In the News—Week of August 31, 2020
Around the Nation
Upper West Side Story: Residents are scrambling for the exits
Guardian Angels founder and mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa recently found himself running into a lot of moving trucks on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the New York Post reports. “The mass evacuation of Upper West Siders from NYC is in full effect,’’ he tells the newspaper. It has been widely reported that New Yorkers are leaving in droves in the face of the pandemic. The Upper West Side is particularly out of sorts, in part, because the city has decided to house hundreds of recovering addicts in neighborhood hotels.
Energy & Environment
Portland sees energy-efficient homes pop up next mid-century classics
Architect Ryan Walsh jumped at the chance to design three energy-efficiency houses next to famous midcentury modern homes in Portland, The Oregonian reports. The midcentury classics were designed by John Storrs and Saul Zaik. Walsh is relying on natural light and open space and believes his designs complement the existing homes. Developer “Rich Hannah and I recognized the design opportunity to have all the houses work together to each’s benefit,” Walsh tells the newspaper. Every room in each of the three new homes was designed to “live in harmony with the natural landscape and with each other,” he says.
Houston commercial real estate giant Gerald D. Hines dies at 95
Gerald D. Hines, the founder of the global real estate firm Hines, passed away at 95, Houston Culture Map reports. Hines started his namesake company in Houston in 1957, and he helped shape the city’s skyline. Today the firm has more than 4,800 employees and operates in 25 countries. Trained an engineer, Hines believed that memorable designs by star architects helped with commercial success. He teamed with architects such as Frank O. Gehry, Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei and Charles W. Moore.
Forecast calls for lower office rents as COVID-19 takes its toll
A recent survey by Transwestern and Devoncore shows 77% real estate executives believe rents on office space will fall during the remainder of the year, The Dallas Morning News reports. Only 2% expect rents to rise. Net office leasing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the first two quarters fell by 2 million square feet. Rents in the market in June were flat from the previous year. “Traditional office space is expected to lag as occupiers pause leasing decisions until the pandemic is under control,” Transwestern’s Elizabeth Norton says.
Lawyer who grew up in Iowa plans return to farming–growing hemp
Brian Foster, formerly a senior partner at the high-powered Phoenix area law firm Snell & Wilmer, is going into the industrial hemp business, AZ Big Media reports. Foster, who grew up in Iowa and worked summers on a farm, describes his move to start a hemp growing company, Flor Grande, as returning to his agricultural roots. Flor Grande is cultivating 250 acres, growing plants to o make CBD oil and other products with no THC. Foster sees this as a second chance to get into this sector. “I wanted to get involved as a dispensary and cultivation site owner when Arizona was issuing medical marijuana licenses, but the law firm I worked for then would not allow it. I have always regretted not getting involved,” he says.
Roads linking new Santa Lucia Airport to Mexico City in the planning stages
Roads linking the Santa Lucia Airport near Mexico City to existing highways are being drawn up and are expected to be revealed by the end of the year, World Highways reports. The new thoroughfares, which include some toll roads, are expected to cost around $670 million. Santa Lucia Airport is built on a former airbase and is the second site for the project. The first site, which was closer to Mexico City, was abandoned. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, though work had already started, opposed the first site as too expensive and after a non-binding plebiscite backed him up, he killed the project.