Freedom Ship floating city project may be back on track

Most of us take living on dry land as a fact of life, but the Freedom Ship International project is looking to change that.

A revived project from the 90’s, the goal is to create an ocean-faring platform that can serve as a permanent residence for 50,000 people complete with shopping centers, schools, hospitals and anything else an urban center might require.

It’s audacious enough to draw an immediate combination of both skepticism and awe, but project lead Roger Gooch believes that the project is definitely feasible. “In the last six months we’re getting more interest in the project and we are hopeful we will raise the $1 billion to begin construction.” says Gooch.

The Freedom Ship designs expect it to be a mile long and 25 stories high, capable of housing 30,000 daily visitors, 20,000 crew and 10,000 overnight passengers in addition to the 50,000 permanent residents.

Concept designs feature an airport on the roof to transport individuals and supplies, as the ship would be far too large to enter a port. You can check out more concepts of the ship at the website here.

Blackberry Shakes Up Executive Staff

Blackberry is again seeing some dramatic shifts in top level staff as a Marketwired report stated that COO Kristian Tear, CMO Frank Bulben and CFO Brian Bidulka all left the company today. The departures didn’t take too many people by surprise, given that former CEO Thorstun Heins was also replaced by John Chen earlier this month.

Though the official statement made no mention to the effect, it is unlikely that all three left voluntarily. The latest changes in staff indicate that a major shift in direction for Blackberry is in the works.

Boulben has been generally perceived as doing a poor job with Blackberry’s marketing around Blackberry 10, which resulted in poor sales and Tear has also seen criticism for doing little than being in charge of mass layoffs in the last few years. The board at Blackberry seems to agree, having replaced Boulben with former SVP James Yerch. Replacements for the other executive positions have not yet been named.

Blackberry has played second fiddle to iPhone and Android products for quite some time now, and the tepid Blackberry 10 release was no exception. Blackberry suffered a major $1 billion loss last quarter, and more of the same is expected in the coming December report. A shift in vision may be what the company needs to get back up off the ground, but time will tell if Chen can bring Blackberry out of free fall.

China’s Buyers Investing Abroad in Real Estate

New York City is a hot real estate market among Chinese home buyers according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. is top ranked among Chinese looking to buy homes outside of their country. The article shows screenshots of some New York real estate listings marketing to Chinese buyers on Juwai. The site which posts listings for 53 countries says that more and more people are investing in real estate abroad.

“There’s just a bigger appetite for the U.S., and New York in particular,” said Andrew Taylor, a founder and co-chief executive of Juwai in Hong Kong.

“And what’s changing is that they’re now looking for lower-priced properties instead of just searching for the ultra-luxury homes. People are looking for yield, and they want to diversify out of China. It’s not just the wealthy who are buying: The upper-middle-class are searching for properties under US$1.1 million and the real sweet spot is under US$750,000.”

The U.S. is noted as the overwhelming favorite followed by Australia, The U.K., Singapore and Canada.

New condo prices continue to soar in the New York City housing market as demand continues to drive up the price. Luxury condos such as 10 Madison Square West by The Witkoff Group has reached 60% sold in sales. The Azure luxury residential building by the DeMatteis Organizations and Carl Mattone/Mattone Group announced it reached 75% sold earlier this year. The Wall Street Journal reports that New York City apartments are selling for well over $5,000 a square foot including skyscrapers near Central Park such as One57 and 432 Park Ave.

New York was noted as the most-searched city for Chinese real estate buyers, followed by San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Orange County.