Friday, December 29, 2006

Unbelievable Workplace Events

The usually staid, just-the-facts-mam approach to delivering business news and surveys at Challenger, Gray & Christmas erodes a bit in December with its compilation of the year's 10 Most Unbelievable Workplace Events. Naked file cabinet jumping in Newcastle, England (,,1795903,00.html), one man's daily commute of 370 miles ( and employee spanking in California ( are among the eyecatchers for 2006. Our favorite? The decision by Northwest Airlines to issue a 165-page booklet in the face of layoffs, giving employees 101 suggestions about how to save money ( Challenger has the full list of Events from 2005 on its Web site at


Downtown Colorado Springs' Holly Sugar Building (above, left) became the FirstBank Building with the flick of a switch this week. Installation of "1STBANK" signs at the top of each side of the 14-story building was completed Wednesday, and, at 5 p.m. the signs (seen as they were being installed, above right) were illuminated. FirstBank of Colorado Springs announced Dec. 12 it has acquired the naming and signage rights to the downtown landmark, which was known for decades by the name of the Holly Sugar Co. that was headquartered there from 1967 through 1997. The building, at 2 N. Cascade Ave., is part of the Palmer Center complex, which includes the Wells Fargo bank tower and the Antlers Hilton hotel. FirstBank of Colorado Springs is owned by FirstBank Holding Co. of Colorado, based in suburban Denver. Signs in the building's lobby and in an underground parking garage are still being changed.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Talk about your incentives

Mike Kazmierski, president of the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. for a little more than a year, has said several times the Springs needs to boost its business incentive packages if it hopes to compete with offers being made by cities and states around the country. Here's the headline over a Dec. 21 news item that caught Kazmierski's eye, and which he forwarded to The Gazette:

"N.Y. approves $650M in aid for AMD microchip plant"

The story, from the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, goes on to detail that a New York state panel approved a $650 million funding package to aid construction of an Advanced Micro Devices Inc. computer microchip plant in a business park in upstate New York. AMD tentatively agreed last summer to build the $3.2 billion plant, but a deal isn't yet final and company officials were counting on the state's aid package, according to the story.

Colorado and Colorado Springs rarely ante up that kind of money, although the state and Denver did offer $237 million in 1991 to try and land a United Airlines maintenance facility that ultimately went to Indianapolis.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

They Said It .... quotes from the business community

“I thought it might make a good Irish bar ... My name ‘Sammy Michael Patrick’ would even work for that until you get to the Guadagnoli part. That kind of gives it away.”
--Club owner and entrepreneur Sam Guadagnoli, who purchased the old Color Me Mine property at 28 N. Tejon St. for use as a model site for downtown loft sales, on what other use he might have had for the building.

"I go into the newspaper's obituary pages every day and too often I find there is a customer, an old friend."
--Mike Nemeth, former co-owner of Nemeth's El Tejon Restaurant, on the loss of core clientele which contributed to the restaurant's closure October 28.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Foreclosures still plentiful

Latest figures from a California online research firm confirm what the El Paso County Public Trustee's Office already has reported: Local foreclosures are on the rise. RealtyTrac Inc. released figures last week that show El Paso County foreclosures totaled 371 in November, up 29.3 percent from 287 during the same month last year. Teller County foreclosures totaled 25 in November; RealtyTrac didn't have comparable figures for 2005. RealtyTrac's figures reflect homes that are in some stage of foreclosure, not just new filings. Meanwhile, the El Paso County Public Trustee's Office reported 269 new foreclosures in November, up 71.3 percent over the same month a year ago. So far in 2006, El Paso County foreclosures total 2,390, exceeding the 2005 total of 2,289 and making this year the highest annual total of foreclosures since 2,937 in 1989, according to the Trustee's Office.