Kenya Power upgrades its customer management system

first_imgFeatured image: Kenya Power With efforts to enhance its service delivery, Kenya Power will be upgrading its customer management system in subsequent phases across the country.The utility made the announcement on Thursday, while noting that prepaid vending will not be affected during this process.Customer management systemThe east African utility emphasised that the new system aims at improving customer convenience by offering several benefits, which include:Payments through third-party EasyPay partners will now be immediately updated in our system.Kenya Power will also introduce additional bill payment channels through the upgraded system such as the use of debit and credit cards.The system will offer customers a self-service element where they can apply for electricity connections, query bills, check, download and print bill statements, and check their consumption patterns, among other services.The upgraded system will improve response time as customers can report any incidents affecting their power supply. Read more… New details to be providedFollowing the upgrade, customers will be given new account numbers, which will be communicated to them via SMS.This upgrade will be implemented in phases with the first phase covering Nairobi Region only.It will be launched in other regions throughout the country in subsequent phases.The upgrade and transfer of information to the new system will affect some of Kenya Power’s services.Consequently, Kenya Power’s commercial services including online activities will be unavailable from Thursday 7th September, 2017 at 23h00 to Monday 11th September, 2017 at 16h00.Customers are advised to make payments through the utility’s banking halls or EasyPay partners during this period. Finance and Policy Previous articleOn demand | Clean power webinarNext articleEthiopia prepares for construction of $51m ethanol plant Ashley TheronAshley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa. Low carbon, solar future could increase jobs in the future – SAPVIA Generationcenter_img AFD and Eskom commit to a competitive electricity sector BRICS RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR UNDP China, CCIEE launch report to facilitate low-carbon developmentlast_img read more

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Oliver Townend Leads at Burghley after Dressage

first_imgHSBC FEI CLASSICS™ CALENDAR OF EVENTS 20091. 22-26 April Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event (USA)2. 7-10 May Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR)3. 11-14 June Luhmühlen CCI**** presented by E.ON Avacon Vertrieb (GER)4. 3-6 September The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR)5. 21-25 October Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA)  “It’s a big step up for him, but he’s a very rideable horse,” commented Nicholson, 48, who had a far smoother ride in contrast to his acrobatics on his first horse, Armada, now 69th. First-timer Allison Springer (USA), 7th: “Arthur can be such a spooky horse, but it’s never in a bad way. He’s a kind horse and today he was super good. I bought him as a five-year-old and produced him myself, so he’s my boy and it’s fun to have him here. I’d be kidding if I said I wasn’t nervous about the Cross-Country, but I’m glad I’m on him.” Zara Phillips (GBR), World Champion, 16= on Glenbuck: “He did some nice bits. It wasn’t as good as it should have been, but we got some good marks and I’m pretty happy. I hope we’ve sorted out Glenbuck’s problems. He’s been suffering from a respiratory problem, which is why he got tired last year, but he now feels super-fit – I hope!” SIGN UP Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! 2009 HSBC FEI CLASSICS™ Standings (after 3 of 5 events):1 Oliver Townend (GBR) 18 points2 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 173 Lucinda Fredericks (AUS) 154 Michael Jung (GER) 155 Bettina Hoy (GER) 126 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 127 Lucy Wiegersma (GBR) 118 Bruce Davidson Jnr (USA) 109 Dirk Schrade (GER) 1010 Sam Griffiths (AUS) 1011 Nicholas Touzaint (FRA) 812 Mary King (GBR) 813 Roberto Rotatari (ITA) 8 COMPETITION STATISTICS– 80 horses started the Dressage– 2 horses failed the first Horse Inspection (Georgie Spence’s Birthday Night and Rodney Powell’s Zinzan ll)– 9 riders have 2 horses– 12 nations represented: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, USA– Ground Jury is David Lee (President, IRL), Roeli Bril (NED), Sue Baxter (GBR)– Marks range from 39.8 to 83.8– 4.8 penalties cover horses placed from 2nd to 16=– 3 jumping efforts, 570m and 55sec of the time allowance have been chopped off Burghley’s traditional Cross-Country, giving an optimum time of 10 min 30 seconds– Cross-Country starts at 11am, local time “I was worried about the flying changes, with the wind, but he felt as good as he’s ever been,” said Townend. Andrew Nicholson, 2nd, on the course: “Mark Phillips has produced a very clever course. I think it’s difficult. The bit we’ve lost was the smoothest galloping part and I think it will make it difficult to catch up with time. He has also utilised the undulating ground here very cleverly.” William Fox-Pitt (GBR), last year’s HSBC FEI Classics™ winner, is in 8th place after a tactfully ridden test on Seacookie, but just 2.5 penalties covers the horses placed 13th to 19th, thus ensuring a thrilling Cross-Country competition. We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Horse Sport Enews RESULTS1 Oliver Townend/Carousel Quest (GBR) 39.82 Andrew Nicholson/Nereo (NZL) 45.03 Caroline Powell/Lenamore (NZL) 45.24 Phillip Dutton/Truluck (USA) 45.35 J-P Sheffield/Crown Prince Consort (GBR) 46.56 Kai Ruder/Leprince des Bois (GER) 46.77 Allison Springer/Arthur (USA) 47.38 William Fox-Pitt/Seacookie (GBR) 47.59 Matt Ryan/Bonza Puzzle (AUS) 48.210= Kitty Boggis/Boondoggle (GBR) 48.310= Sam Griffiths/Happy Times (AUS) 48.310= Karin Donckers/SS Jett (BEL) 48.3 The 14-year-old Carousel Quest has already been placed at Burghley, in 2006 when he was 4th with previous rider Cressida Clague-Reading (GBR). In contrast, Nereo is only 9, but he won Bramham CCI*** in June and has the benefit of probably the most experienced jockey in the field. Townend, 26, conjured a beautiful, light performance out of the elegant grey Carousel Quest, a new ride for him this year and 8th at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event in April. He was the only rider to earn less than 40 penalties, which gives him a 5.2 penalty lead over Andrew Nicholson (NZL) on Nereo. QUOTESOliver Townend, 1st, on taking on a made horse: “It’s nice to have a horse where you just push the buttons instead of producing it.” Email* The violently windy conditions at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) proved no handicap to the leader after Dressage, Oliver Townend (GBR), who is also heading the HSBC FEI Classics™ at this fourth leg of the worldwide series of CCI 4s. Nicholson’s Olympic team mate Caroline Powell is in 3rd place on her hugely experienced and athletic Hong Kong horse Lenamore, with first-day leader Phillip Dutton (USA) now relegated to 4th, by just 0.1 of a penalty. More from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business.last_img read more

