August 2018 - Sachse Construction

Coca-Cola to Buy UK’s Costa for $5.1 Billion to Add Global Coffee Brand

The Coca-Cola Co. agreed to buy Costa Ltd., the international coffee chain founded in London almost 50 years ago, from Whitbread Plc for an enterprise value of $5.1 billion.

The purchase price of Costa, which has almost 4,000 retail stores in 32 countries worldwide, including 2,422 across the U.K. and a further 449 stores in China, reflects a multiple of 16.4 times Costa’s fiscal year 2018 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a closely followed measure of earnings. As of the end of March 2018, Costa’s annual EBITDA was $308.6 million.

Coca-Cola’s president and chief executive, James Quincey, described the acquisition as “the right fit at the right time,” reflecting the strong worldwide growth in the coffee and hot beverage market and Coca-Cola’s aspiration to enter these markets.

In a video posted on YouTube as part of the company’s official announcement, Quincey explained that buying Costa adds an important new dimension to Coca-Cola’s portfolio brands, with a “scalable coffee platform and critical know-how and expertise in a fast-growing, on-trend category.

“Costa gives Coca-Cola new capabilities and expertise in coffee, and our system can create opportunities to grow the Costa brand worldwide,” added Quincey. “Hot beverages is one of the few segments of the total beverage landscape where Coca-Cola does not have a global brand. Costa gives us access to this market with a strong coffee platform.”

Costa’s retail network includes 2,422 stores throughout the U.K., comprised of 455 ‘high street’ stores, 409 outlets in shopping centers and retail parks, 81 drive-thru stores, 427 stores in transport hubs and within offices, and a further 1,050 franchise stores.

For Whitbread, the sale to Coca-Cola reflects a change of exit strategy after committing to demerge Costa from Whitbread in April of this year. Whitbread said the valuation is significantly higher than was previously reflected in Whitbread’s market value, prior to this morning’s announcement and is a premium to the value that could have been created by Costa through its demerger plans.

Whitbread said the majority of the estimated £3.8 billion in net proceeds will be returned to shareholders and used in part to reduce the firm’s borrowings and pension fund deficit.

The sale is conditional upon agreement by Whitbread’s shareholders as well as various regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

Following completion, Whitbread will be a focused hotel business with over 75,000 rooms in almost 800 hotels in the U.K., Germany and the Middle East, operating under the Premier Inn brand. Whitbread also retains its 49 percent investment in Pure, a London-based healthy-eating quick service restaurant business with 15 stores.

Construction in ASEAN Region to Grow by Over 6% Annually Over Next Five Years

In a recent White Paper prepared by GlobalData for INTERMAT ASEAN 2018 and Concrete Asia 2018, the region’s trade shows for construction, infrastructure, and concrete sectors, it was revealed that construction output in the member states of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) would expand by over 6% yearly on average during 2018–2022.

Danny Richards, GlobalData’s Lead Economist for Construction Industry says:

“The South-East Asia region continues to develop at a rapid pace, with economic growth projected to reach an annual average rate of 5.1% during 2018–2022, the fastest among all global regions, and an acceleration from the healthy rate of 4.8% recorded in the past five years. Much of this growth is being driven by investment in new infrastructure, while increasing domestic demand is driving the expansion in construction of buildings across the residential and non-residential sectors.


“Although there are disparities in the pace of growth in construction output among the ASEAN member states, the region’s construction industry as a whole will grow by 6.1% on an annual average basis in the next five years. This is marginally behind the projected growth of 6.5% in the thriving emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa, but the ASEAN region presents investors and developers with a lower level of risk of projects being put on hold or cancelled, according to GlobalData’s Construction Risk Index.

“Reforms to encourage Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are almost universal across the ASEAN region. The Philippines, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam have undergone reforms to create more accessible markets for private sector investment in construction through PPPs. Indonesia has undergone similar reforms, expanding the construction sectors eligible for PPPs and increasing incentives to invest. Land ownership is another area that is under reform. Once a notoriously difficult process, acquiring land in Indonesia is now much fairer and more transparent. Vietnam has also implemented an initiative in which foreign investors are allowed to acquire land and hold a majority stake in a commercial or residential project.

