Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: Real Estate (Commercial)

Building Apps Help Make the Office Return a Touch-Free Experience

Technology
The app is “an important piece of technology that helps people feel safe coming back to the office,” said Myrna Coronado-Brookover, senior vice president of asset services at Transwestern, a commercial real estate company, who helped oversee the introduction of the app in the building.Building apps also offer the ability to monitor the use of conference rooms, cafeterias and parking lots in an effort to improve operations. This data collection is part of the larger move toward “proptech,” an approach to real estate that allows companies to track how many people are in different parts of a building, which can help save money on heating, cooling and lighting in unused areas.But privacy advocates say they are worried about the collection of workers’ personal data.Companies have tracked employ...
How the Pandemic Pushed Landlords to Get Creative to Fill Retail Space

How the Pandemic Pushed Landlords to Get Creative to Fill Retail Space

Business
In the fall of last year, many retail landlords were breathing a sigh of relief. They had gone all out to fill empty storefronts during the grimmest days of the pandemic, offering concessions to tenants and saying yes to pop-ups. That strategy appeared to pay off.By the third quarter of 2021, the storefront scene was recovering in many parts of the country. Thanks to vaccinations, the return of international travelers and pent-up consumer demand, shoppers were flocking to malls and downtown districts and prospective tenants were signing leases. Asking rents, which had plunged in 2020, were leveling out and even rising in some places.But the Omicron variant of the coronavirus may throw a wrench in the recovery, and landlords may need to extend temporary measures to fill empty spaces.At the ...
Air Filters and Outdoor Spaces: Office Costs Rise as Workers Return

Air Filters and Outdoor Spaces: Office Costs Rise as Workers Return

Business
Employers are paying attention to air quality as never before, said Nellie Brown, a health and safety specialist who provides training and technical assistance for New York State workplaces through Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.“If you don’t spend money on upgrading your ventilation, you might be spending it on sick people,” Ms. Brown said. She added that these upgrades could have helped reduce the spread of the seasonal flu in years past had they been in place.Upgrading HVAC systems can be expensive and add monthly costs. New equipment for a typical 100,000-square-foot office building in Chicago, for example, might cost up to $100,000 to install, Ms. Mueller said, and can add 5 to 10 percent to monthly bills. For offices in milder climates, just opening the...

Sears, Struggling to Sell Goods, Markets a Valuable Asset: Real Estate

Business
Shoppers may no longer come in droves for wrenches, watches or washing machines. But Sears, the once-ubiquitous department store that has been battered by the growth of e-commerce, may have one last thing of value to market: its own buildings.Starting about a decade ago — and accelerating over the past few months as its owner embarked on the equivalent of a clearance sale — investors have been betting on new uses for vacant Sears stores, from Santa Monica, Calif., to southern New Jersey.Many of the sites, often older, windowless hulks connected to shopping malls, are not straying far from their original mission: They’re being overhauled for new retailers.But some addresses, in line with a trend of repurposing dusty commercial properties, are being given fresh and sometimes unexpected new f...

Seeking Space for Solar Farms, Cities Find Room at Their Airports

Technology
“The government incentivizes development of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, through the use of tax credits and accelerated depreciation,” said Miriam S. Wrobel, a senior managing director at FTI Consulting in San Francisco. “Often, public entities such as airports cannot utilize the tax benefits, so third parties own the assets and sell the energy generated to the airport.”Prices are locked for 20 to 25 years, but the owner gets paid only when the energy is flowing.The bid for the Tallahassee project was won by Origis Energy, a Miami firm that offers clean energy storage solutions. Johan Vanhee, Origis’s chief commercial officer, said the airport project was a departure for the company. “We are a wholesale generator of renewable energy,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of our plant...

Investors Snap Up Metaverse Real Estate in a Virtual Land Boom

Technology
Justin Bieber performed at a live concert this month, but the show wasn’t in a stadium or an arena. Like recent performances from Ariana Grande, the Weeknd and Travis Scott, this concert was held in the metaverse, the online world that stretches the corners of the internet into immersive, four-dimensional experiences.Fans from all over the globe watched Mr. Bieber’s avatar sing songs from his hit album “Justice.” Investors were watching, too. Preparing for a digital land boom that appears just months away, they are snapping up concert venues, shopping malls and other properties in the metaverse.Interest in this digital universe skyrocketed last month when Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be known as Meta, an effort to capitalize on the digital frontier. The global market for g...
Developers Build More Net Zero Homes as Climate Concerns Grow

Developers Build More Net Zero Homes as Climate Concerns Grow

Technology
In the three years that Nicole Rae and Brian Mastenbrook lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, they grew increasingly concerned about California’s wildfires. The skies would turn orange, ash would settle on plants and porch railings, and Ms. Rae, a 30-year-old teacher who has asthma, would have trouble breathing.So in May, she and Mr. Mastenbrook, a 37-year-old tech worker, sold their home and moved to Ann Arbor, Mich. Mr. Mastenbrook has family in Michigan, and officials in Ann Arbor were taking steps to lower the city’s carbon footprint.They admired plans for a “net zero” community there, Veridian at County Farm, to be filled with solar-powered, all-electric homes that would be free of the fossil fuels whose greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to climate change.“If those homes were ...

How Data Is Reshaping Real Estate

Technology
Jordan Fisher was troubled. Every variety of the Red Bull energy drink comes in a similar metallic can, and his company’s camera system, which tracks products that customers pick up in stores, was having trouble distinguishing them.This obstacle was one of many that his company, Standard AI, faced while retrofitting a Circle K convenience store in Tempe, Ariz., with computer vision software, which tracks every item customers pick up so they can simply scan their app-enabled phone to pay as they leave, eliminating the checkout line. A network of more than 100 cameras can identify any of the thousands of similarly sized candy bars or beverages grabbed by customers, including cans of Red Bull, now identifiable thanks to a combination of geometric projections and higher-resolution cameras.This...
As Demand for Green Energy Grows, Solar Farms Face Local Resistance

As Demand for Green Energy Grows, Solar Farms Face Local Resistance

Technology
“Ours is a small town and we all know one another and our efforts are not against our neighbors,” said Will Mayer, the executive director of the Clark Coalition, the opposition group. He added that the project could eclipse agricultural use of the region, which has already lost acreage because of other types of development.One of the projects is backed by Swift Current, which is proposing a 1,200-acre solar farm there. The company has been working with residents to address their concerns, said Mr. Birchby, who added that the project would have “minimal” impact on their view.“We want to make sure that any project that we’re developing can be a good long-term neighbor and member of the community,” he said.The other project in Clark County is being developed by Geenex Solar and EDF Renewables...
TriBeCa Gallery Guide: New York’s Most Vibrant Art Scene

TriBeCa Gallery Guide: New York’s Most Vibrant Art Scene

LifeStyle
Yawnghwe was born there in 1971. By that time his family had already left the country to escape the first of what would be a succession of military coups. The most recent took place in February 2021, and much of the show seems to be a response to that event in the form of diptych paintings that juxtapose panels of narrative scenes with others of abstract patterning.The narratives are drawn from news photos, which record a history that is complex, even contradictory. In one painting, we see an image of the Burmese-born Louisa Benson, Myanmar’s first Miss Universe contestant, posing in a bathing suit. In a second, from the 1960s, she appears as a rifle-toting rebel. The politician, Aung San, sometimes referred to as the father of modern Burma, also appears in two mages. In one, dated 1941, h...