PG&E says it’s “probable” its equipment caused deadly Camp Fire

PG&E says it’s “probable” its equipment caused deadly Camp Fire

The utility recently filed bankruptcy amid flurry of lawsuits from homeowners

February 28, 2019 12:00PM

Utility crews at site of Camp Fire

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is assuming blame for the worst wildfire in California history.

On Thursday, the company said it is “probable” that its equipment caused the Camp Fire that killed 85 people at the end of 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported. The investigation into the exact cause is still ongoing.

The revelation by PG&E was the latest fallout from last year’s deadly wildfires, which affected residents in Northern and Southern California. In January, the utility giant filed for bankruptcy protection to protect it from liabilities of up to $30 billion.

Several survivors have filed lawsuits against PG&E, alleging its failure to properly maintain power lines set off the state emergency. One lawsuit claims the company misdirected “necessary safety-related expenditures” to boost the firm’s bottom line and shareholder profits.

California’s three largest utility companies caused more than 2,000 fires in the state between mid-2014 and the end of 2017. PG&E reported 1,552 equipment-related fires during that time.

The Camp Fire, which took place in November 2018, destroyed 21,000 homes across six counties in Northern California.

In Southern California, a group of more than 170 residents have also filed a lawsuit against Southern California Edison, which provides power for most of the region, including Los Angeles. The lawsuit claims the utility company was partially responsible for the Woolsey Fire, which destroyed more than 1,600 structures in November. The blaze caused an estimated $5 billion in damage, including around $1.6 billion in Malibu alone. [LAT]Natalie Hoberman

'Riverdale' Star Camila Mendes on Her Rise to Fame & the Power of Intuition

'Riverdale' Star Camila Mendes on Her Rise to Fame & the Power of Intuition

Navigating fresh fame and a new relationship, the breakout star of the most tweeted-about show on television can’t explain why people are so fascinated by the part of her life where fict…

Polonia allana el camino para reencuentro con Israel

Polonia allana el camino para reencuentro con Israel

El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Jacek Czaputowicz, dice que “no hay obstáculos”, pero “todavía hay que aclarar algunas cosas”, para poner fin a la discusión sobre los comentarios de Netanyahu y el ministro interino de Relaciones Exteriores

Por Redacción MiamiDiario

El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Polonia dijo que su país está abierto a una reunión con Israel que también involucre a otros países de Europa central, luego de que se retiró de una cumbre de alto nivel realizada la semana pasada.

El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Jacek Czaputowicz, dijo el miércoles, después de las conversaciones con su homólogo húngaro en Budapest que “no hay obstáculos” para la reunión, aunque “aún hay que aclarar algunas cosas con la parte israelí”.

Polonia se retiró de la conferencia del 19 de febrero en Jerusalén, después de que el primer ministro, Benjamín Netanyahu, dijera que los polacos habían cooperado con los nazis durante el Holocausto y que el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Israel hizo referencia a una cita del ex primer ministro Yitzhak Shamir, quien dijo que los polacos “amamantaban el antisemitismo con la leche de sus madres”.

Jacek Czaputowicz y Benjamín Netanyahu tuvieron sus diferencias, por hechos ocurridos durante el Holocausto. 

Netanyahu luego aclaró a Varsovia sus propios comentarios, que inicialmente se entendió que implicaban a todos los polacos en colaborar con los nazis en el asesinato de judíos durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

El primer ministro transmitió mensajes a Varsovia y produjo un comunicado diciendo que había sido citado incorrectamente: había dicho “polacos”, no “los polacos”, y nunca implicó a todos los polacos, ni a la nación polaca.

El lunes, Katz se negó a disculparse, pero dijo que nunca dio a entender que “todos” los polacos eran antisemitas.

Polonia fue invadida y ocupada por la Alemania nazi durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial y seis millones de sus habitantes murieron durante el conflicto, incluidos tres millones de judíos.

