Daily News Archives
For almost 80 years, the Empire State Building has reigned supreme over the New York skyline. Although it was supplanted as the world’s tallest building in the 1970s, the Empire State Building never lost its unsurpassed majesty. The awesome spire that rose from the depths of the Great Depression in less than 14 months and soared into the imagination of everyone who wanted to touch the sky remains an iconic symbol of power, determination and achievement. The Empire State Building towered alone and apart from all the pretenders, a reassuring sentinel connecting our past with our future. Until now. A real estate outfit called Vornado Realty Trust has convinced New York City’s Planning Commission that it would be a great idea to build a hulking 1,216-foot-tall monstrosity on 34th Street and Seventh Avenue, two blocks west and directly in line with King Kong’s favorite roost on 34th and Fifth. If Vornado’s block of granite and glass goes ahead as planned, only the top 34 feet of the Empire State Building’s antenna will be visible to everyone west of the Hudson River. From the north, the two towers will look like a poorly planned replica of the World Trade Center, or perhaps the South Tower and the box it came in. Vornado is a large, faceless conglomerate that buys and sells properties. One of its first ventures in the late 1950s was a shabby department store in New Jersey called Two Guys From Harrison. After selling a few truckloads of discount lampshades, a second store was opened in another Jersey town and the name was reduced to Two Guys. From this inspiring vision, a real estate dynasty was born. The ingenious planners of New York decided to permit Vornado to exceed the height limit for its tower at 15 Penn Plaza by a whopping 56 percent because the site is across the street from Pennsylvania Station, gotham’s busiest transit hub. The site of Vornado’s proposed atrocity adds irony to insult. New York City natives painfully recall the City Planning Commission’s 1967 approval of the demolition of the original Penn Station to make way for a third and depressingly round iteration of Madison Square Garden. The original Penn Station was a Victorian masterpiece. Its wanton destruction has long been considered the vilest desecration of New York’s architecture in the city’s storied history. The current Penn Station is a cramped and underground rat warren that is so bad the city has been trying without success for two decades to convert the mammoth U.S. Post […]
The Pentagon is not backing down on its claim that clusters of huge wind turbines springing up across the land are a threat to military operations and national security in general. To the contrary, the Department of Defense has made itself the biggest obstacle to the development of wind energy in the United States. A report in today’s New York Times includes this mind-boggling statistic: last year, DOD succeeded in blocking projects that would have generated an estimated 9000 MW of wind power—nearly as much as the total amount of wind-energy capacity that actually was built in 2009. Faced with the prospect of taking on the military-industrial complex, many developers either abandoned or delayed their wind-farm plans. Projects that came under fire from the big five-sided building in Washington have included wind farms in the Columbia River Gorge and turbines planned for the Great Lakes Region. More recently, the Pentagon has turned its guns on plans to erect the nation’s largest wind-energy combine in the Mojave Desert in California. The military says the largest wind turbines, which can be as high as 400 feet, are indistinguishable from airplanes on radar and can even cause “blackout” zones in which aircraft disappear from radar entirely. Clusters of wind turbines can look like storm activity on weather radar, the generals say, making it harder for air traffic controllers to give accurate weather information to pilots. DOD maintains that wind turbines pose an “unacceptable” risk to training, testing and even national security in certain regions. In an interview with the Times, Gary Siefert, who has been studying the radar-wind energy clash at the Idaho National Laboratory (a U.S. Department of Energy facility), called the argument between the military and the emerging wind-energy industry “the train wreck” of the new century. “The train wreck is the competing resources for two national needs: energy security and national security,” he said. Before things get out of hand—and a 2010 version of Gen. Ripper orders Air Force pilots to start using U.S. wind turbines for target practice—we have a few questions for the Joint Chiefs: — Regarding the alleged threat to national security, are you really going to wait until enemy jets reach the Great Lakes before you shoot them down? — You say wind turbines will cause our aircraft to “disappear” from radar. Haven’t we spent billions on stealth technology to make our aircraft disappear from radar? — If wind turbines look like aircraft on radar, won’t this help prevent our pilots from flying into them? — […]
