Infrastructure

The Weekly Buzz

NEW YORK

Jerry I. and Rob Speyer and their partner, BlackRock Realty, announced that they’re close to running out of money to pay for their $5.4 billion acquisition of the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartment buildings in Manhattan. The deal, the biggest residential real estate transaction in history, became emblematic of all that was wrong with easy credit — and showed that even Manhattan wasn’t immune to declining home prices and rents. See the New York Times article.

SAN FRANCISCO

The city announced that beginning in late September, San Francisco’s notoriously gridlocked Market Street would be partially closed to private vehicles. Eastbound cars will be asked to turn off the street between Eighth Street and Tenth Street. Municipal buses, delivery vehicles and taxis can continue using the street. The plan, which will be tested for six weeks, is part of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s administration’s hopes to make Market Street a thoroughfare more like Barcelona’s Las Ramblas or New York City’s Broadway. (Read more here).

AUSTIN

Plans were announced for the first of Starwood’s new line of “Eco” hotels to be built in the city’s Warehouse district — marking the first new hotel development in Austin in two years. The hotel, which would have 250-275 rooms, would feature a number of green features, but some locals oppose it, arguing that its proposed height (17 stories) would disrupt the character of the warehouse district. (Read more here.)

SEATTLE

The Bicycle Film Festival came to town September 11 and 12, marking the first time the New York-based festival is coming to the bike-friendly city. The festival features two shorts programs, several feature-length films (including Where Are You Go, a documentary about the world’s longest bike race, the Tour d’Afrique) and races and parties.

Tags: new york, built environment, san francisco, seattle, austin, traffic, bicycle film festival, blackrock, starwood, speyer