Hyatt Regency in line for renovation money: A $225 million borrowing plan to renovate the Hyatt Regency New Orleans hotel is back on track. The hotel, next to the Superdome, has been shuttered since Hurricane Katrina. The State Bond Commission on Thursday agreed to let Poydras Properties Hotel Holdings Co. use tax-exempt bonds available through the federal Gulf Opportunity Zone Act to renovate the hotel. The company had previously gotten approval to use GO Zone bonds but then withdrew its application because of tough market conditions.
Contraction expected to get worse over the next few years: A record number of auto dealerships closed in 2008, and the contraction of car lots is expected to continue over the next several years, according to a report. More than 880,or 4.2% of all vehicle dealerships shut down, says Urban Science, which has been tracking the numbers since 1991. The bulk of closures happened in the fourth quarter. Officials with Urban Science say more dealerships will close in the future, because of the serious financial trouble the Big Three automakers are in.
Covington company hurt by housing downturn: Pool Corp., the Covington-based distributor of swimming pool and irrigation supplies, posted a seasonal fourth-quarter loss that exceeded analysts’ forecasts, the company reported Thursday. For the October-through-December period, typically a slow quarter for the company, Pool lost $14.8 million, or 31 cents per share, on revenue of $259 million, compared with a year-ago loss in the fourth quarter of $11.6 million, or 24 cents per share, on revenue of $300.8 million. The housing meltdown has adversely affected demand for Pool supplies. The company said it expects to benefit from 2009 on cost controls. For 2008, Pool earned $57 million, or $1.18 per share, on revenue of $1.78 billion, down from 2007 earnings of $69.4 million, or $1.37 per share, on revenue of $1.93 billion.