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VOL. 128 | NO. 116 | Friday, June 14, 2013

Daily Digest

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James Lee House Owner Files Construction Loan

The new ownership group of the historic James Lee House at 690 Adams Ave. in Victorian Village has filed a $1 million construction loan for renovations of the property.

The James Lee House LLC – whose partners include Jose Velazquez and J.W. Gibson – filed the construction/term deed of trust June 4 through Triumph Bank. Velazquez signed the deed as managing member of the borrowing entity.

The James Lee House LLC plans to convert the 8,100-square-foot Lee House into a five-suite, luxury bed-and-breakfast inn.

The home was the original home of Memphis College of Art in 1927 until the college moved to Overton Park in 1959, leaving the building empty. Built in 1841 as a two-story, four-room home, the Lee house went through several large changes in the 1870s.

In a related transaction, The James Lee House LLC quitclaimed the property to The Memphis Center City Revenue Finance Corp. as part of the CCRFC approving a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes freeze for the project. Staff estimated that the PILOT benefit over the 10-year term would be $309,778.

The project is a mixture of public and private money with the new owners – Velazquez is former executive director of Latino Memphis and Gibson is owner of Gibson Cos. Inc. – planning to spend $2.3 million on the project.

Last August the Memphis City Council and DMC approved a $1 transfer of the James Lee House from the city to the ownership group.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Three High Schools Host Common Core Training

Three Shelby County high schools – Ridgeway, Southwind and Bartlett – will host the local part of the largest teacher training event in Tennessee history.

The schools and 14 others across the state will host sessions for 30,000 educators in the Common Core State Standards.

The math session will be June 18-21 at Southwind, 7900 E. Shelby Drive, and Ridgeway, 2009 Ridgeway Road; and June 25-28 at Ridgeway and Bartlett High School, 5688 Woodlawn Road.

The English language arts training sections are being scheduled for later in the summer.

The Common Core standards are replacing the “No Child Left Behind” student achievement standards.

– Bill Dries

Hollywood Feed Opening New Memphis-Area Stores

Hollywood Feed, which offers a wide selection of natural and holistic pet food and products, among other things, is opening three new stores in July and August. Two of them will be in the Memphis area – in East Memphis and in Southaven.

The first two stores to open will be at 352 E. Goodman Road in Southaven, and 376 Ridge Way Road in Flowood, Miss. At 3,600 square feet, the Southaven store will include features like dog washing stations and a full-service grooming salon.

The East Memphis store, scheduled to open in August, will be located at 2809 Kirby Parkway. That location will measure about 2,200 square feet.

The three new locations bring the pet retailer’s store count to 21 locations across the Southeast in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama.

– Andy Meek

AutoZone Authorizes New Share Buyback

AutoZone Inc.’s board has authorized the repurchase of $750 million worth of shares of common stock as part of the company’s ongoing share repurchase program.

Since the inception of the repurchase program in 1998, and including the new amount, AutoZone’s board has authorized $13.4 billion in repurchases.

In unrelated news the company announced this week, AutoZone general counsel Harry Goldsmith is retiring in January 2014.

– Andy Meek

First Watch Restaurant Eyes Memphis for Expansion

The breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant concept First Watch is looking to expand in Tennessee, with company executives seeking multi-unit franchisees to open restaurants in Memphis.

The search for a franchisee in Memphis is part of the company’s strategy to grow to more than 300 restaurants by 2017. First Watch currently operates more than 100 restaurants in 15 states. Each restaurant is about 3,200 square feet to 3,500 square feet, seats about 120 guests and employs about 25 local residents.

The company is celebrating its 30th year in 2013.

– Andy Meek

FordHarrison Law Firm Joins Global HR Alliance

FordHarrison LLP, a labor and employment law firm with operations in Memphis, has joined Ius Laboris, the world’s largest alliance of human resources and pensions law firms.

“Access to local human resources law services in the main business centers in America will be an invaluable resource for our European and worldwide clients,” said Chris Engels, the recently appointed chairman of Ius Laboris.

The Ius Laboris alliance includes 43 law firms with more than 1,300 lawyers in 42 countries.

– Jennifer Johnson Backer

Tennessee Board Adds Rules for Compounding Pharmacies

The Tennessee Board of Pharmacy says it has adopted new regulations for compounding pharmacies licensed by the state following recent outbreaks of illnesses associated with tainted medicines created at these specialty pharmacies.

The Pharmacy Board said in a news release that the new rules will improve safeguards for public health while also ensuring that drugs in short supply will be available. Compounding pharmacies mix custom formulations of drugs based on doctors’ specifications.

The board said the changes include expedited suspension of sterile compounding by a pharmacy or manufacturer after a serious problem is discovered and adding sterile compounding registration to licenses issued by the state.

Drug manufacturers doing business in Tennessee will also be required to show they are registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

– The Associated Press

US Retail Sales Jump 0.6 Percent in May

Americans stepped up purchases at retail businesses in May, spending more on cars, home improvements and sporting goods. The gain shows consumers remain resilient despite higher taxes and could drive faster growth later this year.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales increased 0.6 percent in May from April. That’s up from a 0.1 percent gain the previous month and the fastest pace since February.

The April gain was led by a 1.8 percent jump in auto sales, the biggest increase in six months. Excluding volatile autos, gas and building supplies, core retail sales rose 0.3 percent. That’s slightly higher than the 0.2 percent April increase.

Sales increased at hardware and general merchandise stores, but fell at furniture and appliance stores.

The retail sales report is the government’s first look each month at consumer spending, which drives 70 percent of economic activity.

Solid job growth and rising home prices have allowed consumers to withstand an increase this year in Social Security taxes, which has lowered take-home pay for most Americans.

Consumer spending from January through March grew at the fastest pace in more than two years. That helped the economy expand at a solid annual rate of 2.4 percent. Most economists predict that growth is slowing in the April-June quarter to an annual rate of 2 percent or less. But many say growth will likely pick up in the second half of the year.

Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said the May increase in retail spending was stronger than anticipated. Lower gas prices may have helped, he noted.

Even with the gain, he believes consumer spending is slowing from the first quarter’s 3.4 percent annual pace, down to around 2.5 percent or less in the current quarter.

There are signs that spending could strengthen in the second half of the year. Consumer confidence rose to five-year high in May. And steady gains in home sales and construction are providing support for the economy even as manufacturing weakens. Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.3 percent in May.

– The Associated Press

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