Early Briefing: AIG and Kincora
In 2005, when AIG was brought in on planned development Kincora in Loudoun County as an equity partner, developers touted the financial giant's "ability to ride economic cycles," reports Derek Kravitz. Then came the company's starring role in the nation's economic collapse, and the tarnishing of its once-sterling image. "I don't think anyone, including us, saw this coming," said Michael W. Scott, a managing member of Norton Scott, the Great Falls developer that is helping plan the Kincora project in Sterling.
Asked whether if Kincora stood a chance at being approved, Loudoun County Supervisor Lori L. Waters (R-Broad Run), a longtime supporter of the project, said with a laugh, "it depends if AIG continues to give out any bonuses." Scott, the Loudoun developer, said AIG's financial woes have not yet substantially affected his project, which is stalled because of an unrelated zoning fight. "As far as this project goes, with the merits of it, I believe [AIG is] still supporting it," he said.
But the AIG connection could prove to be an obstacle for Scott, even though the subsidiary that invested in the Loudoun County project, AIG Global Investment Group, has some $26 billion in investments worldwide, many of them successful.
Construction firms are so eager for work in the sagging economy that project bids are coming in much lower than expected, allowing state and local governments to stretch their federal stimulus dollars further, Eric Weiss reports. At Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport, a recent project to reconstruct the area around Piers C and D received six bids instead of the usual two or three. The result: The estimated $50 million project will be built for $8million less than was budgeted, and the savings will be allocated to other projects. There were 21 bidders for a $200,000 drainage project in Carroll County, more than anyone could remember.
Shares of struggling General Growth Properties, owner of Baltimore's Harborplace, soared yesterday for the second day in a row, but the company said it didn't know of any reason for the spike. Investors who bought shares at Friday's closing price of 72 cents could have reaped a 46 percent profit if they sold at yesterday's close of $1.05. Investors who bought at last month's low could have more than tripled their money. But the recent rally was small consolation for shareholders who have ridden the stock down from a March 2007 peak of $62.45.
April 8, 2009; 7:30 AM ET
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