Credit: Courtesy Downtown Stockton Alliance
Stockton, Calif., files for bankruptcy.
1During the years when Californians drove as far out into the suburbs as it would take to qualify to buy a home, Stockton, Calif.’s housing market was rockin’. Then it all but died, leaving the city to become a foreclosure hotbed and now the largest city by population to declare bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Stockton’s future City Hall was ignominiously repossessed by its financiers, Reuters says. The employees who remain after $90 million in budget cuts must take reduced pay. And retirees are losing medical benefits. The city’s leaders stopped short of cutting more police services as violent crimes have increased, Reuters reports.
“We are extremely disappointed that we have been unable to avoid bankruptcy,” says Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston.“This is what we must do to get our fiscal house in order and protect the safety and welfare of our citizens.”
Vegas’ New Attraction
Busloads of Asian investors show up in new-home communities.
2Tour buses take Las Vegas tourists on trips to the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and, of course, The Strip, but recently some have been trekking to new-home communities.
At the end of May a chartered bus rolled into Lennar’s San Marcello community and out filed a couple of dozen Japanese people, following a tour guide with a microphone through the model homes.
A couple of weeks later, a similar chartered bus full of Chinese people showed up at the community, says Arnold Loya, a sales assistant. The tour bus operator had called ahead each time to say that he was bringing busloads of potential investors to the community.
Loya doesn’t know if any of the bused-in tourists came back to buy homes. But, he says, traffic from foreign investors, in general, has climbed, and they aren’t only of Asian extraction. “We get people from Canada. We’ve even gotten some Asian people from Canada,” he says.
Fast Forward Red Tape
Austin hires some much-needed permitting help.
3Fast-growing Austin, Texas, can grow even faster now. The city voted to add 14 new employees to help work through the permits that have been piling up in the city’s planning and development review department.
The new employees’ salaries will be paid for by increased fees for development services, but the extra cost might be worth it. It’s reported that some permits have been delayed for months, a situation the city worried might dissuade companies from expanding or moving to town.
Alabama nabs an Airbus plant.
4Airbus is building a $600 million assembly line for its jets at Brookley Aeroplex, a former Air Force base in Mobile, Ala. It expects to employ 1,000 when it reaches full production, turning out between 40 and 50 aircraft a year. In the meantime, it will create an estimated 2,500 construction jobs starting the summer of 2013.
“When Airbus aircraft take to the skies, our pride and workmanship will soar along with them,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said during the announcement.
Lowering the Ante
A proposed Miami mega casino is tabled for now.
5Thwarted, for now, by the Florida Legislature in its efforts to build the world’s largest casino, Resorts World Miami has scaled down its development plans for downtown Miami where it has invested about $500 million in 30 acres of real estate. Instead of spending $3.8 billion on the casino and a 5,200-room, five-star luxury hotel, the company says it plans to build a hotel, condos, some waterfront restaurants, retail, and an 800-foot-long promenade along Biscayne Bay. Details are scarce, the Miami Herald reports, but the company has Arquitectonica, a Miami-based architectural firm, working on the new plans.