Union Ties The AFL-CIO is taking care of its own. The labor union's Housing Investment Trust committed to invest $7.8 million in Big Six towers, which comprise 983 units in Queens, N.Y. About one-third of the residents in the seven towers, which were built in 1961 by the New York Typographical Union, Local 6, are union members (either retired or still working). The housing trust says its infusion of capital will allow the apartments to remain affordable for working families and retirees. —Les Shaver

Transparent View American multifamily operators have always been interested in overseas markets; they were just never quite sure of what was going on below the surface. But a new report from the Jones Lang LaSalle's Global Real Estate Transparency Index could ease their apprehension. According to the index, emerging international markets have significantly improved their levels of real estate transparency. Since the last survey in 2006, eight countries have moved up a full transparency tier. Dubai, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia showed the biggest improvements, while only Venezuela fell. —Les Shaver

Accessibility Agreement

Photo: Courtesy HUD The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) in Ohio announced a voluntary agreement to create 482 fully accessible units for senior citizens and residents with disabilities over the next seven years. The agreement also makes improvements in the management of their housing wait list to maximize the availability of accessible units for individuals with disabilities and their families and ensures that applicants and residents with disabilities who rely on assistance animals have equal, unrestricted access to CMHA's programs. —Les Shaver

H2O Version 2.0 The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has awarded a $68 million contract to St. Louis-based Aclara Technologies to Wi-Fi-enable about 831,000 water meters serving nearly 8 million Big Apple residents. Aclara's automatic meter reading (AMR) system consists of small radio transmitters connected to individual water meters that send daily readings to a network of rooftop receivers located around the city that are linked into the New York City Wireless Network. Installation of the AMR system is expected to take three years to complete. Installation will begin in Brooklyn and Queens in October. —Chris Wood

Smart Move Philadelphia-based developer Dranoff Properties is giving away a Smart Car to buyers of one of the 10 remaining condos at Symphony House, the company's 31-story, 163-unit property in downtown Philadelphia. Company president Carl Dranoff announced the promotion in mid-July. “We came up with the idea that saving gasoline is green,” Dranoff said. “And not only do they get a Smart Car, they get a free indoor parking space at our garage at Symphony House. —Chris Wood