More interns are employed and getting licensed than during the throes of the recession. Read article http://www.aia.org/practicing/AIAB098254
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When it comes to sourcing the right interview candidates, I’ve never been keen to use recruiters. But I recently changed my mind.
My company, Metal Mafia, has an excellent candidate screening process, a super training program, and a very successful team of employees to show for it.
But hiring has always been a difficult task for me because each time I get ready to hire, it takes me forever to find the right type of candidates to even get the screening process started.
Despite the fact that I carefully consider where to advertise for candidates–I try to maximize the search dollars and get a good mix of potential applicants–it always takes me a long time to find people suited well to the company, and therefore, even worth interviewing.
I’ve tried everything from placing ads on large job boards like Monster.com, to smaller specialized job boards that cater to sales hires or fashion jobs, to local university boards where I can post for free (or close to it). Each time, I experience the same slow crawl toward finally finding the right person. It has taken me up to five months to find the right kind of hire in the past. So in November when I decided I needed to think about hiring for the new year, I was not optimistic.
For me, recruiters have traditionally been out of the question because I figured they would be a waste of time and never be as good at sending me the right people for the job as I would be in reviewing resumes myself. They’re also too expensive for my small budget. But as I got ready to place my job ads again, one of my senior staff members came to me and offered me the name of a fashion recruiter she knew and thought could help. I was skeptical, but I called her anyway, figuring listening would cost me nothing.
The recruiter convinced me she would do a thorough job, but I still hesitated because of the price. I do not have large sums of money to devote to the hiring process, and by my calculations, when all was said and done, using the recruiter was going to cost me three times as much as my usual techniques. On the other hand, the recruiter would only charge me if she found someone I decided to hire, which meant I was risking nothing, and could always come back to my original methods. I bit the bullet and signed up, reminding myself “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
The recruiter sent me the resumes of 10 entry-level candidates. I screened six by phone, met three in person, and found the right hire–all in a month. The cost suddenly became much less, because I saved so much time in the process, and because I got a pool of applicants who were decidedly better to choose from than in the past. Even more interesting, perhaps, was an insight the right candidate shared with me during the interview process. When I asked why she had chosen to work with a recruiter rather than post on job boards, she said “because recruiters make sure your resume gets seen, while submitting via the Internet is like sending your resume into oblivion.”
If most people these days are thinking like my new hire, the recruiters will clearly have the best selection of candidates every time. Looks like I’ve got an essential new hiring strategy.
Vanessa Merit Nornberg: In 2004, Vanessa opened Metal Mafia, a wholesale body and costume jewelry company that sells to more than 5,000 specialty shops and retail chains in 23 countries. Metal Mafia was an Inc. 500 company in 2009. @vanessanornberg
In the “old days,” a firm might turn down a project because it didn’t have the necessary staff to handle it properly. Today, firms can maintain a lean staff in lean times and hire freelance consultants when business picks up. In the process they can hire people with the particular skills needed for particular jobs.
Architecture is not the only profession turning more and more to freelance employment. One study finds the number of temporary hires almost doubled in a recent four-year period – over 10 percent of them skilled technicians or professionals.
In fact, a growing number of young architects see freelancing as a fast-track means to getting ahead.
Instead of working on just one type of project or one aspect of design, freelancers acquire varied experience. The goal is to land permanent positions at a higher level more quickly than by remaining on one job for a given period of time.
Assuming that architectural firms will become accustomed to the freelance concept, this type of employment will grow as the demand for new projects returns to pre-recession levels.
A New York City Council committee has approved a modified version of a plan to add four new buildings to New York University in Greenwich Village.
The Land Use Committee voted 19-1 Tuesday in favor of a 1.9-million-square-foot expansion plan.
The proposal was reduced about 20 percent since it was presented to a public hearing on June 29.
NYU Senior Vice President Lynne Brown said the plan will help New York City remain economically vibrant.
Council member Margaret Chin, who represents the district, said NYU made significant concessions in its modified proposal.
But Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Preservation Society called the downsizing a drop in the bucket.
