Stemming the tide

first_img Previous Article Next Article Key employees inevitably have access to a company’s confidential information,customers and even your best employees to a rival venture, it could spelldisaster.  Can they be stopped?  Henry Clinton-Davies examines some of thesteps that employers can take to retain or at least restrain departingpersonnelThe commercial way to prevent employees leaving is by giving them incentivesto stay – either through financial reward or by enhancing their quality oflife. Financial incentives might, for example include the grant of shareoptions which only vest over several years – so an employee who leaves earlywould miss out on the vesting dates. Under The Child Support Pensions andSocial Security Act 2000, an employer operating an unapproved option schemewhose shares are “readily convertible assets” may now be able to passthe liability to pay employer’s National Insurance Contributions, (which ariseon exercise of the options), to the employee. Of course, the obvious way to encourage employees to stay is by ensuring agood working environment where they feel respected and fulfilled. Quality oflife can be improved by the introduction of flexible working hours and workingpractices adapted to suit individual needs. The employer’s goal should be toensure that what cannot be offered in cash incentives is made up for in termsof quality of life. Although these incentives may help, they are not always enough to protectagainst the defection of key employees. Other steps may be needed to protectthe business from damage. The employment contract The key to protecting your business and preventing unfair competition byex-employees lies in the employment contract. All employees owe their employerimplied duties of loyalty and good faith. But unless an employer can show thatinformation which ex-employees are using or misusing is tantamount to a tradesecret, or that ex-employees have embarked on a campaign of solicitation ofcustomers whilst still employed, these implied duties offer the ex-employerlittle protection. It is crucial then to ensure that the contract contains a properly draftedconfidentiality clause and enforceable covenants. All too often confidentialityclauses are drawn up that are as unenforceable as they are too general or allembracing. A properly drafted confidentiality clause: – Should define what is meant by confidential information with as muchprecision as possible. It is not sufficient to state that an employee must notdisclose confidential information per se. For example, rather than stating thatall the information about customers is confidential, which is plainly too wide,you may want to say that it is customer lists, pricing policy or therequirements of customers for the company’s products and services which areconfidential. – The employee should not only be prevented from disclosing information butfrom using it for his own purposes. – Should reflect the fact that confidential information has a shelf life sothat once information is in the public domain, (other than where the employeedeliberately discloses it), its dissemination is no longer restricted. – Should have regard to the limitations imposed by recent whistleblowerslegislation, contained in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. Under thatAct clauses in contracts that prevent employees from making “protecteddisclosures” (from reporting wrong doing through the proper channels) arevoid. It could be argued that a blanket confidentiality clause without a carve-outfor protected disclosure could fall foul of this rule. Garden leave Another useful device to exert a measure of control over an employee wishingto leave is to include a garden leave clause in the employment contract. Thisenables the employer to suspend the employee during his notice period. Theemployer must, however, continue to pay the employee to stay away from theoffice. “A good deal for the employee” you may say. Yes, but at thesame time the employee’s access to confidential information and to clients isrestricted. Many companies seem to think that they can require a departing employee totake garden leave even without a contractual clause. In most cases they arewrong, see William Hill Organisation v Tucker, 1998, IRLR 313. As in that case,forcing an employee onto garden leave in such circumstances will usually be amajor breach of contract. The employee will be able to claim constructivedismissal and the company will be barred from relying on any other non-competerestrictions in the contract. Also, bear in mind that time spent on garden leave is time out of themarket. The courts may now take this into account in determining whether anyother restrictions you seek to impose on employees after they leave arereasonable. Time spent on garden leave should therefore be set off against theperiods of time which any other restrictions are intended to last. A garden leave clause: – Should be reasonable in scope and duration: increasingly the courts areapplying the same tests of enforceability as they do with other restrictivecovenants. Garden leave can only be imposed for a reasonable period of time,which is not necessarily synonymous with the entirety of an employee’s noticeperiod. – Should restrict the employee from working for other companies. If you donot include this stipulation, you could find yourself in the galling positionof paying the employee on garden leave whilst he receives a second salaryelsewhere, see Hutchings v Coinseed Ltd, 1998, IRLR 190. Even clauses which dothis are subject to the reasonableness test: the court will retain a discretionas