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Road rage suspect arrested after shooting ignites fireworks, burns family

first_imgKTRK-TV(HOUSTON) — The suspect in a road rage shooting that ignited fireworks inside a family’s car, causing serious burns, has surrendered to police.Houston County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced on Sunday evening that Bayron J. Rivera turned himself in to police in connection with the incident. The 18-year-old will be charged with four counts of aggravated assault for the Fourth of July shooting. Rivera allegedly got into an argument with the family’s father, who was the driver of a truck, in Harris County, outside of Houston on Thursday. The two pulled into a gas station, where the other driver pulled out a gun, according to police. The father tried to drive away, but Rivera allegedly opened fire on the truck, igniting fireworks that were in the back of the vehicle.The incident took place at about 9:30 p.m. on the night of the Fourth of July, right after the family had gone to buy fireworks at a stand, authorities said.“He supposedly cut him off and then once that happened, that’s when the dude started shooting,” eyewitness Desmond David told Houston ABC station KTRK-TV.Video of the incident shows the entire truck was engulfed in flames, as fireworks exploded from the vehicle.Good Samaritans helped to pull the family from the car, while the suspect took off, triggering a three-day search.The parents and two children all suffered serious burns in the incident. The children, ages 1 and 2, were airlifted to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and are in critical condition, according to authorities. The parents are also still in the hospital.There had been a $5,000 reward offered for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Returnal, Skyward Sword and the value of video games | Opinion

