Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Catching up on a week in numbers

I was told my blog here needs more white space.  I am not sure this post will be an improvement, but here are some random hits from numbers talked about over the last week and a half.

So if I were Allegheny County and I were doing my due diligence defending itself in almost any appeal of a commercial property valuation I would start with this chart which is awfully clear. Since I am pretty sure real estate is a very fixed-cost investment... a roughly 25% decline in vacancy rate has to have a much bigger percentage gain on net profits for almost every office rental in the county. It is a remarkably positive trend no matter.

One of my first posts here some years ago mentioned the likely displacement of local bingo hall revenue that will result from the then notional casino.  Those stories have begun.  Trib: Alle-Kiski area bingo halls feel burned

Speaking of casinos... the Cleveland casino is now slated to open May 14th.   When there will also be a casino in Lawrence County I just don't track enough to know. 

So you might read this story on the latest from the Pittsburgh pension fund and think things are good: Pittsburgh's pension fund shows some recovery.  Of course if you do the division the numbers work out to the pension fund being up by just under 3%. See the problem?  Consider it was a great quarter for the markets and the Dow was up over 12% over the same period.  So if my math is right and if  you presume this trend continues unabated the pension fund will be fully funded in just over 4 years. That's great.   Of course it also would mean that the Dow would be hitting 70,000 or so at the same time.   Hmmm....

Did you know the Pirates are setting attendance records?  and h/t to Otis White for pointing out what may be required reading here from MinnPost.com on what some are computing as the "Psychic Benefit" of professional sports.  Double Yoi$

obligatory mention of Marcellus Shale.. and following up on the post last week of how the government once tested atomic bombs for fracturing shale for natural gas extraction.  I see that the upcoming big shale conference is at the Greenbrier.  What is the Greenbrier known for?  It was the fallback captial if the US congress needed to evacuate Washington and continue operations even in the event of nuclear war.  Dots?

On Marcellus is an insightful article from the Towanda Daily Review about how Chesapeake recently sent a letter out explaining they are going to be taking out of royalty payments the costs of getting the gas to market.. and what will really hit the bottom line for some folks is that that they are going to do so retroactively going back more than a year. So when you couple the retroactive amount with the record low price of gas to begin with.. I am thinking some folks are not going to have any royalty payments for some time??  and you gotta love the company's only non-comment on their letter to land-owners... it says their letter is "self-explanatory".  That PR consultant deserves a bonus.

But hey, Chesapeake has some big cash issues..  I guess it is only fair to pass some of those troubles on to the landowners. Moving on......

In a new analysis the Pittsburgh region gets an 'A' for the degree of white-Latino residential segregation here.  Sort of..

I'm just connecting dots in my head.. but Port Authority transit cuts imminent..  Downtown office vacancy low and declining...  big retail like Macy's Downsizing.  It all comes together for me in this story out of Cleveland

and last, but not least...  h/t to Bram for pointing out the WashPo's coverage on the state of cupcakism in the US.   Remember it was not long ago that we were so desparate for some 'sign' of change in Pittsburgh that we obsessed on the metaphor of what the cupcake craze's arrival in Pittsburgh meant. and yes, it was an obsession.

last last...  and the best local economic news I read is that someone is at least thinking of saving HEMAP.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the saddest things for me about moving back to Pittsburgh in the late 1990s was leaving Upper Manhattan and its vibrant Hispanic community for a place with almost no Hispanics. And 15 years later I'm still hard pressed to name an actual, concentrated, Hispanic neighborhood here, although if I had too, I'd say it's the 28X, which transports a fair number of Hispanics to jobs at Robinson Towne Centre.

While Pittsburgh is a fine city, it remains second-rate, partly due to its lack of ethnic diversity. It also comes up short for public transit. Today's PG front page story about the two-stop extension of the T says as much. Until we get rapid transit to the East End and restore reliable and affordable bus service to the entire county, we will remain a second-rate city.

Anecdotally, I was on a packed 71D after work two days ago that took almost half an hour to travel down Fifth from Atwood St. to Shady Ave. An apparent college student said to his friend standing next to him, "Is it always like this?"

Unfortunately, the answer is now yes, and getting worse.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:21:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

If the Gaming Commission had awarded the license to Carmen Shick when he applied, the Lawrence Co casino would have been up operating and supplying the state with huge revenues about eight years ago. He was fully funded, owned the land, and asked for not a penny of state or local funds nor any tax incentives. He even offered to put in his own road, sewer, and water lines.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:34:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Until we get rapid transit to the East End and restore reliable and affordable bus service to the entire county, we will remain a second-rate city.

The East End isn't going to get rapid transit any time soon, unless you count the Rapid Bus which I think isn't slated for the 71 routes. Regardless, if you insist on going straight down 5th at rush hour, you will have a slow trip from time to time. I don't understand why the college students and the rest of the healthier riders with passes don't get off the bus and have a nice walk when the traffic is gridlocked.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bike to work almost everyday--taking the bus down Fifth at rush hour was a one-off due to a family commitment.

But I agree ... when I see bus after bus in Squirrel Hill packed with kids getting free rides to CMU and Pitt, I too wonder why they don't walk at least one way, especially on good weather days.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 1:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really, a half an hour to travel about a mile and a half on a bus shouldn't be acceptable, even on occasion in rush hour. It isn't like we're going crosstown in Manhattan. It happens because there are too few buses. When one does come along everyone who's been waiting up and down the line gets on, leading to an unnecessary slowdown.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:03:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Based on the comment, I assumed the problem was that the bus wasn't moving down the street because of traffic. Obviously the 'exit through the front' rule slows down people getting on and off, but it still doesn't take that much time to fill a bus unless somehow the people in Shadyside are slower than those in Squirrel Hill.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:29:00 PM  
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