Urban Flare MCZ Development Corp. is strengthening its commitment to the urban core. The Chicago-based real estate firm launched a new division, MCZUrban, which will continue the firm's efforts to build and renovate affordable luxury product in urban cores. Target markets include South Florida, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Charlotte, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn. Christina Noelle, who has worked at MCZ for more than a decade, will lead the division as president. —R.Z.A.
Taxing Proposals According to “The State of America's Cities 2007,” a survey released in November by the Washington, D.C.-based National League of Cities, 70 percent of U.S. metros were expecting fiscal stability in 2007. But, concerns about the real estate markets and their potential impacts on property tax revenues will likely have a negative impact to budgets in 2008. While several municipalities are turning toward so-called sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco, a sizeable contingent will also introduce increases to property and development taxes. According to the NLC survey, 29 percent of U.S. metros report that their city is opting for the latter, while increases in sales, income, and other tax rates have been much less frequent. —C.W.
Sleepover The cold winter air didn't stop 18 people from camping out all night in hopes of scoring the last of 121 market-rate townhomes in phase one of Capital Quarter, a former HOPE VI project in Washington, D.C., by EYA. The long night paid off: All 18 people reserved homes. The development, located near the site of the new Nationals ballpark, will also include 91 workforce townhomes and 111 public housing units. The first move-ins are projected for mid- to late-2008. —R.Z.A.
Efficient Surfing The U.S. Green Building Council recently relaunched its Web site (www.usgbc.org). Site highlights include a resource section for LEED project credit templates; easier access to online reference guides; and a more comprehensive listing of educational offerings and workshops. —R.Z.A.
A River Runs Through It Environmental protection rules in Chapel Hill, N.C., might prevent construction of one of the country's first mixed-use, zero-carbon developments. Chapel Hill developer Phil Szostak says Columbia Street Annex, which will include 32 apartments and 12,000 square feet of shops and offices, would use exclusively local, nonpolluting, renewable energy sources. As proposed, the development would include a 50-foot buffer to a nearby stream that Szostak claims runs intermittently dry. The state has classified the stream as year-round, which demands a buffer zone of 150 feet. The town council will review the project in February. —C.W.