Sat, 9 August 2008
August 9, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in
Based on the current sales pace, it will take ten months to clear out the inventories of new homes.
Fri, 8 August 2008
August 8, 2008
Thu, 7 August 2008
August 6, 2008
Drivers in the SouthPark area are fond of using the tiny streets in
They didn't expect it to become a popular driver shortcut with high-speed traffic.
Now residents and businesses in the center find themselves conflicted about what to do. They want to slow down – even deter – traffic so pedestrians feel safe walking to and from the shops. On the other hand, the businesses need traffic to drum up interest.
“We bought these units knowing we weren't on a cul-de-sac,” said Thomas Golen, president of the Piedmont Row Residential Condo Association. “The volume of traffic is just so high, though, that we feel things could have been planned better.”
Getting through the choked intersection can be slow. So during rush hour, dozens of drivers funnel onto the tiny arteries running through
Some residents have unaffectionately dubbed the route the “Barclay Downs Bypass.”
Restaurant managers in the area say they don't mind the increased traffic because it can be used to boost business.
“Our problem isn't that we can't get people here,” said Brian Boyce, general manager of Dolcetto wine bar. “The problem is they can't get out when they do want to leave.”
Boyce said he and other business owners have thought about how they might capitalize on the situation, perhaps providing to-go services. Food, bottled wine and other products could be delivered to customers' cars while they're sitting in gridlock.
A similar idea has occurred to Paula Cocking, co-owner of The Dinner A'Fare, a meal-preparation business at
The streets in
Residents and business owners have considered installing speed slowing measures such as speed humps or the gentler speed “tables.”
Cocking and others said something will have to be done before someone gets hurt.
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in
Wed, 6 August 2008
August 6, 2008
Post Properties Inc. has scuttled plans to build Post Plaza South, a 300-unit apartment complex on
The Atlanta-based developer, citing difficult market conditions, says it will also terminate its contract to buy the site.
Post Properties disclosed the decision Tuesday in its second-quarter earnings report. A company spokesman was unavailable for comment.
Among its holdings in the
In its financial report, the company says it lost $27 million, or 61 cents per diluted share, in the second quarter. In the same period last year, Post Properties earned $62 million, or $1.40 per diluted share.
Post Properties (NYSE:PPS) incurred a loss on its funds from operations of $12.6 million, or 29 cents per diluted share, in the latest quarter. In the same period last year, its funds from operations totaled $22.1 million, or 49 cents per diluted share.
Funds from operations is the primary earnings measure for real estate investment trusts.
Post Properties operates in 10 markets across the country. The company owns 22,435 units in 62 developments.
Tue, 5 August 2008
August 5, 2008
She was the secret guest that caused
Now we know the identity of the secret guest whose visit to
It was Martha Stewart.
Stewart, the lifestyle guru, was the guest of billionaire developer David Murdock on Thursday and Friday.
She visited the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis and made a quick shopping trip in the
Last week, city workers took down banners honoring Earnhardt after an official at Murdock's real estate company and a local tourism official said some of the banners were dirty and torn and might upset a Murdock guest, who wasn't identified.
Lynne Scott Safrit, president of Castle & Cooke, Murdock's development company, said Stewart's visit had been planned for months.
It's hard to work around those schedules, she said.
Stewart had dinner with Murdock late Thursday evening and left
During her visit Thursday, she toured a research laboratory with Murdock. It's scheduled to open later this year.
The banners honoring Earnhardt had been placed along
Mon, 4 August 2008
August 4, 2008
New-home starts drop, but that's good trend for a market full of unsold houses and foreclosures.
The latest local housing market stats confirm the slump continues, but they also show the week's second positive trend.
Charlotte-area homebuilders started 49 percent fewer homes during the second quarter, compared with the same period in 2007, according to data released Friday by Metrostudy. The 3,011 new home starts marked the second consecutive quarter below 4,000, a level last seen in 2003.
The firm's method differs from those that compile building permit and sales data from public records. Results of the two methods tend to track fairly closely.