“According to GlobalData, the combined value of mega-projects (with a minimum value of US$25m) across ASEAN stands at US$2.9 trillion. This includes all projects from the announcement stage to execution. An analysis of the pipeline by stage reveals that the region provides huge opportunities with respect to a large volume of early stage projects. Just under US$1.5 trillion of projects are currently in the planning and pre-planning stages, suggesting significant construction spend is to occur for some time.”

Metrics Should Guide Strategy for Schools Seeking LEED Certification

Existing schools interested in applying for LEED Building Operation and Maintenance certification should start with a thorough understanding of key performance metrics.

Measures of energy and water consumption, along with waste, transportation, and air quality assessments are all necessary before starting a sustainability project. This data, which can be tracked over time, helps determine where actions will be most impactful.

A school system could address one issue in all of its schools or focus on one school for a full makeover. Arc, a digital platform that helps schools collect, manage, and benchmark data to improve sustainability is an effective tool to help focus resources where most needed.

About 110 K-12 schools are using Arc. Existing schools can use it to track sustainability data and upload policies and procedures and submit it all for LEED certification.

High Speed Rail in the US: Myth or Near-Future Possibility?

Europe, Asia and much of the developed world, high speed rail is convenient and accessible. Whether for business or pleasure, travelers are served by an efficient and extensive rail network that connects passengers to the desired destination on time and with relatively little effort. Although these train systems can travel as fast as 350 kilometers per hour, speed is not the only important factor. Rail stations in Europe, for example, are an integral part of the historic urban fabric. These facilities are often perceived as civic destinations that play a fundamental role in the mobility system, providing a wide range of services for the larger collective; shopping, entertainment, commercial and civic uses are often paired with transit services as new stations are built and historic stations are retrofitted.

But as California and Texas embark on the development of high speed rail, how can urban planners and designers ensure the success of such systems in the US?

When planning for high speed rail in the US, many of the local community members and stakeholder groups that we engage in our design process understand the efficiency, comfort and overall benefits of high speed rail especially as it functions in Europe.

However, the American landscape is quite different, and one recurring question we are asked is: “How do we make it work here?” While there are many lessons we can learn from Europe, the unique culture, history and physical attributes of US cities require tailored strategies. Here are three to consider:

Establish a destination

Before even designing the station, it is important to first plan for its context. While high speed rail stations all across Europe are, for the vast majority, at the heart of vibrant cities, in the US this is rarely the case. The high cost of infrastructure and the impact on private properties often pushes stations towards the outskirts of downtown and in some cases at the edge of the city limits. Even when the station is located within downtown the lack of a supportive mix of uses and population densities frequently undermines the potential of rail interventions. Highly efficient, long-range rail connectivity is a critical asset and a catalyst for sustainable urban development that can positively contribute to local economic growth. High speed rail provides an opportunity to rethink the urban environment of many American cities as well as a chance to introduce new urban spaces that are centered on people, not cars.

The design for Perkins + Will’s Sacramento Valley Station aims to establish not only a functional and performing transit facility but a true gateway for the city as a whole. The new station area is designed to overcome the physical barriers surrounding the site such as the existing rail alignment to the north, the I-5 viaduct, and the 5th street overpass, and ultimately showcase the city’s culture and identity. By incorporating restaurants, art, and public gathering spaces into the design of the new station, we are able to overcome the physical barriers and bring people together.

A new system of open spaces and the extension of the existing street grids provide greater access to the site, the Old Sacramento historic district, the American River and trails. The proposed station layout acts as a bridge straddling the existing rail alignment connecting the historic Sacramento Valley Station to the Railyards Central Shops. A well programmed public realm and the strategic adaptive reuse of historic structures provide opportunities for community gatherings as restaurants, cafes, art galleries, farmers markets, etc. delivering a distinct sense of place that supports and celebrates the station as a new welcoming civic destination.

The master plan introduces a carefully balanced mix of uses such as jobs, housing, local and regional amenities that will leverage the proximity to transit and support a safe and engaging urban environment. This framework is instrumental in attracting new development both within and beyond the station area.