first_imgChristopher DringHead of Games B2BMonday 1st March 2021Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleNintendoSony Interactive EntertainmentThe thorny issue of video game pricing has reared its head in recent weeks. First, Nintendo revealed a remaster of the Wii game The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, complete with $60/£50 price tag. Fans took to social media: How can Nintendo justify that? A port of a game at the same price as an entirely original product? People were furious, and then rushed to Amazon and pre-ordered it anyway.The conversation was ignited again after PlayStation’s recent State of Play event, particularly around Housemarque’s PS5 title Returnal. Sony has slapped a $70/£70 price tag on the new horror IP, and Twitter decried the decision as folly. A new IP without any major marketable assets, releasing alongside bigger, more affordable products like Resident Evil: Village? It doesn’t stand a chance.But is that right? Few companies know how to sell games to consumers better than Nintendo and Sony, so what’s going on here?The word you’ll hear execs throw around when challenged about the price of their games is “value.” Understandably, these companies don’t want you to focus on how much money they’re making from these price points, so they focus on what the end user is getting out of the deal. Depending on which textbook you read, the perception of value is: benefit – cost. Or more specifically, the expected benefit versus the perceived cost. In other words, value is psychological and subjective, and can therefore be influenced.We can all think of contradictions in our own lives where our perception of value is inconsistent We can all think of contradictions in our own lives where our perception of value is inconsistent, sometimes even within the same area. For me, £10 for a mobile game is ridiculous, but £50 for a Switch title is reasonable. I happily drop £15 a week going to the cinema, but I had to think twice about renewing Disney+ after its recent price increase.Cinema is a great example of a medium that has retained its value perception — prior to the pandemic, at least. The imminent demise of cinema has been predicted for decades, and yet people continue to go because it remains the best way to experience the new Star Wars movie. As long as cinema can convince enough people of the benefits of watching on the big screen, it can charge a higher price and the customer’s perceived value of the experience will remain. Through investment in technologies like 3D and IMAX, cinema has continued to stay ahead of the home experience offered by Netflix, Amazon Prime and so on.One entertainment industry that has gone the other way is music. Due to the rise of platforms like Spotify, the value of music has plummeted in the eyes of the consumer, and the revenue generated by this part of the business has dwindled significantly. However, the positive is that the accessibility of music has increased, and the business has reacted to this by increasing value elsewhere — through merchandise, vinyl and concerts. The live music experience is now significantly more expensive and extravagant to compensate, and the customer has (broadly speaking) accepted this.Nintendo games rarely drop in price, so even ports and remasters retain a high perception of valueLet’s bring this back to the subject at hand — and specifically Nintendo, which has almost always delivered high quality games, and has an active audience of fans who really value those experiences. It has always charged a premium price for Mario and Zelda products — even in the mobile space — and therefore the benefit vs cost equation works for Nintendo. Customers expect high quality and believe it to be worth a premium price.A good example of this is Mario 3D All-Stars. The collection launched last September and was rather cheaply made — it is three ports of old Mario games and a menu of music — but it was priced at $60. Read the social media comments and it’s clear that some fans felt charging full price for this was outrageous, and that Nintendo could either have given them more for their money or set a budget price. Yet despite what was said on social media, Mario 3D All-Stars shipped 8.3 million globally. The reality is that customers expect to pay for Mario games, and $60 for 60 to 70 hours of gameplay — less than $1 an hour — is perceived as good value by those players.If Nintendo opted for a budget price for Skyward Sword, what might that mean to the cost perception of Breath of the Wild 2? I don’t disagree with the criticism that Nintendo could have done more with the collection, but in terms of price a budget-level Mario release has a negative impact on other Mario titles. Core fans may know (or think they know) how much work goes into these products and value them accordingly, but general consumers are not so familiar with the budgetary differences between last month’s Mario 3D World game (a deluxe version of a Wii U game) and Mario Odyssey (an entirely new game built from the ground up). Nintendo charges premium rates for its ports and remasters because it is not just thinking about what makes