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Building Industry Show, Seminars to Examine 'Critical Issues of '90s'


A November ballot measure that would increase the gas tax to finance improvements in the state's transportation system will be the topic of one of more than 30 seminars at a Southern California building industry trade show Nov. 9-11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

"Transportation is an issue on almost every Southern California real estate project today," said Los Angeles attorney Phil Nicholson, moderator of the seminar titled "Critical Issues of the '90s." "This bill contemplates (generating) billions of dollars to improve the transportation system, which frustrates everybody."

The seminar, open to anyone in the building trades, will explore such proposed solutions to the transportation problem as toll roads, which could be built and operated by private industry; computerization of signalization to speed traffic and move drivers off freeways and onto surface streets; staggered work hours, and extended efforts to keep trucks off the streets at certain times.

Nicholson views transportation as "the big issue of the '90s," but his panel also will focus on water, air quality and endangered species.

"The kangaroo rat is a good example of the endangered species problem, which is having a major impact on real estate projects in Riverside and San Bernardino counties," he said.

"People are trying to save substantial amounts of acreage for the kangaroo rat, and this is competing with the public's desire for housing and the developer's ability to meet this need. If we don't build houses close in because the land is set aside for the kangaroo rat, we'll have to build further and further out, and then people will have commuting problems."

Preferences of Asian Buyer

In another seminar, special housing desires of Asian home buyers will be addressed.

"If a house is already under construction, it's too late (to satisfy these desires)," said Harry Lorber, who is coordinating the panel for moderator Roger Werbel, a Monterey Park home builder.

"Southern California is seeing growing numbers of Pacific Rim buyers, and some won't buy if the doors are placed in the wrong place or the houses face a certain direction."

Some Asians are believers in a Chinese mystical craft called feng shui , which teaches that these and other architectural features can determine whether a house will be affected by good or bad luck.

"The Asian Buyer" and other seminars were conceived to provide information on what Roy Humphreys, a Walnut builder and chairman of the event, terms "Southern California's special problems and opportunities."

The Pacific Coast Builders Conference, an annual builders' event, has been held in San Francisco by the California Building Industry Assn. for 31 years, but the Los Angeles exposition is the first regional show to be jointly sponsored by the Building Industry Assn. of Southern California and the National Assn. of Home Builders. The Los Angeles Times is the corporate sponsor of the show.

An economic forecast seminar, Nov. 7 at the Disneyland Hotel and Nov. 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, is also planned as part of the show but for a separate fee of $195.

The forecast, focusing on economic trends for the '90s, is co-sponsored by the BIA/SC, UCLA John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management, Center for Finance and Real Estate, and the USC Law Center and Property Forum.

Admittance to the other seminars is $90 for BIA members, $115 for others in the building industry.

A $10 fee will gain entry to 24,000 square feet of exhibits featuring the building products and services of more than 150 companies. The exhibit hall, at the Convention Center, will be open Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

More details are available from the Building Industry Assn. of Southern California at 1571 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles.

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