Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Swire plans to begin Brickell CitiCentre construction next month

As previously mentioned that downtown Miami will be the next Hong Kong without the crowds. Aivars Lode

The Miami Herald >  Business
Posted on Wednesday, 05.09.12


Swire Properties said Wednesday that it expects to begin construction on Brickell CitiCentre in late June.

“We are eager to keep the project on schedule as the public partner agreements are now the only sources of potential delay,” Christopher Gandolfo , senior vice president, development with Swire Properties said in a statement.

Details of those agreements were not explained.

Swire said Wednesday it had narrowed its list to four contractors to bid on construction of the foundation and underground parking garage below Brickell CitiCentre. The four finalists for the more than $100 million contract: Balfour Beatty; Bouygues B√Ętiment International though its local subsidiary Americaribe Inc. with John Moriarty & Associates of Florida; Turner Construction Company in partnership with Dragados USA; and Odebrecht with Facchina.

The foundation and underground parking project will be built 24 feet below ground, spanning seven acres. Construction is expected to take about 18 months.

Brickell CitiCentre is a $1.05 billion mixed-use development that is to include 2.9 million square feet of retail, office, residential, hotel and entertainment space. The project will be built on nine acres along South Miami Ave. between Eighth Street and Sixth Street. It will create 1,700 construction jobs and 3,700 jobs after completion.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Olson Global : Global Worries Could Send 10-Year Treasury Yields To New Lows

Interesting to note in the following report is the reference to  the highest oil inventories in 21 years. Most familiar with this blog will recall the stories about global shortages of oil. Clearly not true. Aivars Lode

A weaker-than-expected 2.2% rise in Q1 GDP, a disappointingly dismal
monthly jobs report and a likely political shift away from austerity
measures in Europe sent German 10-year bunds to a record low yield of
1.58% last week. In concert with German yields, yields on U.S.
treasury 10-year note (TNX) fell to a closing level of 1.88%. While
Friday’s close was still above its record low of 1.696% set last
September, they appear poised to set new record lows in the weeks just

While a shift away from austerity in Europe hints of a move toward
massive fiscal stimulus and the possibility of a rise in inflation
rates, the more immediate threat of a default on sovereign debt in
Spain or Greece is troublesome in the near-term for stability of
European banks.

Adding to the likelihood of a move toward lower 10-year note yields
was a sharp drop in crude oil prices on Friday. An unexpected 2.84
million gain in crude oil inventories pushed the overall U.S.
stockpile to 375.9 million barrels, a 21-year high.

Although monthly technical oscillators remain in an extreme condition
on U.S. 10-year Treasury notes (TNX), a push down toward key “channel
bottom” support (in terms of yield) that now sits at the 1.40% level
is clearly possible.

Currently, U.S. 10-year notes remain above German bunds as well as
Japanese JGBs, which are currently offering yields below the 1% level
making U.S. bonds relatively attractive. Nevertheless, the Treasury
department is scheduled to sell $24 billion fresh 10-year treasury
notes on Wednesday, which could temporarily depress bond prices and
lift yields a bit in front of the auction. It will be the auction
results and the digestion of those notes that could trigger a renewed
move toward lower yields.

By Jim Donnelly, Olson Global Markets

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Turf for Sharing Services: the Driveway

Greater amounts of efficiency will be created over the next decade, utilizing the old by creating new solutions. Aivars Lode

Fresh Crop of Start-Ups Helps City Dwellers Make Extra Money by Renting Out Their Garages and Other Parking Spots

Adam Zilberbaum and Nick Miller co-founders of Parking Panda, plan to expand their driveway-sharing service to other big cities soon.

Mr. Miller co-founded Parking Panda Corp., a three-person company that helps city dwellers make money by renting their garage, driveway or other property to people looking for parking spots. Many people can fit another car, or even two, into their drive, he says, especially if they can tuck their own car into the garage.

Aspiring parking landlords, typically located in neighborhoods where parking is costly or hard to find, can list their space on the company's website, along with price and availability. Then, they can use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to advertise their parking real estate.

The 24-year-old Mr. Miller says his website lists 2,500 spaces available in private driveways and garages and in commercial parking facilities in Baltimore and Washington, the two cities where it currently operates. The company makes money by taking a cut of the rent.