good value sense for that specific product, but for the whole brand.You can now apply that to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD. Zelda is the same as Mario. Customers expect good things from Zelda games and expect to pay a premium for the experience. If Nintendo opted for a budget price for Skyward Sword, what might that mean to the cost perception of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2?There is some customer benefit here, of course. Nintendo has been largely successful at maintaining the value of its products. Fans can generally feel comfortable that if they buy the latest Mario or Zelda title, that it will be worth roughly the same in a year’s time. Nintendo is a bit of an exception, however. Across Xbox and PlayStation in particular, pricing can be all over the place, and these games frequently lose their value very quickly. There are countless examples of games released in September or October being available for half the price come Black Friday. This has a negative impact on value perception. People may have a high benefit expectation of Assassin’s Creed, but if they bought the previous one for half the price, then they have a lower cost perception.Sony’s first-party PS5 games will cost £70 — a difficult price to justify when prices so quickly declineTo give a personal example (remember, value is subjective), and to bring us onto the topic of Sony, let’s talk about the upcoming Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart — which, like all full first-party PS5 games, is being sold in the UK for £70. I love Ratchet & Clank, it is one of my all-time favourite franchises, and my benefit expectation for the upcoming PS5 title is extremely high. Yet when I saw that price, I hesitated. I have spent more than £70 on video games before, but I’ve not spent anywhere near that for a Ratchet & Clank title. In fact, the last game on PS4, the remake of the original, cost me £30 brand new. I do expect to pay more for an all-new PS5 title, but double the price? The benefit/cost equation isn’t working so well in this case.Convincing fans that $70 for Ratchet & Clank or Returnal is good value is a tall order. But it’s not impossible This is the challenge Sony faces with its efforts to raise the value perception of its first-party PS5 games. Over the PS4 generation, thanks to Horizon: Zero Dawn, God of War, Uncharted 4, Spider-Man and Last of Us Part 2, Sony has increased the benefit expectation of its titles. When a new first-party PlayStation game comes out, people expect to have an incredible time. But they also expect varying price points, and for some titles to reduce in price shortly after release.Unlike Nintendo, Sony doesn’t have a reputation for high prices on software — hardware is a different matter — so trying to convince it fans that $70 for Ratchet & Clank or Returnal is good value is a tall order.But it’s not impossible. There are countless examples of products, sectors, and items that have risen in value, from lobster dinners to coffee. Many of the examples are down to constrained or reduced supply — the product is more limited and therefore the cost expectation goes up. This does happen in games, with limited edition consoles and special editions, but it isn’t common with software itself, particularly in the digital space where the notion of a game ‘selling out’ simply doesn’t exist.For Sony it’s about increasing the perceived value of its games, which is where the new consumer-facing PlayStation Studios branding comes in. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz last year, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Eric Lempel said: “We have been thinking about how we unite all of these great games under one brand, and really the purpose of that is to make the consumer understand that, when they see this brand, they’re getting ready for a robust, innovative, deep experience that they’ve come to expect from games coming from PlayStation.”Related JobsEnvironment Artists – New IP South East Creative AssemblyLead Sound Designer South East Creative AssemblyRemote Environment Artist Console Studio UK UK & Europe Big PlanetDiscover more jobs in games This is the message Sony wants its customers to understand over the coming months and years. On the face of it, the decision to release the $70 Returnal a week before the $60 Resident Evil: Village seems irresponsible. Both games are horror titles and Resident Evil is a far bigger brand. Yet Sony’s position is this: Returnal is a PlayStation Studios title, the same label that brought you Horizon and Uncharted, and that’s why it costs more. It’s a cut above everything else.Of course, that quality needs to be delivered upon. If Sony doesn’t keep up its run of form, the PlayStation Studios badge will become meaningless. Worldwide Studios games have to be big, high quality and the best at what they do, which is perhaps why Sony has invested in its bigger studios and cut teams like Japan Studio.But ultimately, it is down to consumers to decide. And we’ll soon see if they feel the benefits of buying PlayStation Studios games outweigh the costs associated with them.last_img read more

