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VOL. 128 | NO. 203 | Thursday, October 17, 2013

Daily Digest

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Former FedEx Headquarters on Airways Sells for $850,000

The first corporate headquarters of FedEx Corp. at 2990 Airways Blvd. has sold for $850,000 to an entity related to a Buenos Aires-based commercial real estate firm.

Topador LLC, an affiliate of Aramis Inmobiliara, bought the 56,752-square-foot office building near Memphis International Airport from Tempe, Ariz.-based Aerotropolis LLC.

The sale closed in a Sept. 16 warranty deed but wasn’t recorded by the Shelby County Register of Deeds until this week. No financing was associated with the transaction.

Built in 1975, the property served as first official home to FedEx executives, including CEO Fred Smith, before the company sold it to the American Contract Bridge League Inc. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal is $908,800.

Along with a neighboring building at 3120 Directors Row, the office was branded in 2008 as Memphis Aerotropolis Center, a nod to the then-burgeoning aerotropolis initiative.

Aerotropolis LLC in August 2007 bought the Airways building from American Contract Bridge League Inc. for $1 million and in March 2008 bought the Directors Row building, which it still owns, from Transcontinental Realty Investors Inc. for $440,000.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

University of Memphis Law School Hosts Admissions Workshop

The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will host an admissions workshop and recruitment fair next week.

The event on Tuesday, Oct. 22 ,from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. is free and open to the public.

The school’s pre-law adviser and the dean of admissions from the law school will co-present the admissions workshop from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Then from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., representatives from six law schools will be available to talk to interested students about their respective schools.

In addition to Memphis, the schools include the University of Tennessee, University of Mississippi, Mississippi College, Baylor University, and Belmont University School of Law. Other representatives from the University of Memphis will also be available to talk to students interested in the joint- and dual-degree programs.

Interested students should make reservations by contacting Penny Rogers at rpenny@memphis.edu or 678-5403.

– Andy Meek

Orpheum to Host Annual Auction

The Orpheum Theatre is gearing up for its 35th annual auction.

The auction, which is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, will kick off a yearlong celebration of The Orpheum’s 85th anniversary.

This year’s event will begin with an online auction opening Monday, Oct. 21, at auction.orpheum-memphis.com, and will culminate Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. with silent and live auctions.

The silent auction will offer more than 400 items, while the live auction will feature several unique bidding opportunities, including a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder from Wolfchase Nissan, a set of 2013-2014 University of Memphis men’s basketball season tickets and a trip for two to the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C.

In addition to the auctions, the Orpheum will host a live drawing for its annual raffle: a 1995 Ferrari Spider. Raffle tickets are $100 per entry.

All raffle and auction proceeds will benefit the Orpheum’s new $14.5 million Centre for Performing Arts.

– Amos Maki

Council Delays Funding for Southbrook Mall

Memphis City Council members held up Tuesday, Oct. 15, on approving the portion of the minutes from their Oct. 1 meeting that would set in motion $1.5 million in city funding for a renovation of Southbrook Mall in Whitehaven.

The council approved the measure Oct. 1 contingent on Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration researching the legality. The funding for the improvements would come from federal funding for streetscape improvements along Elvis Presley Boulevard between Brooks Road and Shelby Drive.

But the mall may be considered a private use for which such government funding cannot be used. If it is a private use and the federal funding is used, it would jeopardize the renovation project and could lead to a withdrawal of funding for the larger streetscape project.

The administration didn’t have a legal opinion Tuesday on the matter and wanted another two weeks before the council made the funding final with the approval of the meeting minutes.

In other action Tuesday, the council approved a $225 million general improvement refunding bond issue and a companion $150 million issuance of commercial paper in general obligation bonds. The bonds are part of a process of moving short-term city debt of one to three years to longer-term debt of approximately 20 years.

The council also approved a residential tax abatement program contingent on approval from the Tennessee attorney general. The measure, sponsored by council member Lee Harris, targets “tax dead” or “tax limbo” properties in which owners owe much more in back property taxes than the property is worth. The state Attorney General’s office is being asked to issue a legal opinion on the program.

– Bill Dries

Carr Raises Just $52,000 for Alexander Challenge

State Rep. Joe Carr’s campaign says the Republican raised just $52,000 in the first fundraising period of his challenge of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Carr told talk radio host Ralph Bristol on WTN-FM on Wednesday he had raised “a little bit less than $100,000” in the third quarter. A campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a message seeking an explanation for the wide disparity.

Carr said on the radio show that he had been more focused during the quarter on gaining tea party endorsements than on raising money.

Alexander disclosed on Tuesday that he had raised nearly $838,000 in the third quarter and that his total since the beginning of the year was $3.9 million. He had $2.8 million remaining on hand.

– The Associated Press

Builder Confidence Dips Amid Budget Impasse

U.S. homebuilders are feeling less confident in the housing market, reflecting their uncertainty over the budget impasse in Washington.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Wednesday fell to 55 in October. That’s down from a reading of 57 in September. September’s reading was revised one point lower from its initial estimate.

Measures of current sales conditions for single-family homes, builders’ outlook over the next six months and traffic by prospective buyers all declined in October.

The partial government shutdown, which began on Oct. 1, has made it harder for some buyers to close on their mortgages, raising concerns that a prolonged shutdown could undercut the strength of the housing recovery. The survey was conducted from Oct. 1 through Oct. 11.

Still, builders remain optimistic that the recovery will endure. Any reading above 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.

“Once this government impasse is resolved, we expect builder and consumer optimism will bounce back,” said David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist.

The association estimates that builders broke ground on single-family homes in September at a seasonally adjusted annual rate between 620,000 and 630,000 homes last month, in line with the August pace of 628,000. Official estimates from the U.S. Census haven’t been released because of the government shutdown.

“Single-family starts dipped in July but rebounded in August, and we expect continued strength in September,” Crowe said.

Builders’ confidence in the market for newly built homes has improved steadily since national measures of home sales and prices began to recover early last year.

But some builders reported a slowdown in sales this summer as mortgage interest rates began to tick up in May, stoking worries that rising rates could hinder the housing recovery.

Rates began to increase after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled the central bank might reduce its $85-billion-a-month in bond purchases. The bond buys are intended to keep longer-term interest rates low, including mortgage rates.

But the Fed held off last month, and since then mortgage rates have moved lower.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173