Real Estate News: Getting Away—but Not Too Far

Jamey Guy
House of the Day: Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz is selling his 22-acre estate in northern Georgia, baseball field and all.

Here is a look at real-estate news in Wednesday’s WSJ:

Getting Away–but Not Too Far: Sales of vacation homes are picking up as low prices pull buyers off the fence. But with travel costs rising and consumers still uncertain about the economy, many buyers are snapping up properties closer to home.

Suburban Swap: Trading a Backyard for a Train Station: LumberYard is a transit-oriented development, or TOD, one of a growing number of mixed-use developments that combine town houses or condominiums with retail shops, hotels and other businesses—all perched near a train station.

Chicago’s Spire Remains Hole in the Ground: The rubble-strewn Chicago lot where North America’s tallest residential building was to have been built is turning into an international money pit.

A Risky Bet in Charlotte:  The city’s biggest office-property sale since the downturn, an investment unit of Cargill Inc. has teamed up with two Goldman Sachs Group Inc. veterans to buy a 997,000-square-foot office park in a suburban market that has a nearly one-third vacancy rate.

Giving Helping Hands to Places of Worship: In the wake of the recession, it’s become harder for religious buildings in New York to find funding for restoration projects. But at least one program is helping to bridge the gap.

Dolby Snags Oscar-Theater Rights: The next Academy Awards will be held at the newly christened Dolby Theatre, after the audio company beat out 10 other bidders for the naming rights to the Hollywood venue that has hosted the Oscars since 2002.

In Paris, High Demand for High-End Real Estate: Storied French mutual insurer Groupama, battered by Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis, has put some prime Paris commercial real estate on the block. Fortunately for the firm, demand for top properties has stayed strong even as the crisis has raged on the Continent.

Paris Business Hub Goes on Defense: The largest business center in Continental Europe is suffering growing pains that raise questions about how and where Paris will expand in the future.

Paris Designer Retailers Find New Homes: An influx of tourists from China and Russia is prompting fashion brands to expand from traditional locations.

House of the Day: Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz is selling his 22-acre estate in northern Georgia, baseball field and all.

Europe House of the Day: This restored 11-bedroom palacete with rooftop swimming pool is located in the white village of Medina Sidonia near Cadiz in southern Spain.

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