The full City Council vote is expected on July 25.
Via NY Post
The pace of purchased new homes fell to a 313,000 annual pace, the slowest since October. Though an analyst says there are signs of life in some regions, “we’re not seeing a broad-based recovery.”
(Bloomberg) – Purchases of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in February for a second month, a sign the recovery in the housing market may be uneven.
Sales dropped 1.6% to a 313,000 annual pace, the slowest since October, from a 318,000 rate in January that was weaker than previously reported, figures from the Commerce Department showed Friday in Washington. The median estimate of 78 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for 325,000.
Sales of new homes are struggling to gain momentum amid increasing competition from foreclosures, which are hurting all property values. Nonetheless, a pickup in hiring, growing incomes and mortgage rates near a record low are making all houses more affordable, which may help underpin the market.
“There are signs of life in the market in certain regions, but we’re not seeing a broad-based recovery,” said Michelle Meyer, a senior U.S. economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York, who forecast a 310,000 sales pace. “Builders are still competing with existing inventories. The spring selling season should show some modest improvement, but it will be limited.”
Economists’ estimates ranged from 310,000 to 350,000. The rate for January was previously reported at 321,000.
The recent slowdown in demand has pushed up the amount of time it takes to sell a new house. There were 150,000 new houses on the market at the end of February, matching the prior month’s record low. The supply of homes at the current sales rate climbed to 5.8 months’ worth from 5.7 months in January.
Purchases, tabulated when contracts are signed, fell in two of the four U.S. regions, led by a 7.2% drop in the South. Sales fell 2.4% in the Midwest and rose 14% in the Northeast and 8% in the West.
The regional breakdown affected prices as demand fell in the South and Midwest where homes are less expensive and rose in the Northeast and West where they are costlier.
The median sales price increased 6.2% in February from the same month last year to $233,700, Friday’s report showed.
New-home sales have lost their ability to forecast the broader market as demand shifts to previously owned houses. Purchases of existing homes are calculated when a deal closes about a month or two later. New properties made up almost 7% of the market last year, down from a high of 15% during the last decade’s housing boom.
Existing-home purchases eased to a 4.59 million annual rate last month from a 4.63 million pace in January, the National Association of Realtors reported this week. Even with the decline, January and February sales marked the strongest start to a year since 2007.
Home foreclosures remain a concern for builders. Filings fell 8% in February, the smallest year-over-year decrease since October 2010, as lenders began working through a backlog of seized properties, RealtyTrac Inc. said last week.
“February’s numbers point to a gradually rising foreclosure tide,” Brandon Moore, RealtyTrac’s CEO, said in the statement. “That should result in more states posting annual increases in the coming months.”
To hold down borrowing costs like mortgage rates, Federal Reserve policy makers last week said they will continue to swap $400 billion in short-term securities with long-term debt to lengthen the average maturity of the central bank’s holdings, a move dubbed Operation Twist.
The National Association of Realtors’s affordability index climbed to a record high in January, underpinning demand. That may be why builders are gaining confidence.
Builders this year have broken ground on homes at the fastest pace since October to November 2008, according to Commerce Department figures released this week. Permits for construction climbed to the highest level since 2008, the same report showed.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence in March held at the highest level since June 2007. Sales expectations climbed for a sixth month, according to the March 19 report.
Ryland Group Inc., which builds homes with an average price of $255,000 in 13 states, said it has a positive outlook for 2012.
“We finished the year on a strong note, entered the year optimistic and still feel fairly optimistic today,” Larry Nicholson, president and CEO at the Westlake Village, Calif.-based company, said March 6 at an investor conference. “The good thing about the traffic we are seeing is it’s new traffic. We feel a lot better than we did a year ago. Hopefully, we can keep this trend up.”
Unable to line up tenants, developer to cap his second Trade Center tower at seventh floor.
Developer Larry Silverstein is planning to halt construction by the end of the year on the second of the two towers he is currently building at the World Trade Center site if he can’t find a major office tenant, sources close to the company said.
