• News
  • Real Estate
Industry Briefs

Cop house closing

(AP) -- Parker Center, the iconic building that housed Los Angeles police operations for nearly 60 years, is closing its doors.

The boxy, glass-windowed structure, seen often in episodes of “Dragnet” and other TV shows, is considered a classic representation of 1950s architecture.

A new, more modern downtown headquarters opened nearby in 2009, however, and Parker Center's last employees left earlier this month.

Police officials scheduled a formal closing ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

Originally named the Police Administration Building when it was completed in 1954, Parker Center centralized police operations downtown.

It was renamed in 1966 to honor the city's longest-serving police chief, William H. Parker.

LAPD spokesman Richard French said officials aren't sure what the future holds for the old building.

Vegas lawyer pleads

(AP) -- A Las Vegas lawyer has pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and fraud charges in a mortgage scheme that prosecutors say cost banks $30 million.

The 43-year-old Gerry Zobrist pleaded Monday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud.

He faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine at sentencing April 15.

Prosecutors say Zobrist and his co-conspirators enlisted straw buyers to purchase homes in the Las Vegas area, and then had the sellers disburse part of the proceeds to entities controlled by Zobrist and the others.

Prosecutors say Zobrist and his co-conspirators purchased 144 homes under the scheme and obtained loans for more than $53 million.

But authorities say they defaulted on the loans, and the foreclosures caused about $30 million in losses for banks.

Infrastructure spending

(Bloomberg) -- With $157 billion per year in added infrastructure spending over the next eight years, the U.S. would save $3.1 trillion in gross domestic product, $1.1 trillion in trade and 3.5 million jobs, according to a new report.

Current U.S. policies will underfund surface transportation, aviation, waterways, the electrical grid and sewers by about $1.1 trillion through 2020, the American Society of Civil Engineers said Tuesday.

“Infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy and provides the foundation for assuring a high quality of life for all Americans,” said Gregory E. DiLoreto, president of ASCE, said. “Deteriorating infrastructure has a cascading impact on our nation's economy.”

Without the added investment, business costs will increase by $1.2 trillion and household costs by $611 billion, the group said.

WTC spire installed

(AP) -- Workers at the rising 1 World Trade Center on Tuesday installed the first piece of the spire that will make the 104-floor skyscraper the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.

Dozens of construction workers were on hand as two giant cranes on the roof slowly lowered the massive, round piece of steel into its socket -- the base of the 800-ton, 408-foot spire that will also serve as a world-class broadcast antenna.

“Its function is incredibly important to the region,” said Anthony Hayes, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the 16-acre trade center site. “We're bringing broadcast back down to lower Manhattan on top of the World Trade Center.”

With a beacon at its peak to ward off aircraft, the spire will provide public transmission services for television and radio broadcast channels that were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, along with the twin towers.

The nearly 70-ton piece floated into Manhattan last month on a barge. It's the heaviest of 18 parts that will top the 1,776-foot skyscraper symbolizing America's freedom. The high-rise is scheduled to open for business in 2014.

Major tenants include the magazine publisher Conde Nast, the government's General Services Administration (GSA) and Vantone Holdings China Center, which will provide business space for high-profile international companies.

The tower's crowning spire is a joint venture between the ADF Group Inc. engineering firm in Terrebonne, Quebec, and New York-based DCM Erectors Inc., the prime steel contractor for the tower.

Historic tax credit

(AP) -- A Nebraska state lawmaker has proposed legislation that he said would help revitalize small-town main streets.

Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha proposed a state tax credit on Monday to encourage preservation and restoration of historic buildings in Nebraska.

The Nebraska Job Creation and Mainstreet Revitalization Act would offer a tax credit for restoring, rehabilitating or preserving historically significant and income-producing properties.

The legislation would create a 20 percent tax credit for up to $10 million spent on historic preservation, and a 10 percent credit for projects costing more.

To qualify for the tax credit, projects must cost at least $25,000.

Nordquist said the bill would spur private investments in revitalizing main streets, create jobs and preserve Nebraska history.

GE conversion

(Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co.'s power conversion business won a $10 million contract to aid in the construction of the world’s largest wastewater treatment plant in Abu Dhabi, boosting its operations in the region.

The company said that it would supply eight pump drive trains, each with a power of 6.38 megawatts, as part of pumping station work that's making up a 25-mile wastewater tunnel to collect and transport used waters generated by the city.

When the plant is fully operational in 2030, its wastewater pumps powered by GE (NYSE: GE) drive trains will be able to treat as much as 70,000 cubic meters of wastewater an hour.

Funding low-income areas

(AP) -- Michigan's Kresge Foundation is helping launch a $100 million fund that seeks to improve health care access and expand housing opportunities in low-income areas.

Organizers announced the start of the Healthy Futures Fund on Monday.

Besides the Troy-based Kresge Foundation, they include Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and the Local Initiatives Support Council.

The fund will serve as estimated 75,000 people across the country by creating 500 housing units with integrated health services and eight federally qualified health centers.

Organizers say projects funded by the initial investments will create about 2,200 jobs.

Fast-tracking wind

(AP) -- Developers of a proposed wind power farm near Frostburg, Md. are seeking fast-track approval from state regulators.

