Federal Judge Temporarily Enjoins California From Enforcing AB 51

February 18, 2020
Jeffrey K. Brown & Raymond J. Nhan - Payne & Fears

This morning, a federal judge from the Eastern District of California granted a temporary restraining order preventing California from enforcing Assembly Bill (AB) 51.

AB 51-which was set to take effect on January 1, 2020-prohibits employers from requiring, as a condition of employment, employees to waive their right to any forum or procedure to bring claims under the Labor Code or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Several industry groups filed a complaint, alleging that AB 51 is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act and violates the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.

Reprinted courtesy of Jeffrey K. Brown, Payne and Fears and Raymond J. Nhan, Payne and Fears
Mr. Brown may be contacted at jkb@paynefears.com
Mr. Nhan may be contacted at rjn@paynefears.com


Homeowners’ Negligence Claims against Builder Bears Significant Relationship to Construction Contracts and Are Therefore Arbitrable

February 10, 2020
Zachary Landes - Florida Construction Law News

Recently, in Vanacore Construction, Inc. v. Osborn, 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 18068, 2018 WL 6579205, the 5th District Court of Appeal determined that a homeowners’ claims against a builder for construction defects bore a significant relationship to the parties’ construction contracts. Therefore, the claims were arbitrable pursuant to the broadly worded arbitration provision of the contracts.

Mr. Landes may be contacted at Zachary.Landes@csklegal.com


2019 Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Gains Steam with Bipartisan Support

February 3, 2020
Emily K. Bias - Gravel2Gavel Construction & Real Estate Law Blog

As 2019 winds down, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019 is gaining momentum in Congress. The Act, which is aimed at expanding and strengthening the low-income housing tax credit, was originally introduced in 2016. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 adopted two key provisions of the original bill—a 12.5% increase to the housing credit ceiling for years 2018-2021 and the “income averaging” minimum set-aside election. The 2019 bill reintroduces many key provisions from the original bill, along with new provisions to further bolster the housing credit. As of the end of October, more than one-third of the House and one-fourth of the Senate have signed on to co-sponsor the bill. In summary, the key proposals in the 2019 legislation would:

  • Establish a minimum 4% credit rate for tax-exempt bond financed transactions;
  • Increase the housing credit volume cap by 50% over five years;
  • Add income averaging as a third minimum set-aside test for 4% bond deals to mirror the modifications to Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code adopted as part of the 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act;

Ms. Bias may be contacted at emily.bias@pillsburylaw.com


Millennial Homebuyers Drive Need for Early Childhood Education Construction

January 27, 2020
Travis Waldrop - Construction Executive

Millennials are now the largest generation in the world, and they are shaping everything from the housing market to consumer trends, according to the Pew Research Center. The ever-growing age cohort’s spending power is expected to reach $1.4 trillion annually in 2020, according to Accenture; as they have started to settle down and form families of their own, according to the National Association of Realtors, they have also become one of the most active generations of homebuyers in the nation. .

As real estate developers, builders and land owners compete for millennials’ spending power and better understand their buying motivations, they will need to determine which amenities are a must-have to generate loyalty to an area and long-term ROI.

Reprinted courtesy of Travis Waldrop, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


Sao Paulo Skyline Fills Up With New Towers as Real Estate Booms

January 20, 2020
Fabiola Moura, Vinicius Andrade, & Patricia Lara – Bloomberg

Sao Paulo real estate has never been so hot.

Walking around Brazil’s wealthiest city, it’s impossible to avoid the construction sites suddenly breathing life into formerly empty lots. One street alone in Itaim Bibi, the city’s financial district, has five skyscrapers going up. Newspapers are packed with ads for new high rises targeting just about anyone with a steady paycheck.


Homebuilder Stocks Rally After Lennar Results Top Estimates

January 13, 2020
Felice Maranz – Bloomberg

Builders rose after Lennar Corp.’s fourth-quarter orders and revenue beat estimates, even as home prices fell in the quarter.

Lennar shares jumped as much as 5.4% in early Wednesday trading, the most since March 27. The S&P Supercomposite Homebuilding Index rose as much as 2.9% to the highest since Dec. 12, with top gainers including M/I Homes Inc., which got an upgrade earlier, William Lyon Homes, Century Communities Inc. and Toll Brothers Inc.


