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|December 28th, 2009, 04:58 AM||#121|
PRESIDENT OF SPACE
Join Date: Dec 2005
Likes (Received): 2106
Toronto is so incredible
Anywhere else I'd be skeptical that so much could be built but that city is growing so fast it seems like those places will really happen
|February 3rd, 2010, 10:33 AM||#122|
Join Date: Sep 2002
Likes (Received): 24086
Building boom transforms heart of Beirut
23 January 2010
BEIRUT (AP) - Blocks of historic Ottoman-era buildings, once pocked by bullet holes, have been majestically restored, and new high-rise apartment towers with mirrored facades front the glittering Mediterranean, signs of an unprecedented real estate boom that is transforming Lebanon's capital.
Beirut's building craze, despite chronic political turmoil in recent years, has astonished even the experts, turning Lebanon into an investment haven at a time when other regions -- including the oil-rich Persian Gulf -- are hemorrhaging cash. Even the seemingly unstoppable city-state of Dubai has hit the brakes after a massive debt crunch there rattled world financial markets.
"The market is continuing to really stun a lot of people and to attract some new players," said Raja Makarem, founder of Ramco, a leading real estate company. He added that Lebanon has seen a 30 percent increase in property value for each of the past four years.
Lebanon has seen a window of relative peace since the devastating Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006 and deadly gunbattles two years later between Hezbollah and its political rivals in the streets of Beirut. Since then, political wrangling has continued, but Lebanon's many factions have managed to keep their differences from exploding into violence.
Moreover, the financial meltdown that hit Dubai and elsewhere may have even helped Lebanon. While real estate buyers in Dubai were mostly investors and speculators depending on bank loans, the demand in Beirut is mainly from end users buying with cash, Makarem and other experts said.
Real estate isn't the only sector booming: Tourists have rediscovered the coastal nation with its beaches, scenic mountains and freewheeling lifestyle. This week officials announced that Lebanon attracted a record 1.8 million foreign visitors in 2009, earning an estimated $7 billion, beating the previous record of 1.4 million tourists in 1974 -- just before the 1975-1990 civil war broke out.
For many, especially those who have not visited Beirut in a while, the transformation from the real estate frenzy is striking.
Blocks of elegant buildings with apartments selling at prices ranging between $5,000 and $8,000 per square meter have arisen downtown. Some are restorations of buildings dating back to the era of 19th Century Ottoman rule, others are brand new ones on plots where old rubble had long been bulldozed away. High-rises also now stand on land reclaimed from the sea.
The names of the new projects are as ostentatious as the developments themselves: The Beirut Souks, Venus Towers and Sama Beirut (Beirut Sky) are just some of the massive architectural projects under way.
"It's the new Beirut. It looks nice and modern, but the problem is you have to be rich to enjoy it," said Iman Haidar, a 42-year-old mother of two walking recently through Beirut Souks downtown -- a 100,000 square meter (1,076,400 square foot) outdoor shopping mall.
The $300 million mall was built by Solidere, Lebanon's largest construction and development firm, on the site of a historic souk, or market. But with its high-end retail outlets, it is nothing like the bustling souks that existed there before the civil war, where people from all over the country came to buy everything from vegetables and clothes to jewelry.
Solidere has taken the lead in flattening and then rebuilding much of downtown. Many, like Haidar, worry that Beirut is turning into a hotspot for high-end investments unaffordable to most Lebanese.
Experts say many of the new apartment owners are citizens of oil-rich Gulf nations and wealthy members of the 12-million strong Lebanese diaspora living abroad, who want to keep a pied-a-terre for regular visits to Beirut.
In fact, many of the luxury apartments lining Beirut's famed corniche with panoramic views of the Mediterranean seem uninhabited, their glass facades unlit at night.
The number and value of property sales have leaped over the past year, according to figures released by Lebanon's leading Bank Audi this week. The value of real estate sales in December around the country was $1.25 billion, up 40.8 percent from the same month in 2008. The number of sales in all of 2009 were up 27 percent over the previous year, it said.
