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Brookfield in California

(Bloomberg) -- Brookfield Residential Properties Inc., a Calgary, Canada-based land developer and homebuilder, will add around 2,250 homes in California to its real estate portfolio after acquiring Playa Capital Co. LLP for an undisclosed amount.

The company will develop the second and final phase of the 65-acre site in the Playa Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, including an office campus and shopping mall, Brookfield said Tuesday.

It also formed a partnership with the Californian State Teachers' Retirement System to develop Bearspaw lands in Calgary.

“Both projects enhance our market position in the respective markets as a leading land developer and homebuilder,” President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Norris said. “Playa Vista is in a prime location and we can begin development on the majority of the assets almost immediately.”

Brookfield has reached agreement to sell three apartment sites with about 1,500 units and 195 residential lots.

Streetcar line OK'd

(AP) -- Voters have approved a tax measure to fund the return of a streetcar line to downtown Los Angeles after half a century.

The city clerk said Monday night that 73 percent of about 2,000 ballots cast by downtown property owners favored the measure, with 67 percent required.

The 110 remaining votes were not enough to change the outcome.

The measure is expected to raise $62.5 million -- about half the $125 million estimated cost of the trolley system.

The remaining funding is expected to come from federal grants.

The tax vote was the biggest obstacle to building the streetcar line that boosters have pushed the streetcar as a major step in downtown Los Angeles' renaissance.

The line would run on a four-mile Broadway-to-Figueroa loop that includes Disney Hall and Staples Center.

Sewage beach

(AP) -- A root-clogged pipeline has forced 6,600 gallons of sewage onto the sand and into the ocean waters of a popular Santa Barbara beach.

Authorities indefinitely closed Leadbetter Beach on Monday.

The Santa Barbara News-Press said untreated sewage began flowing Sunday afternoon from a manhole cover near the beach. A resident reported the spill on Monday.

By the time city crews cleared roots from the clogged line, thousands of gallons of sewage had flowed to the beach.

New I-5 Columbia bridge

(AP) -- Oregon business leaders and Gov. John Kitzhaber on Monday called on the Legislature to approve funding for a new bridge carrying Interstate 5 across the Columbia River.

If Oregon and Washington don't make commitments soon to pay their $450 million shares of the bridge cost, the opportunity for federal money will fade, bridge proponents said at meeting in Portland of political and business leaders.

The bridge has been a political flashpoint on both sides of the river.

It is strongly supported by business groups -- which want to speed the flow of commerce -- and labor unions, whose workers would build it.

Proponents say the existing bridge is too small, choking the flow of commuter and freight traffic, and would likely collapse in a large earthquake.

Critics say it's a waste of money and poorly designed.

Plans call for the bridge to be funded by tolls, tax dollars from Oregon and Washington, and federal money.

The project is projected to cost more than $3 billion for a bridge and new interchanges on both sides of the river.


(Bloomberg) -- Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp., a real estate company focused on single-family rental homes, filed to raise as much as $265 million in a U.S. initial public offering.

Silver Bay, based in Minnetonka, Minn., is offering 13.25 million shares at $18 to $20 each, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. Credit Suisse Group AG, Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are leading the sale.

Silver Bay, led by Chief Executive Officer David Miller, announced plans in September to sell shares and incorporate as a real estate investment trust.

It was formed to buy, renovate, lease and manage single-family properties, the filing shows.

Following the offering, the company's top shareholder will be Two Harbors Investment Corp., which will own about 48 percent of Silver Bay.

Flood compensation

(Bloomberg) -- The government may have to compensate property owners whose land is temporarily flooded when officials release water from an upstream dam, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled.

In a unanimous decision, the justices Tuesday said those landowners might have a claim under the constitutional provision that requires “just compensation” when the government seizes or occupies private property.

Writing for the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said a federal appeals court was wrong to categorically exclude temporary floods from the scope of that provision.

There is “no solid grounding in precedent for setting flooding apart from all other government intrusions on property,” Ginsburg wrote.

The ruling is a victory for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which is seeking to revive a trial court's $5.7 million award against the federal government for damage done to trees in a wildlife area along the Black River.

The commission blames the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for periodically releasing water from a nearby dam at the request of farmers.

The ruling doesn't necessarily mean the commission will collect on that award.

The case is Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States, 11-597.

Sherwin-Williams bonds

(Bloomberg) -- Sherwin-Williams Co., the paint retailer acquiring Consorcio Comex SA de CV, is planning to sell $750 million of bonds to help fund the purchase.

The company may sell five- and 30-year securities as soon as Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the transaction.

