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Business Briefs

For Friday, October 22, 2010

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

LAST UPDATED: 2:34 a.m. HST, Oct 22, 2010

State adds low-income rentals

The state has added 20 more low-income rental homes for seniors to a 60-unit complex in Kapolei that opened last year.

New one- and two-bedroom units at the Senior Residence at Kapolei will rent from $318 to $522 a month for seniors earning no more than 50 percent of the median income for Honolulu, with some tenants earning no more than 30 percent of the median income.

Financing for the project was provided by state and federal sources, including the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp., a state agency that contributed $1 million from its Rental Housing Trust Fund. The agency also contributed the land for the project under a lease for $1 a year.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development provided $4.4 million from its Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, and is providing rental subsidies for tenants. Pacific Housing Assistance Corp. developed the project, which will remain affordable for 75 years.

A grand opening and blessing for the project was held yesterday. The initial 60-unit first phase opened in May 2009.


Punahou expands solar system

Punahou School has installed the second phase of a solar power system that will add 278 kilowatts of electrical generating capacity at the school.

The system was designed by Island Pacific Energy, which had installed 458 kilowatts of generating power at the school in 2009.

"This is the largest photovoltaic installation of any K-1 private school in the nation and possibly the largest photovoltaic system on a single site on Oahu," said Joseph Saturnia, president of Island Pacific Energy.

The solar systems were installed as part of a power purchase agreement whereby Island Pacific Energy pays for, installs, maintains and operates the solar energy facility and sells the power generated with no upfront costs from Punahou School.


Vegas Strip to get new casino

LAS VEGAS » Nevada gambling regulators approved yesterday a gambling license for the $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel-casino, clearing a path for what's expected to be the last new Las Vegas Strip casino for a while.

The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved the resort after an hourlong presentation that included questions for executives of the property and its owner, Deutsche Bank AG. The German lender picked up the property in August 2008 for $1 billion after its original developers entered foreclosure.

The nearly 3,000-room resort on 8.5 acres can now open as planned Dec. 15 with a 100,000-square-foot casino, including 1,500 slot machines and 83 table games.

Things haven't gone well for the state's gambling industry for more than two years, with gambling revenues along the Strip falling 10.6 percent in 2008 and more than 9 percent in 2009. Revenue is up 2.2 percent for the first seven months this year, but many analysts have warned that a full turnaround is not likely to come quickly.


Caterpillar: Global growth to be slow

OMAHA, Neb. » Caterpillar posted another impressive jump in quarterly profits yesterday and predicted more sales growth next year, but the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment also offered a tepid forecast for global economic growth. Net income soared 96 percent to $792 million, and revenue jumped 53 percent to $11.13 billion. Caterpillar's results are considered a strong indicator of global economic health because its machinery is used all over the world. The company said it expects the global economy to grow by about 3.5 percent in 2011.


Greenwell Farms has named Brad Wolhman as the new retail center and tours manager. His responsibilities include overseeing day-to-day operations. He worked previously in law enforcement and as a retail business owner and manager.

YWCA USA has appointed Gloria Lau as interim chief executive officer. She has 30 years experience in the nonprofit, finance and business sectors including as chief executive officer for YWCA Hawaii in 2009.

National Farmers Union has announced the appointment of Colehour Bondera to the National Organic Standards Board. The board recommends whether a substance be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling. Bondera is a Farmers' Union member and founder of Kona Coffee Farmers Association.


Jobless claims fall to 452,000

WASHINGTON » Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the drop wasn't enough to reverse a big increase the previous week.

Applications for jobless benefits nationwide fell by 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 452,000, the U.S. Department of Labor said yesterday.

The decline comes after the department substantially revised the previous week's figure to show a rise of 26,000. That was double the increase initially reported.

Even with last week's decline, applications remain stuck near the 450,000 level. They have fluctuated around that point for most of this year.

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