Fourmile Wind Energy LLC said in a filing Monday with the Maryland Public Service Commission that the company hopes to begin construction this spring and produce wind power by the end of the year.

Fourmile is a subsidiary of Annapolis-based Synergics, which built the Backbone Mountain wind power farm. The 60-megawatt Fourmile project would have up to 30 turbines.

Fourmile is seeking an exemption from a lengthy review process originally designed for traditional electric power plants.

A 2007 state law allows exemptions for certain wind-power projects.

Modernizing a stadium

(AP) -- Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross unveiled a plan to modernize Sun Life Stadium on Monday, and promising to personally cover the majority of the $400 million estimated cost of the project.

The rest would come from tax dollars, and that would likely need approval from both state and local lawmakers.

However, Ross said that any public dollars for the project would not result in higher taxes for residents of Miami-Dade County.

Instead, the Dolphins are looking for a slightly higher hotel tax in the county, as well as a larger state sales-tax rebate. And in return for the deal, the Dolphins say the deal would keep them in South Florida through at least 2034.

They plan to add about 3,600 new seats closer to the field, improved amenities and a canopy roof that would shield fans from the elements of South Florida's often-harsh weather while preserving a natural-grass playing surface.

These plans are not entirely new. When the Miami area lost in the voting to host the 2014 Super Bowl, local tourism officials were even talking then about things like more seats, better sight lines and a 621,000-square-foot roof which many then called an “umbrella.”

The notion of asking for public money comes at a time when many residents were outraged at the deal the Miami Marlins got for their new $634 million ballpark that opened last year.

Black carbon

(Bloomberg) -- The black carbon produced by diesel engines is nearly twice as damaging to the planet as estimated in 2007 and trails only carbon dioxide as the most dangerous climate pollutant, according to an article published online Tuesday in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

The four-year study by more than two dozen researchers also showed that black carbon causes “significantly higher warming” over the Arctic and can affect rainfall patterns in high-emitting regions such as Asia.

The pollutant also has contributed to rising temperatures in mid- to high-latitude areas including the United States and Canada.

“The potential to slow warming by cutting black carbon is even more important than previously understood,” Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, said Tuesday.

Canadian resales

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian existing home sales fell in December, led by a drop in Vancouver, capping an annual decline in transactions, a realtor group said.

Resales declined 0.5 percent during the month to 35,386 units, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Tuesday.

While the number of transactions dropped 17.4 percent from a year earlier, the average home price rose 1.6 percent to C$352,787 ($358,000).

The average resale price in 2012 rose 0.3 percent C$363,740, and the total number of houses sold through the realtor group fell 1.1 percent to 453,372, according to the group.

Romanian incentives

(Bloomberg) -- Romania may attract more investors in wind farms this year and in 2014 because of government incentives, according to Monsson Group, the biggest wind park developer in the country.

Monsson, a privately-held company, has wind projects of about 2,400 megawatts in Romania, out of which 1,700 megawatts already got approval from the local power grid operator, Arne Osborg, the group's chairman, said Tuesday.

The group has sold projects with combined capacity of about 850 megawatts, including to CEZ AS, and built 818 megawatts, according to the company.

The country's installed capacity may double in two to three years from 2 gigawatts at the end of 2012, Osborg said.

Homebuilder leads

(Bloomberg) -- Gafisa SA, Brazil's fourth-biggest homebuilder by revenue, led its peers higher as sales almost tripled in the last quarter of 2012.

Sales jumped to 905.2 million reais ($444 million) in the three months through December from 338.4 million reais in the same period of 2011, Gafisa said in a regulatory filing on preliminary quarterly results.

“Although the company was hurt again by client cancellations in its low-income division, sales speed was a positive surprise,” David Lawant, Enrico Trotta and Vivian Salomon, analysts at the investment bank Itau BBA, wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.

Brookfield Incorporacoes SA advanced after reporting late Monday that sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 met its guidance at 1.1 billion reais.

That is a 17 percent decline from the same period a year earlier.

Even Construtora e Incorporadora SA gained as its new projects soared 72 percent to 1.2 billion reais in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.

Kenyan lender

(Bloomberg) -- Housing Finance Ltd., Kenya's only publicly traded mortgage lender, climbed to the highest level in almost 16 months as AIB Capital Ltd. started coverage on the stock with a buy recommendation.

Lower interest rates in Kenya will help Housing Finance increase lending and boost income, according to AIB.

The Central Bank of Kenya's Monetary Policy Committee, led by central bank Governor Njuguna Ndung’u, reduced the rate for the fourth time since July last week, cutting it to 9.5 percent from 11 percent.

Possible mall sale

(Bloomberg) -- Emaar Properties PJSC, the developer that makes up almost a quarter of Dubai's benchmark stock index, is considering spinning off its malls unit and Turkish business as it looks for ways to boost shareholder returns, according to two people briefed on the company’s internal discussions.

The builder of the Dubai Mall, the world's largest by area, would list its shopping center business on the emirate’s exchange when market conditions are favorable, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private.

Emaar has increasingly relied on revenue from malls and hotels after the collapse of Dubai's property market in 2008 caused demand for homes and offices to evaporate.

The developer will build more than 1,000 homes in Istanbul and also has operations in at least 12 countries including China, India, Indonesia and Egypt.

User Response
0 UserComments