Day: November 16, 2020

The Mark Hotel offering $175K holiday special

Why buy a house in the Midwest when you could just spend two nights at a luxury NYC hotel instead?

The Mark Hotel on the Upper East Side is offering a holiday package that includes a private ice rink, “Nutcracker” performance, and butler for a whopping $175,000 — and that’s actually a discount from last year.

The luxe lodging offered a similar deal in 2019 year for $250,000, according to Wealth Magazine.

One-percenters with cash to burn on the “Penthouse Holiday Spectacular” get to stay in the hotel’s palatial 12,000-square-foot, five-bedroom, $75,000-a-night penthouse — which is where Meghan Markle had her baby shower.

Billed as a haven from a Big Apple holiday season placed “temporarily on hold” by the COVID-19 pandemic, the package promises to encompass “all the things we love about a New York City Christmas,” according to a press release.

Guests will have access to a private ice rink overlooking Central Park to “skate with family and friends while sipping hot chocolate under the stars and moon.”

The Mark Hotel
Francesco Tonelli

With no “Nutcracker” at Lincoln Center this year, they’ll be treated to a private rendition of the classic holiday ballet from the comfort of their suite, where a Julliard-trained pianist will also be available to serenade them.

To make things even more exclusive, the package includes an after-hours shopping spree at Bergdorf Goodman, a private screening of an unreleased Hollywood blockbuster and family portraits by fashion photographer Alexei Hay, who has shot the likes of Angelina Jolie and Bella Hadid.

A four-course holiday feast will be whipped up by the hotel’s Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and a driver, butler, nanny and massage therapist will also be on hand to attend to the guests’ every whim.

The special offer will be available from Dec. 1 onward.

Additional reporting by Paula Froelich

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FDA delays decision on Bristol Myers cancer therapy due to COVID-19 travel curbs

(Reuters) – Bristol Myers Squibb said on Monday the U.S. health regulator has deferred a decision on an experimental blood cancer therapy that it acquired in the $74 billion buyout of Celgene due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.



a blue sign in front of a building: Signage is seen outside of FDA headquarters in White Oak, Maryland


© Reuters/ANDREW KELLY
Signage is seen outside of FDA headquarters in White Oak, Maryland

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was unable to inspect a third-party manufacturing facility in Texas, a step required before the approval of the drug liso-cel, the company said.

The health regulator warned earlier this year its level of timely reviews and approvals of marketing applications could be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, which forced the FDA in October to also delay a decision on a Spectrum Pharmaceuticals drug.

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Bristol Myers said on Monday the agency had deferred its application until the inspection can be completed. The FDA was earlier expected to complete the review process by Nov. 16.

The agency’s approval of liso-cel by Dec. 31, 2020, is one of the remaining milestones required for Celgene investors to receive a conditional payment of $9 per share.

(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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Vacation rental rules policy to be reviewed

SALINAS — Four months after the County Planning Commission asked for guidance, the Board of Supervisors will get its shot at unraveling several key policy questions with regard to long-delayed vacation rental rules for popular tourist destinations such as Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley and the rest of unincorporated Monterey County.

On Tuesday, during its afternoon session starting at 1:30 p.m., the county board is scheduled to consider reviewing and providing direction on the draft rules, including seven key policy issues ranging from the potential impact of vacation rentals on affordable housing to plans for supporting, monitoring and enforcing the proposed regulations.

According to a staff report, a number of “lingering” policy questions remain even after “numerous” community meetings and county Planning Commission sessions. The commission at its July 8 meeting decided to draft a letter to the county board asking for its guidance on five key issues. Staff subsequently added two more issues for the supervisors’ consideration.

Key issues include:

  • How vacation rentals impact the availability of already scarce affordable housing.
  • The plan for enforcing the vacation rental rules once they are implemented.
  • Evidence supporting the argument that vacation rentals are a similar use to residential homes in character and intensity and neighborhood impact.
  • How vacation rentals count against visitor-serving unit caps in certain areas, if at all.
  • And whether certain neighborhoods and communities should be provided special rules.