Chicago Contractors, Developers, Unions Launch HIRE360 Effort to Bring Minorities, Women into Construction

January 6, 2020
Jeff Yoders - Engineering News-Record

Labor unions, the biggest developers and general contractors in Chicago, the Associated General Contractors of America's Chicagoland branch, the Chicago and Cook County North America's Building Trades Unions and the United Way all came together to launch a new group aimed at increasing minority and women participation in the construction process.

Mr. Yoders may be contacted at yodersj@enr.com


Paris Mixed-Use Development Will Be 'Environmentally Responsible'

January 1, 2020
Bruce Buckley - Engineering News-Record

Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France and Bouygues Energies & Services, two subsidiaries of Bouygues Construction, are building the $289-million Issy Coeur de Ville under development in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris. Envisioned as an eco-neighborhood, the 1,076,391-sq-ft project aims to provide residents an “environmentally responsible lifestyle.” The development is a connected block, located in the heart of Issy-les-Moulineaux. It will focus on pedestrian traffic and will be heavily landscaped. Designed by architect Valode & Pistre, the mixed-used development will consist of five residential buildings, including a retirement home, three office buildings and a range of civic amenities that include a school complex, a day-care center and a community hall. The development will also feature 182,986 sq ft of retail, restaurants and a seven-screen multiplex cinema.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


Best Project: Residential/Hospitality: Arrivé Tower

December 22, 2019
Engineering News-Record

The small footprint of Arrivé Tower, a cast-in-place concrete building, created a significant challenge. The mid-city block location of the structure—with its seven levels of below-grade parking, six elevators and multiple amenities—constrained construction equipment access and deliveries and required careful planning of just-in-time deliveries for all materials.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


Gateway at Millbrae Station Breaks Ground in Bay Area

December 16, 2019
Greg Aragon - Engineering News-Record

After years of community input and numerous permitting hurdles, the Gateway at Millbrae Station development has started construction. Located next to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) Millbrae Station, the 17-acre mixed-used development will feature a Marriott-branded hotel, office space, residential, and significant retail installments. The entire complex is slated for completion in 2025.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


D.R. Horton Surges as Orders Beat Pushes Shares to Record High

December 9, 2019
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

Homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. reported quarterly orders that beat analysts’ estimates, sending its shares to a record high.

In the three months through September, purchase contracts jumped 14% from a year earlier to 13,130, the Arlington, Texas-based company said in a statement Tuesday. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting a gain of 7.9%. The company also posted higher than expected profit and boosted its dividend, sending its shares higher.


Housing Might Rescue the Economy From Trump’s Trade War

December 2, 2019
Conor Sen - Bloomberg

Manufacturing data released Tuesday made two things clear: The Federal Reserve might be powerless to prevent the negative effects of the trade war from hurting economic growth, but it still has the juice to boost the housing market.

The ISM Manufacturing Index report showed that industrial activity in the U.S. plunged in September, the sixth straight monthly decline, to the lowest since the Great Recession ended in June 2009. But the silver lining is that the Fed's efforts are showing up in recent housing data, including Tuesday's construction spending report, with activity continuing to perk up after several sluggish quarters.


U.S. Home Starts Reach Highest Since 2007 in Broad Advance

November 24, 2019
Reade Pickert - Bloomberg

U.S. home construction surged in August to the fastest pace since mid-2007 on more apartment projects and single-family houses, a welcome sign for the housing sector that has struggled to gain momentum.

Residential starts climbed 12.3% to a 1.36 million annualized rate after an upwardly revised 1.22 million pace in the prior month, according to government figures released Wednesday that topped all estimates in Bloomberg’s survey. Permits, a proxy for future construction, also increased to a 12-year high.


Two Techniques to Connect the Next Generation to the Trades

November 18, 2019
Jeremiah Hayes - Construction Executive

There is a mountain of research and discussion around the differences in generational value sets, work ethic and motivational drivers. Where this intersects with skilled trade work, there is a diminishing reservoir of the talent and passion that will build the next generation of schools, hospitals, courthouses and other traditional infrastructure.

In short, more people are leaving the trades than coming in. But, far worse (and rarely discussed) is the internal poverty this will bring to the reservoir of character, creativity and true satisfaction that companies will need foster if they are to endure in the decades to come. The mass migration from physical jobs to intellectual ones—while largely a positive trend—carries some damaging side effects to individuals and corporations if not intentionally managed at the organizational level.

Reprinted courtesy of Jeremiah Hayes, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.


