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'Poor door' out

(AP) -- A developer and city officials say some changes have been negotiated in a plan for a so-called “poor door” for less-affluent residents of a Manhattan skyscraper.

People who live in the pricey condos will still enter through the front lobby.

But The Wall Street Journal said residents of the affordable portion will now get shared access to a courtyard and a roof deck facing the Hudson River.

Executives from developer Larry Silverstein's company and its partner say they'll position that entrance to face a planned public park.

It also will feature custom wood and a lobby with a glass facade.

City officials call the project a model for integrating affordable and market-rate apartments.

But they're also hoping for changes in the law to forbid separate entrances.

No FEMA for Hawaii

(AP) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) this past week denied Hawaii's request for a major disaster declaration after Tropical Storm Iselle.

Iselle made landfall over the Big Island's isolated and rural Puna region nearly three weeks ago, knocking down trees and power lines.

FEMA denied the request because “it has been determined that the damage from this event was not of such severity and magnitude to go beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments and voluntary agencies,” the agency wrote to the state Thursday.

Officials who toured the area about a week after the storm hit identified 28 homes with major damage and 11 that were destroyed, FEMA spokesman Casey De Shong said.

About 20 percent of those homes had insurance, he said.

“The two factors combined ... really don't suggest the state of Hawaii was overwhelmed,” De Shong said. “It just didn't constitute a declaration.”

Approving Hawaii's request would have provided residents with help for uninsured damage such as home-repair funds, low-interest loans and rental assistance.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has 30 days to appeal.

Manhattan condos at record

(Bloomberg) -- Prices for previously owned Manhattan condominiums rose to a record last month even as an increase in the supply of units eased competition among buyers.

An index of resale prices climbed 1.1 percent from June to reach the highest level in data going back to 1995, StreetEasy.com, a New York real estate website, said in a report Friday.

The inventory of condos on the market grew 5.4 percent from a year earlier, the biggest annual gain since October 2009.

The market is still tight, with the number of available condos about 16 percent below the five-year average for Manhattan.

That will continue to drive up prices, according to StreetEasy, which projects a 0.4 percent increase for August.

Manhattan “has been starved for more supply, and the growth in prices is a direct result of stubbornly low inventory that simply cannot keep pace with demand,” Alan Lightfeldt, data scientist at StreetEasy, said in the report.

Condos that went under contract in July spent a median of 63 days on the market, up from a record low of 49 days in each of the three months of the market's busiest season, March through May, said StreetEasy, which is owned by Zillow Inc. (Nasdaq: Z). The number of pending sales dropped 8.5 percent from June.

Of the homes that were listed for sale last month, 45 percent were seeking $1.9 million or more.

Canadian REIT banking

(Bloomberg) -- Dream Office Real Estate Investment Trust, the worst-performing REIT in Canada over the past year, is banking on tower renovations and adding retail to keep tenants amid a wave of new office supply.

Dream Office, the largest office REIT in Canada, is seeking to sell as much as C$150 million ($138 million) of properties this year in smaller markets, and to upgrade its buildings and add retail space in its Toronto and Montreal properties, according to Chief Executive Officer Jane Gavan.

“It used to be pure office -- that's all we looked at,” Gavan said on Aug. 27.

London stagnates

(Bloomberg) -- London's property market stagnated for a second month in August, as buyers became reluctant to accept high asking prices amid the prospect of increasing borrowing costs, Hometrack Ltd. said.

The survey of real estate agents showed values were unchanged in a “stark” change from the sharp increases over the past year that helped propel national prices to a record.

“Talk of a housing bubble and warning from the Bank of England have impacted sentiment,” said Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack.

In London, 11 percent of postcode districts registered price increases this month, down from 87 percent in February, Hometrack said.

Homes in the capital took an average 4.9 weeks to sell in August, up from 4.3 weeks in July.

Taller Vestas order

(Bloomberg) -- Vestas Wind Systems A/S won a 30-megawatt order for taller-than usual wind turbines in Finland that are able to reap more power during low winds.

The order from Reconcept GmbH includes a 12-year service contract. The turbines are to be delivered and commissioned by the end of the second quarter of 2015.

The towers will have a height to the hub of 137 meters (449 feet), among the tallest in the Vestas range.

That allows for longer rotors that generate more energy in areas with low wind speeds.

In comparison another Vestas 3.3-megawatt turbine can have hub heights as low as 91.5 meters.

German solar shipments

(Bloomberg) -- The one major German solar panel manufacturer that survived a plunge in prices triggered by competition from China said it shipped near-record modules this month and seeks to keep selling at that level.

Solarworld AG (OTC: SRWRY) delivered the most modules in the company's history in July and expects similar amounts this month, Chief Executive Officer Frank Asbeck said this past week.

Bonn-based Solarworld seeks to keep shipping at that level during the next 18 months, he said.

“The demand for solar modules is rising massively around the world,” Asbeck said. Module prices have stabilized in the first two quarters and may rise this year, he said.

Solarworld plans to expand module production at existing plants, which are running “at the border of capacity,” he said.

Solarworld has won rulings in the United States and Europe against Chinese solar-panel dumping.

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