New-home closings fell nearly 40 percent in the second quarter but exceeded the number of houses started, according to Metrostudy research. That's important because it means builders are cutting back in response to weak demand rather than adding to a market glutted with foreclosures and other houses awaiting buyers.
That's a welcome shift from the last two quarters, when area builders started more houses than they sold, said Bill Miley, Metrostudy's
Earlier this week, a popular index showed
Sat, 2 August 2008
August 2, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The REal Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER TAX CREDIT
Frequently Asked Questions
As part of its major housing legislation (H.R. 3221), Congress has created a tax credit to provide an incentive for first-time homebuyers. The $7500 credit will be available for the purchase of a principal residence on or after April 8, 2008 and before July 1, 2009.
Who qualifies for the new tax credit?
Only first-time homebuyers are eligible for the credit. A first-time homebuyer is defined as an individual who has not had an ownership interest in a principal residence in the previous three years. The 3-year period is measured as of the date of the purchase of the eligible principal residence.
Is there an income restriction?
Yes. The income restriction is based on the tax filing status of the tax return the purchaser files.
Individuals whose Form 1040 filing status is Single are eligible for the credit if their adjusted gross income is no more than $75,000. Individuals who file a Joint return may have income of no more than $150,000.
Do individuals with incomes greater than the $75,000 or $150,000 limits lose all the benefit of thecredit?
No. The credit has a phase-out. A formula is provided so that the credit is gradually reduced as an individual’s income reaches $95,000 (single return) or $170,000 (joint return). Adjusted gross income above $95,000 ($170,000 joint) will receive no tax credit.
Is the amount of the credit tied to the price of the home?
Yes. The credit is for 10 percent of the cost of the home, up to a limit of $7500.
What’s the definition of “principal residence?”
Generally, a principal residence is the home where an individual spends most of his/her time. The term includes single-family detached housing, condos or co-ops, townhouses or any similar type of dwelling.
Are there restrictions on the location of the property?
Yes. Eligible property must be located in the United States. Property outside the US is not eligible for the credit.
What if the purchaser is eligible for a $7500 credit but owes only $6000 of income tax?
The tax credit is a so-called “refundable” credit. Thus, in this example, the purchaser would receive an income tax refund of $1500. The refundable amount is the difference between $7500 and the amount of tax owed.
Why is the credit sometimes referred to as an interest-free loan?
Unlike most other tax credits, this tax incentive must be paid back. Eligible purchasers will be required to repay the tax credit over 15 years. The statute specifies that the repayment amount will be 6.67% of the credit amount each year. Thus, a buyer who qualifies for the full $7500 credit will repay $502.50 each year. There will be no interest charge on outstanding balances.
Some Practical Questions
How do I apply for the credit?
There is no application or approval process. Eligible purchasers will claim the credit on the appropriate IRS Form 1040 tax return and/or on any special forms the IRS might devise.
So I can’t use the credit amount as part of my downpayment?
Presently, there is no mechanism available for claiming the credit any earlier than the 2008 tax return that will be filed in 2009. Congress tried to devise a mechanism that would allow pre-funding of the credit, but found that pre-funding would require cumbersome processes that would, in effect, bring the IRS into the purchase and settlement phase of the transaction.
So there’s no way to get any cash flow benefits before I file my 2008 tax return?
Any first-time homebuyers who believe they would be eligible for all or part of the credit would be allowed to make adjustments to their income tax withholding (through their employers) or to their quarterly estimated tax payments. Individuals subject to income tax withholding would get an IRS Form W-4 from their employer, follow the instructions on the schedules provided and give the completed Form W-4 back to the employer. In many cases their take-home pay would increase.
If I don’t make an eligible purchase until 2009, do I claim the credit when I file my 2009 tax return in 2010?
Qualified first-time homebuyers who make their purchase between January 1, 2009 and before July 1, 2009 are permitted to make an election to treat the purchase as if it had occurred on December 31, 2008. This election allows them (depending on the timing of the sale) to claim the credit on their 2008 tax return that is due on April 15, 2009. They may also elect to extend their 2008 tax return by filing for an automatic extension. If they file their 2008 return before they have purchased the home, they may utilize this election and file an amended 2008 tax return.
