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VOL. 128 | NO. 177 | Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Daily Digest

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Bayer CropScience Files Permit Application for Greenhouse

Bayer CropScience is moving ahead with construction of its $17 million greenhouse near Agricenter International, filing a $2 million permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement.

The application lists Bayer as the owner and tenant and Rose Construction Inc. as the contractor. It describes the facility as 55,000 square feet at 7610 Smythe Farm Road, and lists the scope of the project as “shell permit to erect greenhouse shell only.”

In late March, Bayer CropScience and Collierville-based Helena Chemical Co. announced separate investments at Agricenter International totaling nearly $20 million, and both companies unveiled their plans at an April 1 ceremony.

Bayer’s greenhouse, which is expected to be finished early next year, will feature 40,000 square feet of growing space plus open office space. By incorporating automation into the design, the greenhouse will result in a 40 percent reduction annually in natural gas and electricity consumption.

Bayer, the leading cottonseed company globally, has leased space from Agricenter since 1992. Once finished, the company’s Memphis greenhouse will allow it to increase the number of traits for cotton varieties in U.S. and global markets.

Helena Chemical’s investment at the Agricenter includes construction of a $2.2 million, 8,500-square-foot research formulation laboratory as well as improvements to existing facilities.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

MAAR Records August Home Sales Increase

Memphis-area home sales posted gains in August when compared to August 2012 but were flat from July, according to the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.

MAAR reports 1,702 sales were recorded in the area in August, up 11.7 percent from 1,525 in August 2012. In July, 1,714 sales were recorded in the area.

MAAR records home sales in Shelby, Fayette, Tipton, Hardeman, Hardin, McNairy and Lauderdale counties in Tennessee; DeSoto County in Mississippi; and Crittenden County in Arkansas.

The average sales price in August was $144,063, up 11.3 percent from $129,380 last August. Total sales volume for August was $245.2 million, up 24.3 percent from $197.3 million last year.

Through August, 11,179 homes have been sold, up 11 percent from 10,072 sales over the same period last year. The year-to-date average sales price was $142,363, up 10.3 percent from $129,083 last year. Sales volume through August weighed in at $1.59 billion, up 22.3 percent from $1.3 billion last year.

– Amos Maki

Wunderlich Securities Downgrades First Horizon

Wunderlich Securities Inc. has downgraded shares of Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp. from buy to hold and lowered the company’s price target from $13 to $11.

The move follows a visit with First Horizon management last week, according to Wunderlich bank analyst Kevin Reynolds. In a note to clients, Reynolds wrote that in the wake of that meeting, “our outlook on FHN shares is incrementally more cautious given a persistently difficult environment with near-term headwinds impacting both FHN’s spread-based banking business as well as its fixed income sales operation.”

He did note as the economic environment strengthens and interest rates normalize at higher levels, First Horizon’s commercially oriented focus could produce “meaningfully higher growth and profitability.” First Horizon is the parent company of First Tennessee Bank.

– Andy Meek

Reynolds Bone & Griesbeck Donates to Crews Center

Memphis-based accounting firm Reynolds Bone & Griesbeck PLC has announced a four-year commitment to the Crews Center for Entrepreneurship at The University of Memphis.

The accounting firm has pledged a $40,000 donation – $10,000 per year over four years – to the center, which will be based out of the former’s Mason’s Lodge building that was built in the 1950s and is currently undergoing renovations. Those renovations will transform the space into a top-class venture development lab, complete with flexible office space, lab areas for prototype development, advanced technological systems and a conference room for meetings with potential investors and mentors.

RBG managing partner John Griesbeck said he approached the firm’s partner group about making a funding commitment to support the lab and that he believes the project will enhance entrepreneurial activities of the university and the local business community.

– Andy Meek

First Horizon Honored as Adoption-Friendly

First Horizon National Corp. has again earned a spot on the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s list of best adoption-friendly workplaces.

Rankings for the best adoption-friendly workplaces were based on benefits available to employees who adopt, such as financial reimbursement and paid leave.

John Daniel, First Horizon’s head of human resources, said the company works hard to provide the tools and benefits to help employees achieve a balance of being at their best to serve customers when they have the resources to juggle work and family life.

– Andy Meek

Commission Reappoints Bright as EDGE Chairman

Shelby County Commissioners on Monday, Sept. 9, approved the reappointment of Al Bright as the chairman of the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine board.

But Commissioner Mike Ritz directed the county attorney’s office to begin drafting a resolution he intends to propose that would block future approval of appointments to the EDGE board until the city of Memphis pays its part of financing both local governments pledged to fund the work of the economic development agency.

The funding was to come from the money city and county governments got from the sale of the old Defense Depot property in South Memphis. The city, however, used the money for other purposes and pledged to pay from other funds.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said he had talked with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. as recently as last week and had received a pledge from Wharton that the city would pay its share.

The commission also approved a $1.5 million contract with AlliedBarton Security Services LLC to provide security at county government buildings, as well as two contracts totaling $1.7 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding to replace flood pumps and make bank repairs in the Millington area from the 2010 flooding there.

The commission also approved the addition to the Spring Creek Ranch golf course at Collierville-Arlington Road and Raleigh LaGrange Road. The item had been delayed several times as commissioners verified the owners of the property had paid their property taxes. The addition includes single-family housing, an events center including a culinary school and microbrewery, and a day spa with a pool.

– Bill Dries

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