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Friday, October 23, 2020
CookFox Architects, a firm in Manhattan that works on sustainability and green spaces in designing buildings, is a showcase for biophilia, with its office building in Midtown equipped with three rooftop terraces. CookFox Architects Even as the coronavirus pandemic worsens in the U.S., stay-at-home orders in some areas have loosened and companies have sent some workers back to offices with social distancing restrictions, temperature checks and plexiglass sneeze barriers. These new health precautions amid Covid-19 are new for offices. But architects and office designers have long worked on innovations to make corporate space healthier and better for the environment — projects they say will be in higher demand even as millions work from home and corporations rethink their need for future office space. "When you go back, when I go back, people will look at office buildings differently," said Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "The plexiglass will go away, but the attention to air quality, water quality, lighting and acoustics will stay," Allen said. Designers say the pandemic has bolstered corporate interest in redesigning work space to simulate nature, have better
In mid-September, the envelope finally arrived. As Erin Madden opened it and pulled out the debit card with her unemployment benefits on it, all she could think about was the half a year she'd waited for this moment. She had come to feel it would never happen. "I almost didn't believe that it had finally arrived," Madden, 28, said. But there was the card, which would soon have more than $16,000 on it. Erin Madden waited nearly seven months for her unemployment benefits. Source: Erin Madden Deeper in debt Erin Madden: "It's been four months of this and I have no idea when it's going to end." Source: Erin Madden Prior to the pandemic, Madden had around $6,500 in credit card debt. She hoped to pay off that balance by the summer with her income from the bar but when her paychecks stopped, and unemployment checks didn't substitute them, she had to use her card to cover her basic essentials, causing her debt to balloon to more than $10,000. The interest rate on her credit card is 22%. As a result, even though she paid off
Democratic U.S. vice presidential nominee and Senator Kamala Harris speaks at a drive-in campaign event in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2020. David Becker | Reuters Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris took part in a big-money fundraiser Friday that was hosted by real estate investment giant Related Companies and the executive chairman of fitness company Equinox. The event featuring Harris, a California senator, comes on the heels of the Joe Biden campaign's massive third-quarter fundraising haul. The hosts included Harvey Spevak, the executive chairman of Equinox, and Related Companies CEO Jeff Blau and his wife, Lisa, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Some executives at Related Companies are investors in Equinox. The Blaus hosted Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at their home in the Hamptons in 2016. It was part of a three-day fundraising blitz in the wealthy region of New York, which ended up raising an estimated $20 million. The other hosts at Friday's event were Ken Wong, the Related Companies' chief operating officer and the firm's director of international development, and Bruce Beal Sr., the chairman of Related Beal, the real estate business' Boston-based office, this
Fitness membership? Check. Streaming account? Of course. Meal kit service? Sure. How about your hotel subscription? Whether for pleasure, work, or long-term lodging, hospitality operators are hoping on-demand stays could be your next must-have membership as the embattled travel industry tries to expand its reach. InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott and Accor are among the major names that have launched or are considering monthly payment plans, as hotels try to attract restless remote workers ready for a change of scene. Hotels are seeking to capture new customers with a range of subscription services. GoodLifeStudio | E+ | Getty Images For monthly rates ranging from $1,100 in Singapore to $1,970 in Indonesia, InterContinental guests can already enjoy varying access to InterContinental's workspaces, rooms and facilities under new "work from hotel" packages. Meanwhile, Accor told CNBC's Global Traveler that it's "looking at monthly subscription fees" as it considers repurposing rooms into private gyms and even recording studios. Marriott, for its part, said it will be announcing plans in the coming weeks. But it's not just corporate workers that hotels are after. After watching the tremendous ascent of subscription giants like Netflix, Peloton and Spotify
Mansions seen along the coast of Palm Beach, Fla. Getty Images Home sales in Palm Beach, the exclusive island retreat of the president and countless billionaires, tripled in the third quarter as the wealthy fled the cities and higher-tax states of the Northeast, according to a new report. "It may be the hottest real estate market in the world right now," said Jay Phillip Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman's Florida brokerage. "You just can't find homes to buy there now." The average home price in Palm Beach was more than $7 million during the quarter, according to a report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel. The strength shows little signs of slowing as signed contracts jumped 62% in September, the report said. Among the big recent sales in Palm Beach was the $28 million sale of a "teardown" mansion owned by telecom tycoon Donald Burns. Billionaire Jude Reyes sold his oceanfront mansion for $19 million and pulmonologist Norman Traverse sold his seven-bedroom waterfront estate for $51 million. The inventory of homes for sale on the island fell by 79% in the third quarter compared with a year ago, according to the report. There
Courtney Keating | Getty Images Even homeowners with poor credit scores may be able to take advantage of mortgage refinancing options to ease their financial burden amid the coronavirus pandemic. The housing market is one of the only parts of the economy that's seen a solid rebound during the Covid-19 crisis, thanks in part to market volatility driving mortgage rates down. The popular 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate is now 2.87%, near a record low, according to Freddie Mac.   That's also sparked a refinancing frenzy from existing homeowners looking to capitalize on the new low-rate environment and secure a lower monthly payment or different loan terms. Currently, there are nearly 19 million refinance candidates in the market with average potential savings of $297 per month, according to Black Knight, a mortgage technology and research firm. One of the barriers to refinancing a mortgage, however, is a credit score. Because refinancing a mortgage is paying off your existing loan with a new one, lenders want borrowers in solid financial standing – many require a minimum credit score of 620. But not all borrowers have good credit. More than 30% of consumers
Aaron and Lindsey Fisher found their dream home not far from where they lived in northern California. It was a stunning, $1.4 million home with an expansive backyard and nearby trail where they could hike with their four sons. "It seemed too good to be true almost," Lindsey said. "Exactly what we wanted." Aaron and Lindsey Fisher and their four sons. Source: CNBC And thanks to a family inheritance windfall, they could afford it. But everything suddenly went wrong. Aaron, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, wired $921,235.10, a number to this day he cannot forget, from his account at Bank of America. Two days later, the mortgage company called asking about the wire transfer. The company inquired where the money was wired to and Aaron nervously said, "Wells Fargo." He was stunned when the representative told him, "Aaron, we don't have a Wells Fargo account. You need to call your bank immediately." Aaron called his wife. "We've been robbed," he told her. Aaron and Lindsey Fisher Source: CNBC The couple was hit by what is known as real estate wire fraud, an