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Developers bet big on build-for-rent in these uncertain times

first_imgFrom left: David Singelyn of Homes 4 Rent, Jacque Petroulakis of NexMetro, and Adam Adler of Global City (Photos via Nexmetro, Global City, Singelyn via Cal Poly Pomona)Since moving from an apartment building in Allen, Texas to a two-bedroom house in nearby McKinney in April, Joy Fleming has been on the receiving end of developers stopping by and asking her whether she likes where she lives.Fleming — a resident living in a community of 180 Avilla Homes built by NexMetro Communities — can now park in front of her house. She has a backyard for her dog to run around in, the trash gets picked up off of her front porch, and she has plenty of natural light. She’s also been working remotely over the past few months, making her second bedroom all the more useful.Fleming, who’s in her 60s, is one of tens of thousands of residents flocking to newly built single-family rental communities around the country. A growing number of individuals and families who have struggled with social distancing in large apartment buildings are opting for more indoor and outdoor space in the suburbs once their leases are up.But rather than buy a home, take on a 15- to 30-year mortgage and deal with the expenses of owning property and managing everything from utilities to maintenance, they’re looking to keep renting. Empty nesters like Fleming, who considers herself a renter by choice, also see an upside in leasing a new home.Due to Covid-19, the owners and managers of a lot of other properties she looked at “wouldn’t show you the space you would be renting,” she said. “It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense.”Phoenix-based NexMetro, meanwhile, is one of a growing number of firms doubling down on the build-for-rent sector with plans to develop and manage high-end rental home communities in close proximity to large cities. The market is getting a big boost from the pandemic and economic fallout, as many would-be first-time homebuyers rethink their plans due to a growing sense of unease about the future.And it didn’t take long for Wall Street and other institutional investors to catch on. Major players like Brookfield Asset Management and Starwood Capital Group are betting on renters staying renters as many face record unemployment levels and mounting debts, and the build-for-rent space is attracting big money during the pandemic.JPMorgan Chase and American Homes 4 Rent, for example, launched a $625 million joint venture in May to develop 2,500 single-family rentals in Western and Southeastern states. David Singelyn, co-founder and CEO of Homes 4 Rent, said that while his company, which began building new communities about five years ago, has teamed up with institutional investors before, this marks the first time a partner wanted to be named.The California-based real estate investment trust owns more than 50,000 homes in 35 cities and is building new home rental communities in 15 of them. And, according to Singelyn, Homes 4 Rent’s portfolio is more than 90 percent occupied.Mike Kelly, head of Real Estate Americas at JPMorgan Asset Management, told The Real Deal by email that the joint venture is confident there’s enough demand, despite the impact the pandemic has had on the U.S. economy.“There is a gap in the market between apartments and homeownership, particularly for young families,” Kelly noted, “so the single-family build-to-rent model really works for them.”The rental curveThe bulk of new single-family rental developments are in the “smile states” that run from California down through the south and up along the East Coast and upper Midwest — cities and towns with projected economic and population growth and affordable land.“Every homebuilder in those markets, they’re on fire. They’re having banner years.”Adam Adler, Global City DevelopmentMiami-based Global City Development, backed by the Brazilian investment management firm Leste, recently broke ground on more than 320 acres in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is aiming to build even larger homes than its competitors.The companies are planning to develop 700 single-family homes and townhouses, ranging from 1,800 to 2,200 square feet with up to four bedrooms, before the end of 2021 as part of a $2.5 billion plan plan to build tens of thousands of houses in 30 communities over the next five to seven years.Since purchasing the land in Raleigh in October, the developers closed on 120 acres in Nashville between October and February, and they plan to close on a site in Charlotte by the end of November. The jobs are there to back it up, said Adam Adler, president of Global City’s master-planned communities division. Raleigh is the second largest tech city in the U.S. behind Silicon Valley. And near the Nashville site, Amazon is planning a 3.6 million-square-foot distribution center.“Every homebuilder in those markets, they’re on fire,” Adler said. “Organically there is a housing shortage.”Global City and Leste announced their ambitious plan, which also includes parts of Florida, Texas and Arizona, in late 2019. And since the pandemic hit earlier this year, the development team has pushed forward with construction and land closings.The new communities will include walking trails, fiber-optic internet, business centers and multiple pools and gyms, and the developers’ target household income ranges from $75,000 to $150,000 — similar to many first-time homebuyers. Adler maintained that there’s a growing pool of renters, including a large number of millennials, who can afford to buy but prefer to rent and are seeking the “amenities of the urban core in a suburban environment.”Single-family rentals aren’t a new phenomenon, of course. The Blackstone Group spent billions of dollars buying distressed homes during the last recession and built up the largest portfolio of single-family rentals before selling its remaining stake in the properties last year.But many investors are now looking to build luxury communities from scratch and new projects are “popping up everywhere,” said J.C. de Ona of Conway, Arkansas-based Centennial Bank. In some cases, for-sale homebuilders like Lennar, D.R. Horton and Toll Brothers are also getting into build-for-rent, according to industry sources.Don Walker, chief financial officer of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, which covers the single-family rental market, said there are at least 240 active build-for-rent communities with about 29,000 homes across the U.S. As of now, there are primarily two kinds of developments in the burgeoning market: houses built on single-family lots and attached homes with fewer rooms and smaller yards.While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much money has been invested in build-for-rent communities, Walker and others say that at an average cost of about $250,000 per home, the total would come out to more than $7.2 billion.Michael Finch, principal owner of the Phoenix-based brokerage SVN | SFRhub Advisors, said he’s now working with investor groups looking to deploy $15 billion to $20 billion of capital into the build-for-rent space.Finch, who’s also the general partner of a $1 billion single-family rental fund that launched earlier this year, said millennials who “already watched their parents struggle in the last recession” are hesitant to buy homes themselves — if they can afford to.The shift toward remote work could also propel more people to move out of cities and into suburban communities, though it’s unclear how long that trend will last.