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Nooses, Anger and No Answers: Inside the Uproar Over a Future Amazon Site

Representatives for Amazon and the other companies involved say they have done everything they can, delaying construction twice, adding security and cameras at the site and putting up $100,000 in award money for anyone who can provide information about the nooses. Those are unusual steps, particularly for Amazon, which often avoids getting caught up in local affairs. The companies also say their power is somewhat limited, because there are dozens of subcontractors that have a hand in the project and are not under their direct control.Adding to the turmoil is disagreement about even some of the most basic facts of …

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‘A Wild 15 Months’: Pandemic Spurs Conversion of Offices to Labs

The pandemic dealt a gut punch to landlords of office buildings. Aware that work can go on with employees logging in from home, businesses across the country shrank their spaces or eliminated them entirely, creating a cascade of reduced construction and plummeting office rents.The collateral damage of this remote work revolution has been millions of square feet of vacant office space. The vacancy rate for downtown office buildings across the nation has risen to 16.4 percent over the past year, according to Cushman & Wakefield.But there is hope for anxious landlords: The life sciences industry, flush with cash from a …

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Building Solar Farms May Not Build the Middle Class

‘Like a Moving Assembly Line’On an afternoon in mid-May, several laborers coming off their shift at Assembly Solar said they were grateful for the work, which they said paid $16 an hour and provided health insurance and 401(k) contributions. Two said they had moved to the area from Memphis and two from Mississippi, where they had made $9 to $15 an hour — one as a cook, two in construction and one as a mechanic.Jeff Ordower, an organizer with the Green Workers Alliance, a group that pushes for better conditions on such projects, said that out-of-state workers often found jobs through recruiters, …

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When Scaffolding Hands Them Lemons, Developers Make Lemon Trees

Given the strong feelings on the subject, it’s no wonder that alternative designs have sprung up in New York. The firm Urban Umbrella has made a name for itself with its tall, elegant, vaguely Gothic scaffolding.Daily Business BriefingUpdated July 12, 2021, 12:16 p.m. ETDespite being three or four times more expensive than standard scaffolding, which typically rents for $80 to $150 per linear foot, Urban Umbrella’s designs have been popular with customers concerned about keeping up appearances, like boutique shops and museums. The scaffolds can be outfitted with LED lights to brighten sidewalks, and fans to keep things cool in summer. …

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China Adds More Parks to Its Cities to Raise Quality of Life

SHANGHAI — Suzhou Creek was little more than an open sewer for decades as its murky waters coursed through the heart of Shanghai. Now, it teems with life along verdant banks that stretch for 26 miles.Joggers wind along burgundy paths lined with azaleas, wisteria and osmanthus. Fishermen catch carp weighing up to 11 pounds. Children skip rope, while elderly couples rest on waterfront benches.“In the past, we couldn’t even come near Suzhou Creek because the water reeked and was black,” said Zhang Guanghe, a 79-year-old retired fertilizer factory foreman, as construction crews planted more trees along the water.The rehabilitation …

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House Hunters Are Leaving the City, and Builders Can’t Keep Up

River Islands, the development where the Namayans hoped to live, is in Lathrop, Calif., which has a population of 25,000. It sits about a half-hour beyond Altamont Pass, whose rolling hills and windmills mark the border between Alameda and San Joaquin Counties. Though technically outside the Bay Area region, Lathrop’s farms and open fields have been steadily supplanted by warehouses and subdivisions as it and nearby cities have become bedroom communities for priced-out workers who commute to the Silicon Valley and San Francisco.Today in BusinessUpdated May 28, 2021, 12:54 p.m. ETIn Livermore, on the eastern side of Alameda County, the typical …

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Chinese and Indian Troops Clash at Their Disputed Border

NEW DELHI — Indian and Chinese troops have clashed along their disputed Himalayan border, according to media and military reports on Monday, as Beijing quietly intensifies pressure against its southern neighbor with new incursions into territory claimed by both sides.Details about the latest skirmish remain foggy, and Indian officials played down the events. Indian media outlets and independent military analysts said that the clash happened several days ago, and that soldiers on both sides were wounded, although no fatalities were reported.The Indian Army has said only that a “minor face-off” occurred last week in northern Sikkim, a mountainous Indian …

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Air Cargo Construction Is Booming, Thanks to Amazon

At Chicago Rockford International, plans are underway to build a 90,000-square-foot cargo facility. As soon as it opens in the spring, the airport will start another 100,000-square-foot cargo project for DB Schenker, Emery Air and Senator International. Last year, Rockford completed a $22.3 million, 192,000-square-foot facility for Amazon, along with $14 million in concrete aprons sturdy enough for Boeing 747 aircraft.“The traffic in cargo is responsible for all the new demand at airports now,” said Rex J. Edwards, an industry analyst and vice president of the Campbell-Hill Aviation Group, a Northern Virginia consulting firm. “The cargo carriers want more airport space. They …

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