to whether to enforce them and may for example allow an employee to work forsome third parties but not others (see Symbian Limited v Christensen, 2001,IRLR 77). – Should restate that the employee continues to owe duties of good faithwhilst on garden leave. At present the courts seem to be in two minds whetheran “implied duty” is applicable. Restrictive covenants There are a variety of restrictive covenants that can be included in anemployment contract to protect your business against unfair competition. Well-drafted restrictive covenants can provide an employer with much neededprotection against key employees who leave to join a rival. Key considerations in drafting restrictive covenants are: – Does the employer have a legitimate interest to protect, such as hisconfidential information and customer connection, and if so, is the clause nowider than is reasonably necessary to protect that interest. If in doubt, seekadvice! – Include a “non-solicitation of customers” clause, backed up by anon-dealing clause. A company will normally be able to establish that it has alegitimate interest in protecting its customer connections. Solicitation isdifficult to prove if the customer says, “I voluntarily followed theemployee”. The clause therefore needs to prevent the employee contactingor dealing with customers. It is wise to limit these prohibitions to customerswith whom the employee has recently been in contact (say in the past 12months). As with all covenants the clause should also be limited to areasonable period after the end of the employment, (as a broad rule of thumb nomore than 12 months), minus the time spent on garden leave. – Include a “non-poaching of employees” clause. A company’semployees are often a vital asset of the business, particularly if they possessthe skills essential to a business’s success and have influence over keycustomers. If a departing employee tries to persuade former colleagues to leaveas well and join a competitor or start up a competing venture – it could bedisastrous. The courts have recognised this as an area that merits protection,but have set some limitations on the principle. The prohibition can only applyfor a reasonable time. Also, the clause should be limited to key employees interms of seniority and expertise, and only include any employees who worked forthe company at the same time as the ex-employee, (TSC Europe (UK) v Massey,1999, IRLR 22). An exception to the general rule was made in the recent case ofSBJ Stephenson Ltd v Mandy, 2000, IRLR 233, where a non-poaching clause wasupheld, even though it related to all grades of staff. However, that was a casedecided on its own particular facts. – Include a clause that prevents the employee from working for a competitor.This kind of clause is the most draconian and, therefore, the most difficult toenforce. To try and ensure this clause can provide some protection, it must bevery carefully drafted. In particular a clause that prevents the employee frombeing involved in any business “in competition with that carried on by theex-employer” without regard to what the employee was actually doing wouldbe too wide to enforce, (as was the case with Wincanton Ltd v Cranny & SDMTransport, 2000, IRLR 716). Thought should also be given to whether the clauseshould only apply in a limited geographical area and whether the period ofrestraint should be shorter than the other covenants. Payments in lieu of notice When an employee leaves to join a competitor – an employer’s first reactionmay be to want the employee to leave immediately. If this is not provided forin the employment contract, it could create problems, as the employer could bein breach of the contract and so lose the right to rely on the restrictivecovenants in the departing employee’s contract. The solution adopted by manyemployers is to include a payment in lieu of notice (Pilon) clause in thecontract that allows the employer to terminate the contract immediately with apayment in lieu of notice. The reasoning is that if the contract contains aPilon clause, the employer is not acting in breach of contract in bringing thecontract to a premature end and is therefore still able to enforce thecovenants. Provided that the clause merely gives the employer the option of terminatingemployment with a Pilon, the employer has a choice: he can pay up, require theemployee to leave and enforce the covenants. Alternatively he can refuse topay, accept he is in breach of contract and leave the employee to claimdamages. The downside is that the employer must forego reliance on thecovenants. The advantage however is that the employee has no automatic right tothe Pilon. As in the case of Cereberus Software v Rowley, CA, 18 January 2001,the employee is then under a duty to mitigate his loss and must give credit forearnings from new employment received during the notice period. Recently, a rival company sued one of our clients in the High Court. Therival alleged that two employees, who had recently joined our client, should bestopped by a court injunction from dealing with their old employer’s customers.We won. Why? Because the relief sought by the ex-employer went beyond theprotection provided for in the employment contracts his lawyers had drafted.The lesson is clear – if you would like to prevent ex-employees from enjoyingan unfair competitive advantage, protect yourself in the contract ofemployment. Henry Clinton-Davis is partner and head of the employment and humanresources team at Brobeck Hale and Dorr Comments are closed. Stemming the tideOn 1 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Playing it straight