“You are going to see major changes in the way America lives,” said Chuck Brecker, a real estate attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr in Florida who has been studying the issue. Remote working “is not going to end when the pandemic ends,” he argued.Playing the long gameA growing number of developers plan to hold onto their communities after they’re completed, while others may sell the houses individually or to institutional buyers in bulk.“The only negative that has kept a lot of developers out is concern of an exit strategy,” said Brecker. “If it turns out that there are no buyers, then you’re left with selling them one by one. That will certainly be more difficult when they are used [rather than] brand new homes.”Transcendent Investment Management, one of the build-for-rent sector’s newer entrants, plans to construct up to 4,000 new rental homes in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and Texas and hold onto the properties once they’re built.“We look at these, in large part, not much differently than a garden-style multifamily, and will amenitize them similarly,” said Adam Wolfson, Transcendent’s chief investment officer. “As people tend to age out of multifamily, this is a great step for them.”NexMetro, one of the sector’s largest and longest running developers, has sold six communities in Phoenix and the Dallas-Fort Worth area since the company was founded in 2012. But it’s now weighing the benefits of long-term holds, citing increased demand for the asset class, said Jacque Petroulakis, ‎NexMetro’s executive vice president of marketing and investor relations.The company has built about 4,800 Avilla-branded homes in 32 communities in several states, and has another 1,500 homes across eight communities in the works. NexMetro, which advertises that its residents are “renters by choice” seeking “a new American dream untethered by the responsibilities of home ownership,” closed on its first site in Florida this year.Construction on the 152-unit project in Odessa began in July, with an opening set for early 2021, and NexMetro is planning to expand to Orlando and the Tampa area.Petroulakis said the company’s rent collections have fallen by just 1 to 2 percent, as many of the firm’s tenants have high household incomes, while the company’s occupancy across its portfolio is hovering at around 96 percent. Showings are also easier to manage remotely, she added. Since March, NexMetro has held 1,300 tours without a leasing agent present by giving prospective tenants access to the homes using a secure code.“The appeal of more square footage is unmistakable,” Petroulakis said, noting that a growing number of apartment dwellers are antsy, as they work in small spaces with kids or children, Petroulakis said. “That notion of sharing an elevator and sharing a hallway is becoming less and less appealing to consumers.”The recession equationMost investors in the space are targeting millennials and baby boomers looking for the flexibility that high-end rental communities provide.“If you need flexibility to move, it’s much easier to break a lease than try to liquidate a house in a market that may be deteriorating,” said Global City’s Adler.Though U.S. interest rates are at a historical low, would-be first-time homebuyers are finding it difficult to close on properties due to recent job losses and economic uncertainty.“Banks are being careful about underwriting loans” to homebuyers, despite low rates, said Joe Hernandez, a partner at the Florida-based law firm Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman. “It’s just an unprecedented time where a lot of these factors are coming together to make [build-for-rent] attractive.”“These communities are targeting the demographic that would like to buy a home and set up their life but they have been priced out.”Ana Bozovic, Analytics Miami Lenders are generally comfortable with the build-for-rent sector’s absorption and occupancy rates — especially in the Sun Belt region where there’s job growth and a shortage of new housing. As with almost any other property type, however, it’s more challenging to secure financing for many developers as well now.“Because it’s a hot new asset class, there are a lot of people that want to get into it and that’s great. But in a pandemic recession, lending is a lot harder to come by,” said Brett Forman, executive managing director of the eastern U.S. division at Trez Capital, a Canadian lender that has provided $250 million in loans for up to 20 single-family or townhome build-for-rent communities.Centennial’s de Ona said the bank is looking for developers to pitch in more equity today than pre-pandemic, and won’t go above a loan-to-cost ratio of 65 percent.Unlike with condo, co-op and single-family home closings, developers can’t rely on sales or presales to show demand to their lenders.“That’s one of the big reasons not every developer has the funds to build apartment buildings,” said attorney Felix Rodriguez, who works with Lennar, Toll Brothers and other homebuilders. “The only way it works is if you have some kind of permanent financing lined up.”Demand for rental homes will still likely increase, as the country’s largest homebuyer pool, millennials, look to move onto the next stage of their lives during one of the biggest downturns since the Great Depression.But many, in a sense, are trapped into remaining renters for years to come, said Ana Bozovic, founder of the real estate data firm and brokerage Analytics Miami.Median sale prices are hovering at all-time highs as student debt keeps climbing, she noted, pushing the median age of first-time home buyers to a record high of 33 in late 2019, before the pandemic hit.“The economic hardships we’re under are being felt more strongly by millennials,” Bozovic said. “These communities are targeting the demographic that would like to buy a home and set up their life but they have been priced out.”last_img read more