My sister and I are both single and want to purchase a home together. Will we each receive a $7500 credit?
No. The purchase of a residence will generate a tax credit amount that will total up to $7500, no matter how many unmarried purchasers are buying the house.
My sister and I wish to purchase a home together. She previously owned a principal residence but sold it 2 years ago. I’ve never owned a residence. Can I qualify for a partial credit?
Possibly. The statute is somewhat ambiguous. It specifically provides that for a married couple to be eligible for the credit, both must be first-time homebuyers. Similarly, the statute provides that if a married couple files their tax return as Married Filing Separate, then the credit is limited to $3750 each. By contrast, the statute directs the IRS to determine how the credit can be shared when two or more unrelated individuals purchase a home. In that case, the statute does not specify whether all the unrelated purchasers must be first-time homebuyers.
I made an eligible purchase of a principal residence in May 2008. If my brother, also a first-time homebuyer, wishes to move in with me and purchase a partial interest in the home in 2009, will he qualify for the credit, as well?
No. Any purchase of a principal residence from a related party such as a sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle is ineligible for the tax credit. Since you and your brother are related in this way, he cannot qualify for the credit on any interest in the home that he purchases from you.
I’ll be working outside the US for part of 2008, so part of my income will be eligible to be excluded from tax. I want to buy a home when I come back. Can I disregard my non-taxable overseas income when figuring whether I am eligible for the credit?
No. To determine whether you are eligible for the tax credit, you are required to combine your nontaxable overseas income with any US income you earn in 2008. Thus, if you are single and had $45,000 of non-taxable overseas income and $55,000 of US income, you would be ineligible for the tax credit because your 2008 income ($100,000) exceeded even the $95,000 phase-out amount. If you had $45,000 of non-taxable overseas income and $40,000 US income, you would qualify for a partial credit because your total income would be $80,000. If you had $45,000 non-taxable overseas income and $20,000 US income, you would qualify for the full credit (assuming you met all of the other requirements). Similar rules would apply if you had non-taxable overseas income in 2009 and wished to purchase then.
I live in the District of Columbia and am eligible for the DC Homebuyer Tax Credit. Can I use both credits?
No. You must choose one or the other. Note that the $5000 DC credit has no repayment feature, while the new $7500 credit must be repaid as an interest-free loan.
Repaying the Credit
What is the repayment feature of the credit?
The repayment feature of the credit is similar to a recapture provision: the tax system takes back all or part of a tax benefit. In this case, there is no precedent for repayment of an individual tax credit, so not much is known about how the repayment will occur, how it will be reflected at settlement or on the sales forms or how the IRS will collect and enforce the payments. The repayment is the equivalent of converting the tax credit into an interest-free loan.
What are the terms for repayment?
The credit amount is repaid in increments of 6.67% of the credit amount over 15 years. For individuals who take the full $7500 credit, the repayment will be $502.50 a year. Individuals who claim a credit of less than $7500 will also have a 15-year repayment period and will pay 6.67% of their credit each year. For example, an individual who claims a credit of $6000 will repay $400.20 a year ($6000 x .0667).
When do I make the payment?
The mechanics are not specified. Payments for credits claimed on 2008 tax returns will go into effect for the 2010 tax year. Payments for credits claimed on 2009 returns will go into effect for the 2011 tax year.
What if I sell my house before the 15-year repayment period is complete?
When the person who utilized the credit sells the home, any amount of tax credit that has not been repaid will be due in the year of sale. For example, if an individual still “owed” $4000 in repayments and realized $25,000 of proceeds from the sale, the $25,000 of proceeds would be reduced to $21,000 and $4000 will be remitted to the IRS.
What if there’s very little (or no) gain on the sale and the proceeds won’t cover the repayment
If the proceeds of the sale don’t cover the amount that must be repaid, part of the liability is forgiven. For example, if the individual still “owed” $4000 but the gain on the sale was only $3500, then the seller would not be required to repay the IRS the $500 shortfall.
