lender over its mortgage loan practices.

Half of the funding announced Thursday, Oct. 4, is to make grants of $5,000 to $8,000 each to homeowners in the areas for improvements.

Another $150,000 is for cutting overgrown grass and brush and removing trash and debris. There is also $100,000 for demolition of vacant and abandoned structures in all three areas as well as $50,000 for partnership grants with community development organizations for ongoing clean-up efforts.

Luttrell rolled out the plan, the first of several involving the Wells Fargo settlement, at the Northaven Community Center.

The applications for home improvements are for homeowners who meet income guidelines. The homeowners must also be current on property taxes and not be in foreclosure.

Luttrell told a group of about 100 citizens that the money is a start on long-standing problems in each of the communities. He also counseled them to be patient particularly about the demolition process because of the legal requirements for moving ahead with such demolition work.

– Bill Dries

Literacy Mid-South Hosts Super Gala Fundraiser

Literacy Mid-South is hosting its second annual Super Gala fundraiser Oct. 19.

The event, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at 902 S. Cooper St. and sponsored by Celtic Crossing, serves a dual purpose. By encouraging guests to create their best rendition of childhood superheroes from their favorite comic books, the event allows supporters to revisit childhood memories while helping support Literacy Mid-South’s mission.

The event will feature a costume contest, and guests will enjoy live music, a silent auction and food and drink. Admission is $50 per couple and $35 per individual and can be purchased online at www.literacymidsouth.org or by calling 327-6000.

The Daily News is a supporter of Literacy Mid-South.

– Andy Meek

Atlanta Public Relations Firm Moves to Memphis

Fresh Touch Publicity, an Atlanta-based public relations firm, has relocated to Memphis.

The firm’s founder, TJ Jefferson, listed the city’s growing recognition for its entrepreneur development and support as a primary reason for the move. Though FTP will be headquartered in Memphis, the company still will maintain client accounts in Atlanta and other cities.

Jefferson said programs like EmergeMemphis and LaunchMemphis mentor business startups and existing companies and have the potential to connect Fresh Touch Publicity with potential clients and other networking opportunities.

Jefferson, a Memphis native, started the company in 2011. Fresh Touch Publicity offers traditional public relations, branding, marketing, graphic design, website design and social media services.

– Sarah Baker

City Appeals Voter Identification Law Ruling

Attorneys for the city of Memphis are asking a state appeals court to make two distinct rulings on whether the state’s photo voter identification law is constitutional and whether a photo library card qualifies as valid voter identification under the law.

The request comes in the city’s appeal filed Wednesday, Oct. 4, to a ruling last month by Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Carol McCoy. McCoy ruled the state law passed in 2011 by the Tennessee Legislature does not violate the Tennessee Constitution.

A two-part ruling by the Tennessee Court of Appeals is sought if the appeals court agrees with McCoy on the issue of constitutionality.

Attorneys for the state contend the intent of the law was not to permit a library card with a photo on it to be used as a valid form of voter identification.

The city argued in a federal court case that it later dismissed that the photo library cards were state-issued identification. Two federal judges disagreed with that position before the city withdrew the case and moved to pursue the question in federal court.

– Bill Dries

Unemployment Aid Applications Rise to 367,000

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 367,000, a level consistent with only modest hiring.

Weekly applications increased last week by 4,000 from the previous week’s level of 363,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The previous week was revised higher from an initial reading of 359,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, was unchanged at 375,000.

Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., said the figures are “consistent with a soft but by no means collapsing labor market.”

Unemployment benefit applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. When they consistently fall below 375,000, it typically indicates that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

Applications have mostly stayed near or above that level since the spring, coinciding with a weak stretch of hiring. The government reports Friday on September hiring and unemployment.

Thursday’s report showed that the total number of people receiving unemployment aid fell slightly. About 5.09 million people received unemployment aid in the week ending Sept. 15, the latest figures available. That’s 85,000 lower than the previous week.

– The Associated Press

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