In the News—Week of March 30 2021
Around the Nation
Google plans to make big bet on commercial real estate this year
Google is best known for its operations in the online world, but the tech giant is heavily invested in brick-and-mortar facilities. The company has announced plans to spend $7 billion on office space and data centers in 2021. Google is investing in offices in Seattle, Houston, Mississippi and Oregon and in data centers in Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Texas. The company also wants to expand operations in Chicago, Atlanta, New York and Washington, D.C. CEO Sundar Pichai has made it clear he does not his workforce permanently working at home. “Coming together in-person to collaborate and build community is core to Google’s culture, and it will continue to be an important part of our future,” he wrote on his blog. “So we continue to make significant investments in our offices around the country.”
Energy & Environment
Rio Tinto to begin recovering mineral critical for photovoltaic solar cells
Rio Tinto will begin operations to recover tellurium at its Kennecott smelter in Utah, the Deseret News reports. Tellurium, which is one of the rarest minerals on Earth, is needed to make photovoltaic solar cells. Tellurium is a byproduct of copper smelting. The Rio Tinto operation is expected to produce about 20 tons a year. Only about 500 tons of Tellurium are produced worldwide each year, and Rio Tinto’s contribution is important. “The ability to have 20 tons produced here in America helps our country mitigate those supply concerns,” says Michael Moats, who heads up a research institute that studies the supply of critical minerals.
Heavy traffic returns to Houston, which is a good sign for businesses
Public health officials are not entirely happy, but the return of traffic to Houston is delighting businesses, the Houston Chronicle reports. Traffic at busy intersections was up to pre-pandemic levels, figures from the Greater Houston Partnership show. Restaurant reservations rose dramatically. “It’s spring break, it’s cabin fever, it’s vaccinated folks,” the Greater Houston Restaurant Association’s executive director, Melissa Stewart, tells the newspaper. “We’ll definitely take it.”
It’s on: San Antonio grocery giant about to invade Dallas-Fort Worth
For 20 years, the H-E-B grocery chain has been making noises — and acquiring land in North Texas — about entering the Dallas-Fort Worth market. Now it’s official. H-E-B will break ground on stores in Frisco and Plano this summer, The Dallas Morning News reports. The San Antonio-based chain will join a crowded field that includes Kroger and Albertsons to Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts Farmers Market, Target, Sam’s Club, Costco, Amazon and Whole Foods Market. Wal-Mart is the leader in market share. The move may signal a change in the industry as grocers have been shoring up their digital operations and opened few stores.
Developer buys 139 acres in Goodyear for master-planned employment project
Developers of a master-planned employment center purchased 139 aces in Goodyear for $16.5 million, AZ Big Media reports. Goodyear 10 & 303 LLC acquired the property near Interstate 10 for the Innovation Centre, which will include office, retail, entertainment and industrial. Plans call for three separate districts. The West Valley of Phoenix has seen unprecedented growth in the past year Goodyear and nearby Buckeye ranked among the top 10 nationally for net population growth.
East Cape is starting to boom with commercial, residential development
The unspoiled beauty of the Baja California’s East Cape is catching the eye of developers, The New York Times reports. The 1,000-acre resort community Costa Palmas has created a buzz for the area, which was off the electrical grid not so long ago. The Cape has swimmable ocean water and less of the hustle and bustle of nearby Cabo San Lucas. “People are flocking to the East Cape more now because there is more privacy there,” a local real estate expert, Ramiro Palenque Bullrich, tells the Times.