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Airport Terminals, Seaholm Condos, Internet Opt-Out and more

Michael Barnes
mbarnes@statesman.com

CITY: Airport lease could help fund terminal expansion. Reported by Ben Wear in the Statesman: “The Austin City Council, chasing revenue to expand its booming airport, on Thursday will consider long-term parking and commercial leases at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport that could bring in $95 million or more over the next several decades. That expansion will include adding seven gates to the east concourse by fall 2017, as well as two new concourses that would include 24 more gates some years in the future. Construction has started on a $62 million “east infill” project with added security, customs, ticketing and baggage-handling facilities. Overall, airport officials foresee spending $470 million on the airport over the next five years, including almost $230 million on the terminal, $25 million on expanding the apron area, and about $150 million on parking and other buildings on the 4,000-acre airport site.” http://shar.es/K5WxT(That’s a big, big project. Looking forward to the direct links abroad.)

BUSINESS: Seaholm project opts for condos instead of apartments. Reported by Shonda Novak in the Statesman: “The vision for the redevelopment of Austin’s former Seaholm Power Plant site has evolved several times over the past few years — and now developers are tweaking the plans again. A planned 30-story apartment tower on the site will now house about 280 luxury condominiums instead, the developer told the American-Statesman on Wednesday. Construction began in April on the parking garage for the tower, which has been named Seaholm Residences. It will be the first new major condo project to break ground downtown since the tower that included a W hotel and condominiums was launched in May 2008.” http://shar.es/K5fu3(So the downtown condo market is back. That’s a switch.)

TECH: Survey says 15 percent of Americans not online. Reported by Barbara Ortutay for the AP: “The Internet has become so entwined in their lives that many Americans might have trouble coping without it. But a new survey found that some 15 percent of Americans — about 1 in 7 — don’t use the Internet at all. Most of them prefer it that way. The study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project also found that another 9 percent of U.S. adults only use the Internet when they are not at home. Adults with lower levels of income and education, as well as blacks and Hispanics, are significantly more likely to rely on Internet access outside of their home, in libraries, at work or elsewhere. Of the people who don’t go online, only 8 percent want to. The rest said they are not interested.” http://shar.es/K5fFA(Key detail: Overwhelmingly they don’t want to go online.)

STATE: Researchers say Texas not ready for next hurricane. Reported by Neena Satija in the Texas Tribune: “Five years after Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast, causing more than $30 billion in damage and killing at least 37 Texans, cities across the region have trumpeted their rebuilding efforts. But the tune was very different at Rice University’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center this week, where experts gathered to discuss the area’s vulnerability to future storms. It hasn’t improved, they said, and may have even worsened in the last few years — partly the result of explosive growth in the Houston Ship Channel that experts fear is occurring without appropriate hurricane safeguards.” http://www.texastribune.org(Texas always ignores the next storm. Always.)

SCHOOL: Unsurprisingly, Harvard still rolling in money: Reported by Jordan Weissman in the Atlantic: “The fine folks who manage Harvard’s ginormous endowment have reported their latest annual results, and thus reminded the world that Cambridge’s favorite color is not in fact crimson, but green. Last year, the University’s cash pile grew by 11.3 percent to $32.7 billion. As Hamilton Nolan wrote it over at Gawker, the school “made Fortune 500 money last year. More profit than Target, and just less than AIG.” Harvard is by far the most richly endowed U.S. university. But institutions like the University of Pennsylvania and Yale actually posted even more resplendent returns on their investments. And yet, most of these schools, which are nominally nonprofits mind you, will probably spend somewhere just south of 5 percent of their total endowments this year on things like financial aid and infrastructure.” http://www.theatlantic.com(Makes you want to take a second look at UT’s wad.)