His and a handful of other parking start-ups are an offshoot of house-sharing services such as AirBNB, and car-sharing services like Zipcar, which claims to be the world's largest car-sharing service.

The suit for Parking Panda's mascot sits on chairs at its headquarters.
How to cash in on your parking space:

Step 1 Check what nearby garages and parking lots charge for event parking to come up with a competitive rate.

Step 2 Post your parking space or driveway online at least three weeks before any local event.

Step 3 Upload photos that show your parking space from different angles. In your description, be sure to note if it is well lit or near a public restroom.

Step 4 Use social media to put the word out.

Such "sharing" businesses are spreading rapidly, in part because they are so easy to replicate, and have attracted some high-profile investors, says Andrew Zacharakis, a professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. Last year, Wheelz Inc., a year-old car-sharing service that operates on three California college campuses, landed an initial $2 million investment from a group of angel investors that includes several Facebook executives. It plans to expand to a fourth college campus later this week.

The new parking entrepreneurs hope to develop a niche in what the National Parking Association, a Washington-based trade group, estimates is an $18 billion-a-year U.S. parking market. Their services generally take cuts of 15% to 20% of each rental.

"It's partly a land-grab situation," says Ulrich Quay, managing director of BMW i Ventures LLC, a new venture fund from BMW AG BMW.XE -3.75% that recently invested an undisclosed amount in U.K.-based ParkatmyHouse Ltd. The six-year-old driveway-sharing service is expected to debut in the U.S. next month.

Studies show that drivers in the U.S. spend an average of eight minutes cruising for city parking, mainly so they can find a space free or at the lowest price possible within the shortest distance of their destination, according to Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. He estimates that hunting for parking is responsible for about 30% of traffic congestion.

Overall, there are more than 40,000 paid parking facilities in the U.S., but they aren't necessarily convenient or affordable for everyone.

Last year, Katie Ott, tired of circling the blocks around Chicago's Wrigley Field in search of parking for Chicago Cubs games, decided to search She found one private driveway space open for as long as nine hours at a price of $35.

Ms. Ott, an enrollment-benefits manager for an insurance company, entered her credit-card number online, and was charged the fee upfront.

On game day, she says, she simply left her silver Toyota Camry hybrid at the designated address, before joining friends at a restaurant.

As more players enter the field, however, competition may make it harder for the new parking services to succeed. "You have to do millions of these transactions to make it worth your while," says Prof. Zacharakis, adding that it would be difficult to discourage consumers from listing their parking spaces on multiple services.

Jeremy Smith, co-founder of SpotHero Inc., says driveway owners sometimes forget they have rented out their spaces, leaving renters without room to park, while others overestimate just how many vehicles they can accommodate. The company provides a phone number renters can call in such cases to find a last-minute alternative, or arrange for a refund.

Because the new operations are based on a "peer to peer" business model, "issues can arise that are out of your control," says the 25-year-old Mr. Smith, who launched SpotHero in July 2011 as a driveway-sharing service for the Chicago market, but has since shifted its focus. It now lists mostly commercial parking spaces.

Since the Web-based businesses essentially manage the rental of driveways and other private parking spots, the owners don't have to wait around at home for renters to arrive. Payments are automatically deposited into their bank accounts.

Homeowners could face liability if for example, a driver's car is stolen while parked on their driveway, or if a driver hits a pedestrian while entering or exiting the rental space. Homeowners insurance policies generally "don't cover business dealings," says Rebecca Ross, a partner at Troutman Sanders LLP.

Mr. Miller, along with co-founder Adam Zilberbaum, launched Parking Panda from a start-up incubator that provided $25,000 in seed money. He says the company recently raised $250,000 from a group of angel investors and it expects to close soon on another $250,000 round of angel funding. He says the business plans to expand to Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.

"We don't use our driveway very much. We might as well make a couple of bucks," says Mondiu Ladejobi, a 35-year-old information-technology professional in Baltimore, who recently started to rent out half of his driveway for about $8 to Ravens and Orioles fans seeking parking for games at nearby stadiums. He and his wife, he says, normally keep their cars in their garage.