Daily digest: MEGASOFT launches a database of Japanese buildings, Greyhound is acquired by a German transit startup, and more

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Daily digest: MEGASOFT launches a database of Japanese buildings, Greyhound is acquired by a German transit startup, and more

Governors Island in New York City. (Courtesy the Trust For Governors Island)

Good afternoon and welcome to the last Friday of October. Here’s what you need to know for the weekend:

Virtually tour over 100 Japanese standout buildings with MEGASOFT’s database

Just because vaccination rates are rising and businesses (and biennials) are reopening doesn’t mean that the virtual arts and culture tours that proved so popular in 2020 are going away. Japanese architectural software development company MEGASOFT has launched a compendium of some of the country’s most well-known buildings, sorted by prefecture. Its Virtual Tour of Japanese Architecture currently holds 102 entries, dating back over 100 years in some cases.

Greyhound is acquired by a German transit startup

Beleaguered 108-year-old American bus company Greyhound Lines has a new owner. German mobility startup FlixMobility took over the iconic intercity motorcoach operator from United Kingdom-based former owner FirstGroup on October 21 in a $78 million deal that includes a vehicle fleet, trademarks, and related assets and liabilities. FirstGroup acquired Greyhound back in 2007 for $3.6 billion as part of a larger move to enter the U.S. market. Established near Duluth, Minnesota, in 1944, Greyhound has been headquartered in Dallas since 1987 and currently operates over 120 routes across North America.

“Consumers across North America are increasingly seeking affordable, comfortable, smart and sustainable mobility solutions. A compelling offering will draw significantly more travellers away from private cars to shared coach mobility,” said André Schwämmlein, co-founder and co-CEO of FlixMobility, in a statement. “Together, FlixBus and Greyhound will be better able to meet this increased demand. As our business continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, we will replicate the success that we have already achieved in 36 countries outside of the U.S. with our innovative and customer-centric approach.”

H/t to TechCrunch

Here are the schools competing to anchor Governors Island’s new climate research center

The Trust for Governors Island earlier this week announced that it has received 12 expressions of interest from over 30 global academic and nonprofit research institutions to establish a new climate solutions center on the 172-acre island in New York Harbor (now open year-round) that’s home to National Park Service-administered historic sites, public art and cultural venues, and a popular 43-acre park. The over 30 schools and nonprofits partnered to submit proposals to a competition that was launched through the release of a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) in June that “invited universities and research institutions to establish an anchor institution for a Climate Solutions Center dedicated to helping cities prepare for climate change and growing green jobs in New York City,” per a statement.

“The Climate Solutions Center on Governors Island is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our climate and New Yorkers’ futures,” said Vicki Been, New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. “We are thrilled so many world-class institutions agree. We look forward to seeing their great ideas and ultimately choosing a final program.”

While naturally profuse with New York- and New Jersey-based schools and research institutions (Cooper Union, Columbia University, the New School, Pratt Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Stevens Institute of Technology, University at Albany, and Bard College among them), the list also includes a large number of contenders from further afield including Arizona State University, Duke University, University of Oxford, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Vermont Technical College, Singapore University of Technology and Design, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and both Boise State University and the University of Idaho. The full list can be viewed here.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott allocates $3.3 billion for college and university construction

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a $3.3 billion bond package for construction and renovation projects at  institutions of higher learning across the Lone Star State. The funds are meant to aid cash-strapped colleges and universities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems will be served the largest slices of the proverbial pie, each receiving over 20 percent of the total funding. The University of Texas at Arlington, for example, will be allocated $134 million for an overhaul of its aging Life Science Building while the University of North Texas at Dallas will get $163 million to erect a new science facility.

H/t to Construction Dive

The historic Williamsburg Bray School will be relocated to Colonial Williamsburg

Eight months after researchers from Colonial Williamsburg and 328-year-old Virginia public research university William & Mary announced they had identified the original Williamsburg Bray School (and four months after the discovery was verified), a future site has been announced for the historic building on Colonial Williamsburg’s living-history campus.  The 18th-century schoolhouse is believed to be the oldest extant building in the northern hemisphere where enslaved and free Black children were educated; it is currently located two blocks from its original site at 524 Prince George Street in Williamsburg.

The newly formed Bray School Board voted unanimously last month to approve Colonial Williamsburg’s purchase of the building.Per a press release, the structure’s modern additions will be removed and it will be carefully transported it to a “new permanent home at the northwest corner of the intersection of Francis and South Nassau streets where it will be restored to its original state and used in the foundation’s public history programming.” Once relocated, the Bray School will be the 89th original historic structure on the Colonial Williamsburg campus.

“This nondescript building that was hidden in plain sight for decades is taking The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and William & Mary in a new and exciting direction,” said Cliff Fleet, president and CEO of Colonial Williamsburg, in a statement.