"The global crisis that has strongly impacted the real estate market in the Gulf has somehow pushed investors to turn toward Lebanon," said Tina Chamoun, marketing manager for Plus Properties, the Dubai-based real estate marketing company currently promoting two high-profile projects in Beirut.
The $700 million developments, Plus Towers and Venus Towers, involve five luxury residential towers with duplexes and penthouses downtown and along Beirut's waterfront.
Chamoun says sales are going beyond expectations -- mainly Lebanese, but also Gulf nationals.
Also, several five-star international chain hotels have opened in Lebanon before the end of the year, including waterfront Rotana and Four Seasons hotels and Le Gray, part of the British-owned CampbellGray Hotels.
Another of the new projects is the 50-story Sama Beirut, which promises to be Lebanon's tallest skyscraper once completed in 2014.
The project, launched earlier this year, has been criticized by some who say the tower will destroy the architectural heritage in the historic area.
The developers were unfazed.
"Mixing modernity with history is enriching," said Massaad Fares, who heads Prime Consult, marketing and financial consultants for Sama Beirut.
Mona El Hallak calls this diversity an urban catastrophe.
"Downtown Beirut used to be a meeting point for people from all backgrounds. Now if you don't have money, there is nothing for you there, you feel you are not welcome," said the architect, who is a member of the executive committee of APSAD, an organization that campaigns to classify Lebanon's old buildings as heritage sites to protect them.
She says old cultural heritage buildings are being destroyed to make way for towers without any urban planning involved.
"Ten years from now," she said, "the city will not even bear resemblance to the Beirut we know," she said.
|February 3rd, 2010, 11:02 AM||#123|
Join Date: Nov 2006
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^ That probably goes along with tearing down historical buildings, doesn't it?
|February 4th, 2010, 01:53 AM||#124|
Join Date: Mar 2006
Likes (Received): 564
Nope, they've extended the marina over the Sea and there will be new proposed skyscrapers on it soon, all the projects above had no impact on historical buildings, in fact one of them it was a war torn building and they have included it (to its original state) in the proposal.
|February 4th, 2010, 11:25 AM||#125|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Likes (Received): 72865
That's ok with me then. Beirut has quite some great heritage, even though not being the most beautiful historical city in the area.
|December 11th, 2010, 09:10 AM||#126|
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Greater Toronto Area
Likes (Received): 15
In Toronto area:
-East Bayfront: already covered
-West Don Lands: already covered
-Lower Don Lands: http://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/explo...ower_don_lands
-Port Lands: already covered
-Pinewood movie studios: They're planning on redeveloping an area in the far East of the Portlands for a movie studio, so that there will be streets representing all kinds of cities for them to film in. There will be people living there though, and there will also be condo towers and I think a hotel. It might already be U/C.
-City Place: More than halfway built already, the area used to be parking lots and a Golf Course
-Fort York area: Just South of Fort York, a lot of new condos are being built and proposed
-Southcore Financial district: 8 towers proposed/UC including a 67 storey condo, in addition to a few already built, the area is just South of the CBD.
Liberty Village: An industrial area West of downtown near the lake (but not waterfront), there's something like 20-30 buildings U/C or proposed here. King West nearby is in a similar situation but on a smaller scale.
Humber Bay/Mimico Beach: Also a very fast growing area with lots of condos U/C, being built on low density commercial land and greenfields, once that gets developed
Scarborough Town Centre: no images that I know of, it's an area around a shopping mall that is to grow a lot in the future, there are already many new buildings U/C and built, but there were very few 10 years ago.
-Markham Centre: It's supposed to be Markham's new town centre, there's a large development currently U/C, as well as lots of new buildings already built in the surrounding area
-Langstaff: Almost as big as Markham Centre and higher density, but it's at the SW corner of the suburb, and has a GO train station and a subway line proposed for it. Currently it's in the planning stages and the lands are mostly warehouses/employment lands.
