Posts Tagged ‘Seattle Times’

Around the Web – September 13, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an “Around The Web” post, and that’s mostly because I have blogs coming out my ears and I go astray on some of each of the blogs’ features.   With that said, I went though some emails and RSS Feeds over the weekend and thought it appropriate to post these links, of which my readers my be interested.

Suburb SkyScrapers in Federal Way?
According to the Seattle Times, the Federal Way city council approved a plan to transform 4 acres of land into skyscrapers with a mix of residential and retail space.    As cities are becoming more dense and populated around the world, it will be interesting to see whether suburbs across the nation and globe start to become mini-cities themselves.

Mobile Devices in Construction & Their Legal Problems
ConstrucTech have published some articles recently about how mobile devices are creeping into the construction workplace, and becoming more useful.   I’m certainly a proponent of this.   However, with everything new comes legal uncertainty, and another article was published this week that discussed some of the legal problems related to mobile devices.

LEED Doesn’t Live Up To The Hype
“You can use as much energy as you want, and report it and keep your plaque.”   That’s the meat to this well-written article criticizing the LEED program.

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Katrina’s Silver-Lining and Why It’s Good for Contractors Nationwide

Katrina’s Silver-Lining.  Three words New Orleanians didn’t ever expect to hear, yet uttered this Sunday in print by both the Seattle Times and the New York Times.

While the rest of the nation’s construction industry and real estate market has steadily suffered over the past 12 months, in New Orleans real estate prices hold firm and the construction industry is ‘booming.’   Here is a quote from the Seattle Times article about the NOLA construction market, and even a quote from local contractor Landis Construction:

The recovery dollars are paying for projects large and small, including an $800 million replacement of the damaged “twin span” bridges over Lake Pontchartrain and thousands of homes being fixed under the state-administered Road Home program. The Army Corps of Engineers continues to use contractors to strengthen the levee system. In working-class neighborhoods such as the Ninth Ward, laborers are pounding away on small-scale renovations.

“Katrina was a horrible nightmare, but the reality is that, for the construction industry, it’s been a blessing,” said Theresa Leger, a vice president of Landis Construction, a local firm that has remained busy since the hurricane.

The New York Times article looked at the city’s sustaining economy from a different angle; as evidence that a stimulus package can work to improve economic conditions.

The article calls the federal government’s $51 billion injection into post-Katrina Louisiana an “unintended trial rune” of the $787 billion national stimulus bill.

And what are the results?

The New York Times says the results are good – and especially for the construction industry.  Here’s a quote from the piece:

State economists specifically mention what one called “the ongoing building boom” from federal dollars as a main reason for the numbers. Largely a result of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, construction projects have not dried up as they have elsewhere, and a few can even be seen in downtown New Orleans.

Construction has “really hung in there and done very well,” said Loren Scott, an emeritus professor of economics at Louisiana State University. “In most states construction is way down, but in ours it has been up.” The relatively low unemployment rate in Louisiana “tells you that the stimulus can have an effect,” Mr. Scott said.

Read more about the Stimulus Package and how it relates to the Construction Industry on the Construction Law Monitor here.

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The Big Draw: Washington’s Stimulus Share Divulged

Washington state officials released figures to the media on Thursday, illustrating that the state is due to receive some $225 Million in funding. Initial planning earmarks all of that cash for major public building projects.

A story released by the Seattle Times, indicates that the bulk of funding will be distributed for military projects, including a new water-distribution system at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, a training facility at Fort Lewis, replacement of a Tacoma pier that supports the Army Reserve Boat Mission, and installation of advance metering systems at Navy hubs that will help monitor energy consumption.

Additional funds will be earmarked for public housing and transportation. One highly anticipated project will likely be the new Amtrak maintenance facility at King Street Station. That project is likely to exceed $40 Million. Ongoing restoration of King Street Station is costing the City of Seattle, its new owner, over $26.5 Million.

In related news, the State Legislature released its $4.3 Billion transportation plan. Under the plan, the State will be able to pay for the new Alaskan Way Viaduct, Highway 520 bridge, and purchase new ferries.

There has been some recent distaste for the laboring that has ensued over the Viaduct and 520 projects. Senate Transportation Committee Chairwoman Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island probably said it best:

“I really probably shouldn’t say this, but I hope those people building those megaprojects would make some decisions and move forward, because the Legislature’s only going to have so much patience.”

“We’re really delighted that a decision has been made on the viaduct. We hope it can be made on 520 also.”

The projects continue to come for Seattle. Its hard to imagine more public building – in a city where projects are ever present.

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Risk of 2009 Floods in South King County Presents Legal Issues

The Seattle Times reported in its Sunday edition that four South King County areas – Auburn, Kent, Renton and Tukwila – are at a high risk for flooding this upcoming fall and winter because of January damage to a flood-control dam on the Green River.

Unfortunately, the Army Corps of Engineers and other authorities concede that there’s very little they can do to mitigate the risk, advising residents of these areas to buy flood insurance and be prepared for evacuations.

Having offices in New Orleans, LA, and experiencing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Wolfe Law Group brings a unique perspective to the issue.

Here are some legal considerations:

  • Flood Insurance.   The authorities recommend getting it, and there really isn’t a reason to procrastinate.  Compared to other insurance products, flood insurance is fairly inexpensive, and in the event of a flood-loss, it will be very necessary.   Your other insurance policies will very likely exclude flood damage, and flood damage – unlike earthquake or wind damage – usually completely ruins everything in its path.
  • After a flood loss, document your damages and be very through in your insurance claim.   Take pictures and inventories of everything, and offer your insurance adjuster the chance to see the damages first hand.
  • Contractors:  flooded areas bring a large amount of contracting work.   Be careful of getting ahead of your company financially, however.  While work may be in abundance, the money to pay for that work could get tied up in insurance disputes or just the length of the claim process.   Be careful about doing too much work without payment.
  • Property Owners:  Be very aware of post-disaster fraud.
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Around The Web: Updates on Construction Law and Wolfe Law Group 3/13/09

Around the Web this week, there seemed to be a lot of news related to dirty politics in Washington and Louisiana, as well as some interesting blog posts and news articles related to the successes and failures in arbitration.

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