President-elect Barack Obama gave a half-hour interview to CNBC tonight (full interview here, transcript here) that was impressively policy heavy–a real treat for the wonks out there, though who isn’t these days–in advance of the unveiling of his nearly $800 billion stimulus package tomorrow. One of the issues he necessarily touched upon was the housing crisis (video), given its place at the center of the current meltdown. Read More
First Laurie Olin, now Frank Gehry. That was the news earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal reported that the Santa Monica-based architect had laid off “more than two dozen” staffers involved with Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project. What followed was a string of cheers predicting the troubled Brooklyn mega-development’s demise. After all, how could it go on without its signature architect?
While considering this question, I kept thinking of a comment made by Kermit Baker yesterday, during an interview about the abysmal November billings index. Given what’s going on elsewhere in the industry, the termination of a handful of architects may not signal the doomsday scenario the project’s critics would like, and instead may be one more credit-related payroll pause like many others around the nation: Read More
One day earlier than expected, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to amend the zoning lot at 19th Street and Arch Street, site of the proposed American Commerce Center. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the council’s Committee on Rules voted 9-0 in favor of the rezoning.
As we wrote last month, this does not grant approval of the KPF-designed project. Instead, it simply changes the zoning of the lot from medium density commercial site with a 125-foot height limit to a super-dense site with no height limits, making way for the 1,500-foot tower, which would far surpass its neighbors. With zoning in hand, it is believed financing and tenants should begin to follow.
Still, the project must return to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the council for final approval within the year, lest the rezoning expire.
Former AN editor and occasional China correspondent Andrew Yang sent us some pictures recently of what he describes as Beijing’s new, unavoidable landmark. Whether it’s on the scale of, say, the Empire State Building, we’re not sure, but it’s certainly looks as symbolic. He writes:
Whenever anyone visits Beijing, it is hard not to run into Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren’s CCTV building, which has clearly finished construction on the exterior, and is now undergoing a massive interior fitout. Read More