Foreclosures Providing Opportunities

In today’s edition of The Daily News, I profiled Ed Thomas and Andrew Phillips of Colliers International’s retail division, who sold more centers in 2010 than any other brokerage in town.

A lot of the business the team has picked up in recent times is a result of foreclosures, which had provided opportunities for other retailers to enter the market at more reasonable prices. Here’s more:

“All of these retail centers were sold at the peak of the market and the operating expenses and taxes were very high,” Thomas said. “But now, as a result of the foreclosures, the operating expenses have come down, which have allowed tenants to not pay as much overage. These centers were reassessed by the tax assessor and taxes have come down almost half of what they used to be at 2006, and then on top of that, they were re-traded at more reasonable prices per square foot, which in turn allowed the tenants to pay less per square foot.”

Memories of CNBC Anchor Mark Haines (1946-2011)

Mark Haines, CNBC’s likeable curmudgeon of an anchor, died this week.

Traders at the New York Stock Exchange observed a spontaneous moment of silence Wednesday.

Tributes poured in from around the nation’s business community, including from the likes of the chairman of Boeing and from former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan .

Memphis financial advisor David Waddell was interviewed by Haines on CNBC. Waddell said “he was a very good interviewer and never let you get away with an unsubstantiated comment … I really appreciated his integrity.”

Chris Low, chief economist for FTN Financial (a unit of Memphis-based First Tennessee Bank), is interviewed frequently in the financial press. In a note sent to his email list Thursday morning, Low said his first TV appearance many years ago was with Haines on the CNBC show “Squawk Box.”

“Impeccably dressed above the desk in a blue suit jacket, white shirt and solid tie, Mark was wearing faded blue jeans and scuffed basketball sneakers under it,” Low said. “He was as tough with me as he was with any of his guests, but he also recognized the deer in the headlights fear in my eyes, because, before we went on air, he told me to relax.

“Then he said, ‘I’m going to come at you hard, but if you believe in your forecast, come right back at me. That’s good TV. Don’t take it personally, and don’t worry about hurting my feelings.’ It was just the right thing to say to a rookie, and was typical of the man. I will miss him.”

The Burundi Family Singers

My story in Thursday’s edition of the Daily News featured The Burundi Family Singers, a refugee family of 12 who sing the songs that strengthened their spirits and carried them on the long journey from the mountains of their east-central African homeland, through Rwanda and Tanzania, and finally to Memphis, where they settled into their new lives.

Click here to see video of the family performing at a World Refugee Day celebration in Memphis last year. Enjoy.

More on Sears Crosstown

Here’s a quote that didn’t make it to the final version of my Blank Palette story. But it’s one that I think needs to be heard, particularly given the “engage, retain, attract” mentality.

Recently, when Crosstown Arts co-director Todd Richardson was talking Memphis economic development guru Dexter Muller, he said that the Sears Crosstown revitalization project is a plan that embraces and capitalizes on everything that makes a city great – diversity, arts, culture, loft-style living and education.

“It’s not a suburban plan for an inner-city area,” Richardson said. “If we were to do this development and say the first two floors are going to be Target, well I can go find that in Wolfchase or Germantown. If we are going to get people in the region, particularly outside of the city to come back into the city, then we have to embrace and showcase those aspects of the city that are attractive to people that you can’t get anywhere else.”

Memories of Lehrer

This news about Jim Lehrer leaving his anchor job at ‘PBS NewsHour’ in June reminded me about the behind-the-scenes look I got at the legendary anchor when I covered the presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., in September 2008.

I was with a group of journos from around the world who were settling into position a few minutes before the appointed time when Barack Obama and John McCain would begin their debate.

Jim Lehrer always seemed to have a low-key, relatively quiet presence in the broadcast chair. He was anything but that as he strode onto the stage in Oxford a few minutes before the debate was supposed to begin, on his way to take a seat in the host’s chair.

With about five minutes to spare, Lehrer addressed the crowd.

“It’s going to require my absolute concentration, and I don’t want to worry about anyone cheering and hollering behind me,” he snapped. “This is not a competing pep rally. If I hear (anything), I’ll raise my hand. And that means hush.”

He said there would be five-minute periods of open discussion between the candidates sprinkled throughout the 90-minute debate.

“That’s when it’s going to get hairy for me and for everybody,” he said. “This has to be a credible debate. It has to be fair, and it has to appear to be fair.

“And. No. Cell phones. If you’ve got a cell phone, throw it away or turn it off.”

He then took his seat in the chair, with his back to the crowd, appearing to shuffle some papers.

“Thirty seconds,” he bellowed to the crowd. “The next words you hear from me will be the real ones.”

And then, as promised, “the real ones.”

Announced Lehrer: “Good evening from the Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.”