Are there any other exceptions to the repayment rules?
Yes. If the person who utilized the credit dies before the full credit amount has been repaid, then any balance that remains unpaid is disregarded. Special rules are provided that make adjustments for people who sell homes as part of a divorce before the credit has been fully repaid. Similarly, adjustments are made in the case of a home that is part of an involuntary conversion (property is destroyed in a natural disaster or subject to condemnation by eminent domain by an authorized agency).
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Sat, 2 August 2008
August 1, 2008
There’s More to My Real Estate Day Than Meets The Eye…
Thu, 31 July 2008
July 31, 2008
Never say never…
The unit I have has been lovingly cared for in every detail. The owners have replaced all four sliding glass door sets and all the rest of the windows. The entire unit has been repainted with neutral colors. New is everywhere: tile in the kitchen, new kitchen appliances, new countertops, new range/oven, new dishwasher, new light fixtures, newer carpeting…and pergo in the joining hall and foyer. The downstairs master suite bath has been remodeled from the studs out. The upstairs full bath has new flooring, new lighting, new paint, new fixtures and hardware. The rooms are large, every one of them. And the windows are many…the light is abundant. The living room, the dining room, the kitchen, and the downstairs master all lead to patios. The kitchen patio is oversized and rolls over to green space. Very park-like. Upstairs master has a trio of new windows overlooking green space. Large walk-in storage runs adjacent to the 3rd bedroom or home office. Carport and utility. Almost 2000 sq. ft for less than $220,000 in one of
Wed, 30 July 2008
July 30, 2008
Quail Hollow Estates:
Our 33 gently rolling, park like acres are located within the northwest quadrant of
Our beautifully appointed clubhouse has a fully equipped kitchen, library, bar, game rooms, meeting room and spacious living room, lending itself very well to the many planned activities centered here.
Wed, 30 July 2008
July 29, 2008
Mon, 28 July 2008
July 28, 2008
And in my own neighborhood, I like the differences in age, in race, in religion, in orientation, even the grumpy ones have their moments. And maybe that would not suit everyone. Maybe some wear out their joy in crying babies and boisterous teens.
Sun, 27 July 2008
July 26, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo,
No housing ‘bubble' here, just normal market ups and downs.
Karla Hammer Knotts
From Karla Hammer Knotts, owner of Land Matters, a real estate consulting company:
If you're waiting for home prices in
Released at the end of each month, the Case-Shiller Index measures home prices in 20
Why such alarming predictions? Seven of the 20 markets analyzed in Case-Shiller are from hard hit-areas in the West and
For an example of a disconnect between the index and reality in
So what's really happening in
Our market had excess permits in 2006 and 2007. Those houses have now sold and permits are balancing with demand. This is good news for homeowners. For prices to stabilize and rebound, builders must eliminate inventory of finished homes. To opportunistic homebuyers, this is a signal that now is the time to buy.
Fri, 25 July 2008
July 24, 2008
Fri, 25 July 2008
July 24, 2008
“No change in schedule for the office tower,” he said. As for the planned condo, he said it is “of great interest to us.” However, Wachovia might pursue that project with a partner.
Uptown's condo market has struggled in the downturn, with two towers postponed, one in foreclosure and another stalled by a legal dispute. David Furman, one of
And on another tower, from hotel-condo to hotel:
A sliver of land beside Time Warner Cable arena that didn't work for a large condo-hotel development is getting a 16-story hotel without the condos.
LodgeWorks of Wichita, Kan., plans to start construction this summer of a 163-suite Hotel Sierra on a third of an acre on the
Denny Meikelham, senior vice president of development, said LodgeWorks originally cooperated with
When the plan fell through last year due to site restrictions and construction costs, LodgeWorks decided to buy the land from the city and proceed on its own.
“There is so much opportunity in this area, and it's close to everything,” Meikelham said. “This is a forever location. It's only going to get better with the NASCAR Hall of Fame and what's going to happen around it.”
He expects construction of the $35 million project to take about 14 months, which would put the opening in late 2009.
