An Amazonian Task

Construction begins on Amazon’s new mega building in Seattle.

1. Before the 3.3-millon-square-foot Amazon headquarters phase one starts soaring 37 stories into the gray Seattle sky, the big hole for six floors of underground parking has to be dug. This summer, crews will start removing 250,000 cubic yards of dirt, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. Six thousand tons of steel will form the building’s first phase, scheduled for completion in late 2015 or early 2016. No word on when phases two and three get underway. The three-block project, with room for 12,000 workers, is expected to create 5,000 construction jobs.

FasTracks to Nowhere?

Denver officials worry that multifamily homes on new light-rail lines might be scarce.

2. Even as Denver opened the first section of FasTracks, its multimillion-dollar rail line, questions arose about whether the high-density multifamily housing envisioned along the tracks will be built, BUILDER Online reports. The Colorado Association of Home Builders’ CEO worries that construction defect lawsuits are causing a big drop in multifamily starts, which dropped from 46 percent in 2008 to 17 percent in 2012. However, it could be a function of lower single-family homes prices enabling more buyers to afford a house with a yard rather than shared walls with strangers.

Where’s the Water?

New Mexico developers soon may be required to prove they have water rights before building.

3. Lincoln County, N.M., located south of Albuquerque with 4,831 square miles of dry land and only 22 inches of precipitation a year, is proposing that developers have water rights to provide maximum yearly water use for proposed subdivisions before development is approved, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The rule changes possibly could stop subdivision development, some planning commission members say. It’s not clear whether the rule would require every subdivision to have a water system or just rights to water, according to the newspaper.

Boeing Boost

The aircraft builder ups its buy into South Carolina.

4. Boeing Co. is investing $1 billion and adding at least 2,000 jobs in Charleston, S.C., where it has a big manufacturing presence. The company says it needs to expand to meet steep demand for commercial airplanes. South Carolina lawmakers were told the company will establish an information technology center in North Charleston that will create about 1,000 jobs. The additional positions will be filled by 787 engineers and production employees.

“The takeaway is that Boeing is doing very well in South Carolina and South Carolina is doing very well because of Boeing,” said South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell.

Super Roots

 Wisconsin’s ginseng heads to China bearing Wisconsin-grown seals.

5. Forget about cheese. In Asia, Wisconsin is famous for its especially potent ginseng root commonly used in traditional Asian medicine. Recently, the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin and the Ginseng & Herb Cooperative signed an agreement to export ginseng labeled with the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin Seal to China’s Tong Ren Tang Health Pharmaceutical. The deal is worth $150 million to $200 million in sales to Wisconsin growers. The Ginseng Board seal is registered in China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. Wisconsin—primarily Marathon County—produces about 95 percent of the nation’s ginseng crop.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Seattle, WA, Charleston, SC.