Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Skyscraper Gathers Own Heat to Help Fuel Growth

From The Wall Street Journal...

"Vornado Realty Trust, the largest owner of office property in the Pennsylvania Station area, is set to cut the ribbon this week on the city's largest power cogeneration plant.

Three yellow engines the size of small locomotives have been installed in the building. For the past month, they have been pumping out 6.2 megawatts of energy an hour, or enough to fulfill half of the energy needs of Vornado Realty Trust's 57-story skyscraper at One Penn Plaza.


The new plower plant, on the skyscraper's 12th-floor setback, consumes natural gas to produce electricity, and then uses the byproduct of that process—heat—to fuel the building's boilers. It allows One Penn to be relatively energy efficient, and far less dependent on the city's sometimes unreliable power grid. Vornado executives also hope it will help attract tenants interested in burnishing their corporate images by locating in "green" earth-friendly buildings."

Read more here

Monday, November 15, 2010

Real Estate November 11, 2010, 11:00AM EST London's Rising Towers May Presage a Shrinking Economy

From Bloomberg Businessweek...

"If hemlines tell which way the stock market is headed, maybe city skylines do the same for the economy. Tall stories often have unhappy endings.

That thesis certainly holds up in London, where new towers are sprouting. British Land, the U.K.'s second-largest real estate investment trust, has revived plans for a 47-story tower in the City of London dubbed the "Cheese Grater." Land Securities Group, its bigger rival, has found backers for its "Walkie-Talkie" building, which will be 10 floors shorter. Next to London Bridge, cranes are attaching glass panels to the soaring frame of the "Shard of Glass." Designed by architect Renzo Piano, the 1,017-foot (305-meter) pyramid will dwarf the other buildings north of the Thames to become Britain's tallest.

The history of this global capital suggests vertical ambitions often presage a southerly direction for the economy. In mid-2004, Britain was enjoying its 48th consecutive quarter of gross-domestic-product growth, while Swiss Reinsurance was moving into a 40-story edifice in central London nicknamed the "Erotic Gherkin" for its resemblance to a swollen pickle. Four years after the Gherkin opened for business, the British economy was in recession, and continued to shrink for five quarters."

Read more here