Staff’s related policy questions include:

  • Whether the proposed rules for “limited” vacation rentals (operated almost exclusively by a “principal resident” as opposed to “commercial” vacation rentals) are sufficient to consider their impacts similar to those of residential homes, and thus would not require discretionary approval and qualify for a ministerial permit.
  • Whether both limited and commercial vacation rentals should be counted against visitor-serving unit caps, if at all.

Development of the vacation rental rules for the unincorporated areas of the county began in 2012 with community meetings. It has been the subject of input from a variety of agencies and stakeholders over the years. Several previous drafts have been heavily criticized by both proponents and opponents of vacation rentals, and underwent extensive revisions over the years.

Board direction on the policy issues would trigger environmental review of the proposed regulations. Staff would subsequently provide options and recommendations for a proposed implementation and compliance plan including potential funding mechanisms when the final draft regulations and environmental review return to the county Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for consideration.

Also Tuesday, during the morning session starting at 10:30 a.m., the county board is set to consider a 2019-20 budget end-of-year report, which should provide some insight into the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions on business, as well as approval of changes to the board’s legislative program in support of state and federal efforts to address the “digital divide” for area students in response to a formal referral from Board Chairman Chris Lopez and Supervisor Luis Alejo.

And, the board is scheduled to receive its regular verbal public

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New luxury hotel near River Walk brings glitz, glamour, much needed economic impact

SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio is growing so fast and you might now notice a new sight on the city’s skyline.

The brand new Thompson San Antonio hotel is full of glitz and glamour and economic impact for the Alamo City.

“At a time where the hospitality industry is a challenging industry, we’re bringing new jobs to San Antonio that really needs it; we will add about 150 jobs at opening and through time that will probably grow to about 200,” General Manager Ted Knighton said.

And San Antonio needs jobs, especially in the tourism industry.

“One in seven San Antonians work in the tourism and hospitality industry so you know when the numbers are down it has a seismic impact on our local economy,” Richard Oliver, director of partner and community relations for Visit San Antonio said.

Photos show 20-story luxury hotel opening up near the River Walk

The pandemic has been devastating across the country, but especially here.

“I think tourism and hospitality especially in San Antonio, the third largest industry in the city, has been hit hard. We have lost almost $365 million in economic impact, just in meetings we’ve lost,” Oliver said.

So, the Thompson Hotel could help our market because there appears to be a need.

“There’s not enough luxury product in San Antonio, particularly on the weekends where the leisure travel is demanding for larger guest rooms with outdoor space, which we have, and a contemporary modern design,” Knighton said.

In fact, this new lavish lodging could actually serve as an attraction.

“The Thompson hotel is going to be a big destination for folks. We’ve seen it with Hotel Emma and it shows that there is a market in San Antonio for a good luxury lodge and certainly the Thompson is going to be that,” Oliver said.

It will a unique feature to the Alamo City to say the least.

“As you can see there’s no rooftop bar lounge perspective like we have and I’m so excited to introduce it to the locals, because you can see San Antonio from another angle 20 stories up,” Knighton said.

The rooftop bars and restaurants are open to the public starting Jan. 27.

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Airbnb Reveals Falling Revenue, With Travel Hit by Pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO — Airbnb, the home rental service that disrupted the travel industry and was itself disrupted by the coronavirus, took a major step toward one of the year’s largest initial public offerings when it revealed declining revenue and growing losses in a prospectus on Monday.

The offering, which could value Airbnb at more than $30 billion and raise as much as $3 billion, will test investors’ appetite for hospitality-related stocks in a year when the industry has been battered and its future is uncertain. The company provides a marketplace for people to rent their homes, taking a percentage of the fees, and facilitates bookings for activities.

Airbnb’s prospectus painted an optimistic picture, advertising its brand’s association with unique travel experiences. “We have helped millions of people satisfy a fundamental human need for connection,” the company said. “And it is through this connection that people can experience a greater sense of belonging.”

In total, Airbnb brought in $2.5 billion in revenue in the first nine months of the year, down from $3.7 billion a year earlier. Its net loss more than doubled during that period to $697 million. The company’s shrinking revenue means it cannot pitch Wall Street on the typical tech start-up narrative of soaring growth. It was the first time Airbnb provided a comprehensive look at its finances.

