November 29, 2012 |
Pennsylvania state insurance commissioner Michael Consedine last week sued top executives of a failed Villanova construction surety company, accusing them of "raiding" the firm's assets and diverting millions in company cash. The firm, First Sealord Surety Inc ., was taken over by Consedine's department in February. The failure caused the cancellation of financial arrangements for hundreds of construction firms who had used First Sealord surety policies to guarantee they would finish clients' projects on schedule.
November 26, 2012 |
Underneath its summer rental homes and saltwater taffy stands, the Jersey Shore is, geologically speaking, a chain of barrier islands - strips of sand built up over centuries that protect the mainland from the full impact of Atlantic storms. As the islands were developed into resorts, particularly in the last 50 years, houses and roads were built atop the former dunes. Man-made seawalls were constructed to protect development. In the weeks since Sandy wreaked nearly $30 billion in damage in New Jersey, most of it on the coastline, debate has grown over whether rising sea levels and a projected worsening of storms in decades to come mean it is time to begin pulling development back from the ocean's edge.
November 21, 2012 |
After a false start four years ago, the Goldenberg Group has started construction on a $100 million student apartment building next to Temple University on the site of the former John Wanamaker Middle School. The 14-story residence, in the 1100 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue, will add 832 beds for Temple students. In 2008, the Goldenberg Group, of Blue Bell, outbid others to buy the former school from the Philadelphia School District for $10.75 million. The original plan was to renovate the school into student apartments, with community space and a charter school for the Bright Hope Baptist Church, which is across the street.
November 11, 2012 |
Camden's 81-year-old City Hall is to be named after the late Melvin R. "Randy" Primas Jr., who was the impoverished city's first African American mayor, Camden County announced Friday. Primas, who also served as the city's chief operating officer during the state takeover of Camden, died March 1 at 62 in South Carolina. The county said in a statement that a dedication ceremony would be held at noon Tuesday. The neoclassical City Hall, which has a light-gray granite facade with a 370-foot clock tower rising from a massive base, opened in 1931.
November 9, 2012 |
ALTHOUGH HE has fought for gay rights for more than 40 years, Mark Segal said gay seniors still face discrimination when looking for housing. "I met a woman who came to me crying because she was being barred from visiting her partner of 30 years," said Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News . "Imagine to have to fight to see someone. And this was in a private apartment. " Segal told of a gay man who lives in a senior-housing development where every time he went into one of the common areas, "people would come and pray around them, trying to pray them out of their gayness.
October 21, 2012
With a report that has exposed developers cutting corners as they renovate buildings around Temple University's North Philadelphia campus, City Controller Alan Butkovitz has lifted a rock on shoddy construction practices that jack up city costs while shortchanging taxpayers and forcing neighborhoods to unnecessarily contend with additional rubble, dirt, and dust. In one sense, any concern arising from development is a good problem to have. It's certainly preferable to a lack of construction activity along blocks and blocks of low-income neighborhoods.
October 7, 2012 |
Apartments continue to do a brisk business both locally and across the country, and rents continue to rise even as home sales begin to pick up. "Household formation is reviving, despite sluggish employment growth, and the recovery in demand is spreading from rental units to the owner-occupied sector," said economist Nigel Gault of IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. After years of construction drought, the Philadelphia suburbs are having an uptick in new rental projects. In Center City, where building activity has been a more familiar sight, several large projects are under way and others are in the planning-approval stage.
October 5, 2012 |
Two Philadelphia city councilmen are trying to crack down on the "underground economy" of developers and contractors who work without licenses and permits, pay cash under the table, and operate unsafe job sites. Bobby Henon and James F. Kenney introduced a bill Thursday to beef up construction regulations, two days after Controller Alan Butkovitz released the results of an investigation that made the case for tighter work-site controls. "We got a lot of complaints, mostly from union guys who had observed things they regarded as a complete lack of respect for any laws," Butkovitz said.
October 2, 2012 |
Construction spending dipped 0.6 percent in August from July, but was 6.5 percent higher than the same month in 2011, the Census Bureau reported Monday. Beneath the headline number, private residential construction spending rose 0.9 percent in August, buoyed by a 2.8 percent increase in single-family homes. Spending on multifamily homes rose 3.7 percent. IHS Global Insight housing economist Patrick Newport said residential construction likely grew at double-digit rates in the third quarter, contributing between 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent to real GDP growth.
September 29, 2012 |
In a possible case of competitive sabotage, skilled vandals destroyed from $2 million to $3 million worth of construction equipment at a Northeast Philadelphia work site, officials said Thursday. "It was like a scene from a movie, like Armageddon ," said Capt. Jack McGinnis, commanding officer of Northeast Detectives. Workers for Walsh Construction Co. II L.L.C. left the site, near Magee Avenue and New State Road in Tacony, about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. When the workers returned at 7 a.m. Thursday, "they found the entire place completely demolished," McGinnis said.