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Passenger agrees app and website contract with Go-Ahead

first_imgPassenger has signed a contract with Go-Ahead Group that will see it deliver 15 apps and six websites for Go-Ahead’s bus operations in the UK.The partnership will result in Go-Ahead moving from developing digital solutions in-house to utilising Passenger’s knowledge and service platform to power the apps and websites for its UK bus operations.A significant development will be the introduction of integrated web-to-mobile ecommerce on each Go-Ahead subsidiary’s Passenger-powered apps and websites. That will allow customers to buy tickets via a website and use them instantly in apps.The Bournemouth-based supplier says it has experience in delivering large scale systems to transport operators and authorities, including mobile ticketing, network dataset management and real-time systems. Its work with Go-Ahead will see it manage the migration of customers, including those with active tickets, to the new platform.Users of Brighton and Hove Buses will also benefit from an integrated contactless portal. That will provide access to contactless payment history alongside mobile ticketing in the operator’s new Passenger app and website.Go-Ahead already has almost 1m users of its mobile apps and it hopes to see that number increase as customers return post-COVID-19 pandemic. The group will begin to roll out Passenger’s business accounts later in 2021, giving greater functionality and control to its B2B customers.Says Passenger CEO Tom Quay: “Our platform has developed over the last five years into a powerful tool to deliver the kind of customer experience that we all want to receive, especially as we are re-evaluating how we travel and what is important to us in the wake of the challenges we have all faced over the last year.“I would like to welcome Go North West, Go South West, Metrobus and Oxford Bus Company, who we will be working with for the first time.”www.discoverpassenger.comlast_img read more

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US considers quitting UN Human Rights Council

first_img Also On POLITICO OPINION Trump has no foreign policy By Jon Finer Forum What if Donald Trump played the Kremlin? By Marc Bennetts White House goes to war with media By Matthew Nussbaum and Nolan D. McCaskill The Human Rights Council was established in 2006. It replaced the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which had faced severe criticism because countries with poor rights records became members and prevented it from carrying out its mission to the fullest.The Bush administration refused to join the new council, questioning whether it would be much different. But under President Barack Obama, the U.S. felt it was more useful to be part of the council and try to influence it from the inside, including by speaking out in support of Israel.Still, supporters of Israel have accused the council of being overly focused on the Jewish-majority state, by pushing critical resolutions, for example.Israel had a difficult relationship with the Obama administration, one that hit a new low late last year after Obama decided not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlement construction.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear he looks forward to working with Trump, while Haley also has been very public about America’s plans to shield Israel from critics at the United Nations.The Human Rights Council’s membership is laced with political symbolism. Last year, Russia lost its seat on the body after a vote by the U.N. General Assembly, apparently due to international fury over Moscow’s role in the Syrian conflict. The Trump administration is considering pulling the United States out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a body that has been accused of being biased against Israel and criticized for including abusive governments, according to two sources in regular contact with former and current U.S. officials.No immediate withdrawal is expected ahead of the council’s next session, which starts Monday, but discussion of abandoning the council is likely to alarm international activists already worried that the United States will take a lower profile on global human rights issues under President Donald Trump.A final decision on membership in the council would likely involve Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, and of course the president himself.center_img A former State Department official briefed on the discussions said while the council’s targeting of Israel is likely part of the debate, there also are questions about its roster of members and doubts about its usefulness overall.Countries known for human rights abuses, such as China and Saudi Arabia, have managed to snag seats on the 47-member council.“There’s been a series of requests coming from the secretary of state’s office that suggests that he is questioning the value of the U.S. belonging to the Human Rights Council,” the former official said.In a recent meeting with mid-level State Department officials, Tillerson expressed skepticism about the council, which has a number of powers, including the ability to establish panels that probe alleged human rights abuses.A spokesman for Haley did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday. White House press aides also did not immediately offer comment.State Department spokesman Mark Toner did not address whether U.S. membership on the council was being reconsidered, but said, “Our delegation will be fully involved in the work of the HRC session which starts Monday.”last_img read more

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Hamlin, Busch brothers join ALL IN Challenge with ‘once-in-a-lifetime fan experience’

first_imgMany non-racing sports names have also accepted the challenged. Peyton and Eli Manning, Magic Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Rodriguez and Joel Embiid are just a few of the athletes. Leagues and teams are involved, too.All of the money raised will benefit the following organizations: Meals on Wheels, No Kid Hungry, America’s Food Fund, Feeding America and World Central Kitchen. Editor’s note: This story was originally published on April 14, 2020 but was updated on April 22, 2020.Denny Hamlin was the first NASCAR driver to join the ALL IN Challenge, which has pegged itself as the largest digital fundraiser ever, but Kyle and Kurt Busch have also hopped onboard.Fanatics’ ALL IN challenges athletes across all sports to help raise $100 million for COVID-19 crisis relief. The money will provide food to those in need, specifically kids, elderly and frontline workers. The official statement says, “We challenge every athlete, sports owner, team, league, celebrity and artist to go ALL IN and donate one of their most prized possessions or create a once-in-a-lifetime fan experience.”How it works: Fans bid on prizes and experiences of their choice through an auction. Those bids then double as the fundraiser’s donations.RELATED: How the industry is lending a handHamlin was first nominated by former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver and three-time Daytona 500 winner announced last Tuesday he’s offering up the opportunity to play Michael Jordan’s new exclusive golf club in Florida alongside himself and PGA Tour’s Bubba Watson. That’s not all. In addition to the round of golf, the package will feature a private flight and VIP access to the 2021 Daytona 500. Kurt Busch then shared his new Wednesday. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver is offering a “dream race weekend” at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, highlighted by a helicopter ride and VIP passes.center_img Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and the reigning Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch, followed up Monday with his participation in the challenge, offering a VIP experience to a future NASCAR race for the winner and a guest.last_img read more