Attract an audience

Today, US rail services compete with other modes of transportation that Americans are much more accustomed to using. Cars and airplanes play an undisputed role in the American mobility system. In order to make existing and future rail services successful, it is important to not only ensure efficiency, but also make rail travel appealing.

As consumers are presented with the latest model, car commercials briefly describe specifications and performance; what they are really sold on is a distinctive experience. Similarly, when planning for high speed rail, experience must be at the center of the design process. Urban planners and designers are tasked with making sure that the journey from origin to destination is efficient, convenient, and most of all pleasant. In order to create a competitive transit service that can break into a car-dominated USmarket, we must work to establish an appealing user experience that does not end at the station front door.

A cross-disciplinary approach is needed in order to deliver a project that successfully addresses each stage of the customer journey. This method leads to a design that blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor, letting elements such as mobility, public realm, active ground floor uses, identity, and wayfinding seamlessly extends into a continuous ground plane of activities serving the station and its surroundings.

Setting clear experience design guidelines is a fundamental step towards achieving this goal and transit authorities, such as BART, are incorporating this approach more frequently.

Provide a network

Ultimately, a rail station primarily requires strong mobility. As we step off the train in some of the most successful stations in Europe, we are immediately connected to a range of mobility options that will easily bring us to our final destination. High speed rail relies on the ability to effortlessly transition from regional to local transit, minimizing the need for private vehicles in order to cover the first and last segment of the journey. The lack of a mature local transit network and a prevailing car-centered culture are some of the main challenges of implementing rail infrastructure in the US. When planning for it, we need to ensure that all local transit services are integrated into the station area, minimizing conflicting options and prioritizing space-efficient modes of transportation such as walking and biking.

Today, the US is at the epicenter of a mobility revolution. Transportation network technologies, such as Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing platforms are radically disrupting the way we move and, if well regulated, they have the potential to solve endemic challenges of many communities across America. With this in mind, high speed rail stations should be elevated to multimodal transit hubs, capable of serving a fast-changing mobility ecosystem. Stations in the US can – and should – be new landmark destinations for commuters, visitors and local communities alike, placed at the core of successful, vibrant mixed-use urban environments that strategically leverage access to transit.

Beaumont to Invest $30M in Dozens of Urgent Care Centers

Beaumont Health said Wednesday that it plans to invest about $30 million in urgent care centers in Metro Detroit by the end of 2019.

The Royal Oak-based health care system is partnering with Atlanta-based WellStreet Urgent Care to jointly operate 30 Beaumont Urgent Care facilities. The new venture would create 150 new jobs for medical care providers and support staff, some of whom the system is hiring immediately.

Beaumont executives said the new centers come in response to patients and employers requesting trusted and convenient access to health care at lower costs.

“There are many urgent centers today in the Detroit Metro area,” said Carolyn Wilson, Beaumont chief operating officer. “What we hear from consumers is that they don’t have the same level as confidence as they would if there was a Beaumont name on the building. We want to get quality care closer to home with a lower cost platform and provide an opportunity to connect with a primary care physician. That’s critically important for wellness and prevention.”

 According to Beaumont, about 40 percent of urgent care patients do not have a primary care physician. The urgent care centers would be able to connect those patients with physicians in Beaumont’s network and set up appointments there. Additionally, at least 30 percent of emergency room visits could be treated by urgent care centers, which would save on health-care costs.

A handful of Beaumont Urgent Care locations will open before the end of the year. Beaumont said it would announce those within the next few weeks. Its new venture is in the processing of selecting facilities.

Lee Resnick, WellStreet chief medical officer and senior vice president of business development and strategy, said those locations will be in highly visible retail locations and select medical office buildings near busy emergency centers such as Beaumont’s, large employers and high-traffic, commercially dense areas.

 “Patients as consumers are looking for on-demand access points to health care,” Resnick said. “When you are choosing a care provider for an episodic illness or injury, you’re not thinking of going to the hospital or ‘where’s my doctor’s office?’ or they don’t access health care that frequently. They’re used to going to retail destinations where they might shop for groceries.”

