In the News—Week of January 10, 2022

 In The Title Trove

Around the Nation

San Francisco will tax vacant storefronts in effort to lower rents

San Francisco implemented a new retail vacancy tax on Jan. 1 that affects empty storefronts, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Retail spaces empty for more than 182 days in a year will have to pay $250 per linear foot of vacant storefront facing the street. The tax goes up if the space is vacant longer. The tax was passed by 68% of voters in March 2020, two weeks before the area shut down for the pandemic and devastated the retail sector. The tax was delayed a year because of the pandemic. Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who sponsored the measure, says he hopes it will force landlords to lower rents. 

Energy & Environment

Chemical reactions can enhance energy storage, researchers find 

Researchers at the Oregon State University College of Engineering say they have uncovered a way to improve the efficiency of a type of grid-scale storage for a renewable energy, Technology Networks reports. Making intermittent green energy sources truly viable for the power grid means increasing the ability to store that energy. A computer study by Nick AuYeung and Fuqiong Lei found the storage capacity could be improved through chemical action that can absorb energy in the form of heat and also conserve energy. 


After 63 years, Houston developer decides to sell off a big chunk of holdings  

Houston developer Marvy Finger spent 63 years building and operating apartment complexes. He seldom sold — until recently. With apartment values spiking and investors looking for inventory, he finally parted with a big portion of his portfolio for $2 billion, the Houston Chronicle reports. But he didn’t want to sell everything. “Well, then what would I do?” he asked. So the 86-year-old held onto 14 properties.


Plans announced for first speculative office project in Fort Worth since 2017 

The Van Zandt at 2816 W. 7th St. will break ground in the first quarter of 2022 as the first speculative office development in Fort Worth since 2017, according to the Fort Worth Business Press. The project will include approximately 99,400 square feet of Class AA office space, 147 multifamily units and 11,600 square feet of street-facing retail and dining space. “We are excited to be a part of the Fort Worth community and believe the city’s pro-business environment and robust population growth will continue to attract corporate users who see the benefits of living and working in the West 7th District,” says Brandon Schubert, director of investments at Goldenrod. 


California developer buys 112 acres near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport      

A California-based real estate investment and development firm acquired a 112-acre industrial site in Mesa for $36.7 million, AZ Big Media reports. The property was acquired through Structures Investment LLC by an entity controlled by Contour Real Estate. The property is located at the southwest corner of Warner and Sossaman roads, near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Contour plans to build an industrial park encompassing eight buildings with a total of more than 1.5 million square feet. The site is near Loop 202.


New airport to serve Mexico City scheduled to make its debut in March

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced that Felipe Ángeles International Airport will begin operations March 21, Mexico Business News reports. The $3.65-billion airport will serve Mexico City. When López Obrador took office, he canceled another airport in Texcoco. Felipe Ángeles was built on the site of Santa Lucía Air Force Base and was built in part by the military. It is close to two other airports, which has raised concerns. Only three commercial airlines will serve Felipe Ángeles when it opens.

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