Enron fallout will hike Houston vacancies. The problems of fallen energy giant Enron will reverberate through the Houston office market. Enron was scheduled to completely occupy a new 40-story downtown office tower, which was designed by New Haven, Conn.-based Cesar Pelli & Associates and constructed by Bethesda, Md.-based Clark Construction. The company had moved into the base of the building, which includes four trading floors and one executive floor. These areas are expected to be taken over by UBS Warburg, if the bankruptcy court approves Warburg's bid to purchase Enron's trading arm. About 3.3 million square feet of Class A office space, including Enron Center South's 1.25 million square feet, will come on the market over the next two years.
Speak now or forever. Stakeholders in building inspections can contribute to a standard for serviceability under development by the ASTM Subcommittee E06.21 on Serviceability. The proposed specifications will establish requirements for inspection credentials for potential use in the model building codes and related industries, particularly in inspections of firestops and joint systems. Comments may be addressed to John D. Nicholas, Omega Point Labs, Elmendorf, TX, phone (210) 635-8100 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Committee E06 will meet April 14-17 in Pittsburgh.
Risky business. Engineers and scientists at the Johns Hopkins University will lead a new research center in creating tools to gauge risks associated with hazardous waste sites and in developing new ways to clean up pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently approved a five-year $5.2 million grant to launch the Center for Hazardous Substances in Urban Environments. The funds will support research and allow participants to provide technical help to community groups, environmental regulators and industry representatives in the Northeast. Also participating are the University of Maryland, Morgan State University, the University of Connecticut and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.