TPI Composites, Inc., a leading global supplier of wind turbine blades, has announced plans to open a wind blade innovation center in Fall River, Massachusetts that will support TPI’s manufacturing facilities around the world. The Fall River plant will serve as a center for development of advanced blade manufacturing technology and a launching pad for new wind blade products. The facility will also offer limited production capacity for land based as well as offshore wind turbine blades. Governor Deval Patrick, U.S. Representative Barney Frank and Fall River Mayor William Flanagan took part in the announcement. The 69,000 square foot Fall River development center will initially allow TPI to manufacture blades as long as 62 meters with even larger blades possible with further expansion. Prototype blades produced at this location will be delivered by barge to the new Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, Massachusetts for testing and optimization. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our wind blade development and prototype capabilities through this new innovation center,” said Steve Lockard, president and CEO of TPI. “The efficient access to the water, proximity to an outstanding work force and support received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city made Fall River the ideal place for TPI’s expansion. The addition of this facility will position TPI well for the future as the demand for larger, higher-performance wind turbine blades continues to grow.” “I welcome TPI Composites to Massachusetts, where they become part of our growing wind energy industry,” said Governor Patrick. “With facilities like the Wind Technology Testing Center and companies like TPI, Massachusetts will lead the nation in the next generation of wind energy technology.” To support this facility, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has awarded TPI a $250,000 grant, contingent upon creating and maintaining 30 jobs. The facility, located at the Tillotson Complex at 63 Water Street, is expected to open in early 2011 and will initially employ 30 to 50 associates. Neil Tillotson, who the complex is named for, was one of TPI’s initial investors in 1968. TPI built recreational boats in the building during the 1970s and 1980s. “Bringing a major wind blade manufacturer to the state to carry out development, testing and training for the advanced manufacturing of wind blades will help build the wind blade cluster in Massachusetts, and provide a local customer for our Wind Technology Testing Center,” said MassCEC’s Executive Director Patrick Cloney. The innovation center will operate as a sister facility to TPI’s Warren, Rhode Island plant located […]
New Jersey’s new Offshore Wind Economic Development Act directs the state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to establish an offshore renewable energy certificate program that calls for a percentage of electricity sold in the state to be from offshore wind energy. The act would support the development of at least 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind energy capacity. The bill was signed into law this week by Gov. Chris Christie at a former BP port facility that will be transformed into a regional hub for the offshore wind industry. “Developing New Jersey’s renewable energy resources and industry is critical to our state’s manufacturing and technology future,” Christie said. The package will offer incentives including financial aid and tax credits to attract wind energy developers to the state’s waters. Two offshore wind development companies, Fishermen’s Energy and Deepwater Wind, already have plans to develop offshore wind energy off the coast of New Jersey. A report released last year by the Interior Department said shallow-water offshore wind farms could supply as much as 20 percent of the electricity in most coastal states.
Gov. Beverly Perdue has announced at a press conference at Forsyth Technical Community College that Caterpillar Inc. has chosen Winston-Salem for a significant manufacturing operation. The announcement represents 392 full-time jobs with an average salary of more than $36,000 per year plus benefits. The capital investment in a new building and equipment is expected to reach $426 million. An additional 100-plus jobs are expected to be created by an on-site contractor inside the new facility. Caterpillar plans to construct an 850,000-square-foot facility on 100 acres at the corner of Union Cross Road and Temple School Road. The plant will primarily involve the production of Lower Power Train unit for Caterpillar’s Large Mining Trucks. “We are very excited that Caterpillar has chosen Winston-Salem and Forsyth County for this operation,” said Winston-Salem Business Inc. president Bob Leak, Jr. “We have been working with the company and their consultants for the past six months and applaud the efforts of everyone involved to make it a success today. This is undoubtedly one of the largest economic development announcements in the history of our community.” Other local officials made the following statements regarding the announcement. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines: “Winston-Salem is honored to be selected by Caterpillar as the site of this new manufacturing facility. Caterpillar is a well respected, international company that will add much to the economic fabric of our community. The economic impact of over 500 jobs and $426 million of investment is very significant in the rebuilding of our economy, however equally important is the fact that this decision validates Winston-Salem as a strong and attractive location for future economic development projects.” Forsyth County Board of Commissioners Chair David Plyler: “Caterpillar’s decision to invest and create jobs in our community affirms my long-time belief that Forsyth County is business friendly in every way. This is truly a ‘wow’ announcement.” Forsyth Technical Community College president Dr. Gary Green: “As a partner with the entire Winston-Salem community, Forsyth Tech is committed to ensuring that Caterpillar will have the highly skilled workforce it needs for success from day one. The College’s certified programs in industrial technologies have been a key community asset since the Caterpillar’s first visit to Winston-Salem.” The Spartanburg, S.C. development company Johnson Development Associates, Inc. made available the site of the future plant. Caterpillar was represented by CB Richard Ellis Consulting in Atlanta. The announcement was made possible by a number of entities including Winston-Salem Business Inc., the City of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, Forsyth Technical Community College, the Winston-Salem Alliance, North Carolina […]