Airbnb was valued at $31 billion before the pandemic, but some investors bought shares valuing it at $18 billion after travel ground to a halt.

Airbnb follows a string of highly valued start-ups to the public market this year. Listing shares in recent months, to mixed reviews, were Palantir, a data company valued at $20 billion; Unity Technologies, a gaming software business worth $6.2 billion; Snowflake, a data storage start-up worth $12.4 billion; and Asana, a collaboration technology provider valued at $1.5 billion. On Friday, the delivery start-up DoorDash also revealed its finances in preparation for going public.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Deputy involved in shooting near Dania Beach hotel

A Broward Sheriff’s deputy shot someone in Dania Beach on Monday morning, the Sheriff’s Office said.



a group of people standing in front of a fence: The Broward Sheriff's Office is currently working an incident regarding a deputy involved shooting located at the 160 block of Southwest 19th Court in Dania Beach on Monday, November 16, 2020.


© Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is currently working an incident regarding a deputy involved shooting located at the 160 block of Southwest 19th Court in Dania Beach on Monday, November 16, 2020.

The shooting happened in the 160 block of Southwest 19th Court, in a parking lot near the Home2 Suites by Hilton.

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A yellow tarp covered a body that lay in the road, according to aerial images of the scene broadcast by WSVN-Ch. 7. Those images also showed a handgun on the ground nearby.

A front desk manager at Home2 Suites, who declined to give her name, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the person who was shot was not a guest at the hotel. She said she didn’t witness the shooting but heard the gun shots.

Sheriff’s cruisers were blocking the west lanes of Stirling Road, and drivers should avoid the area.

No additional information about the deputy or person who was shot was immediately available.

This is a developing story, so check back for updates. Click here to have breaking news alerts sent directly to your inbox.

Austen Erblat can be reached at [email protected], 954-599-8709 or on Twitter @AustenErblat.

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©2020 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

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Hartsfield-Jackson hotel project faces more delays

“We are considering the challenges the hotel project is facing due to the pandemic as we work to a reasonable extension of the due diligence period,” the airport said in its written statement.

The City of Atlanta, which owns and operates the Atlanta airport, agreed to a six-month extension and is negotiating an amendment to the lease with the developer. The due diligence period had been set to expire Nov. 12, and was extended for 60 days while negotiations continue on the terms for a longer extension.

The due diligence period allows the developer time to complete land surveys and geotechnical testing and for city, state and federal agencies to review plans. It’s also when financing is secured.

Majestic declined to comment.

Majestic Carter was chosen for the contract in 2015. In 2016, then-Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed held a press conference saying construction would begin by early 2018 and be completed in 2020.

That didn’t happen.

The airport in 2017 agreed to a $500,000 annual discount on rent to the hotel developers as a concession for reducing space for the hotel by a couple of acres.

Majestic Carter originally planned to build an InterContinental hotel next to the airport, but last year developers announced it would be a Hilton. The 14-story, 541-room hotel was tentatively scheduled to open sometime in 2022.

Last year, to make way from the first stages of construction, the airport relocated shuttle pickups and closed the West economy parking lot.

Majestic Carter has received permits for land disturbance work and for the first phase of structural design. Last year, fencing was erected and pre-construction work began, including preparation for utilities.

The Atlanta City Council will have to approve extending the due diligence period to May 2021.

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Public reacts to new St James Quarter hotel as viral tweet shows finishing touches to exterior

The strongly-worded tweet, by Twitter account “Crappy Cheapo Architecture” highlighted the new twirled metal sculpture that sits atop the building on Leith Street, labelling it “horrendous”.

Other twitter users were quick to voice their opinions, and the tweet has been liked by more than 1,300 people.

One unimpressed user wrote: “It’s not been nicknamed ‘The Golden Turd’ for no reason.

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Members of the public have been weighing in on the latest addition to Edinburgh’s skyline, as a tweet highlighting the new St James Quarter hotel goes viral.
Members of the public have been weighing in on the latest addition to Edinburgh’s skyline, as a tweet highlighting the new St James Quarter hotel goes viral.

“That it has been allowed to dominate the skyline above the heart of the New Town demonstrates appalling judgement on the part of whoever gave it planning permission.”

