Friday, July 18, 2008

And then the work stopped

When construction projects stop negative reverberations are felt throughout a community. Jobs are lost. Revenues are lost. The project becomes an eyesore to those around. Wire fences usually outline the perimeter. People worry about vandals and kids getting inside the barrier. Police need to be on extra patrol. Not good. Not good at all.

Unfortunately this is a common problem on the down cycle of a building boom. The New York Times highlights some of the problems of construction stopping in Asbury cycle due to the economic downturn. The article is called Deferred Hopes, Stalled Projects. Let's take a look -

WHEN word came last December that work had stopped at the Esperanza, the centerpiece of Asbury Park’s long-awaited beachside redevelopment, even the project’s name — “hope” in Spanish — seemed to mock the city’s aspirations.

“I know a lot of people were very much stunned, and upset,” said Dean Geibel, the principal of Metro Homes, the developer of the double-tower condominium, for which only the foundation has been completed.

The Esperanza was starting to rise on the site of a previous failure, where a steel skeleton had stood for two decades, menacing prospects for revitalization. “And we were sort of the first big project in New Jersey to take a hit when the financial market turned sour,” Mr. Geibel said.

Since then, destructive market forces have slowed progress on other large projects around the state. Work has sputtered to a stop at two of them — the $1.5 billion Centuria development at the foot of the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, and the $66 million Town Center development in Somerville — before foundations have even been laid.

Meanwhile, in Asbury Park, Mr. Geibel is working feverishly on a scaled-down plan — and on securing reduced financing — with the goal of beginning work afresh by the end of the year.

The article also discusses projects that have been stopped or scaled down in Fort Lee and Somerville. With the current economic problems developers are having trouble getting loans. Without the loans and investors the work can not get done. Hopefully the turn-around will be quicker than the last one and these shells will not stand uncompleted for another 2 decades.

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