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VOL. 129 | NO. 120 | Friday, June 20, 2014

Daily Digest

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Westbrook Crossing Owner Files $22 Million Loan

The owner of the Westbrook Crossing apartments at 525 Shea Road in Collierville has filed a $22 million loan on the property.

Westbrook Crossing GP filed the amended and restated deed of trust, security agreement and fixture filing June 11 through Monumental Life Insurance Co.

Rick Wood, executive vice president of Financial Federal Bank, arranged the permanent loan on behalf of Westbrook Crossing’s managing partner, Milton Grant.

Built in 2013, the Class A multifamily property sits on 25 acres along the north side of Shea Road east of its intersection with South Houston Levee Road. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal was $17.3 million.

Westbrook Crossing, a partnership comprised of Milton and Ruth Grant, received the 25-acre parcel in July 2012 via quitclaim from Grant Properties LLC. Grant Properties bought the land in 2007 for $2 million, or $80,000 an acre. Milton Grant is part of the Grant family of homebuilders.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Plastics Recycler RE-CY Receives Incentives

A company that recycles and manufactures post-industrial plastics was awarded incentives to relocate from Arkansas to Memphis.

RE-CY, or RE-CY Plastics, was awarded a four-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive from the board of the Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County to relocate its plastics recycling and manufacturing operations to Memphis from Searcy, Ark.

The project would create 36 jobs with an annual average salary of around $41,000. Capital investment would reach $8.1 million.

RE-CY would acquire a 233,060-square-foot industrial building at 611 Winchester Road for $1.3 million.

The business, which has 15 employees now, has the ability to process around 20 million pounds of material each year and would like to increase that to 35 million pounds.

According to an EDGE analysis, the four-year PILOT would save the company around $443,170 in taxes while producing a local tax benefit of $758,006.

– Amos Maki

Armstrong Appointed to Appeals Court

Shelby County Chancellor Kenny Armstrong has been appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

Haslam announced his selection Wednesday, June 18.

Armstrong’s appointment to the Western Division seat on the civil appellate court is effective Sept. 1, which is when he would begin a new eight-year term as one of three Chancery Court judges. He is running unopposed in his August re-election bid for Chancery Court Part 3.

The Judicial Nominating Commission will take applications to fill the Chancery Court vacancy, interview applicants, then submit a list of finalists to Haslam, who will make the appointment. As of Thursday, no dates had been set for applications and interviews.

Armstrong’s appointment means two of the three incumbent chancellors will be leaving the court with the new term of office that begins Sept. 1.

In August, Haslam appointed Chancellor Arnold Goldin to the same appeals court, also effective Sept. 1. As a result, Goldin did not seek re-election to Chancery Court Part 2.

Incumbent Chancellor Walter Evans is seeking re-election on the August ballot and is being challenged by attorney Michael Richards.

– Bill Dries

AutoZone Adds to Stock Buyback

The board of AutoZone Inc. has authorized the company’s repurchase of an additional $750 million of the company’s common stock in connection with its ongoing share repurchase program.

Since the inception of the repurchase program in 1998, and including the new amount, AutoZone’s board has authorized $14.9 billion in share buybacks.

AutoZone chief financial officer Bill Giles said the company’s continued strong financial performance makes the buybacks possible and allow the company to repurchase its stock while maintaining its investment-grade credit rating.

– Andy Meek

Nikki Giovanni to Speak at Civil Rights Museum

Nikki Giovanni, an acclaimed poet and civil rights activist, will be at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis on Sunday, June 22.

She is scheduled to speak at 2 p.m. in Hooks Hyde Hall on the second floor of the museum.

Giovanni will discuss her works, her life and her perspective on topics shaping American culture.

She will read from and perform several of her poems. She'll also discuss her latest book, "Chasing Utopia," followed by a book signing.

The main section of the newly renovated museum reopened April 5, the day after the 46th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in Memphis.

King was killed on April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel, which was later converted into the museum in Downtown Memphis.

– The Associated Press

Gauge of US Economy Gains 0.5 Percent in May

A gauge designed to predict the economy's future health increased for a fourth month in May, providing further evidence that the economy is gaining strength after a harsh winter caused activity to go into reverse.

The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.5 percent last month, an improvement from a revised 0.3 percent gain in April. The strength was broadly based with positive contributions from all the financial and labor components of the index.

"Recent data suggest the economy is finally moving up from a 2 percent growth trend to a more robust expansion," said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein. "Going forward, the biggest challenge is to sustain the rise in income growth which will drive consumption."

The overall economy actually shrank at an annual rate of 1 percent in the January-March quarter, the victim of a severe winter which crimped activity in a number of areas.

But analysts believe growth rebounded strongly in the April-June quarter to possibly as much as a 4 percent growth rate. They are forecasting a solid performance in the second half of around 3 percent growth.

The expectation is that rising employment will fuel further gains in consumer spending.

The leading index is composed of 10 forward-pointing indicators. For May, seven of the 10 showed gains with the largest positive contributions coming from low interest rates, falling weekly unemployment claims and gains in manufacturing hours.

The biggest negative factor holding the index back was a drop in applications for building permits.

– The Associated Press

Fewer Americans Apply for Jobless Aid

Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, as the number of people collecting jobless aid fell to its lowest level in more than six years.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined to 311,750.

There are 2.56 million people receiving benefits. That's the lowest total since October 2007, about two months before the recession began.

Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the report in a "blinding glimpse of the obvious” is clearly "good news."

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the relatively low number of people seeking benefits shows that employers are letting go of fewer workers. When businesses are confident enough to keep staff, they may also hire more workers. Job gains should feed stronger economic growth.

Earlier this month, the Labor Department said employers added a solid 217,000 jobs in May.

Monthly job gains have averaged 234,000 for the past three months, up sharply from 150,000 in the previous three. The unemployment rate, which is derived from a separate survey, remained at 6.3 percent in May. That's the lowest rate in more than five years.

The data in Thursday's unemployment benefits report overlaps with the survey for the June jobs report. The low level of applications would suggest similarly strong hiring this month, Lee said.

Steady gains after the economy shrank during the first quarter because of the winter weather point to faster growth ahead.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 56 289 2,908
MORTGAGES 55 226 2,009
BUILDING PERMITS 108 1,002 6,703
BANKRUPTCIES 42 248 1,225