Thu, 24 July 2008
Jul. 23, 2008
Fall could be a catalyst for new condo's success so w rites Doug Smith of The Charlotte Observer
The Catalyst has already sold 58 of its 462 units. And the developer is pleased.
A rendering of the Catalyst condo tower under construction on
The Uptown condo market has suffered setbacks over the past few months, but that apparently isn't scaring buyers away.
The Catalyst, a 27-story tower under construction on
It does have a ways to go – the project includes 462 residences priced from the $180,000s to more than $300,000 – but given the season and the economic climate,
“Fall is always a good time in uptown
Condo developers are selling in the face of some of the worst news the uptown housing market has seen since the center city high-rise boom began about four years ago. Two towers are postponed, one is in foreclosure and another is stalled by a legal dispute.
Developers are reluctant to try new high-rise projects, as lenders aren't interested in financing them until the economy improves.
Yet “inventory is line with a healthy market,” said multifamily analyst Emma Littlejohn of the Littlejohn Group. “The problem is with delivery.”
Littlejohn said about 1,200 high-rise and mid-rise units are under construction or in the pre-sale stage in the center city, and more than half of those are under contract for sale.
With four major projects now in doubt, Littlejohn said, a bigger issue for the center city could be a potential undersupply of high-rise condos.
She wasn't surprised to see an initial surge in demand at Catalyst. “People are out there on the sidelines,” she said. “They still need a place to live.”
Field said buyers today are less impulsive and more likely to secure financing before making an offer.
Catalyst, unlike most condo projects, was started without a pre-sales campaign and is expected to open early next year.
“It gives people more confidence to know they don't have to wait two years,” Field said.
Novare targets 25- to 40-year-old buyers with a predominance of one-bedroom units and amenities packages that include a fitness center, a club room, a pool, an Internet cafe and concierge service. About 65 percent of Catalyst's condos are one bedroom.
A good mix of one- and two-bedroom units have sold, Field said, with the project being typical for a high-rise: “The most expensive and least expensive tend to sell right away.”
Catalyst (catalystcharlotte.com) will overlook a planned uptown park, and that was a lure for many of the initial buyers, Field said.
Also a factor: gas prices. “Many of the people who come in are asking where the light-rail stop is in relation to the project,” she said.
Wed, 23 July 2008
July 22, 2008
Council OKs tower on
No opposition voiced; controversy over views
By Clay Barbour
Developers are planning a 230-foot apartment tower, a 200-plus foot office tower and a 180-foot hotel on approximately 2.74 acres next to The Arlington (in background).
The Charlotte City Council Monday approved a rezoning bid for another high-rise tower along
The approval came in spite of the recent controversy over the proposal. Residents of the nearby
But on Monday no one spoke against the proposal and the council passed it unanimously.
“We are excited and a little surprised,” said Tracy Finch of the Harris Development Group. “We expected more opposition.”
Harris applied for a rezoning of the former Simpson's Lighting property. The apartment tower is part of a $200 million project that includes a 200-plus-foot-tall office building and 180-foot-tall hotel on approximately 2.74 acres.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Zoning Committee unanimously backed the $200 million project last month, with some changes.
But earlier this month some residents of The Arlington, South End's 300-foot-tall pink residential high-rise, complained that the new project would block their views and lower property values. They said they have a right to their views in the non-legally binding South End Transit Station Area Plan approved in 2005 – about two years after The Arlington opened. That plan caps building height in the area at 120 feet.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars sometimes separate condos with views of the city from those without. At The Arlington, available condos facing away from the city are larger and cost around $335 per square foot. Available uptown-facing units top out around $372 per square foot.
Finch, who spent the early part of Monday going back and forth between council members, said the idea that Harris' new project would hurt
“They will go up thanks to us, she said. The Arlington isn't without its own controversy. Some residents of the Factory South Lofts complained about their view being blocked when the tower was built.
And Counter Point:
Reporting live, from City Council: Mary Newsom of The Charlotte Observer
Mon, 21 July 2008
July 21, 2008
Sat, 19 July 2008
July 19, 2008
City treats its plans as if they're on Kleenex
What's the point of plans if they get dumped to suit developers?
