In the News—Week of March 21 2022
Ford brings in a CEO to run Michigan Central refurbishment
Ford Motor Co. has brought in an urban planner as CEO of its restoration and evolution of the Michigan Central Station in the Corktown section of Detroit, the Detroit Free Press reports. Joshua Sirefman, who trained at the University of Michigan, will run the redevelopment of the long-closed train depot that will now be a subsidiary of the car maker. Ford and city leaders have designated the 30-acre project as an innovation district that is supposed to advance the future of transportation. The station opened in 1913 and closed in 1988.
Energy & Efficiency
Project launched to make recyclable wind turbine blades
When it comes to green energy, wind power has a couple of not-so-environmentally-friendly aspects. The blades on wide turbines are not truly recyclable. And many environmentalists argue that the turbines kill flocks of migrating birds. A consortium has been brought together to to develop a thermoplastic wind turbine blade that can be completely recycled, Composites World reports. The project is called ZEBRA, which stands for Zero wastE Blade ReseArch, and the primary mover behind it is French research center IRT Jules Verne. LM Wind Power will design and manufacture prototype blades using Arkema’s Elium resin. The hope is that at the end of 42 months they will have a product that doesn’t need to end up in a landfill. The birds are still on their own.
Oil reaching a $100 a barrel won’t lead to CRE boom in Houston this time
When oil prices hit $100 a barrel nearly a decade ago, Houston’s commercial real estate market thrived. But don’t expect that again, the Houston Chronicle reports. Energy companies have endured two busts for oil prices since then. So the firms are not looking for rapid expansion. Energy companies account for about a fifth of the area’s office space. But unless they see noticeable expansion, the Houston office market will continue its slow recovery in the post-pandemic economy.
Developers interested in turning vacant block east of downtown into apartments
A long-vacant block east of downtown Dallas was once the site of apartments — and is likely to be again, The Dallas Morning News reports. Developers are looking at the empty parcel at Live Oak and Bennett Avenue and seeing a rental community. Illinois-based Conor Commercial Real Estate is working on plans to build a $50- million, five-story apartment complex with almost half million square feet of living space.
Roadrunner apartment complex in Scottsdale sells for record price
Roadrunner, a 356-unit multifamily asset in Scottsdale, sold for $193.5 million, AZ Big Media reports. The per unit price of $543,539 is a state record for a building of this size. Texas-based JLB Residential developed the property, which just opened last summer. The property is on McDowell Road near Papago Park and the Desert Botanical Garden. Institutional Property Advisors, a division of Marcus & Millichap, handled the sale. “Renter demand for south Scottsdale apartments has led to strong operational fundamentals and the imbalance of supply and demand is driving outsized forecasted rent growth,” Institutional Property Advisors’ Steve Gebing says.
Mexico City office space around 24% empty in aftermath of the pandemic
Mexico City ended 2021 with about a quarter of its office space empty, Mexico News Daily reports. Figures from JLL show 1.76 million square meters were vacant. “The vacancies derive from the impacts of COVID-19, coupled with the incorporation of new buildings into the inventory and oversupply that has existed since 2020 … in 2018 and 2019, when the pandemic was unforeseen, buildings were being constructed,” JLL spokesman Héctor Klerian tells a local newspaper.