The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, November 16, 2018

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Monroe Block work to start: $830 million

Groundbreaking on the $830 million Monroe Block development in downtown Detroit is set to take place in December, according to Bedrock Detroit, the real estate arm of billionaire Dan Gilbert.

The project includes plans for a 35-story tower, while creating 818,000-square-feet of office space, 170,000-square-feet of retail space and 482 residential units. The site is on a two-square-block area bounded by Monroe, Bates, Cadillac Square and Randolph.

The Monroe Block site is located just a short walk south of the $1 billion Hudson's site, which is just starting with foundation work and will include a 900-foot-tall skyscraper, the tallest in Michigan. Both projects will dramatically increase building density in downtown Detroit. 

Much of the former National Theater will be demolished at the Monroe Block site, with the exception of its facade. (See the History in the Making feature on Page 3).

Pay gap keeps getting wider 

Newly available federal government wage data for 2017 show that annual wages grew far faster for the top 1.0 percent wage earners (rising 3.7 percent) than for the bottom 90 percent (up only 1.0 percent). And for the true upper crust - the top 0.1 percent of wage earners - earnings increased by 8 percent.

Those numbers come from researchers Lawrence Mishel and Julia Wolfeof the Economic Policy Institute, by way of the Social Security Administration. The EPI said the credit, or the blame, for the fast-ascending wages of the top 0.1 percent earners is attributable to lucrative executive salaries, which comprise the largest group of all one-percenters. The wages of the top 0.1 percent reached an average of $2.75 million in 2017, the second highest level ever, roughly only 4 percent below their average wage in 2007.

The salary disparity between the rich and poor is nothing new. Adjusted for inflation, "the top 1.0 percent of earners now earn by 157.3 percent more than they did in 1979," the EPI says. "Even more impressive is that those in the top 0.1 percent had more than double that wage growth, up 343.2 percent since 1979."

In contrast, inflation-adjusted wages for the bottom 90 percent only grew 22.2 percent since 1979.