It was oddly appropriate that the article about a proposed apartment-hotel-office tower project in South End was positioned on the Observer's front-page right next to one about scams and counterfeit Panthers' tickets. You might view the City Council's 2005 approval of a 120-foot height limit for that part of South End as a similar scam, a sort of counterfeit assurance to neighbors.
The proposal, from Harris Development Group, has won a positive recommendation from the development-loving zoning committee of the city's Planning Commission and is due for a July 21 yes-or-no vote from the City Council.
The city planning staff also smiles upon it, because it's near a station on the light rail line. “That site can support that density,” planner Tim Manes told the Observer's Dan Tierney. “Sometimes when you have density you have to have height.”
So what's the problem? Simply this. The 120-foot height limit – which allows 10- to 11-story buildings – is common throughout many city plans adopted for older parts of town. It's the height limit in the city's MUDD, or mixed-use development, and TOD, or transit-oriented district, zonings. It's the limit in the Transit Station Area Principles. In reality, allowing buildings that tall is too lenient to be of any protection to the bungalow-filled neighborhoods such as Dilworth's historic district, that tend to border the light rail line, planned future rail lines and corridors where MUDD zoning is most likely.
City plans aren't legally binding. They're merely merely suggestions to developers. Even MUDD and TOD zoning, binding once applied to a property, offer generous wiggle room for developers who want taller buildings.
Some neighbors of the proposed 230-foot-tall South End tower complain that they bought condos in the 300-foot-tall
If the city approves this violation of the South End Transit Station Area Plan, it will be yet another in a lengthy litany of city decision-makers treating plans as if they're written on Kleenex. Residents all over town should take it as confirmation that even when the council approves an area plan, it might well be as counterfeit as a fake Panthers ticket. You might say it's the city's planning scam.
Fri, 18 July 2008
July 18, 2008
The bill requires mortgage servicers to give at least 45 days notice before they start foreclosure proceedings on subprime loans.
Notice also must be filed with the state commissioner of banks, who will review individual loans to determine whether they can somehow avoid foreclosure. If that’s the case, the commissioner will have the right to extend by 30 days the date on which lenders can start foreclosure proceedings. The state banking office then will work with borrowers and servicers to work out a deal.
Problems with housing are much worse in most other areas of the country than they are in
The bill passed the state House on Thursday. The Senate has already approved the measure. Gov. Mike Easley is expected to sign the bill.
Good for Spectrum. Atta guys!
Thu, 17 July 2008
July 17, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in
Wed, 16 July 2008
July 16, 2008
RISMEDIA, July 14, 2008-Amidst the gloom on Wall Street about housing someone forgot to check the stats. The National Association of Realtors® has now reported four straight months of rising housing prices, but it seems no one is listening.
According to NAR statistics, the median home price has fallen from a high of $230,200 in July 2006 to a low in February 2008 at $195,600, a drop of 15%. Since February, however, it has risen steadily every month. By May the index (which will be revised on July 24) had risen to $208,600, up $13,000 and a full 6.6%. Another indicator, the mean home price (otherwise known as the average home price), has also shown strength and has risen from a low of $242,000 also in February of this year to $253,100, a rise of $11,100 or 4.5%. It, too, has risen every month since February of this year.
“I just don’t know where Wall Street’s brains are today,” said David Michonski, CEO of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy in
In addition, on an annualized basis the volume of home sales has also risen somewhat from a low of 4,890,000 homes in January to 4,990,000 in May.
“Rising prices on expanding volume should not a crisis make on Wall Street,” says Michonski.
So why the crisis?
“They say that there are bulls and bears on Wall Street but there are also pigs. Pigs try not just to profit from a crisis but create one to profit from. Today there are just so many people who have positioned themselves to profit from a crisis that they refuse to admit the reality of what is happening on
Is this the bottom?
