The Shutdown and other thoughts

Wednesday’s deal to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling provided some needed relief to investors but the end result (and the shutdown itself) produced more yawns than anything else.

First some thoughts on the shutdown: the 16-day furlough saved the government little money (workers will be paid retroactively) but did cost lots in lost revenues. It will also probably shave about half percent from the fourth quarter GDP – a number that is already expected to be low. Some of that will bounce back in early 2014 but some is just output lost. In the end the high cards were in the president’s and Democrats’ hands. There was no movement on Obamacare or the budget. Very little of substance was done except to kick the problem down the road three months. Congress won’t get a raise. The sequestration cuts remain in place.

The sad part is that the shutdown refreshed the memories of business people that our government is bleeding money and doing nothing to stop it. The big casualty of the shutdown is that uncertainty came back into the picture. With most major projects running into budget problems (Chevron, Industrial Scientific, etc.), the last thing we needed was uncertainty about the economy going forward.

On the bright side, there are some projects moving ahead. Bakery Village Apartments are blowing and going and there are reports that the office buildings that are part of Bakery Square 2.0 are attracting hot interest and may start sooner in 2014. Prominent Fluid Controls selected BRIDGES to do its 21,000 sq. ft. expansion in RIDC Park. PJ Dick should be starting Seton Hill’s $14 million Natural Health Sciences building.

Washington Co. Chamber of Commerce threw a party to celebrate the erection of the two buildings at Zenith Ridge in Southpointe II, which is the Ansys campus that Burns & Scalo is developing as partner in Quattro LLC. Design builder Clayco Construction has cast five-story exterior walls on site – with brick embedded in the pour – and lifted them in a matter of a few weeks. The steel floor joists are following rapidly on the first building already. An aerial photo of the progress is below.

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At the party, Jim Scalo mentioned that his company was ready to build a spec office he calls the Conchord near the airport in the RIDC West property. As planned originally, the one-story building will be 60,000 sq. ft.

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