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VOL. 128 | NO. 46 | Thursday, March 7, 2013

Daily Digest

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Denver, Atlanta Companies Close on Second Purchase

A partnership between real estate investment companies from Denver and Atlanta has closed on another industrial purchase in Oakhaven.

Operating as 3884 Crowfarn Drive LLC, Denver-based Amstar and Atlanta-based Huntington Industrial Partners bought a 158,175-square-foot industrial facility at 3810 Crowfarn Drive for $1.2 million.

The entity bought the Class B warehouse in a Feb. 21 limited warranty deed from Crowfarn Drive LP, which had acquired the property in 2006 for $4 million.

Built in 1974, the warehouse sits on 7.1 acres along the north side of Crowfarn Drive, east of Getwell Drive near Memphis International Airport. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal was $2.3 million.

Amstar and Huntington Industrial Partners also closed recently on an industrial portfolio whose seven parcels include 400,000 square feet of warehouse space on 28 acres along Outland Center Drive in Oakhaven.

Operating as Outland Center Drive LLC, the companies bought the properties Feb. 21 for $11.8 million from Outland Center Drive LP.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Lofton Appointed as Wharton's Information Officer

Dewanna Lofton has accepted Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s appointment to public information officer for the city of Memphis.

Lofton’s resignation of her position as director of communications and alumni engagement at Leadership Memphis is effective March 15. She started with the nonprofit in September.

Lofton’s past work experience includes being a business writer for The Commercial Appeal; senior account supervisor for McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations; manager of internal communications for Smith & Nephew; PR/communication consultant for Medtronic Spine & Biologics; and certified life and career coach for InnerScope Life & Career Coaching.

Leadership Memphis now has four communications positions available for new hires.

– Sarah Baker

Council Delays Sales Tax Votes

Memphis City Council members delayed Tuesday, March 5, final votes on an ordinance to put a half-percent sales tax hike to Memphis voters sometime before Sept. 30 and a resolution outlining how the estimated $47 million in revenue from the tax hike would be used.

The delay comes as details are worked out on how to provide the pre-kindergarten access that $27 million of the revenue would be used to provide. The remaining $20 million would be used to roll back the city property tax rate by 20 cents in the new fiscal year. Final votes are scheduled for the April 2 council meeting.

In other action, the council approved on third and final readings two long-delayed ordinances that allow the city to impound or put a parking boot on vehicles whose drivers dump tires illegally. The ordinances also provide for a $50 fine for violating several different parts of the city code that forbid tire dumping. The delay in final consideration came as attorneys for the city reviewed and fine tuned some of the specific provisions.

The council also gave final approval Tuesday to an ordinance creating a Memphis Tree Board, an advisory board of citizens serving without pay who will advise the city on trees in public spaces including city parks.

And the council approved the reappointment of Jerry Collins as Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division president.

– Bill Dries

Launch Tennessee Adds Commercialization Director

Launch Tennessee, a public-private group focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in Tennessee, has tapped a new commercialization director.

Jim Stefansic will be responsible for overseeing all of Launch Tennessee’s commercialization efforts and strengthening the state’s tech-focused new venture creation. His predecessor stepped down from the role full-time in September 2011 to join a Nashville diagnostics startup.

Prior to joining Launch Tennessee, Stefansic co-founded Pathfinder Therapeutics Inc., a spinoff of his research at Vanderbilt University.

– Andy Meek

FAA Federal Credit Union Relocates Branch

FAA Federal Credit Union is moving its retail branch at 3920 Whitebrook Drive to its existing Centennial Drive location in Southeast Memphis.

The credit union’s operations department will remain on Whitebrook. The change is effective April 8.

FAA Federal Credit Union CEO R. Todd Vanderpool said a recent evaluation of the credit union’s branch locations and member banking preferences led to the decision to move the retail banking center.

– Andy Meek

Harwell Vote Rescues Grocery Store Wine Bill

House Speaker Beth Harwell has rescued a bill to allow supermarket wine sales by casting the deciding vote in a subcommittee where the measure faced defeat.

Harwell, a Nashville Republican, is allowed to cast a vote in any committee, but rarely does so. But she sat in on the House Local Government Subcommittee on Wednesday and angered liquor store owners gathered in the hallway by casting a deciding vote against an attempt to put the bill off until July 2014.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol would allow cities and counties to hold referendums on whether to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores.

The companion bill last week also cleared its first Senate committee last week by a single vote.

– The Associated Press

Panel Approves $14.5 Million for Big River Steel Mill

The Mississippi County Planning and Development Committee has signed off on $14.5 million in funding for the proposed $1.1 billion Big River Steel mill to be built near Osceola, Ark.

The committee approved a resolution Tuesday to appropriate the money from the county’s economic development tax. The measure still needs approval from the county’s finance committee and the full quorum court.

Mill developers say 2,000 construction workers would be needed to build the mill, which promises to employ more than 500 people.

The project is contingent on the legislature’s approval of $125 million in bonds to help finance the project.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that the Mississippi County Quorum Court plans to vote on the proposal at its March 26 meeting.

– The Associated Press

Bill Offered to Create Higher Ed Inspector

Republican state lawmakers are proposing legislation to create an inspector who would examine operations within Tennessee’s higher education systems.

The legislation scheduled in the House State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday would create the Office of Higher Education Ombudsman within the office of the state Comptroller of the Treasury. It also would establish the position of Higher Education Inspector General within the ombudsman’s office, which is estimated to cost $504,300, according to a legislative summary of the bill.

The salary and benefits alone for the inspector general’s position is expected to cost $123,000.

The person’s job would be to “examine financial and policy compliance” within the University of Tennessee and state Board of Regents systems and annually report to the chairs of the education committees in the House and Senate.

The ombudsman could function as the inspector general, “unless the comptroller finds that responsibilities would be handled more efficiently by two separate individuals,” according to the summary.

In this case, sponsors of the ombudsman legislation say such a position is needed because of recent things that have happened within higher education, even though they declined to specify.

The Board of Regents oversees six universities, including the University of Memphis. It also oversees 13 community colleges and 27 technology centers.

The University of Tennessee system has campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin; the Health Science Center in Memphis; state Institutes of Agriculture and Public Service; and the Space Institute in Tullahoma.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108