South-East Asia’s Largest 3D-printer for Construction Operational in Singapore

November 12, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

South-East Asia’s largest 3D-printer for construction is declared operational in Singapore by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in Singapore at the PEAK Forum on 11 September 2019.

This 3D concrete printer is capable of printing concrete components up to 9 m long, 3.5 m wide and 3.8 m tall. The 3D-printer is developed and operated for HDB by Witteveen+Bos South-East Asia Pte. Ltd. and the overall project is a joint effort of Robin Village Development Pte. Ltd., Nanyang Technological University and Witteveen+Bos.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi


From Linear to Circular in Construction: An Interview with Lu Ying

November 4, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Lu Ying recently co-founded Future Urban Living to explore sustainable solutions for businesses and cities in the Circular Economy through design thinking. Lu gave a great keynote speech at WDBE 2019 in Helsinki. We continue the discussion in this interview.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi


ENR New York’s 2019 Best Projects: Woolworth Tower Residences

October 21, 2019
Engineering News-Record

The Woolworth Building, an iconic tower that was the world’s tallest in 1913, has been transformed into a mixed-use skyscraper—though it still has its Cass Gilbert-designed neo-Gothic facade, soaring arches and gargoyles.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


ENR New York’s 2019 Best Projects: Fisher Houses

October 14, 2019
Engineering News-Record

Building the nonprofit Fisher House Foundation’s two 16-bedroom houses—where military and veterans’ families can stay free of charge while a loved one is receiving care at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the Bronx—was no typical homebuilding effort. It required considerable logistical skill thanks to challenging site conditions.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


Regional Builders Grow Revenue At A Steady Pace

October 7, 2019
Justin Rice - Engineering News-Record

Thanks to solid strength in the regional market, the 70 firms participating in this year’s ENR MidAtlantic Top Contractor survey posted a combined $27.7 billion in revenue from work performed and billed in 2018. That represents a 6% gain over the amount reported by a slightly different lineup of 70 firms in last year’s ranking from projects in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Rice may be contacted at ricej@enr.com


NYC Affordable Infill Housing Plan Puts Design First

September 30, 2019
Nadine M. Post - Engineering News-Record

The five finalists of an international design competition for affordable infill housing on scattered “sliver” sites, owned by New York City, are currently entering a capacity building phase with the city to convert their designs into viable development proposals. The city expects to assemble development teams early next year, receive their proposals next spring and make selections by next fall.

Ms. Post may be contacted at postn@enr.com


Giving Heating Control to Residents is Good for the Environment

September 23, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Heating in EU households accounts for 79% of the total energy consumption. In cold climate areas, like Finland, the percentage is even higher. Enermix set out to test how room-level control in district-heated apartment houses would affect the comfort of living and energy consumption.

“Our mission is to digitalize Finnish buildings, especially the existing ones,” says Janne Heinonen, the CEO of Enermix, a Finnish tech company. “We focus on existing buildings because the owners are still reluctant to invest in smart building solutions during construction because of the additional costs they entail. Another reason is that there’s not fierce competition in making old buildings smart.”

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi


More Housing? YIMBY, Please

September 16, 2019
Tyler Cowen - Bloomberg

The YIMBY movement is definitely on to something: In many parts of the world it is too difficult to build new housing. The result is that lower-income individuals are priced out of some of the world’s most productive cities, such as San Francisco and London, because of exorbitant rents.


U.S. Homebuilder Sentiment Improved in July on Stronger Sales

September 10, 2019
Ryan Haar - Bloomberg

Sentiment among U.S. homebuilders crept higher in July after falling the previous month, indicating lower mortgage rates are helping shore up demand.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose one point to 65 this month, according to a report Tuesday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey projected the gauge would hold at 64.


This VC Firm Is Persuading Real Estate Rivals to Become Friends

September 4, 2019
Patrick Clark & Lily Katz - Bloomberg

Fifth Wall employed an unusual strategy to raise its second venture fund: It got rival real estate companies to pool resources to invest in property-technology startups.

Los Angeles-based Fifth Wall said Wednesday that it closed the $503 million fund by bringing together mall owners, hotel companies and office developers. Four major U.S. homebuilders invested in the fund -- D.R. Horton Inc., Lennar Corp., PulteGroup Inc. and Toll Brothers Inc. -- as well as competing brokerages CBRE Group Inc. and Cushman & Wakefield Plc.



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