Monday, September 11, 2017

Palmdale Power Plant Gets Approved

Seattle Alternative Energy gets California Energy Commission approval and certification to build and operate a proposed natural gas power plant in Palmdale. It will a 650 megawatt plant that will cost three quarters of a billion. The two year construction will begin on Ave M at Sierra Hwy There was a petition a couple of years ago by Summit Power Group and since amended and change from a hybrid natural gas and solar power plant to just natural gas only. So the solar component idea is out and this also reduces the overall size of the plant from over 300 acres to just 50 acres. This new change has become effective just last month. It also passes environmental quality thresholds. There will be a almost 400 jobs created to build the project and less than 25 to operate it. It would have been more appealing if the project was part solar, but it now frees up more land that the city of Palmdale will eventually need to sell.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cal High Speed Rail Building Progress

There is a new site by the Cal High Speed Rail Authority which shows progress of the construction of the high speed rail. It is www.buildhsr.com It shows a list of all the projects https://www.buildhsr.com/projects/ Interactive Maps https://www.buildhsr.com/interactive_map/ with projects along Hwy 99 from Madera to Fresno. For instance here are some details with images of Road 27 Overpass OVERVIEW Construction is currently underway on an overcrossing that will carry traffic over future high-speed and existing BNSF rail lines outside the town of Madera, eliminating an existing at grade crossing. LOCATION On Road 27 between Club Drive and Avenue 17 near Madera Acres. CURRENTLY Concrete has been poured for the north abutment and crews are now preparing the falsework for a concrete pour of the abutment on the south side of the structure. Falsework is also being constructed to build the bent caps on top of the support columns. If your wondering what is going on and the progress you can see it for yourself and get timelines and pictures.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hyperloop Progress....

Not long ago Elon Musk challenged the Cal High Speed Rail authority insinuation a better solution to a High Speed rail would be a Hyperloop. A Hyperloop works like a vacuum tube thrusting a pod at speeds greater than the speed of sound. There are at least three firms engineering a Hyperloop system in order to make this theory a reality. News reports indicate Hyperloop One completed a test in Las Vegas and propelled a pod 192 mph. This is about a third of the way to the final speed of 700 mph. Some say human can’t take that speed on the ground. It would do funny things to the stomach. We bring this up as the CalHighSpeedRail continues its construction and journey to provide human transport in California with a stop in Palmdale. It is possible that Hyperloop technology will only be used for freight. A technology that will seriously damage freight trains and long haul trucking. A job killer. A Hyperloop may not be a California or US solution as Russia and Middle Eastern Countries have interest in feasibility studies. Elon Musk who has said he would not develop the tech commercially recently tweeted that he had verbal government approval for the Boring Company to construct a Hyperloop system in the East Coast from New York to Washington. Washington never seemed to be in a hurry to go to work, so we will see how far this goes. Hundreds of mile underground? That maybe as much fantasy as a fully funded High Speed Rail in California. The jury is out on both.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Where do the Chinese want to go?

A recent study shows Chinese millionaires are more interested in Canada and the US, but less to Britain. The survey by a consulting group survey Chinese nationals with a net worth of 1.5 to $30 million. Although the US still remains the top destination, yet Canada is number two. Canada’s property prices and good education seem to be the big draw. The preferred cities are Los Angles 20% then Seattle, San Francisco, New York, all under 10% with Vancouver, and Toronto at 6 and 5% respectively.

A US Investment Visa which is becoming very popular with Chinese Nationals

US EB-5 (Employment based 5th preference) visa is drawing many Chinese immigrants. If one applies under the EB-5 program and invests $500k in the US they are entitled to a green card. The projection is that a $500k investment will bring US jobs. The program has enticed 10’s of thousands of applicants with 80% coming from the Chinese mainland. Currently there is an enormous backlog of applications. What we have found as the most popular investments are brand hotels, or senior centers. Other investments are apartments and office complexes. The job creation requirements for An EB-5 investor are that they must invest the required amount of capital in a newer commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees. A qualifying employee is a US citizen, lawful resident, or authorized immigrant. The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million, but a Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area)minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000. A lot of these investments go through authorized regional centers. Some of the names of these regional centers in California are Bay Area Regional Center, California wineries and vineyards, Green Energy Regional center, California Investment fund, Los Angeles Regional center and there are many others.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Housing Starts Indicating a Slowing Trend

For the third consecutive straight month with the May report it shows signs a future shortage of houses. A recent report from the Commerce Department indicated housing starts which had a 2.7 monthly decline in April and a 7.7 drop in March show a 5.5% drop in May. Although home construction is up 3.2% year to date. News reports indicate optimism in sales from home builders, yet the overall number of homes for sale has shown a steady decline over the last two years. Another major real estate indicator is building permits. That number has drop precipitously 5% to just over 1 million nationwide. We don’t have the local numbers in Los Angeles County, but found that the Wells Fargo builder sentiment index is 67. This is a positive number as any reading above 50 is a positive number and that number has been well above 50 for the last nine months.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Building a Custom Home

A lot of property in Lancaster and Palmdale is advertised as build your dream home. It is easier said than done. First you need to budget for it. A custom home can cost from 150k to $450k with the average being $300k. But first you must buy the land, and the land location is tantamount. Many buyers buy land without power, water, or city services. Once you get the permits to build on such a property then you will need propane tanks for power, drill a well for water and use septic for sewage. All doable tasks. But getting the water 1500 feet below the surface is the first real trick. This is typical in Lancaster and LA County. A popular option is a modular home or prefabricated home. They almost look like a normal home, but you will have to disclose that the house is a modular home, and the selling price may be lower to reflect that. If you choose to build it yourself then you may need estimates for the cost to do so in your area. Plans and designs must be submitted to the city or county and then permits and inspections follow once initially approved. A builder will likely have several inspections along the way. Then you need a construction loan, or a construct to perm loan. A construct to perm loan can involve the land purchase as well. There are numerous factors that affect the cost such as square footage, number of stories, roof type, finishing’s, and issues like if power, water and sewage are available. The propane tank is reasonable if you go the lease option. It may cost only a few hundred to install, and the cost of a simple slab. A septic tank can run $1500 to $4000. A well estimate is $5k to $40k, but on average $25 a foot. The average in Lancaster and Palmdale area is $20-$25k for a well . In the end it may takes years to complete.