Case Study: Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Paradise Valley, AZ

May 20, 2019
Engineering News-Record

Located in the aptly-named Paradise Valley, AZ, the Ritz-Carlton residences is set to combine a luxury hotel with high-end living. The project encompasses 200-room Ritz-Carlton resort that will be surrounded by 91 single-level villas and 45 single-family homes. The hotel will also be home to the longest pool in North America, spanning 400 feet, and a 30,000 square-foot spa featuring indoor and outdoor treatment areas. Guests will also be able to take advantage of a state-of-the-art health and fitness center, indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, a citrus orchard, a garden that will have seasonal produce harvested by on-site restaurants, walking paths and a grand lawn.

ENR may be contacted at

Land Banking. Why Consider It?

May 13, 2019
Lauren L. Munsell - Snell & Wilmer Real Estate Litigation Blog

For homebuilders, financing a real estate transaction, oftentimes via an institutional lender, is common place in the industry. But what is land banking and why should it be considered by homebuilders?

Land banking is an off-balance sheet financing structure whereby the land banker purchases fee title to the homebuilder’s desired lots – instead of the homebuilder. Simultaneously, the homebuilder enters into an option agreement with the land banker wherein the homebuilder obtains an option to purchase the desired lots from the land banker. Such option is generally secured by a non-refundable option fee paid by the homebuilder to the land banker.

Ms. Munsell may be contacted at

Skender’s Modular Revolution: An Interview with Angela Spadoni

May 6, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

I had the pleasure of interviewing architect Angela Spadoni, the director of residential architecture at Skender. On this podcast episode, we discuss how the company is taking the industry forward with modular construction.

Skender is one of Fast Company’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019”. Last year, the Chicago-based construction, design and manufacturing firm launched Skender Manufacturing to produce modular apartment units. We discuss the company’s new, vertically integrated business model, what makes it stand out, and the value it will provide to stakeholders.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

JPMorgan Says Lower Interest Rates Heal All for Homebuilders

May 1, 2019
Felice Maranz - Bloomberg

Homebuilder stocks may be poised to keep rallying, with investor optimism about lower interest rates likely priming them to overlook any possible disappointments in KB Home and Lennar Corp. earnings, JPMorgan’s Michael Rehaut wrote in a note.

A lower 10-year Treasury yield “heals all wounds,” Rehaut said.

Homebuilders' Earnings Boosted by Falling Mortgage Rates

April 22, 2019
Prashant Gopal & Sydney Maki - Bloomberg

Falling mortgage rates are giving a lift to U.S. homebuilders just in time for the key spring selling season.

Lennar Corp. on Wednesday reported a jump in home orders that beat the company’s own projections. While KB Home had a slight drop in orders, they were also better than expected. Both companies expressed optimism that demand would strengthen in the coming months.

U.S. Homebuilder Sentiment Rises to Six-Month High as Sales Gain

April 17, 2019
Katia Dmitrieva - Bloomberg

Sentiment among U.S. homebuilders climbed to a six-month high in April, another indication that the housing market is gathering momentum during the crucial spring season.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose 1 point to 63, matching the median estimate in Bloomberg’s survey of economists, on improvements in present sales and buyer traffic, data released Tuesday showed. Readings over 50 indicate more builders view conditions as good than poor.

Santa Rosa Recreates Permitting, Construction System 'On the Fly'

April 10, 2019
Pam Radtke Russell - Engineering News-Record

As construction started gearing up late last year to rebuild some 3,000 homes in Santa Rosa burned by the 2017 Tubbs Fire, there were several challenges. One of the greatest was the shortage of concrete.

Ms. Russell may be contacted at

Infrastructure, Residential Projects Spur NY Region

April 3, 2019
Eydie Cubarrubia - Engineering News-Record

Thanks to the new buildings and infrastructure that began construction in 2018, regional residents and visitors should soon be able to get around a lot easier in the New York and New Jersey region and enjoy a host of new living spaces and entertainment options.

Ms. Cubarrubia may be contacted at

Experiments Showcased at KIRA-digi Climate Corner

March 27, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

IRA-digi Climate Corner showcased experimental projects that help save energy and reduce emissions in residential environments.

KIRA-digi Climate Corner took place at Asuntomarkkinat, the leading residential market event in Finland on January 29, 2019.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

NYC's Trendy Neighborhood Leaps Into Top Five Richest Zip Codes

March 18, 2019
Shelly Hagan & Wei Lu - Bloomberg

Finally, a New York City neighborhood has landed a coveted spot on Bloomberg’s annual ranking of America’s richest zip codes. And no, it’s not Billionaires’ Row where residences have sold for more than $100 million.

Instead, Tribeca -- a neighborhood in downtown Manhattan near the World Trade Center -- is making noise.

Homebuilder Persimmon Plc Profit Tops 1 Billion Pounds After Help-to-Buy Boost

March 4, 2019
Jack Sidders - Bloomberg

Persimmon Plc became the first U.K. homebuilder to report profit of more than 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) as the government’s Help-to-Buy policy bolstered sales.

The York, England-based company was among the biggest gainers in the FTSE 100 index of stocks on Tuesday after it announced a 13 percent rise in pretax profit. Help to Buy accounts for about half of Persimmon’s sales and selling homes built on cheap land to buyers benefiting from the interest-free loans helped the company achieve record margins.

Prosecutions of Union Officials in 2018 Unmasked Theft, Embezzlement

February 27, 2019
Scott Van Voorhis - Engineering News-Record

Building trades officials and employees embezzled millions of dollars over the past year, raiding the bank accounts of their locals to pay for trips to Las Vegas, lavish jewelry, luxury cars, home renovations and even a new puppy, U.S. Labor Dept. records show.