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Playing it straightOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today According to a recent court decision, discrimination because of sexualpreference is as valid as that of discrimination due to gender. Nick Hurleylooks at the issues employers should now consider to ensure that all employeesreceive equal treatmentBefore the recent case of MacDonald v Ministry of Defence, 2000, IRLR 748,UK courts had been generally reluctant to extend the protection of the SexDiscrimination Act 1975 (SDA) to claims of discrimination on the basis ofsexual orientation. This was demonstrated in the well-known case of Grant v South West Trains,1998, IRLR 206. In that case South West Trains refused to give a travel passproviding cheap travel to a (female) homosexual employee’s partner. Grant’semployer’s policy provided that “privilege tickets” would be grantedto “a married member of staff…” or to “one common law oppositesex spouse of staff…subject to a statutory declaration being made that ameaningful relationship has existed for a period of two years or more”.Grant applied for travel concessions for her female partner on the basis of a”meaningful relationship” for more than two years but the request wasrefused. Grant claimed that the refusal amounted to discrimination because theconcession would have been given to her partner if her partner had been male.The European Court of Justice however did not accept this. They held that thecondition (that the partner be of the opposite sex) was applied equally tomales and females and therefore was not discriminatory. This position was confirmed in the more recent case of Pearce v GoverningBody of Mayfield School, 2000, IRLR 548, which was decided just a few monthsbefore MacDonald. In this case the EAT held that homophobic abuse by pupils ofa lesbian teacher did not amount to sex discrimination under the SDA. The claimfailed on the basis that there was no evidence of less favourable treatment onthe grounds of sex, as a male homosexual teacher would have suffered similarabuse and treatment. The EAT said that there could be discrimination if the treatment of male andfemale homosexuals differed, but in this case the pupils were generallyhomophobic, not discriminating as against male and female homosexuals. In lightof both this decision and that in Grant it appeared that the legal position wasvery clear – provided an employer was equally intolerant of male and femalehomosexuals, a sex discrimination claim would not succeed. The case of MacDonald has however altered this and broken new ground.MacDonald was a flight lieutenant who had disclosed his sexuality during aninterview process for a new post, which required special security clearance. Hewas asked to resign his commission when his sexuality was revealed, but he refusedto do so and in consequence was dismissed by way of compulsory resignationunder Queen’s Regulation 2905, in March 1997. MacDonald complained that his dismissal amounted to unlawful sexdiscrimination and that he had been subjected to sexual harassment due to theMinistry of Defence’s vetting process. While the Ministry of Defence admittedthat he was dismissed because of his sexuality, they denied that this amountedto sex discrimination or that he had been sexually harassed. The employment tribunal dismissed MacDonald’s claims. However the ScottishEmployment Appeal Tribunal (SEAT) in Edinburgh went against all existing caselaw and found that he had been discriminated against on the grounds of hissexuality and that he had also been subjected to sexual harassment. In making their decision the SEAT took into account the case of Smith andGrady v UK, 1999, IRLR 734 in which the European Court of Human Rights decidedthat investigations by the Ministry of Defence into the homosexual orientationof members of the armed forces was a violation of their human rights underArticle 8 (right to respect for private and family life). Further, the SEAT held that the word “sex” in the SDA wasambiguous and should be interpreted to include “on grounds of sexual orientation”as well as meaning “gender”. The appropriate comparator thereforewhere a homosexual man is claiming discrimination relating to his sexualorientation, is a heterosexual woman. This interpretation is contrary to all existing UK case law and while itremains to be seen how courts and tribunals will interpret this case in thefuture, the significance for employers cannot be ignored. What is the practical effect of this for employers? Dismissals The most obvious outcome of this case is that when considering whether todismiss an employee, that employee’s sexual orientation cannot be a relevantfactor at any stage. In similar vein, when recruiting, an applicant should notbe rejected on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Benefits Benefits that are provided to employees’ heterosexual partners must now alsoapply to homosexual partners. For example, in the same situation as Grant, ifthe courts follow the case of MacDonald then concessionary travel benefits mustbe given to same sex partners if they are given to heterosexual partners. Thiswould also hold true in respect of other fringe benefits such as medical healthinsurance. Staff training It would be advisable for employers to revisit their equal opportunitiespolicy to include the fact that not only will the employer not toleratediscrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, but that individuals whodiscriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or treat others lessfavourably on these grounds will be subject to disciplinary action. It is also prudent for managers to be afforded further training on how toimplement the policy properly as there is little benefit to an employer ofhaving such a policy, if managers are not clear on how it is to beadministered. Additionally, employers must be wary of taunts about an individual’s sexualorientation. While such taunts should never be tolerated, what some consider tobe “office banter” may now be not only inappropriate but also lead toa successful sex discrimination claim. An employer’s harassment policy shouldalso be reviewed to ensure that harassment based on sexual orientation isclearly included. How far does the MacDonald case go? Since MacDonald goes against all previous UK case law, there may be somethat argue that the case has not been correctly decided. And although thedecision cannot be ignored, it is worth noting that the case is currently beingappealed. It should also be noted that Pearce has appealed the EAT’s decisionand, at the time of writing this article, the case is being heard by the Courtof Appeal. It will be very interesting to see what decision this court willreach following the MacDonald decision. Even if MacDonald is overturned and Pearce’s appeal is dismissed, employerswill still have to take steps to prevent discrimination on grounds of sexualorientation. The EC framework directive for equal treatment in employment givesthe UK until 2003 to implement legislation, which among other things, coversthe prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation. So, with orwithout MacDonald – or Pearce – employment practices will have to change. Nick Hurley is a senior solicitor in Charles Russell’s Employment LawGroup Actions employers need to take– When recruiting an individual, the sexual orientation of that individualmust have no bearing on whether or not they are selected for interview and/orultimately appointed to a position.– When considering fringe benefits for employees, any benefit that anemployee’s heterosexual partner benefits from must also be given to same-sexpartners.– Equal opportunity and harassment policies should be revisited to ensurethey cover discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and state that anyemployee who discriminates on the grounds of sexual orientation will be subjectto the company’s disciplinary procedure.– Employers should consider what further training might be necessary, notonly to ensure that managers implement the equal opportunities policycorrectly, but also to encourage a change where necessary to prevent”office banter” relating to sexual orientation and homophobic abuse. last_img read more

