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NAHB reports signs of life in condo market

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Association of Home Builders said that the condo market is showing some signs of a revival in some markets across the country, and the uptick in sales is also benefiting the rental apartment market.

“We’ve had fairly strong rental demand for quite some time now, but the unsold condos and single-family homes coming back into the market as rentals were hampering the rental apartment sector,” said Steve Patterson, vice chairman of NAHB’s Multifamily Leadership Board and CEO of ZOM USA, which builds and manages apartments throughout the Southeast. “With many of those units now selling, the so-called shadow market is starting to dissipate and the multi-family market overall is getting healthier.”

At the height of the housing boom, condo starts accounted for approximately 45 percent of all multi-family starts annually, according to the organization. When the market rebounds, NAHB expects that percentage to hover from 20 percent to 30 percent of annual multi-family starts.

“We are definitely emerging from a difficult time and seeing some light in the condo market,” said Bill Donges, CEO of the Atlanta-based Lane Co., which has condominium developments in several cities, including Hollywood, Fla. “The condo lifestyle –especially in urban areas — is very attractive, and with the interest rates low and the selection good, we are seeing buyers come back into the market,” Donges said.

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Sears to cut about 200 jobs

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer Sears Holdings will cut approximately 200 headquarters jobs in an attempt to bring its overhead in line with falling sales, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The retailer notified employees of the pending terminations Tuesday in a memo from interim CEO W. Bruce Johnson. The support position jobs represent about 4 percent of Sears’ 5,000 headquarters employees, Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite told the Chicago Tribune.

The cutbacks come on the heels of the Sears plan to restructure its retail groups into independently run entities, which was announced last month.

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PPG acquires NanoProducts Corp.

BY HBSDEALER Staff

PPG Industries has acquired NanoProducts Corp., which produces nanoproduct materials and develops nanoproduct technology.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“This acquisition significantly strengthens PPG‘s nanotechnology patent portfolio and positions us as a world leader in nanoengineered materials,” said James A. Trainham, PPG vp-science and technology. “With these new materials, PPG can offer its customers and development partners unique, high value solutions. PPG will also license nanotechnology solutions, particularly in areas outside its existing businesses.”

PPG’s nanotechnology solutions include thin-film, optically clear nanocomposites for scratch and mar protection and the reflection of infrared and ultraviolet light from glass.

Longmont, Colo.-based NanoProducts was founded in 1994 and became a full-scale producer of nanopowders and other products by 2001. The company formed a partnership with Cabot Microelectronics in July 2004, which included an investment of $3.75 million by Cabot. In January 2005, Koch Genesis Co. became the majority owner following a $16.4 million investment in the company.

Pittsburgh-based PPG is a global supplier of paints, coatings, chemicals, optical products, specialty materials, glass and fiber glass. Sales in 2007 were $11.2 billion.

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