Ground was broken this week in the Mojave Desert near Los Angeles for the Alta Wind project — expected to become the world’s largest wind energy site, with nearly 600 turbines capable of producing 1,550MW of electricity when completed, with the potential to be doubled, according to developer Terra-Gen Power LLC of New York City. The currently funded first five phases will produce 720MW, according to a company statement. Financing for the initial phases totaled $1.6 billion, the company said. The project is being developed in a region studded with turbines that use the energy of winds sweeping across the Tehachapi Mountains to produce electricity. Southern California Edison, which has contracted to buy 1,550MW from Alta Wind, recently completed the first phase of a transmission system to carry electricity from renewable energy sources in the Mojave Desert, to the Los Angeles region. The groundbreaking comes two years after Terra-Gen Power and ArcLight Capital Partners LLC purchased Tehachapi-area wind farm assets from Allco Finance Group Ltd. of Sydney, Australia, for $325 million. Allco, which was restructuring after problems stemming from the global credit crunch, had negotiated the power deal with SoCal Edison in 2006. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hailed the Terra-Gen Power project in a statement. “Having the world’s largest wind project break ground in our state is tangible evidence that our pioneering policies are drawing investment, improving the economy and creating jobs now when we need them most,” he said. In late June, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power commissioners approved a long-term pact for more than 100MW from an expansion of the Milford Wind Farm in Utah. The deal requires City Council approval. The DWP already receives 185MW from the original 200-MW Milford wind farm.
Airport cities rapidly are becoming a central part of regional economic development strategies across the world. These airport hubs will be the focus of an upcoming event organized by Insight Media called “Aviation–The Catalyst for Economic Development” (ACED). The ACED Conference & Exhibition, co-located with the 16th World Route Development Forum (World Routes), will take place September 20-21, 2010 at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Canada. ACED 2010 explores the positive contribution that international gateway airport cities make to regional development and economic growth using a series of industry case studies. ACED 2010 will quantify the catalytic contribution of airports to this dynamic process and highlight the role of key partners including airports, airlines, economic development agencies, real-estate developers and the financial and investment communities. The ACED conference will provide a prime opportunity to network with economic development agencies, architects and planners who are active in airport development, real estate developers interested in airport city projects, major construction and development companies, and real estate investment trusts and financial institutions. Speakers at ACED 2010 will include: Robert Boyle, Director of Business Strategy, British Airways Vijay Poonoosamy, Vice President International & Public Affairs, Etihad Airways/Chairman – IATA Industry Affairs Committee Fariba Alamdari, Vice President Market & Value Analysis, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Charles E Schlumberger, Principal Air Transport Specialist, The World Bank Group Jeff Fegan, CEO, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Rainer Schwarz, CEO, Berlin Airports Robert Ficano, CEO, Wayne County Executive Patrick Heck, CFO, Denver International Airport ACED 2010 will be co-located at the 16th World Route Development Forum (World Routes) for the second year in a row. World Routes is the annual meeting place of the air service development community and is the world’s largest gathering of airline and airport senior executives. ACED delegates have complimentary access to the joint ICAO/World Bank/Global Aviation Strategy Summit 2010 sessions 1 & 2 on September 20, 2010, all lunches & refreshment breaks in the Routes Networking Village, Boeing Tours and additional Social Networking activities.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has announced that Blade Dynamics will manufacture advanced wind turbine blades and wind turbine components at the Michoud Assembly Facility, or MAF, in New Orleans. Blade Dynamics has committed to create 600 new, direct jobs by 2015 at an average annual salary of about $48,000, plus benefits, as well as a capital investment of approximately $13 million. LED estimates the new, direct jobs will result in the creation of more than 970 new, indirect jobs, for a total of more than 1,570 new, direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana. In addition, LED estimates the Blade Dynamics project will result in $35.8 million in new, state tax revenue and $23.9 million in new, local tax revenue over the next 10 years. Gov. Jindal was joined at the announcement ceremony by Blade Dynamics Ltd. co-Founder and Sales Director Theo Botha, Dow Chemical’s Global Business Director of Government Markets & Lightweight Materials Douglas Parks, American Superconductor Corp. Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer John Collett, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Director Robert Lightfoot and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This is a huge win for New Orleans and our whole state,” said Gov. Jindal. “By recruiting Blade Dynamics and its revolutionary wind power technologies to Louisiana, we are creating hundreds of high-paying new jobs in New Orleans while diversifying the economy of this region. Today’s announcement marks a significant step forward for Louisiana into renewable energy and green manufacturing that will help us continue to grow our economy.” Blade Dynamics has developed wind turbine blade technologies designed to increase the efficiency and performance of high power (multimegawatt) wind turbines, while also reducing costs. Dow, through its Venture Capital group, and AMSC each have made a minority equity investment in Blade Dynamics. Gov. Jindal continued: “Louisiana possesses a remarkable combination of assets that make our state an outstanding place in which to launch a green business. We have a low-cost manufacturing environment, well-established transportation and logistics networks, an experienced workforce in energy production and experience in rebuilding with green techniques. Indeed, renewable energy and green manufacturing is one of our target growth industries that will help to diversify our economy, attract more businesses to Louisiana and most importantly, create more jobs for our people so they can find the same kinds of opportunities here that historically they have had to pursue in places like Dallas, Houston or Atlanta.” “We see tremendous potential for our technology and are delighted to align ourselves with American Superconductor Corp. and The Dow Chemical Co.,” said […]
The South Carolina Department of Commerce and York County have announced that Supermetal Structures will locate its new manufacturing plant in York County. The $6.6 million investment is expected to generate at least 125 new jobs. “The addition of a fabrication plant in the United States is a major coup for Supermetal. From now on we can include American content in our bids for government contracts. We will also be better equipped to serve the southern part of the continent and to protect ourselves from variations in the exchange rate,” said Jean-François Blouin, president and general manager of Supermetal. “Along with our enviable reputation and established position in North America, this addition will reinforce our competitiveness and speed our growth over the coming years.” The new facility represents Supermetal Structures first investment in the U.S. The company has purchased the former Worthington Steel Building at 1345 Hall Spencer Road, and expects to have the facility online by the end of August. Supermetal Structures supplies, fabricates and erects structural steel for all types of projects whether they are in the commercial, institutional, industrial or civil sectors. “South Carolina continues to attract investment from companies across the globe and Supermetal Structures’ decision to invest here is yet another example. York County was able to provide the company an excellent structure for adaptive reuse. Couple that with South Carolina’s business-friendly climate, skilled workforce and exceptional market access, and it is clear why Supermetal Structures chose to invest and create jobs here. We welcome the company to our state’s business community and look forward to their growth here,” said Joe Taylor, SC secretary of commerce. York County Council Chairman Buddy Motz said, “International companies like Supermetal represent unique opportunities to showcase York County’s business assets to the world. We look forward to the new jobs and investment this company brings and appreciate their commitment to our community.” The company has already begun the hiring process to fill positions at the plant. Anyone interested in job opportunities with the company should contact the Rock Hill Workforce Center at 1228 Fincher Road, or call (803) 328-3881. An established Canadian manufacturer in North America, Supermetal Structures is known for the quality of its service, its culture of teamwork and its excellent labor relations. The Saint-Romuald-based company has more than 450 employees and specializes in the manufacture and installation of structural steel intended for commercial or industrial buildings.
Caterpillar Inc. plans to invest $150 million to build a manufacturing plant in Victoria, TX that will create 500 jobs when it’s fully operational. The Victoria Economic Development Corp. will provide $5.5 million in incentives to have the equipment giant become the primary tenant at the 320-acre Lone Tree Business Center. Caterpillar Inc. will take over the entire park, which has been largely vacant for almost 10 years, to build a 600,000-square-foot plant. The city council is scheduled to approve a 10-year, 100-percent property tax abatement on city taxes. The commissioners court will consider the same deal for county taxes after the council acts. That’s the maximum abatement allowed by the state. Mayor Will Armstrong said the tax abatement is an incentive any community would have been willing to offer in exchange for the size investment Caterpillar plans to make. The abatement applies only to the improvements the company plans to make, which include a 600,000-square-foot building to manufacture hydraulic excavators. It does not apply to the property on which the plant will be built.