The centers will be meant to service patients with coughs, sore throats, skin irritations, mild intestinal illnesses and fevers as well as minor lacerations and orthopedic injuries. Providers will be able to access a patient’s Beaumont electronic medical record for coordinated care.

Unlike many urgent care centers, those in the Beaumont network will have an X-ray and lab on premise for less complicated diagnostics. Sites won’t have a pharmacy, though some prepackaged medications such as short-term antibiotics will be available.

Resnick said urgent care centers are open 12 hours a day seven days a week every day of the year with one or two medical care providers each. Patients will be able to make appointments online or through a new app, though walk-ins are welcome. Typical visits are complete in less than 50 minutes.

WellStreet has experience in operating large urgent care networks that are integrated with health systems, though Beaumont is its sole partner in Michigan.

“We’re not the first urgent care center in Michigan; you might recall seeing one, but you don’t know who is behind the door,” Resnick said. “This is another way to increase confidence for the patient and that level of supervision and oversight and quality.”

Beaumont joins other Metro Detroit health systems working to bring care closer to  patients. Earlier this year, Henry Ford Health System said it is planning at least two new outpatient medical centers and two expanded medical centers. Detroit Medical Center plans to open at least two more MedPost urgent care centers in 2019.

“Beaumont, I think, is the well-deserved market leader in southeast Michigan,” Wilson said. “The response is really for those we serve.”

Expect More and Taller Skyscrapers

The authors of a report predicting what the skyscraper environment will look like in the year 2050 have concluded that tall building construction will have outpaced urbanization and that there will be 6,800 skyscrapers per 1 billion people, up from the current 800 skyscrapers per 1 billion people. Jonathan Auerbach and Phyllis Wan also determined that the tallest buildings will rise 50% higher than today’s counterparts, allowing them to better meet the demands of increasing urban populations.

Using the data maintained by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat as one of its primary sources, Auerbach and Wan said that the number of high-rises exceeding 492 feet (150 meters) and 40 stories have increased 8% each year since 1950. Carrying that percentage through to 2050, that translates to 41,000 new skyscrapers. The researchers also projected that the tallest skyscraper in 2050 will be more than 3,720 feet high, but that there is a 9% chance it will surpass one mile in height.

There is wiggle room in Auerbach’s and Wan’s projections, however, according to an analysis by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review. For starters, the report relies on the stability of current socioeconomic conditions for the next 30-plus years. War, disease and even the effects of climate change could hinder investments in skyscrapers. New technologies that reduce the costs of building, however, could result in even more skyscrapers than Auerbach and Wan have predicted.

 Building to great heights requires a great degree of innovation and as contractors build higher, they must acquire the necessary expertise.

For example, standard elevator rope cannot be used for a single ground floor-to-top floor trip in supertall buildings like the 1-kilometer-high Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia because it is too heavy. In these types of structures, passengers traveling from the ground floor are typically required to change elevators at some point. However, elevator company Kone has developed a lighter carbon fiber cable that will allow elevators in the Jeddah to move long distances.

Reducing building sway is also important when designing and building skyscrapers. Robert Sinn, engineer and principal at Thornton Tomasetti, is in charge of the engineering design for the Jeddah and said the design team chose a “three-legged base” for stability and other sway-prevention features, eliminating the need for a damper system at the top of the building, where “some of the most valuable real estate in the building” is located.

Other ways to reduce movement is through the installation of a water tank that adds weight or a tuned mass damper that absorbs kinetic energy. Both can use up to two floors and are typically situated next to the mechanical equipment near the top of a building.

Wearables’ ROI is in Safety and Insurance, Expert Says

Wearable sensors not only can improve construction worker safety, but also can reduce costs by providing worker health data, according to SangHyun Lee, associate professor at University of Michigan’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Lee asserts that adding sensing technology on devices such as a wristbands can lower a company’s insurance premiums and also empower workers to monitor their statuses to prevent accidents. Such wearable devices most frequently are used in the healthcare field, he said.

