The National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, has only one event
scheduled for this year: a performance of the opera "Turandot" on Aug.
8, the one-year anniversary of the Olympic opening ceremony. China's
leading soccer club backed out of a deal to play there, saying it would
be an embarrassment to use a 91,000-seat stadium for games that
ordinarily attract only 10,000 spectators.
The typical real estate secured interest rate was 6 to 6 1/2%, so
that's at least $36,000 interest per year, yet we were able to
negotiate a rent of $800! And there were lots of apartments available.
People would approach us with incredible deals. You could tell they
were hurting, had bought extra apartments and were struggling with
paying the mortgages, and were desperate for any help from any rent
they could get.
Without jobs there is little reason to believe this economy is close to
turning around. Yet, stimulus plan or not, there is simply no reason
for jobs to pick up any time soon. I expect another half million jobs
will be lost in each of the next couple months.
The key is
consumer attitudes towards debt and spending have changed, and those
attitudes are not changing back. Expect a long, deep recession no
matter what Obama and Bernanke do.
The construction is the start of a vast experiment, an attempt to
create the world's first car-free, zero-carbon-dioxide-emissions,
zero-waste city. Due to be completed in 2016, the city is the
centerpiece of the Masdar Initiative, a $15 billion investment by the
government of Abu Dhabi, which is part of the United Arab Emirates. The
new development, being built on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi city, will
run almost entirely on energy from the sun and will use just 20 percent
as much power as a conventional city of similar size. Garbage will be
sorted and recycled or used for compost; sewage will be processed into
fuel. Concrete columns will lift the city seven meters off the ground,
creating space underneath for a network of automated electric
transports that will replace cars. Planners predict that the
development will attract 1,500 clean-tech businesses, ranging from
large international corporations to startups, and--eventually--some