Varsovia ha estado por mucho tiempo afirmando que Polonia no colaboró ​​como nación en el Holocausto, aunque los polacos individualmente cometieron lo que el embajador polaco en Israel describió recientemente como “crímenes abominables”.

Con información de Noticias de Israel

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La entrada Polonia allana el camino para reencuentro con Israel se publicó primero en Miami Diario.

Hollywood approves mixed-use project on 31 acres of city-owned land

Hollywood approves mixed-use project on 31 acres of city-owned land

A map of the mixed-use project

Hollywood commissioners approved a residential and retail development on about 31 acres of city-owned land on Wednesday just west of I-95.

Park Road Development LLC — a joint venture of Birdman Real Estate Development, Collarmele Partners and EMM Real Estate Group — would build 315 apartments and a grocery store on the 30.58-acre site at South Park Road and Pembroke Road. The grocery store would occupy most of the project’s 71,000 square feet of retail space.

Michael Meyers, principal of EMM Real Estate Group said obtaining site-plan approval for the development would take 12 to 18 months, and construction would take at least 24 months.

City commissioners ranked Park Road Development’s proposal first among four proposals to develop the site. The city issued a request for proposals to develop the site last year.

The commissioners approved a resolution directing the city manager to negotiate a purchase agreement and a development agreement with Park Road Development.

If negotiations with Park Road Development fail to produce agreements, the city manager would try to negotiate a deal with the company behind the second-ranked proposal, Bridge Development Partners. Bridge proposed construction of 364,500 square feet of industrial space on the site.

If negotiations with both companies behind the top-ranked proposals fail to produce agreements, the city manager would try to negotiate (in descending order) with the companies that proposed the third-ranked and fourth-ranked proposals.

The third-ranked proposal by ImmoCorp Ventures called for construction of a mixed-use development with about 600 apartments, nearly double the number in the first-ranked proposal.

Prologis submitted the fourth-ranked proposal to build 335,000 square feet of warehouse distribution space.

The industrial developments proposed by Prologis and Bridge would generate between $4 million and $5 million of tax revenue over 20 years.

The mixed-use development proposed by Park Road Development would generate $9.4 million of tax revenue over 20 years, compared to $16.1 million that ImmoCorp’s development would generate.

Park Road Development proposed paying $1 million to purchase the city-owned land and another $5.35 million to clean the contaminated site, where an incinerator previously was located.

Alternatively, Park Road Development would pay a $3 million purchase price if the city agreed to lease facilities on the site built by the company.

Opportunity Zone program has loads of potential but is not a cure-all: panel

Opportunity Zone program has loads of potential but is not a cure-all: panel

Multiple real estate execs discussed the program at a TRD event on Wednesday

From left to right: Toby Moskovits, Steven Adler, Seth Pinsky, Ben Miller, Bob Knakal, and moderator Maury Golbert

The burgeoning Opportunity Zone program could be one of the best development initiatives the country has ever seen, but investors and developers still shouldn’t expect it to turn every deal into a winner, top real estate executives said Wednesday morning.

“While the Opportunity Zone program certainly offers benefits that should over time reduce the cost of capital and therefore make some marginal projects that weren’t feasible, feasible, it’s not going to take projects that were absolutely infeasible and turn them into projects that are,” said Seth Pinsky, executive vice president at RXR Realty. “You still need to have an underlying project that makes sense.”

Pinsky spoke on an Opportunity Zone panel Wednesday morning with JLL’s investment sales chair Bob Knakal, Fundrise CEO Ben Miller, Heritage Equity Partners president Toby Moskovits and Meridian Capital Group managing director Steven Adler at an event thrown by The Real Deal and Berdon LLP. The panelists were very optimistic about the program overall.

The Opportunity Zone program, included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, allows investors to defer taxes on income from capital gains until 2026 provided that 90 percent of their investment is in areas designated as low-income communities. The program has already proven to be extremely popular with the real estate community even as developers and investors still wait on key information about it.