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SunSquabi Releases Nobide Remix Of ‘Instinct’ Track “Chrysalis” [Listen]

first_imgDenver, Colorado-based live-electronic outfit Nobide has officially released a new remix of SunSquabi’s “Chrysalis”, from the Colorado trio’s most recent album, Instinct. The track is available to stream now via major streaming platforms. The new remix release comes on the heels of the two bands’ Halloween performance at the Boulder Theater with Sunsquabi.Nobide has successfully been issuing singles over the last two years, with Nick Vann‘s edgy production, drummer Matt McElwain‘s driving rhythms, and saxophonist Tanner Fruit’s affinity for jazz and texture resulting in a genre-bending, fresh sound with every release.The Nobide “Chrysalis” remix comes as the latest installment of the ongoing Instinct REMIXES series, which includes reworked recordings of the music featured on the band’s 2019 album from artists including DMC World Champion turntablist Chris Karns (Pretty Lights), Late Night Radio and more.Listen to the Nobide remix of SunSquabi track “Chrysalis” below.Sunsquabi – “Chrysalis” [Nobide Remix]Before the Halloween show at the Boulder Theatre with Sunsquabi, Nobide sold out their first-ever Denver headlining show earlier this year after having supported acts like The Floozies, Michal Menert, and Spafford. After making serious waves at Summer Camp Music Festival, Sonic Bloom, Camp Bisco Music Festival, and Hulaween, the band is set to finish this year out strong with a New Year’s show at The Liberty in Telluride, CO. Tickets are available here.For more information on Nobide, head to the band’s website.For a list of upcoming SunSquabi tour dates, head here.last_img read more

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Deaf Puppy Gets Sign Language Lessons After Being Adopted By Man Who is Also Deaf

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreEmerson the puppy was only 6 weeks old when he was dumped at an animal shelter and left to fight for his life against a host of health issues.Staffers at the NFR Maine animal shelter in North Monmouth, Maine say that in addition to being deaf, the puppy suffered from seizures and canine parvovirus, a highly contagious viral illness.Despite his struggles, Emerson underwent treatment for the disease and pulled through. The shelter made a Facebook post about the black Labrador mix in hopes of finding him the perfect home. Several people contacted the shelter to express their interest in adopting Emerson, but when they were eventually contacted by Nick Abbott, staffers knew it was a match made in heaven.WATCH: This 2-Year-Old Deaf Girl Loves People – So Her Whole Neighborhood is Learning Sign Language31-year-old Abbott says that he was particularly moved by Emerson’s story on social media because he too is deaf.“Nick said he was interested in meeting Emerson because they would understand each other, being that they both share the same hearing difficulties,” the shelter wrote on Facebook. “When Nick and his mom walked into the house to meet Emerson, Emerson made a direct line for Nick and sat at his feet.“That’s all it took. I was sold that this was fate, and these two belonged to each other.”Abbott and Emerson have now been living with each other for three months, and their relationship is melting hearts across social media. Abbott says that he has been teaching sign language to his canine companion so they can communicate with each other. Just one week after Emerson moved into his new home, Abbott said he already knew the sign for “sit”.LOOK: 15-Year-old Melts the Hearts of Airline Passengers When She Befriends Blind and Deaf Passenger“Emerson learned sign language very quickly and it did not take long for him to understand. Good training is the key to a good dog,” Abbott told Pretty52. “So far Emerson knows how to sit, lay down, stay, come and we are currently working on shake.”Needless to say, the shelter has been delighted by the duo’s success.“This boy deserved nothing short of a fairy tale ending and that is EXACTLY what he got!!” wrote the shelter. “This will go down in history as one of my all time favorite adoptions stories.”Be Sure And Share The Pawsome Story With Your Friends On Social Media…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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