-Galleria: This development hasn't really registered in the minds of anyone from what I can see... but they already built about a dozen midrise condos and several blocks of townhouses. The main project there is Eden Park, with 3 condos U/C and 2 more that are on their way. There's an empty field to the West, maybe it'll get developed too?
-Yonge/Steeles: last I heard to were planning to rezone the area for higher density
-Yonge Steeles: Currently strip malls, it's in the planning stages
image hosted on flickr
-Vaughan Metropolitan Centre: Will be built on low density employment lands and greenfields at the end of the Spadina subway extension (U/C)
-Hurontario corridor/downtown: reveloping parking lots, low density retail, and greenfields around downtown for about 100-200 new midrises and highrises by 2030 plus likely more elsewhere along Hurontario as the LRT is built
-Lakeview: Used to have a power plant but that closed, locals have come up with proposals on redeveloping the site, and since it's one of the few areas in Mississauga left to develop, something will probably happen at the rate it's growing.
-midtown: An area surrounding the Oakville GO Train Station will be redeveloped, it currently has stripmall, big box retail and parking lots, with some low rise offices and hotels.
image hosted on flickr
-Richmond Hill Centre: Just across the Markham border from Langstaff
There's also plans for significant intensification (~2-fold by 2030) of these areas:
-Downtown Bronte (Oakville)
-Etobicoke City Centre (Toronto)
-North York City Centre (Toronto)
|November 7th, 2011, 05:05 PM||#128|
Join Date: Sep 2002
Likes (Received): 24086
In Detroit, dreams of civic renewal collide with hard realities
Wed, Nov 2, 2011
Source : http://www.pbase.com/xlnt1
DETROIT (Reuters) - For years, Michigan Central Station, the towering train depot on the outskirts of downtown Detroit, stood as a haunting symbol of the city's decline and fall.
The last train pulled out of the station in 1988, shortly before the Honda Accord became the best-selling car in America, a humbling milestone for the city and its top industry.
In the intervening years, as the Big Three struggled to pick themselves up, vandals and the elements ravaged the depot. Architect Lis Knibbe says walking into the main waiting room, with its 60-foot vaulted ceilings and its graffiti-covered, water-damaged walls, was like "entering a Roman ruin."
Many locals were less kind. "It's been the most prominent eyesore in the city, a symbol of what's wrong," said John Gallagher, author of the book "Reimagining Detroit."
Now, as a tentative rebound by the city's automakers fuels talk of a Motor City renaissance, the 600,000-square-foot depot -- which is undergoing a multimillion-dollar cleanup -- is seen by some as a hopeful symbol of Detroit's renewal.
"If we can completely rehab the Michigan Central Station and make it vibrant, with people running in and out of it, then we would have proved that anything can be done in Detroit," said Matthew Moroun, whose family bought it in the mid-1990s.
But others are skeptical Detroit can put decades of neglect and abandonment behind it. And they question whether the flurry of activity at the depot is anything to celebrate. For them, the station continues to be a symbol of the hubris that preceded Detroit's downfall and the inconvenient realities that stand between the city and its dreams of a comeback.
"It's not clear that Detroit is going to make it," said Kenneth T. Jackson, a professor of urban history at Columbia University who has studied the rise and fall of U.S. cities. "I'm pulling for it. But it's not a gimme."
There are, to be sure, some encouraging signs of renewal. The two automakers forced into bankruptcy in 2009 -- General Motors and Chrysler -- are back on their feet. Together with Ford, they are regaining market share and hiring workers.
Several suburban-based businesses, including Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan, have moved downtown, bringing thousands of workers with them. One of the latest was Quicken Loans, a company whose CEO, Dan Gilbert, is a native son and an energetic champion of what he calls "Detroit 2.0."