Minor modifications have already been made to the ongoing construction of the tower that will allow it to be capped at the seventh floor—73 short of its planned height. Retail tenants would be sought for the seven-story podium.
If Mr. Silverstein finds a tenant before the tower is capped, he can go ahead and complete what will be known as 3 World Trade Center, although there might be some delays, depending on when the deal is struck. The building was slated to be completed in 2015.
Mr. Silverstein is not currently close to signing a tenant, sources said. The building’s cap can be removed and construction can resume after he finds one. Mr. Silverstein’s spokesman declined to comment.
The move to cap the tower stems from a 2010 agreement between the developer and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, the site’s owner, to end a long-running feud. Under the deal, Mr. Silverstein has to pre-lease 400,000 square feet in his second tower, line up $300 million of private equity and secure private construction financing in order to qualify for debt guarantees from the Port, the city and the state.
But amid financial tumult in Europe, a weak U.S. economy and a cooling in the city’s office-leasing environment, Mr. Silverstein has been unable to attract a tenant. Experts say his near-term prospects are dim.
“The willingness of large-scale tenants to commit in this environment is limited because companies don’t want to go out and spend a lot of money,” said Peter Hennessy, president of Cassidy Turley’s New York Tristate Region. “It’s not the building; it’s the market.”
Cheaper to stay put
Despite a host of government incentives to lure firms to lower Manhattan, Mr. Hennessy estimates that a 400,000-square-foot tenant would need to spend about $100 million just to outfit an office. Faced with those kinds of costs in a lackluster economy, Mr. Hennessy said, it’s likely that more companies might opt to renew their current leases.
Morgan Stanley, for example, has been searching for months for between 1 million and 1.4 million square feet. Now, sources said, the bank is very close to renewing its lease at 1 New York Plaza and taking some additional space there, which would be a much more cost-effective option.
While other big companies—including Time Warner, News Corp. and Credit Suisse—continue to prowl the market for huge digs, their ranks are thinning. Last year, the number of tenants seeking more than 100,000 square feet tumbled 23%, from 74 to 57, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc.
To land tenants, Mr. Silverstein faces competition from both existing buildings and other planned state-of-the-art towers. Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group are seeking tenants for their massive project at the Hudson Yards west of Penn Station, while Brookfield Office Properties wants to lure firms to the 7.4 million-square-foot complex it plans in the same neighborhood. In addition, by the end of next year, as several large tenants move out, Brookfield will have 2.8 million square feet of space available at its World Financial Center—37% of its total—across West Street from Mr. Silverstein’s towers.
Seeing is believing
Sources say Mr. Silverstein’s tower has an advantage over other planned projects for now: Tenants can actually see the start of the building and visit the World Trade Center site. In contrast, except for one building, Related has to build a huge platform over the rail yards before it can start construction, as does Brookfield. That requires tenants with the imagination to envision the finished product and the confidence to take a chance that the neighborhood can be successfully transformed into a premier office market.
In addition, all three landlords are seeking tenants at a time when they are getting more skittish. While overall activity rose 16% last year, the amount of space leased in the second half of the year fell by 31% from the first half of 2011, and was down nearly 10% from the corresponding period in 2010.
Of course, large deals get done even during choppy times. Two months ago, luxury leather-goods maker Coach agreed to be the anchor tenant for a new tower at Hudson Yards. And just last week, publishing giant Condé Nast exercised its option to lease an additional 133,000 square feet at 1 World Trade Center. That will bring the publisher’s total to 1.19 million square feet in that building, which is being developed by the Port Authority and the Durst Organization.
But sources said the Condé Nast deal was heavily subsidized by the Port because it wanted a strong anchor tenant to establish 1 World Trade Center as a premier corporate location. For example, the Port has agreed to assume the last four or five years of Condé Nast’s lease at its current headquarters at 4 Times Square.
Mr. Silverstein has the right to build three office buildings on the World Trade Center site. The first, 4 WTC, is a 72-story building that is due to be completed next year. About 60% of it is leased. Below-ground infrastructure work is being done on the third tower that is expected to end soon, but the building is on hold indefinitely.