Proceeds will also be used to repay borrowings under its domestic commercial paper program, which had about $95 million outstanding Monday, the Cleveland, Ohio-based company said Tuesday in a regulatory filing.

Sherwin-Williams (NYSE: SHW) is adding to the company's 3,500 North American stores after an improving housing market led to record earnings in the third quarter.

Comex, which has exclusive sales to 3,300 paint stores in Mexico, generated two-thirds of its $1.4 billion of revenue last year in Latin America, Sherwin-Williams said in a Nov. 12 presentation.

Historic building for sale

(AP) -- The former home of the Baltimore Grain Trading Exchange has been put up for sale by its owner.

Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate firm, said Commerce Exchange Building, home to the defunct Baltimore International College, is up for sale.

The structure, with 80,555 square feet, was built in 1906 after the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904.

It was renovated in 1985.

It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is two blocks from the Inner Harbor.

Tax records show Baltimore International College bought the Commerce Street building in 1992 for $665,000. It is assessed for tax purposes at $1.1 million.

Cushman & Wakefield said the building is suited for multifamily, hotel, office or retail use.

Gasoline spill suit

(AP) -- Homeowners sued Monday over a massive gasoline spill in southeastern Wisconsin this summer that has contaminated many of their wells, their attorneys said.

A total of 150 families who own property in the Jackson area filed the lawsuit in Washington County Circuit Court against the pipeline owner and operator, the attorneys said.

The homeowners allege they suffered economic and emotional damage.

A section of 10-inch pipe in West Shore's Milwaukee-to-Green Bay line ruptured July 17 in Jackson, spilling an estimated 54,600 gallons of gasoline in a few minutes.

The 98-mile pipeline provides fuel for northeastern Wisconsin and parts of Michigan. The line has since reopened.

Many of the homeowners have been unable to use water from their wells, which have tested positive for cancer-causing benzene, the attorneys said.

The homeowners are asking for compensation for their losses, including the establishment of a medical monitoring fund for early cancer screening.

The homeowners also are seeking punitive damages.

Thames sewage, wastewater

(Bloomberg) -- Thames Water Utilities Ltd., the United Kingdom's largest water supplier, said investments to develop the Thames Tideway Tunnel project totaled 69.7 million pounds ($112 million) for the six-month period ending Sept. 30.

As proposed, the Tideway Tunnel will intercept at least 18 million tons of untreated sewage and wastewater that enters the River Thames tidal area each year through sewer overflows, the British water company said.

Kemble Water Holdings Ltd.'s Thames Water unit serves 14 million mainly residential customers in London and parts of the Home Counties that surround the U.K.’s biggest city.

The Plaza sale

(AP) -- The investment firm headed by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said it has sold a majority stake in The Plaza Hotel in New York to a major Indian real estate conglomerate in a $575 million deal.

Kingdom Holding Co. said it will retain 25 percent equity ownership in the landmark hotel, now controlled by a group led by Sahara India Pariwar.

A statement Tuesday said Kingdom Holding made $32.9 million profit on the deal.

The 115-year-old Plaza has 282 hotel rooms as well as condominium units and retail space.

Amazon deforestation

(AP) -- A study by environmental watchdog agencies said deforestation in the Amazon destroyed an area almost as big as the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2010.

The study by the Amazon Information Network was released Tuesday in Bolivia.

The network said in a statement that close to 93,000 square miles of Amazon rainforest were devastated in the 10-year period studied.

It said that the main culprits are illegal logging, the construction of highways, mining, farming and ranching and the construction of hydroelectric dams.

The network is composed of 11 environmental watchdog organizations in eight South American countries and French Guiana, all of which share the vast Amazon rainforest.

Sixty-three percent of the rainforest's 2.4 million square miles are in Brazil.

Saudi construction

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Real Estate Co. rose to the highest level in eight months on speculation construction companies may be exempt from penalties on businesses where the majority of workers are non-Saudis.

The shares surged in the past six trading days by 22 percent.

The Labor Ministry said last month it will impose a monthly fee of 200 riyals ($53) for every foreign worker if the employer's workforce comprised fewer nationals than foreigners.

The kingdom, the largest Arab economy, is pushing ahead with the decision, Arab News reported Nov. 25, citing Labor Ministry spokesman Hattab Al-Anazi.

The percentage of Saudi workers in non-government companies is between 2 percent and 10 percent, Arab News reported last week, citing Labor Minister Adel Fakeih.

There are about 8.4 million foreign workers in the kingdom, including 6.9 million employed by non-government companies, he said.

The decision comes as Saudi Arabia plans to build 500,000 homes as part of infrastructure investments exceeding $500 billion, spurring the fastest pace of construction industry lending in at least four years.

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