Lee is conducting research about advance signal processing and machine learning techniques to derive useful information from wearables. This can include identifying stress, physical demands and risk perception levels from a wristband monitor. Sensors also track heart rate, skin temperature and electrical activity on skin. The professor has found construction companies, their workers and insurance companies all see the potential for safety improvement through wearables, but are looking for demonstrable cases of positive returns on investment. Older workers want to see how wearables are useful to them specifically, whereas younger workers understand the value and indicate they are more willing to wear them if coworkers also are using them.

With construction regularly ranking as one of the most dangerous professions, preventative measures for safety are of utmost concern. In a study Dodge Data & Analytics conducted last December, only 13% of respondents indicated they use wearables. Out of that number, however, 82% said wearables have had a positive impact on their jobsites. Research like Lee’s could help boost popularity and adoption rates.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers also are working on wearables. Its Safety++ suite of internet of things-enabled wearable technologies include jackets that alert workers to harmful toxins and decibel levels and shoes with embedded sensors that can detect if a worker is carrying a dangerously heavy load and even alert nearby workers to help lift the heavy object.

Apart from a big tie-up with Bosch Tools involving integrated tracking sensors on the jobsite, Triax Technologies have been rolling out Spot-r wearables, which include the Spot-r EvacTag — a real-time, construction-specific alert system for jobsite evacuations.

Helmets could also help save lives in this regard, not only through their most obvious hardware aspects, but via integrated software as well. Dubai-based startup WakeCap Technologies’ forte involves sensors employing a mesh network that attach to construction helmets and, among other things, monitor facets such as wakefulness — or lack thereof — to prevent accidents that could occur from a drowsy worker, for instance.

Wearables aren’t the only tech pieces aimed at improving worker safety. University of Waterloo researchers in Ontario, Canada, are using artificial intelligence to better understand how those in the skilled trades can reduce wear-and-tear injuries. By using motion sensors and AI, researchers found master masons don’t follow standard ergonomic rules. Researchers are developing a system that uses sensor suits to give trainees immediate feedback and encourage them to modify movements.

American Eagle Outfitters to Ramp Up Aerie Store Expansion

American Eagle Outfitters, which on Wednesday reported its 14th consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth, is bullish on its fast-growing intimate apparel brand Aerie.

In the chain’s second-quarter earnings call, American Eagle CEO Jay Schottenstein described Aerie’s performance as “nothing short of spectacular, marking nearly four years of consecutive double-digit growth.

“Aerie represents a meaningful growth engine for AEO [American Eagle Outfitters],” he said. “Anchored on the body positivity movement, we continue to register record growth and market share gain across the intimate space. … Our sights are set on reaching our next brand milestone of $1 billion in sales.”

To help reach that target, the retailer plans to ramp up Aerie’s store opening plans for next year with up to 50 to 80 locations, including a number of new markets.

“Stores remain an important tool in building the Aerie brand and we see tremendous runway for growth,” Jennifer Foyle, global brand president, Aerie, said on the call. She added that Aerie’s online business is “simply spectacular, producing a 30% sales gain in the quarter.”

American Eagle Outfitters topped analysts’ estimates in the second quarter, buts its third-quarter earnings outlook fell short. The teen apparel retailer reported net income of $60.3 million, or 34 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $21.2 million, or 12 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected earnings of 31 cents a share.

Revenue rose to $964.9 million from $844.6 million, which was better than expected. Consolidated same-store sales rose 9%, also more than expected.

American Eagle’s comparable sales increased 7%. Aerie’s comparable sales increased 27%, lower than the 30% increase analysts had expected.

“The second quarter results exceeded our expectations, delivering record sales and 79% growth in adjusted earnings, “ stated Schottenstein in a release. “This marked our 14th consecutive quarter of comparable sales growth, with the American Eagle and Aerie brands posting positive results across both stores and e-commerce.

The retailer is now expecting third-quarter EPS of 45 cents to 47 cents and same-store sales growth in the high-single digits. Analysts were looking for third-quarter EPS of 49 cents.

During the quarter, the company opened four American Eagle stores and had no closures, ending with 939 American Eagle stores, including 131 Aerie side-by-side locations. The company opened one Aerie stand-alone store and closed one, ending with 109 Aerie stand-alone stores.