Another called it “dreadful”, adding: “One of the worlds great architectural cities and they bring this ‘Disney’ architecture to town.”

One person joked: “The planning officer must really hate Edinburgh.”

Another took aim at Edinburgh City Council, writing: “It never ceases to amaze me what terrible stewards Edinburgh council are.

“They have no idea both what they have or how to cherish it.”

Others disagreed, however, reminding people of what had been at the site before the development.

“It’s a vast improvement on the St James Centre as was, and the rest of the development seems decent enough, so not going to complain too hard.”

Among a host of nicknames for the sculpture, several tweets referred to it as the “Walnut Whip”.

“If it was a Walnut Whip,” one user wrote, “at least it would have context.

“Walnut Whips were originally made by Duncan’s of Edinburgh.”

So perhaps the hotel’s eye-catching design is fitting after all.

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Thanksgiving travel: COVID-19 makes cars, planes high-risk

Determined to travel for Thanksgiving?

Doing so increases your risk of being exposed to the coronavirus and of possibly spreading it to others, experts warn. Nonetheless, millions of Americans are expected to take to the skies for the holiday. Although it marks a 48% decline from last year, AAA estimates that 2.4 million Americans will still travel by air for Thanksgiving. An additional 48 million people will travel by car, a 4% drop.

Health officials across the country are urging people to avoid nonessential travel.

“We’re actually recommending this Thanksgiving be a stay-at-home Thanksgiving,” said Barbara Ferrer, the L.A. County director of public health. “If you are going to travel, we do ask when you come back that you quarantine for 14 days.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom echoed that plea on Friday, urging Californians to not travel out of state and to quarantine if they do.

“Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.

There’s reason to be concerned: Early this year in China, a large spike in travel around the Lunar New Year holiday accelerated the spread of the coronavirus throughout the country and beyond its borders.

Here in the U.S., coronavirus cases are rising significantly, at rates not seen previously in the pandemic. “The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel and spread the virus to others when you return,” the CDC cautions.

Airports, train stations and rest stops are places where people are at risk of being exposed to the virus and it can be difficult to stay six feet away from others, as health experts strongly recommend. At airports, for example, travelers must wait in security lines and gather at gates before boarding their planes.

Once on a plane, where you sit matters. “There’s actually research on this, believe it or not: You want to sit at the window,” Dr. George Rutherford, epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert at UC San Francisco, said during a recent campus town hall. “And you want to sit as far away from the toilets as much as possible, which would minimize how often you’re near passengers walking past you…You want to be as far away from that action as possible.”

Rutherford also recommended choosing airlines that are not selling the middle seats in rows to increase distancing between passengers. “I think that’s important,” he said.

“Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes,” the CDC says. “However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within six feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19.”

If you find yourself needing to take a taxi or rideshare, the CDC recommends to avoid riding with unmasked drivers or passengers; avoid touching surfaces; don’t accept free water bottles; sit as far

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Capital One Venture card 100,000-mile bonus: Ends December 14, 2020.

This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the offers you see on the page are from our partners like Citi and American Express, but our coverage is always independent. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

  • The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is one of the best rewards credit cards, especially if you don’t want to keep track of bonus categories.
  • The standard sign-up bonus is 50,000 miles, but for a limited time there’s a much bigger welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • This offer ends on December 14, so there’s not much time left to apply.
  • You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar no matter what you buy, and it has a reasonable annual fee of $95.
  • See Business Insider’s list of the best travel credit cards »

Even if you have no idea when you’ll feel comfortable traveling again, it’s a good idea to build up your stash of points and miles now. After several pretty quiet months on the rewards credit card front, we’re now seeing exciting new sign-up offers, so you have great options for getting started.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card currently has one of the biggest offers available: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. And now it’s been given an end date — this increased bonus will end on December 14, so if you’ve been considering the offer you should apply soon.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Regular APR

17.24% to 24.49% variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Featured Reward

Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Annual Fee: $95
    • Sign-Up Bonus: 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
    Pros
    • Annual fee waived the first year
    • No bonus categories to keep track of
    • Includes up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
    Cons
    • Other
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