David Goldstein, an executive vice president at Studley, said it’s possible that Mr. Silverstein may find a tenant as firms seek to take advantage of the current environment.
“There are lots of opportunities in this market,” said Mr. Goldstein. “And I wouldn’t count Larry out.”
Did you know that seasonally adjusted full-time employment in September 2011 was lower than it was when the recession officially ended in June 2009, and that this was the case for 26 of the first 27 post-recession months? What’s more, the economy had over 8.7 million fewer full-time workers in November 2011 than it did when full-time employment peaked four years earlier in November 2007.
Full-time employment finally surpassed the June 2009 level for two consecutive months in October and November. Hopefully it will keep going up, but the economic policy barriers to continued improvement are quite substantial.
For those who are wondering, during the first 29 months after November 1982, the official end of the Reagan-era recession according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, full-time employment increased by almost 8 million:
Currently, the economy has 417,000 more full-time workers than it did when the recession officially ended in June 2009.
Readers will also see that the increases in the number of full-timers continued to climb after that. By the end of 1986, over 11 million more Americans (almost 14%) were working full-time than were doing so at the end of that era’s recession.
Proclaiming it a “defining moment” that will revolutionize the city’s economy, Mayor Bloomberg yesterday offered a first look at Cornell University’s gleaming-new graduate school for applied sciences that will be built on Roosevelt Island.
“It will transform our economy,” the mayor declared at a press conference just 72 hours after Stanford University stunned City Hall by announcing it was dropping out of the yearlong competition to attract a premier engineering school that will serve as one of his administration’s enduring legacies.
Bloomberg described the proposal submitted by Cornell and its partner, Israel’s Technion, as “far and away the boldest and most ambitious.”
“Their proposal called for the most students, about 2,000 a year, the most faculty, about 300, and the most building space, over 2 million square feet,” he said.
Cornell announced last week that it had received a $350 million gift, the largest in its history, from an anonymous donor for the project.
That deep-pocketed donor was revealed yesterday as Charles Feeney, a Cornell alum who made billions as the founder of the Duty Free Stores.
Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corp., estimated that the number of engineering graduates here will increase by 85 percent once the campus is fully functional in 2037. Operations are scheduled to begin in leased space in September.
In addition to classrooms, labs and dorms, the $2 billion campus will includes “incubator space” for start-up companies and what was described as “spinout space” for commercial applications of research-and-development projects.
Cornell is also immediately establishing a $150 million fund for new tech ventures that agree to stay in the city for at least three years.
“History will write this was a game-changing time in New York City,” the mayor said at Cornell’s Upper East Side medical school.
Officials predicted that Cornell would eventually help generate 30,000 high-tech positions along with 20,000 construction jobs and 8,000 permanent jobs at the school.
The 11-acre school is to be built on land now occupied by Goldwater Hospital, whose patients are to be moved to the former North General Hospital Harlem.
Cornell-Technion’s proposed graduate school for applied sciences
* Location: 11 acres on Roosevelt Island now occupied by Goldwater Hospital
* Total square feet: 2 million
* Completion date: 2037
* Permanent jobs: 8,000
* Temporary construction jobs: 20,000
* Jobs created from high-tech spinoffs, licenses and corporate growth: 30,000
SOURCE: NYC Mayor’s Office
Last spring, developer Related Cos. became disenchanted with the design of the first phase of Hudson Yards, the gargantuan project on top of a train storage yard along the Hudson River.
The original design of Hudson Yards had three straight boxy towers.
“I could tell that Stephen wasn’t in love with it,” recalls Jay Cross, who oversees the project for Related, referring to the developer’s chairman, Stephen Ross. “He felt he wanted the buildings to be more dramatic. And we found that the marketplace was looking for bigger buildings.”
That made for a busy summer for Related and its architect William Pedersen, one of the name partners at the firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. The result, which was recently unveiled, is an improvement in terms of the interactions of the buildings if not in the aesthetics of the buildings themselves.
