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Ghost Buildings and More: California at Center of Great Recession

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The LA Times' Roger Vincent covers all those ghost buildings aka developers' abandoned sites around Southern California, a list that includes: Fuller Lofts in Lincoln Heights, Madrone in Hollywood, an unnamed Pasadena development, a Lennar project in Anaheim, and three SunCal projects: Delta Coves in Contra Costa County, a San Clemente, and one in Oakland. The Oakland project, which gets the most coverage, sounds like a horror show. According to the paper, "At the neighbors hear the thieves come out. They rip out copper wire, haul away pipes and take anything else they can steal from dozens of buildings on the site, abandoned after Irvine developer SunCal Cos. fell victim to the economy." Overall, the Times reports that work has stopped on 9,389 houses and condo in California, an inventory worth $3.5 billion, but as one expert tells Vincent, it's pretty normal for developers to walk away from unfinished developments. The bigger issue seems to be safety and potential damage: the pumping system at the Contra Costa development isn't being monitored, which could lead to flooding. Related: the NY Times covers what's now being called the "Great Recession," reporting that blue collar jobs like construction and hotel work are being hit harder than white collar jobs (by comparison "the last two recessions introduced the country to the concept of mass white-collar layoffs.") Additionally, Latinos are being hurt more than whites, renters are faring better than homeowners and whoop-de-doo, California wins again: "If the Great Recession, as some have called it, has a capital city, it is El Centro, Calif., due east of San Diego, in the desert of California’s Inland Valley. El Centro has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, a depressionlike 22.6 percent." But check out the interactive map: It looks like Alaskans will soon be forced to start eating one another.
· As projects grind to a halt, home sites turn to wasteland [LA Times]
· Job Losses Show Breadth of Recession [NYT]