Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate’

US cities were segregated by design.

June 4, 2020

The 20th Century segregation of America’s cities was not a natural event, explains Richard Rothstein. Unconstitutional schemes and policies ruined cities and left minority residents to languish. We still live with the consequences.

More:

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein, 2017.

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The Price of Parking

June 15, 2018

The Price of Parking

A Hong Kong parking spot measuring 16.4 feet by 8.2 feet sold for US$760,000 on June 4th, according to the South China Morning PostThat’s about US$5,600 per square foot, three times the average price of residential property in Hong Kong. The spot is in a parking bay in the Ultima luxury development (average apartment price: US$12.7 million) where there are only 370 car spaces for 527 units. An Ultima parking space recently rented for US$1,274 per month.

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Conflict of Interest on Pennsylvania Avenue

August 29, 2016

Conflict of Interest on Pennsylvania Avenue

Presidential candidate Donald Trump already has a home on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks from the White House. It’s a $200 million hotel project he’s developing in the Old Post Office Building, a historic property owned by the federal government and leased to the Trump Organization for 60 years.

As Steve Perlstein observed, it’s “curious” the government “… would choose to pass over established, deep-pocketed hoteliers such as Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton in order to choose a lead developer who has spent so much time in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that he qualifies for elite frequent-flier status.” Part of the appeal might have been due to Trump’s financial bait-and-switch. Trump’s bid included funding from his Californian investor pal Tom Barrack, the guy who had sold him the Plaza (Trump sold it for a huge loss). After Trump got the Old Post Office contract, Barrack pulled out and Trump off-shored the financing, borrowing $170 million from Germany’s Deutsche Bank instead. The collateral? The federal lease on the tax-payer-owned property.

Remember, the historic Old Post Office Building’s landlord is the General Services Administration (GSA), a federal agency.

“You’d be kidding yourself if you don’t think the president of the United States has influence over this. And [Trump’s] taken no affirmative steps to separate himself from this conflict of interest. I don’t know how this is not a bigger issue. It’s crazy.”
— Jessica Tillipman, George Washington University Law School

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Tropical Island Resort Property Available Soon

July 23, 2015

Tropical Island Resort Property Available Soon

A long-anticipated real estate deal is about to put eight prime parcels of tropical paradise on the market. White House press secretary Josh Earnest blabbed that the Obama Administration is finally ready to close down the Guantánamo Bay concentration camps detention centers on the sunny island of Cuba.

The canny Mr. Obama teased the deal back in 2009, but waited for the Cuban real estate market to take off, and it’s muy caliente after US normalization of relations with the island nation. There are already deals in the works for a dozen new luxury golf courses, and tourists from as far away as China are waiting for tee times.

The “Gitmo” detention centers now hold 116 inmates guests at a cost of more than $100 million (possibly $454 million) a year, so it’s plainly time to cash out and recoup costs during Cuba’s current resort development boom. The deal would look better without sitting tenants and since 106 of those 116 guests have never been charged or convicted of anything, it’s time to find them other accommodations. And why host the remaining 10 guests at an annual cost of at least $10 million each when the Government Accountability Office has found many alternatives?

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The New Gentrifiers

August 17, 2014

The New Gentrifiers

“Look out, gays and lesbians – the straight people are coming for your real estate. In There Goes the Gayborhood, a new book for the Princeton Press, author and University of British Columbia associate professor of sociology Amin Ghaziani explores whether venerable ‘gayborhoods’ like San Francisco’s Castro and New York City’s West Village are disappearing in ‘a new post-gay era.’ As demographics shift, is it a sign of acceptance of a community – or the dilution of it? Is it possible, as the New York Times once so damningly put it, that ‘gay neighborhoods face the prospect of becoming passé’?

— “Are America’s ‘gayborhoods’ dying out?” Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon

 More:

“The rise and fall of American gayborhoods,” Matthew Yglesias, Vox

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Uline Arena. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

July 24, 2013

Uline Arena. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

It hosted the Beatles’ first American concert, boxing, hockey, speeches by Malcolm X, and Dwight Eisenhower’s first inaugural ball . It was an ice house and a trash transfer station. Now the Uline Arena will be redeveloped as offices, retail, parking, and possibly performance space.

More:

“Uline Arena, Washington Venue Where Beatles Played First U.S. Show, To Become…Offices And Retail,” Will Wrigley, Huffington Post

“Uline Arena, get ready for your next phase,” Rachel Kaufman, Elevation DC

“Pictorial History Of Uline Arena,” 1959 BHS Mustangs

“Uline Ice Plant,” HAER No. DC-66

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here.  Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length

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Tiny House on Capitol Hill

May 26, 2013

Tiny House on Capital Hill

“The house is nine feet wide and one short-stack story tall,” wrote Gene Weingartgen “and it stands out from the other houses on the block like a Barbie doll in a police lineup.” That was in 2009, when a neighbor bought the place as a rental property. Well, actually she bought it because she lives next door and didn’t want another owner building a second storey and blocking her view. But she does rent it out.

The 252-square-foot place is vacant again, and you can rent it for a mere $1200 per month. Let’s take the video tour:

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Ain’t Got No Home

August 24, 2012

Ain't Got No Home

The ProPublica team has researched the causes of the foreclosure crisis. You can read about it here, but there’s a video that explains it all, and you can dance to it:

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MERS = Mortgage MERSA?

October 13, 2010

MERS = Mortgage MERSA?

Who “abetted a fly-by-night, pump-and-dump, no-accountability model of structured mortgage finance”? An obscure corporation in Reston, Virginia. You probably should know more about the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS). It may own your house.

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Wrong End of the Telescope

April 14, 2009

Wrong End of the Telescope

Everyone loves to root for the home team, but while the sentiment is charming, it also makes bookies rich. Why should government make the same kind of dumb bet, but at higher stakes? That’s exactly what happens when the dynamics of real estate speculation are magnified by taxpayer-funded sports stadium projects.

Objective assessment of athletes is difficult; inflating the merits of a sports team with hometown loyalty and wishful thinking is a sucker’s game. Likewise, a publicly-funded sports facility is a sucker bet for citizens and a speculator’s dream.

Yesterday’s local news featured pathetic interviews with DC baseball fans. Folks in Nationals ballcaps, standing near lots laid waste by stadium-fueled development delusions, said it had taken a decade for the downtown arena neighborhood to develop, so they were willing to endure ten years of unproductive desolation caused by Nats Park construction. With all this “Wait Until Next Decade” talk it was hard to remember that Monday was Opening Day, not the end of a losing season. 

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