Lumberyard sues city over boardwalk project
With the sluggish housing market making headlines, even some lumberyards cashing in on the commercial sector can’t catch a break.
According to (New York) Newsday, a Baltimore lumber company has sued the beachside city of Ocean City, N.J., for $1.2 million for canceling a huge order of tropical rainforest wood for a seaside boardwalk project.
Louis J. Grasmick Lumber filed the suit in U.S. District Court, according to the article, against the city for allegedly refusing to pay for the wood even though some of the wood already has been installed on the boardwalk.
Environmental groups, including “Friends of the Rainforest,” also have protested the project, saying the city had pledged “never to use tropical hardwoods on its boardwalk again.” The city’s mayor’s office received more than 50,000 e-mails urging the local government to cancel the contract on environmental grounds, according to the newspaper.
The city did not cite the environmental complaints for terminating the contract, but rather “lengthy delays in delivery” and “uncertainty” as to when the wood would arrive.
The lumberyard said the delays were due to factors beyond its control, including supplier shipping delays and an accident in which a company truck overturned.
IKEA to expand presence in Poland
Polish developer Inter IKEA Centre Polska — part of the IKEA group — will soon begin construction on a large shopping center in Lodz, Poland, according to a report in the Warsaw Business Journal.
Called Port Lodz, the 127,000-square-foot shopping center is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2009 and will represent the Swedish retailer’s seventh property in Poland.
The new shopping center — anchored by a 33,000-square-foot IKEA store — will also house more than 270 stores and service shops.
“Port Lodz will be a unique project,” Renata Burejza, public relations and marketing manager at Inter IKEA Centre Polska, told the newspaper. “Unlike the rest of our centers in Poland, it will not be a retail park but rather a more traditional shopping center in which the whole retail space is contained in a single building.”
Home sales slide in January
Existing-home sales — including single-family, townhouses, condos and apartment buildings — declined 0.4 percent last month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million units in January from a level of 4.91 million in December, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The results are 23.4 percent below the 6.44 million-unit pace set in January 2007.
Single-family home sales decreased 0.5 percent, while existing multi-family housing units fell 6.5 percent from the previous year.
The national existing-home price median for all housing types was $201,100, a 4.6 percent drop from a year ago.
Total housing inventory rose 5.5 percent at the end of January to 4.19 million existing homes for sale, representing a 10.3-month supply at the current sales pace.
Regionally, sales of existing homes in the Northeast fell 3.6 percent in January, with the West experiencing the second largest drop at 2.1 percent. Sales in the South slipped 0.5 percent last month. However, the Midwest saw sales of existing homes rise 3.4 percent in January 2007 compared to last year.