Andy Farbman, the president of the Farbman Group, a real estate company with an extensive portfolio in Detroit, compares Gilbert to Felix Rohatyn, the banker credited with helping New York City steer its way out of its fiscal woes in the 1970s.
"Danny's a billionaire with a mission and a plan who wants to be part of saving the city," Farbman said.
"He controls all these jobs and employs all these younger professionals who want to be in a 24-hour city."
Long-shelved residential loft projects are coming back to life; the occupancy rate for existing downtown apartments is close to 100 percent. The city's appeal for young, creative types, who can live here for a fraction of what they'd pay in Portland, Oregon, or Austin, Texas, is growing, too.
Then there are the city's football and baseball teams. Both were league laughingstocks a few years ago, with the Lions -- who went 0-16 in the 2008 season -- especially hard to watch.
This year, the Tigers nearly claimed baseball's American League pennant and the Lions won the first five games of the season, their best start in 55 years.
OFF THE MAT?
"There's a sense that Detroit is no longer on the mat," said Gallagher, whose book looks at renewal efforts in other cities, including Dresden, Germany, and Seoul, South Korea. His conclusion: second acts are tough but possible.
Gallagher and others see Detroit 2.0 as a smaller city, powered by a diverse mix of industries and centered on the handful of neighborhoods that have survived the hollowing out.
Implementing the vision of a scaled-back Detroit, of course, would require controversial policy-making, with officials choosing neighborhood winners and losers and funneling dollars into those deemed viable. Gallagher admits it would be painful. But he says the status quo is painful, too. "A lot of areas are not winning right now," he said.
But even the most slimmed-down dreams face harsh realities in Detroit, which lost 25 percent of its population over the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Census, accelerating a trend that has left nearly a third of the city vacant.
Those who remain are twice as likely to live in poverty and 50 percent more likely to be unemployed than the average American.
And Detroit remains a remarkably unhealthy place to live, with one of the nation's highest homicide rates, according to the FBI, and one of the highest lung cancer mortality rates in the country.
Even trends the boosters tout, like the rise in urban farming, strike others as proof of the city's woes.
"In economics, we generally consider agriculture to be the lowest value use of land," said David Albouy of the University of Michigan. "So the fact that the land is going back to agriculture is a sign of how little people want to live there."
No one denies the city has its problems. "If you want to focus on the negatives in Detroit, there is a list with hundreds of examples you can point to," said Moroun, whose family did little with the depot until this year, when it found itself in a high-stakes fight over the Ambassador Bridge.
"Our idea with the depot is take it off that list."
So far, the family, whose net worth is estimated to be $1.5 billion by Forbes, has spent $1 million on repairs. Moroun says they plan to spend that much again over the next year replacing broken windows and leaky roofs at the depot.
A top-to-bottom renovation is not in the cards for now, he says, because the family has no idea how to make the depot commercially viable.
"We don't have a business projection that proves that we can completely redevelop the thing, put a bunch of people in it and make money right away," Moroun said.
"But we also don't have a plan to let it sit there and continue to decay, either."
Some worry the family's sudden interest in the depot is temporary, designed to curry public favor while the Morouns fight over the fate of the Ambassador, the family-owned toll bridge that links Detroit to Windsor, Canada.
JEWEL IN THE CROWN
The Ambassador is a money maker, the jewel in the Moroun family crown. But it's now in jeopardy because of a proposal, backed by the state of Michigan and the government of Canada, to build a new publicly owned international bridge.
The repairs on the depot have coincided with an expensive, Moroun-supported ad campaign opposing the public bridge as a boondoggle. If the family wins the bridge fight, skeptics wonder, will the work on the depot stop?
"Whether or not it is an attempt to divert attention from the bridge debacle, we don't know," said Gallagher.
The money needed for a full-restoration would be staggering, even for the Morouns. Architect Knibbe, who was involved in the renovation of the Book Cadillac building downtown and consults on the depot, estimates the cost would be "significantly more" than the $200 million spent on the Book Cadillac.
