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Growth Is Strong, but the Obstacles to Full Recovery Are Big

Most of the time, a 6.5 percent rate of economic growth would warrant celebrations in the streets. Only in the weird economy of 2021 can it be a bit of a disappointment.It’s not simply that forecasters had expected a G.D.P. growth number that was a couple of percentage points higher, though they did. And it’s not even that America’s output remains below its prepandemic growth path in inflation-adjusted terms, though it is.What makes the new G.D.P. numbers on Thursday feel less than buoyant is the degree to which they reflect a nation still …

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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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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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Lower Rents? Check. Speakeasy? Check. How Office Landlords Are Enticing Tenants.

“It used to be like, ‘Wait, why is that guy onscreen? If he wanted a meeting, why didn’t he come to SoHo?’” said Leslie D. Biddle, a partner at the financial firm Serengeti Asset Management, whose offices are on Broadway in downtown Manhattan. “And that mentality has really changed.”Ms. Biddle renegotiated her lease in the middle of the pandemic and the protests last year that preceded looting in SoHo. Serengeti moved to another floor in the same building, cut its overall space by half and received a deep rent cut, she said. Several rooms were also equipped with …

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Minor League Parks, Stripped of America’s Pastime, Await New Fates

The artwork of elementary school students decorates the office windows behind home plate at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island. One encourages residents not to litter. Another drawing, of the stadium’s infamous Staten Island pizza rat mascot, reads: “Better Days Are Coming!”But empty liquor bottles litter the nearby concourse, and dandelions and other weeds grow in the outfield.For the first time in 20 years, the ballpark is not the home of the Staten Island Yankees. In fact, nothing is happening at the city-owned stadium, which covers about six acres and offers waterfront views of Lower Manhattan.Many …

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New York Faces Lasting Economic Toll Even as Pandemic Passes

“It’s gone from feeling super lonely and now it’s feeling pretty normal,” Mr. Gray added.Wall Street and the banking sector are pillars of the city’s economy, and they have been among the most aggressive industries in prodding employees to go back to the office. James Gorman, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley, told investors and analysts this month that “if you want to get paid in New York, you need to be in New York.”Many firms, including Blackstone and Morgan Stanley, have huge real estate holdings or loans to the industry, so there is more …

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Soho China Sells to Blackstone, Cementing Owners’ Exit

China’s economy is on a tear. Factories are humming, and foreign investment is flowing in. Even so, the wealthy and powerful people atop some of the country’s most prominent companies are heading for the exits.The latest are Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, the husband-and-wife team that runs Soho China, a property developer known for its blobby, futuristic office buildings. In striking a deal this week to sell a controlling stake to the investment giant Blackstone for as much as $3 billion, Mr. Pan and Ms. Zhang are turning over the company as high-profile entrepreneurs come under public and …

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A Second Life for North Carolina’s Shuttered Factories

The High Point project, called Congdon Yards, is an effort to create a year-round gathering spot that will also draw young talent. Along with offices, the space includes a co-working area and a 6,000-square-foot workshop with commercial-grade woodworking equipment available to local designers and artisans.For those redevelopment projects, a project in Winston-Salem serves as a shining example of what a smart adaptive reuse project might achieve.The city has long been home to the tobacco company R.J. Reynolds, now part of Reynolds American. When Reynolds moved its manufacturing operations out of town in 1986, officials from the city, Wake …

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Can the Pandemic Rescue Britain’s Shopping Areas? This Town Hopes So.

POOLE, England — Hope Dean is loyal to Poole, her hometown in southwest Britain, but she acknowledges that its shopping district has often been a source of embarrassment.Just a few miles from the most expensive coastal real estate in the country, Poole’s main shopping street is a tired mix of video game shops, coffee shops, small chain stores and lots of markets selling secondhand items that have attracted a dwindling number of shoppers.Perhaps the worst section over the years was Kingland Crescent, a forgotten stretch tucked under the shadow of a shopping center, described by Ms. Dean as “ …

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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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