Longer hours blamed for rise in levels of dissatisfaction at work

first_imgLonger hours blamed for rise in levels of dissatisfaction at workOn 7 May 2002 in Personnel Today Today’s employees are working longer hours and are less satisfied at workthan they were 10 years ago, according to research by the Economic and SocialResearch Council. The survey of 2,500 employees reveals that only 16 per cent of maleprofessionals and managers are very or completely happy with the hours theywork compared with 36 per cent who responded to a similar poll in 1992. Female staff are also dissatisfied at work, with just 29 per cent reportingthat they are content with their working hours compared with more than 50 percent in 1992. Nearly 50 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women surveyed regularly workadditional hours on top of their basic week, with most doing so to meetdeadlines and work pressures. The research findings mirror those of a major study by the Work Foundation,published last month, which concluded that staff morale has plunged across thecountry over the past decade. Dr Michael White, who helped produce the ESRC study, said the survey alsoreveals low take-up of flexible working, with the proportion of staff that canset their own working hours increasing from just 17 per cent in 1992 to 22 percent in 2000. White, senior fellow at the Policies Studies Institute, advised employersthat if they want to retain good staff they must address the issue of work-lifebalance more effectively. “Employers have not woken up to the change in staff attitudes. In theearly 1990s there was so much unemployment around that people were just happyto have a job. Now employees are more questionable and critical. People expectto spend time with their families,” said White. “There is a lot of good HR-based work happening in organisations but itis focused on employer issues such as training and development, which is nottop of employees’ agendas. If employers do not address this they will end uplosing top staff.” www.regard.ac.ukBy Paul Nelson Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

A touch of the Lara Crofts at e-learning London

first_imgA touch of the Lara Crofts at e-learning LondonOn 1 Jul 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Attracting a lot of attention at the recent e-Learning London Show wasLogicom and British Gas’ innovative Real World Environment training programme,designed for service engineers. The programme aims to enhance the skill levels of British Gas engineers andModern Apprentices, and does so by utilising 3D sound, video and animation tosimulate a service engineer home visit. The technology behind it, which lets learners interact with objects withinthe environment, is based on one of the world’s most successful PC-based gamesengines. It has been re-engineered for training purposes, explains Grayham Amos,product director at Logicom. “The demonstration at the show wasn’t runningon the web, but the technology can be configured appropriately to run over thenet,” he said. www.luk.net Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