So, like Charlotte Street in New York City's South Bronx in the 1970s, Michigan Central Station remains a convenient backdrop for people drawing attention to urban distress, not urban renewal. The latest to come here was Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who stood in front of the depot to promote his 9-9-9 tax plan.
If the money needed to renovate the depot seems staggering, the money already spent trying to renew Detroit is more staggering still. Susan Mosey, the head of Midtown Detroit, a nonprofit working to revitalize the city's Woodward Corridor, says $2.4 billion has been poured into that neighborhood alone over the past 10 years -- and the work is nowhere near done.
Whether such outlays will continue as the country struggles to recover from the economic bust and avoid a second recession is unclear. But Mosey says without a continued investment, Detroit's renewal may wither.
"This is a very large piece of geography and it was severely disinvested," she said. "So the cost of the rebuild is tremendous."
|November 15th, 2011, 06:45 PM||#129|
Join Date: Sep 2002
Likes (Received): 51
It's just been broken up into so many different projects/phases, that it just doesn't seem like one contiguous area (Liberty Village, King West, Garrison Common/Fort York, Harbourfront, Railway Lands, King-Spadina, Entertainment District, St Lawrence, West Donlands, Harbour Square, East Bayfront, Portlands).
20-30 years ago, this area had a residential population of practically zero. By 2001, the residential population had reached 35,000. By 2006 it had reached 48,000. The numbers for 2011 haven't come out yet, but a LOT of condos in this area have been built and occupied in the last 5 years, and even more are currently under construction or planned.
|November 16th, 2011, 10:02 AM||#130|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Likes (Received): 72865
^ Could you (or so. else) please be so kind and offer link/s of those projects? I'm quite interested in it.
|July 26th, 2019, 05:15 PM||#133|
Join Date: Sep 2002
Likes (Received): 24086
FEATURE-Vibrant neighbourhood or tourist magnet? Puerto Rico shows hidden cost of urban renewal
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, July 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - W alking through the hip San Juan neighbourhood (barrio) of Machuchal, it is hard to miss the house painted bright yellow, green and red, with a sign on the side reading "Casa Taft 169".
The building in the Puerto Rican capital had been abandoned for nearly 40 years and was declared a "public nuisance" by the municipal government before a group of local lawyers and residents rescued it from demolition.
Since buying the house in 2013, the group has been transforming it into a centre for neighbourhood meetings, talks by guest speakers, and civic workshops to help locals become more politically involved.
"We wanted to level the playing field with the government and say, 'You need to take us into consideration'" when deciding the fate of abandoned homes in the area, explained Marina Moscoso, an urban planner and the project's coordinator.
Now residents say that quality of life is under threat from increasing tourism and rising rents that are pushing out young people and poorer families, as the U.S. island territory struggles to recover from a hurricane two years ago that killed some 3,000 people.
Embattled Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello may resign on Wednesday after 11 days of protests against his administration - with an estimated 500,000 people taking to the streets of San Juan on Monday.
The national government has highlighted tourism as an economic engine in Puerto Rico's 2019 fiscal plan, to help the bankrupt U.S. territory recover after Hurricane Maria caused an estimated $90 billion-worth of damage.
Attracting businesses and travellers is key to reviving parts of Puerto Rico and benefits "not only residents but also outside visitors", according to Yolanda Rosaly, spokeswoman for the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, a governmental organisation.
"The city becomes more dynamic and the value of properties rise," she said in emailed comments.
But residents say the tourism boost in Barrio Machuchal - an area mainly home to elderly people and low-income families - is causing overcrowding and inflating house prices, exacerbating the neighbourhood's already severe lack of affordable housing.
And Moscoso is afraid that the work the community has been doing to revive places like Casa Taft was what started the process.
More : https://af.reuters.com/article/commo.../idAFL5N22W2CI