Knakal described the initiative as “brilliantly conceived” with the potential to “create the best community development program the nation has ever seen.” However, he cautioned that it would only work if the people buying properties in Opportunity Zones were making a profit, something that was proving to be a challenge based on how much owners of properties in Opportunity Zones think their land’s value has increased.

He summed up the situation by inverting a famous quote from the 1987 film “Wall Street.”

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is bad,” Knakal said.

The program, Pinsky said developers looking to make Opportunity Zone deals at reasonable prices should look to secondary and tertiary markets where transactions have not already been occurring. In areas that were already seeing a good amount of activity before they were designated as Opportunity Zones, it will be much harder to find a good deal.

RXR and Heritage have both already launched Opportunity Zone funds of their own: a $500 million one for RXR and a $100 million fund for Heritage.

Both firms said they have been seeing interest from investors looking to put their money in economically challenged areas. Moskovits said investors saw it as a way to both get helpful tax benefits and make a positive impact.

“I’m getting a lot of calls from friends of mine in the private wealth industry who are advising on impact investing and getting calls from their clients asking about how to move money into these neighborhoods where they’re getting what we call the double bottom line, or doing well by doing good,” she said.

Opportunity Zones were designated based on census tracts, some of which are in areas where a large amount of development activity was already taking place. In New York City alone, this includes places like the Far West Side and the Lower East Side.

Pinsky said it is important to have capital flow into census tracts that have not already seen a lot of development to make sure the Opportunity Zone program is a political success.

“If, at the end of this program, all that’s happened is that more money has gone into the areas that were already getting capital, then the program will have proven to be a missed opportunity,” he said.

The Naughty Fork on The Most Delicious Meals Around the World

The Naughty Fork on The Most Delicious Meals Around the World

Miami’s top foodie blogger The Naughty Fork has mastered the art of gastro travel. Here, she highlights her most delicious meals around the world.
Exploring the streets in Hong Kong. “It…

Grupos que respaldan al Gobierno irrumpen armados en Sesión de Asamblea Nacional venezolana

Grupos que respaldan al Gobierno irrumpen armados en Sesión de Asamblea Nacional venezolana

Por: Ivonne Ayala

Este miércoles 27 de febrero se conmemora en Venezuela el llamado “Caracazo” que también se conoce como el Sacudón ocurrido en 1989 una serie de fuertes protestas, disturbios y saqueos que se registró en el país relacionados con medidas económicas anunciadas durante el gobierno del entonces presidente, Carlos Andrés Pérez, que comenzaron el 27 de febrero en la ciudad de Guarenas​ y finalizaron el 8 de marzo de 1989 en Caracas.

Por: Redacción Miami Diario

El nombre proviene de Caracas, la ciudad donde acontecieron parte de los hechos. El saldo de muertes empezó el 27 de febrero cuando fuerzas de seguridad de la Policía Metropolitana, Fuerzas Armadas y de la Guardia Nacional salieron a las calles a controlar la situación. Aunque las cifras oficiales reportaron 276 muertos y numerosos heridos, algunos reportes extraoficiales hablan de más de 3000 desaparecidos. Por mucho tiempo se pensó que había sido una muestra espontánea de la población ante las fórmulas económicas que pensaban aplicarse a través del denominado Paquetico Rodríguez , pero con el paso del tiempo se ha entendido que la mano del chavismo estuvo detrás de aquellos lamentables hechos.

Tan es así que este miércoles, 30 años después, grupos aliados al Gobierno de Maduro organizaron varias actividades, una marcha y aproximadamente a las 12:00 del mediodía un grupo de representantes del sindicato oficialista de la Asamblea Nacional (AN) intentó ingresar de forma violenta al Parlamento.

Lea también: EEUU no descarta uso de la fuerza militar en Venezuela, según alto funcionario de Trump

Aseguran que quieren pedir un derecho de palabra contra la “intervención”. Los diputados y periodistas que se encuentran en el lugar aseguran que los sujetos están armados, por lo que les solicitaron a los presentes resguardar su identidad.