ENR may be contacted at

2018 International Green Construction Code: Streamlined Code Development

February 19, 2019
ASHRAE - Construction Executive

ASHRAE’s 2018 International Green Construction Code® (2018 IgCC®), a joint initiative of the U.S. Green Building Council, International Code Council, ASHRAE and the Illuminating Engineering Society aligns the technical requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/USGBC/IES 189.1-2017-Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings, with ICC’s multi-stakeholder IgCC.

Goals of the updated code are to help governments streamline code development and adoption and improve building industry standardization by integrating the two previously separate guidance documents. As a result, the 2018 IgCC is now a unified code that emphasizes adoption, ease of use and enforcement for building projects.

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

Green Builders Embrace the Three Ps: People, Planet and Profit

February 11, 2019
Taryn Holowka - Construction Executive

The term “triple bottom line” was coined in 1994, but it has never been more relevant to the trillion-dollar green construction industry—and to the planet—than it is today.

First applied to socially responsible business, triple bottom line can apply to all kinds of projects in the built environment. The concept incorporates a long-term view for assessing potential effects and best practices through three lenses:

  • People (social capital): All the costs and benefits to the people who design, construct, live in, work in, and constitute the local community and are influenced, directly or indirectly, by a project.
  • Planet (natural capital): All the costs and benefits of a project on the natural environment, locally and globally.
  • Profit (economic capital): All the economic costs and benefits of a project for all stakeholders.

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

Assessing SB 35—Success or Failure?

February 6, 2019
Robert Howard, Alexander Walker, & Matt Olhausen - Gravel2Gavel

In September 2017, the California legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown enacted Senate Bill 35 (SB 35) to streamline housing development in cities that are not meeting their housing needs. SB 35 is aimed at easing California’s severe housing shortage and affordability crisis but was highly controversial due to concerns about loss of local control over housing development. In the year since SB 35 was enacted, several development projects in the San Francisco Bay Area have invoked SB 35 to bypass local opposition or cumbersome permitting timelines.

Reprinted courtesy of Pillsbury Law attorneys Robert Howard, Alexander Walker and Matt Olhausen
Mr. Howard may be contacted at
Mr. Walker may be contacted at
Mr. Olhausen may be contacted at

Homie Can’t Do That

January 28, 2019
Patrick J. Paul - Snell & Wilmer Real Estate Litigation Blog

The Arizona Attorney General recently reached an agreement with Utah-based real estate company Homie which made a splash in the Phoenix market during the fall election with candidate-type signage posted throughout the community urging a “Vote for Homie” as significant change and assured that such change would be “coming to your pocket.” The problem? Confusion to the voter, improper collection of personal data.

Mr. Paul may be contacted at

Better Indoor Environments with Real-Time IoT Data

January 21, 2019
Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Homes and other properties contain an increasing number of IoT sensors and smart devices that provide data relating to their environment. Cozify wanted to demonstrate how that data could be used to create comfortable indoor conditions for people, and save money while doing so.

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at

Viewpoint: Recruiting Efforts Alone Won’t Solve the Skilled Trade Shortage

January 15, 2019
Debbie Burkett - Engineering News-Record

Aggressive recruiting tactics have become commonplace in response to skilled trade shortages, and even small organizations and specialty contractors are hiring dedicated recruiters to get bodies through the door and into the field at a frantic pace.

ENR may be contacted at

U.S. Housing Starts Top Forecasts, Permits Rise to Seven-Month High

January 9, 2019
Sho Chandra - Bloomberg

U.S. new-home construction rebounded last month to the best pace since August while permits rose to a seven-month high, a sign homebuilding is potentially stabilizing even as higher prices and borrowing costs pose headwinds.

Florida Ranks First on Merit Shop Scorecard; Illinois Remains Last

January 2, 2019
Joanna Masterson - Construction Executive

Florida jumped from ninth place to first place on Associated Builders and Contractors’ 2018 Merit Shop Scorecard based on the state’s free enterprise and open competition approach to the construction sector, increased career and technical education opportunities, and job growth rates. Now in its fourth year, the scorecard rates laws, programs, policies and statistics to highlight states that have created the conditions for growth and identify areas where strategic improvements are needed.

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

U.S. Existing-Home Sales Rise for First Time in Seven Months

December 19, 2018
Katia Dmitrieva - Bloomberg

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in October for the first time in seven months, suggesting demand is stabilizing at a lower level as available properties become less scarce.

U.S. Housing Starts Rise as Apartment Groundbreaking Gains

December 11, 2018
Katia Dmitrieva - Bloomberg

U.S. new-home construction picked up in October on a rebound in apartments and other multifamily housing, offering some hope that the market is stabilizing despite rising prices and borrowing costs.

OSHA Releases Final Crane Rule

December 4, 2018
Jeff Rubenstone - Engineering News-Record

The Occupational Safety and Heath Administration published the final version of its new crane rule on Nov. 9, which covers training and certification for crane operators. The rule is a revision of a draft version published in May 2018, and it removes the need to certify operators by crane capacity rather than just type of crane.

Mr. Rubenstone may be contacted at

Homebuilders Finally See Some Relief After Analyst Upgrade

November 28, 2018
Lily Katz, Natalie Pertsovsky, & Vildana Hajric - Bloomberg

An exchange-traded fund tracking homebuilders climbed the most in more than six months Thursday, offering the battered sector a reprieve, following a bullish call on Wall Street and a rebound in U.S. pending home sales.

The 36-company SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF, known as XHB, rose as much as 3.3 percent, the most intraday since April 4, after Evercore ISI analyst Stephen Kim upgraded six stocks. He said the sector’s winter rally, which usually begins in October or November, has “an impressive track record of outperformance.” Meritage Homes Corp., which was upgraded to overweight, jumped as much as 9.4 percent in its biggest gain since January 2016.


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