“No one can know for sure, but the hard data is clear. The median price has risen four straight months. The average American is out there taking advantage of bargains in their local real estate market. They are not listening to Wall Street but following their own belief that the best time to buy is when no one else is, and they are out there buying. If this keeps up, February may prove to have been the low in prices.”
“It is possible that it will not be Hank Paulson or Ben Bernanke who will pull this country out of a housing recession, but the good common sense of the average American whose affordability to buy a home is at a five year high and is acting on it.”
Tue, 15 July 2008
July 15, 2008
Organic Gardening magazine helps
By Catherine Carlock/The Charlotte Observer
To serve the needy with fresh produce from their garden, the
Fried green tomatoes aren't just the stuff of summertime chick flicks. They're one of the staple foods of the
The center received a $9,000 grant from Organic Gardening magazine to install a rainwater harvesting system. The 1,600-gallon cistern collects runoff water from the
The roof is “the perfect rain collector,” garden program director Don Boekelheide said.
Instead of using only donated food, which is often close to expiration, the center can grow much of its own food for its soup kitchen.
“We grow things that people like to eat,” said Boekelheide. That includes okra, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, squash, cucumbers, and a summer mainstay – tomatoes.
Last summer's water restrictions forced the garden's food production to a bare minimum. And
“That's where the cistern comes in,” said Boekelheide.
This summer, instead of battling short periods of heavy rain followed by weeks of no rain at all, the cistern provides a consistent source of irrigation for the center's garden.
This week's thunderstorms have provided enough water to fill the entire tank.
“The cistern gives us the water to carry us between rainstorms,” Boekelheide said.
Boekelheide knows it's a small solution. But it's saving
“We're feeding people who are hungry here,” he said.
Mon, 14 July 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Senate earmarks $18M for The U.S. Senate’s proposed transportation budget for 2009 contains $18 million for expanding
Charlotte Area Transit System requested. The proposed 11-mile rail line extension would run from
The light rail extension would be a continuation of the 9-mile track that parallels
Sat, 12 July 2008
July 12, 2008
The Charlotte Observer/DOUG SMITH
A lot of people are holding their breath in Banktown these days.
Troubled Wachovia Corp. has selected a new chief executive officer with impressive credentials, but he doesn't walk on water.
Even as the announcement of former U.S. Treasury Department official Bob Steel's hiring came Wednesday, bank officials predicted second-quarter losses could reach $2.8 billion.
Wachovia's uptown neighbor, Bank of America, hasn't been immune either from the nation's sub-prime lending and financial markets turmoil.
Wachovia and Bank of America are builders of the center city skyline, patrons of the arts, pillars of the economy.
If they falter, what happens to
Many worry that a weakened Wachovia could be acquired, losing its independence and hometown allegiance to
Real estate brokers say potential homebuyers who perceive their financial center jobs in doubt already are pulling back, wary of what might happen.
The uptown condo market in particular has thrived on a supply of young professionals, many of whom are employees of banks or in financial businesses tied to the growth of banks.
If hiring for those jobs wanes or if more layoffs come – and some say they already are under way – what happens?
Real estate developers believe there's little chance that a half a dozen or so residential towers proposed uptown – but not yet started – will get under way this year. Lenders will be skittish about financing them, they say, until the housing market shows solid signs of recovery.
Landlords in the office-leasing market are concerned, too.
One major office-condo-retail development – 300 South Tryon – was postponed earlier this year over worries that a bank slowdown could squelch office demand.
The city's big towers have filled with tenants in large part because the bank anchors pulled in law firms and other related vendors around them.
If the banks aren't growing, who leases the estimated 1 million-plus square feet of speculative office space expected to come on the market over the next two years?
Maybe the financial bleeding will stop, and everything will work out for
Some economists can see a turnaround coming possibly by mid-2009.
But in the meantime, nail biting has become the norm in Banktown.
The city's Hugh McColl Jr. swagger has faded.
Remember how the former Bank of America chairman used to dazzle stock market analysts in
They're too busy defending their actions to Wall Street analysts and fending off angry shareholders.
How quickly fortunes can be reversed. In Banktown, this is something we never thought we would see when our banking giants were flying high just over a year ago.