UK workers in favour of keeping 48-hour opt-out

first_img Previous Article Next Article British workers oppose moves to end the UK’s opt-out to the working timedirective, according to a new study. A clear majority of those who work more than 48 hours a week do so largelyas a result of their own choice rather than employer compulsion, research bythe Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) claims. The survey of more than 750 long-hours workers, Calling Time on WorkingTime?, also claims there is little evidence of any employer abuse of theopt-out. Around three-quarters of staff who sign the clause do so as a result oftheir own choice rather than any employer pressure, and only a minorityactually sign the clause at the same time as signing their employment contracts– a key concern identified in the European Commission’s consultation, whichclosed last week. Gerwyn Davies, the report’s author, said: “Our survey shows thatlong-hours workers are opposed to the removal of the opt-out and in particularany moves to restrict their freedom to choose to work long hours. “The issue of long hours working is complex. It cannot be addressed bya uniform ban. “The negative effects of long-hours working are evident from thereport, but these are best solved by employer measures, such as flexibleworking arrangements, rather than a blanket ban on long hours working.” The survey clearly illustrates the potentially damaging effects of longhours on employee welfare and productivity. Around 10 per cent of employeesreport physical effects and 17 per cent an impact on mental health. More than a third of staff report that working long hours negatively affectstheir performance, with a significant proportion believing they could be justas effective and productive if they cut their working hours. Key findings of the long-hours survey– Seven out of 10 respondents stated that it was partly ortotally their choice  to work in excessof 48 hours. However, 30 per cent claimed that there was an element ofcompulsion, which was up from 11 per cent in 1998– The majority of respondents working 48 or more hours a weekwere putting in the extra hours consistently throughout the year. Almostthree-quarters (73 per cent) of those working 48 or more hours a week did soeither most weeks or every week– Six out of 10 respondents who had signed the opt-out clausedid so after the date of signing the employment contract, with some 37 per centsigning on the date itself– The biggest regret among respondents working 48 hours or morea week was the fact that they missed out on leisure and hobby time. This wasput forward by  almost seven out of10  (69 per cent) people. Strain onpartner relationships was also a key concern (47 per cent)– Almost half (45 per cent) of respondents believed theircompanies encouraged the working of long hours– More than four out of 10 respondents (41 per cent) claimedthey could maintain the same level of productivity while cutting back thenumber of hours worked each week– When explicitly asked whether the EU should have the right tolimit the number of hours staff work, a clear majority (66 per cent) wereagainst the notion– Fewer than one in three workers can identify the number ofhours set out by the Working Time DirectiveSource: CIPD UK workers in favour of keeping 48-hour opt-outOn 6 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

This week’s news in brief

first_img Comments are closed. This week’s news in briefOn 4 Jul 2006 in Personnel Today Additional contributionsSix out of 10 UK employers have made ‘special’ additional pension contributions to help plug their scheme deficits in the past year, research has revealed. The main reason for extra contributions, cited by 30% of the FTSE 100 companies surveyed, was to cover shortfalls in their pension schemes. www.personneltoday.com/36091.articleGloomy health service staffHealth service workers are the gloomiest in the public sector, according to the findings of a bi-annual survey of 1,000 workers by Mori and the Work Foundation. Less than half of health service workers (48%) believe that ‘senior management have a clear vision of where the organisation is going’. By contrast, 67% of people who work in the education sector agree with the statement. www.personneltoday.com/36084.articleManaging the workforceBuilding and home improvement retail group Travis Perkins hopes to cut costs and boost productivity with the implementation of a new workforce management system for its 15,000 UK staff. The company, which has more than 800 Travis Perkins outlets and 178 Wickes stores, has signed a contract with WorkPlace Systems for the use of the supplier’s labour budgeting, forecasting, scheduling, and time and attendance software modules. www.personneltoday.com/36085.article Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Rupert McNeil announced as new civil service chief people officer

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Rupert McNeil announced as new civil service chief people officerBy Rob Moss on 16 Oct 2015 in Personnel Today Rupert McNeil will oversee around 3,000 Civil Service HR professionals/Joe Pepler/REX Shutterstock Rupert McNeil, the former group HR director at Lloyds Banking Group, has been appointed chief people officer for the civil service.Rupert is currently group HR Director at Lloyds Banking Group, prior to which he held HR director positions at insurance group Aviva and Barclays Global Retail and Commercial Banking.Rupert McNeil CVFrom 2016 Chief people officer, civil service2012-2015 Group HR director, Lloyds Banking Group2010-2012 UK HR director, Aviva2007-2009 HR director, Global Retail and Commercial Banking, Barclays2005-2007 Executive management director, Group HR, BarclaysHe will take up his new post in January 2016. The chief people officer post is a new role at the Cabinet Office, building on the head of civil service HR post previously filled by Chris Last.McNeil said: “I am excited and privileged to join the civil service and to contribute to its transformation. I look forward to meeting and working with my new colleagues across all the civil service departments.”Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock said of the appointment: “Rupert has a hugely important job, to make government the best it can possibly be by attracting and retaining the most talented people from across the UK. He will be crucial in creating a truly one nation civil service.”Browse HR director roles on Personnel Today JobsThis appointment comes during a period of great change for the civil service, which has undergone considerable cuts to its resources.The Cabinet Office said selection for the post followed a “full and open competition”.John Manzoni, chief executive of the civil service, added: “I’m delighted that Rupert will be joining us. He faced a field of strong candidates from across the public and private sectors, but his record of driving transformational change in large and complex organisations made him the ideal candidate to help lead the civil service at this crucial time.”McNeil will report directly to the chief executive, leading all aspects of workforce strategy and reform, talent strategy, learning and development, and diversity and inclusion. He will oversee around 3,000 HR professionals. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Life sciences deal is Washington state’s largest sale of 2020