Una periodista de El Nacional informó que las autoridades del lugar cerraron las puertas para impedir el paso de los oficialistas luego de que golpearan al personal de seguridad.

Posteriormente, procedieron a continuar con la sesión del día. En la Asamblea Nacional el tema de la ayuda humanitaria, se plantea como punto de cuenta en el encuentro legislativo.

Con información de El Nacional

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In testimony, Michael Cohen says Trump inflated real estate values to Deutsche Bank

In testimony, Michael Cohen says Trump inflated real estate values to Deutsche Bank

Michael Cohen is sworn in before testifying before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill (Credit: Getty Images)

At a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, former Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen testified that President Trump purposely inflated the values of his New York real estate holdings in order to obtain a loan from Deutsche Bank.

The requested loan was connected to an attempt to acquire the Buffalo Bills football team and the Forbes media company, Cohen said.

As one example of the value exaggerations, Cohen cited 40 Wall Street, which in exhibits presented to the committee Trump pegged at $524.7 million in 2011. Cohen said Trump used comparable figures from similar properties, which is typical industry practice, but that ultimately the value “was based upon what [Trump] wanted to value the asset at”

In fact, the Trump Organization obtained an official appraisal from Cushman & Wakefield for 40 Wall Street in 2015, in a similar amount ($540 million), which it then used to sell mortgage-backed securities. The Morningstar credit ratings agency, however, assessed the value in a pre-sale report and cut it by more than half, to just $262.3 million, after adjusting for millions in annual rent concessions and and leasing fees.

Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison for previously lying to Congress, was disbarred by the State of New York this week.

Stay tuned for updates.

After surpassing revenue target in 2018, CoStar reveals ambitious goal for 2023

After surpassing revenue target in 2018, CoStar reveals ambitious goal for 2023

Company collected $1.2B in revenue last year

CoStar CEO Andy Florance (Credit: CoStar via YouTube and Pixabay)

Real estate data giant CoStar Group exceeded $1 billion in revenue in 2018. And by the end of 2023, it hopes to roughly triple that figure to $3 billion.

Though tumult in the stock market contributed to a dip in CoStar’s market value, the company finished 2018 with a strong balance sheet, it disclosed in an earnings report on Tuesday. On the company’s subsequent earnings call, chief executive Andrew Florance said the firm posted $1.2 billion in revenue, a jump from $965 million for 2017. CoStar ended the year with $238 million in net income, up 94 percent over 2017’s $123 million. Its adjusted EBITDA checked in at $418 million, a 49 percent increase year-over-year.

“2018 was an outstanding year for CoStar with strong revenue growth and substantial margin expansion,” Florance said on the call, telling investors that the firm successfully integrated ForRent in the fourth quarter, which he called its strongest ever. He also said CoStar sees a “huge opportunity to further monetize LoopNet,” which, along with other commercial products, has the potential to “reach the size of Apartments.com.”

Florance briefly touched on two other 2018 acquisitions, noting that it picked up Cozy Services and Realla, the U.K.’s largest CRE marketplace, and signed client contracts with brokerages Marcus & Millichap and CBRE.

“We anticipate acquisitions will continue, but we anticipate most of our growth will be organic,” Florance said.

CoStar has long been the market leader for commercial real estate data, but is now facing a threat from Moody’s Analytics, which recently launched a new platform of real estate data services produced by firms including CompStak and Rockport VAL. Florance told Bisnow last week that while he welcomed the competition, Moody’s platform is “not exactly a big bang.”

CoStar’s share price has seen a spike since the beginning of 2019, jumping from $334 to $411 on Tuesday. Its market capitalization is currently at $14.8 billion. In 2019, CoStar is anticipating between $1.37 billion and $1.38 billion in revenue.

5 Must-Try Miami Dishes, Presented by North Italia

5 Must-Try Miami Dishes, Presented by North Italia

A standout modern Italian concept—located in Mary Brickell Village—that brings old country iconic dishes to life with robust flavor profiles and delightful takes on classic traditi…