One way to see the federal rescue of the home mortgage market is to call it “the smart growth bailout.” True, the proximate cause lay with profligate lending practices. The flood of mortgage money covered the entire country, irrespective of state, regional or local land use regulations. That’s where the similarity stopped. read more »
In the spring of 2003, I chaired an Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Panel focused on strategies for continuing the revitalization of downtown Birmingham, Ala. As in many cities this was driven by the stock of historic downtown buildings slowly being converted to either new office buildings or loft condominiums, supported by a handful of downtown cultural assets and public spaces. Our tour host proudly invited to the panel’s attention that three of the four buildings anchoring downtown’s “100 percent corner” were the high-rise headquarters of three regional banks. read more »
The biggest flaw in the Administration bailout package: It could all happen again. The system doesn’t need just fixing, it needs decentralizing. Financial institutions should be big enough to fail—and never any bigger. We need compartmentalization, also known as federalism. read more »
For much of their history college towns have been seen primarily as “pass through” communities servicing a young population that cycles in and out of the community. But more recently, certain college communities have grown into “knowledge-based” hot spots --- Raleigh-Durham, Madison, Cambridge and the area around Stanford University --- which have been able to not only retain some graduates but attract knowledge workers and investors from the rest of the country.
But a large proportion of college towns do not seem to be doing so well. read more »
New York long was a product of the harbor economy. Before there was a Times Square or a Grand Central Station, Lower Manhattan, then ringed with docks, was oriented to the railroads and factories of the Jersey coast to its west and the merchants and manufacturers of Brooklyn across the East River. The decline of Lower Manhattan as an economic engine is in large measure a reflection of the fall of that harbor economy as first Manhattan and then its partners in Brooklyn and Jersey City de-industrialized. read more »
From the beginning of the mortgage crisis New York and other financial centers have acted as if they were immune to the suffering in the rest of country. As suburbs, exurbs and hard-scrabble out of the way urban neighborhoods suffered with foreclosures and endured predictions of their demise, the cognitive elites in places like Manhattan felt confident about their own prospects, property values and jobs. So what if the rubes in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tampa and Riverside all teetered on the brink? read more »
In the heart of downtown Indianapolis lies a recently constructed monolith, the envy of other cities aspiring for new digs for their NFL football team. Lucas Oil Stadium has 63,000 seats and features a retractable roof allowing for comfort control during Indiana's fickle fall weather season. And for those urban enthusiasts in the crowd, when open, the roof provides a captivating view of an Indy skyline that in years past was barely visible to the naked eye. read more »
By Bernard L. Schwartz, Sherle R. Schwenninger, New America Foundation
The American economy is in trouble. Battered and bruised by the collapsing housing and credit bubbles, and by high oil and food prices, it is having trouble finding its footing. The stimulus medicine the Federal Reserve and Congress administered earlier this year is already wearing off, while home prices are still falling and unemployment continues to creep upward. read more »
The takeover of Merrill Lynch by Charlotte-based Bank of America represents another step in the emergence of a true full-tilt competitor to New York as a financial capital. Already dominant in commercial banking, the acquisition places the North Carolina metropolis into the first ranks of cities in wealth management. read more »
With the sale of Lehman Brothers seen as imminent — possibly as soon as this weekend — New York's commercial real estate market is bracing itself for the loss of a key financier responsible for tens of billions of dollars in commercial loans.
"It would be one less major player," a commercial real estate finance expert at New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate, Lawrence Longua, said. "It is probably more of a psychological effect, but it is one more piece of bad news." read more »