first_imgTagsCommercial Real Estatelife-sciencesSeattle 1201 Eastlake Avenue E in Seattle, one of the three buildings in the sale. (Martin Development Services) UPDATE, Dec. 15 2020, 11:45 a.m.: The largest sale recorded in Washington state in 2020 has closed — and it’s for three life sciences buildings.The properties, located at 1201 Eastlake Avenue E, 1208 Eastlake Avenue E, and 199 East Blaine Street, together encompass 322,858 square feet of first-class office and laboratory space and are fully leased.Alexandria, represented by Newmark, sold the properties for a record-setting $450 million to Clarion Partners, which acquired a 70 percent interest.“This transaction marks the first core life science offering in the Seattle market in several years,” said Kevin Shannon, Newmark’s co-head of U.S. capital markets. “Life science fundamentals are faring better than the overall office fundamentals with rents that are now ranging from $65 to $70 NNN annually, which allowed us to achieve record setting pricing for the Puget Sound marketplace.”Seattle’s life sciences market is largely concentrated in the Lake Union submarket, and has roughly six million square feet of inventory. Overall vacancy among those properties was less than four percent in the third quarter, according to Newmark Research.Overall, life science properties have been booming during the pandemic, which has put pressure on research, manufacturing and distribution. However, the lack of available space has been an issue, as demand overwhelms supply in the market.UPDATE: An earlier version of this story said the sale was the largest ever recorded in Washington state. It is the largest recorded in 2020 year-to-date.Contact Sasha Jones Share via Shortlink Full Name* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinkcenter_img Message* Email Address* Read moreStaying ahead on the life science leasing curve$700M Seattle office tower buy would be among largest Covid-era property dealsFacebook buys office campus near Seattle for $368Mlast_img read more

Converting empty malls to warehouses isn’t easy

first_imgNorth Point Mall in Alpharetta, Georgia, (left) with Brookfield’s Brian Kingston (iStock; Brookfield; Google Maps)As demand for e-commerce grew and large tenants like Sears closed up shop, some mall owners sought to redevelop their struggling properties into warehouses, residential buildings or office properties.But the task has proven more challenging than expected, according to the Wall Street Journal. Mall owners are required to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on construction and labor costs. The new developer might not have ownership of the individual department stores or parcels, further complicating matters.Some failed redevelopment efforts have resulted in the owner selling the property at a discount or turning it back over to its lenders.Last week, Brookfield handed over its North Point Mall in Alpharetta, Georgia, to a lender even though it had previously scored rezoning approvals to bring hundreds of residential units to the property in 2019, the publication reported. The property’s value fell below its loan balance of about $200 million.In July, Brookfield nixed its plans to redevelop the former Burlington, Vermont mall. The developer said that, at that time, the long-term nature of the project’s next phase didn’t fit with its funds mandate.In other cases, local governments may step in. Just outside of Atlanta, an investor sought to redevelop the former Gwinnett Place Mall into a 20,000-seat cricket stadium. But the deal fell apart when the two sides couldn’t reach a deal. Last month, the county decided to buy the mall for $23 million.[WSJ] — Keith Larsen TagsBrookfieldmallsRetail Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinkcenter_img Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

A growth analysis technique for assessing habitat severity in tundra regions

first_imgThe results are reported of growth experiments carried out over three seasons on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. The values obtained for relative growth rate, net assimilation rate and leaf area ratio for oats, radish and turnip are discussed and contrasted with values reported for temperate sites. A hypothesis is put forward to explain the consistent depression of Rw and FA whilst the intermittent depression of EA is linked with Warren Wilson’s theory of the inhibiting effects of sugar accumulation. The usefulness of this technique in ecological applications is examined with particular reference to tundra regions.last_img read more