With 26 acres and more than 12 million square feet of potential developable space overtop Hudson Yards competes with the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site as New York’s current, highest-profile development effort. Related has signed a deal with handbag-maker Coach Inc. to move its headquarters into 600,000 square feet in the south tower.
A new rendering shows two jagged towers
Kohn Pedersen’s original first-phase design called for three boxy steel office towers, the shortest one in the middle, along the east side of the site. Each building had the same square-jawed look of consternation: renderings showed stacks of long, plain blocks of steel and concrete arrayed to look like a cubist abstraction, or a screenshot from Tetris, the old block-stacking video-game. In between was to be four stories of retail space centered around a large glass box with a cyclone-shaped structure.
The design wasn’t terrible. But it wasn’t the sort of arresting, statement-making architecture that one would expect a next-big-thing type of project. KPF’s early designs for the buildings were like Buckingham Palace bobbies: standing straight and erect, faces constant, but not saying much of anything at all.
The new plan for phase one, recently unveiled, describes a much different composition. The 30-story middle building is gone. New renderings show two jagged towers—the more northerly one 67 stories and sloping diagonally toward the city, the other, 51 stories and angled towards the Hudson—that slash through the skyline. Connecting the two buildings will be eight stories of retail and trading-floor space.
The two office towers are disappointing as stand-alone buildings. Like most modern office towers they are brash and arrogant instead of being noble and poised. Their form is shard-like: all harsh angles with a jaggedness that evokes crystals or canyon rock formations.
But the new design helps make up for this in the way the office buildings interact. The mirror-image slopes of the two buildings, which would regard one another differently from nearly every angle of viewing, give viewers the sensation of two dancers in the midst of a paso doble. The southern building, which would house Coach, is, sensibly, the female of the pair —slightly shorter, with the atrium manifested as a slit in the dancer’s ball gown, giving a glimpse of a flash of leg underneath.
Mr. Pedersen talks frequently of the “responsibility of tall buildings” to interact rationally with the urban context around them. The towers, through their interplay, emphasize the presence of a long, open, park space—set to run east-west from the towers to the river—that will go in between them.
“The buildings have to be able to, by their internal biology, create social connections,” Mr. Pedersen says. “Too many buildings around the world have independent, sculptural shapes. The effect here is to connect the building directly to the city.”
This intent is certainly palpable in the design. And if Related eventually ends up landing another signature tenant for the north tower, the plan will be realized, and the two buildings will go ahead and dance their way around the fabric of the city’s newest cluster of statement-making skyscrapers.
October ABI up 2.5 pts to 49.4
* New projects index up 3 pts to 57.3
* AIA says demand for architects’ services volatile
* New projects index up 3 pts to 57.3
* AIA says demand for architects’ services volatile
A leading indicator of U.S. construction activity rebounded in October, the AIA said on Wednesday.
The architecture billings index rose 2.5 points last month to 49.4, according the American Institute of Architects. Any reading below 50 indicates an overall decrease in demand for design services, a predictor of construction spending nine to 12 months in the future.
A separate index of inquiries for future projects rose 3 points to 57.3. That measure is more often above 50 as clients reach out to multiple architecture firms.
October’s rebound was encouraging, but demand for designs remains volatile, the group said. Conditions in various regions range from improving to poor and are likely to continue that way in coming months, the AIA said.
Conditions are strongest in the U.S. Northeast and weakest in the West.
A depressed construction market has been a headwind for manufacturers of construction machinery and components that make up buildings’ infrastructure, such as electrical, cooling and security systems.
Analysts who cover industrial stocks have called the billings index as important an economic indicator as the monthly industrial data from the Institute for Supply Management.
Most diversified industrial companies get at least some revenue from the nonresidential construction sector, which includes office buildings, retail and warehouse space, and institutional buildings such as schools and hospitals.
Companies exposed to the sector include Honeywell International Inc , Tyco International Ltd , Ingersoll Rand , Eaton Corp , Caterpillar Inc , Deere & Co and Terex Corp .
European companies such as Siemens AG , Schneider Electric SA and lock maker Assa Abloy are also significant players in the sector.
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