One of the world’s leading streaming entertainment services has announced plans to significantly expand its footprint in Albuquerque.
Netflix Incorporated says it will invest up to $150 million in capital expenditures to add to its existing facilities in the city’s Mesa Del Sol neighborhood.
Two years ago, to much fanfare, Netflix purchased Albuquerque Studios, subsequently spending up to $200 million in metro Albuquerque and larger New Mexico.
With the new expansion, adding some 300 acres to Netflix’s current Albuquerque operations, the company’s studios will become one of the largest film and TV production facilities in the country.
The expansion project will see the building of any number of backlots, production offices, and training facilities, along with ten stages.
In a statement, Ted Sarandos, co-chief executive officer of Netflix, noted that one of the reasons for the company’s renewed commitment to the Land of Enchantment is the state’s “outstanding production and business environment in close proximity to Los Angeles, with some of the best crews and creative talent in the world.”
To help secure the expansion project, the State of New Mexico has agreed to put up around $17 million in Local Economic Development Act funding. Another $3 million is coming through the city’s local economic development funds.
The City of Albuquerque has additionally promised to issue an Industrial Revenue Bond to be used over a two-decade period for the abatement of property and other taxes.
Netflix’s Albuquerque facilities have been noticed within the industry for the pace of its work since the 2018 purchase. Current projects include the film The Harder They Fall and the Intrusion television series.
The company says it wants to start work, perhaps early next year, on the series Stranger Things.
With more than 195 paid subscribers, Netflix has become a formidable market presence offering TV series, movies, and documentaries.
The company additionally operates production facilities in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York, among other locations.
By Garry Boulard
What couldn’t be achieved in the weeks before the presidential election may become reality before Christmas as President-elect Joe Biden appears ready to push for Congressional passage of new stimulus legislation.
Earlier this fall Democrat and Republican Congressional leaders were unable to agree on a spending bill ranging in size from $500 billion to $2 trillion.
But, according to sources, Biden has expressed concerns that the country could be facing a recessionary economy in 2021, thus making the need for a new stimulus bill more pressing.
Many of Biden’s top economic advisers, according to the New York Times, are particularly worried about a “wave of evictions and foreclosures” requiring “more urgent action before year’s end.”
That action may see a Democrat proposal smaller than the $2 trillion earlier proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
There are also indications that Biden, upon taking office, may issue a series of executive orders deferring student loan payments and extending moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
The Biden team has said that new stimulus legislation is particularly needed because of a wave of lockdowns in response to a recent spike in Covid-19 deaths.
The initial pandemic stimulus legislation passed by Congress resulted in more than 160 million Americans receiving a check of at least $1,200 from the Treasury Department last spring.
For his part, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is open to new stimulus legislation sooner rather than later.
Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell remarked: “We want to reach agreement on all areas where compromise is well within reach, send hundreds of billions of dollars to urgent and uncontroversial programs, and let Washington argue over the rest later.”
By Garry Boulard
Work could begin before next spring on a 50,000 square-foot building that will be part of a larger phased-in office complex development in Colorado Springs.
As proposed by the Denver-based Flywheel Capital, a privately held commercial real estate investment company, the structure will go up inside the Colorado Spring Airport’s growing Peak Innovation Park.
Flywheel envisions an eventual complex with around 210,000 square feet of Class A office space on a 22-acre site.
Work on the first initial office structure is expected to be completed by the late summer of next year, with the overall larger complex wrapping in 2023.
Flywheel in recent months has purchased the 73,000 square foot Park Centre Business Park in Westminster, as well as The Cameron, a 362-unit apartment community in Denver.
The Peak Innovation Park will feature structures not built for a particular tenant, but most likely appealing to area aerospace companies and defense contractors.
Flywheel officials have said they are bullish regarding the future of office construction in the area, particularly after a Covid-19 vaccine proves successful and a demand for new office space makes itself known.
The larger Peak Innovation Park measures around 900 acres and is located at the entrance to the Colorado Springs Airport.
By Garry Boulard
Plans continue to advance for the construction of a large high-rise set to go up in downtown Tucson that will include apartment, office, and retail space.
The project is slated for construction at a currently vacant site at 75 E. Broadway Boulevard and is being developed Tucson Group Holdings.
As planned, the structure will have nearly 14,000 square feet of retail space. Part of that space will be taken up by a CVS outlet, which will comprise 9,800 square feet.
Just under 18,000 square feet of flex space will be built into the building’s second floor, with three floors devoted to offices.
The remaining upper levels of the floor will see apartment spaces of varying sizes.
Also included in the project, which is being called 75 Broadway: a pedestrian alley slicing through the middle of the block with retail, restaurant, and bar space.
Plans for the big project have already been submitted to the City of Tucson.
The site was formerly the home of the 3-story Roskruge Hotel, which was built in 1924, but demolished just over six decades later in 1984.
Work could begin on the new mixed-use sometime next year, with a general completion date of 2024.
By Garry Boulard
New student housing projects are either launching or in the planning stage across the country, even as the continuing presence of Covid-19 has negatively impacted enrollment numbers.
Among the projects underway just this month: a $100 million student housing complex for Louisiana State University’s medical school in New Orleans; and a $1.1 billion mixed-use project at the Davis campus of the University of California that will include student housing.
Meanwhile, plans have been announced for the building of a $32 million student housing facility at Morgan State University in Baltimore; along with an $87 million, 25-story student tower at Georgia State University.
The new projects are coming at the same time that the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has released a new report showing that undergraduate enrollment is off by 4.4% over the fall of 2019.
Four year colleges have been hit the hardest with a 10.5% decline, followed by private schools, seeing an 8.5% drop.
Undergraduate enrollment, according to the center’s statistics, has dropped some 3.5% in Arizona in the last year, with Colorado taking a 5.9% decline, and New Mexico off by 9.7%.
Compounding the challenge for new student housing is the overwhelming number of schools that are currently conducting classes online, with only 25% offering instruction in person.
Even so, argues the publication Building Design + Construction: “There will always be a need for residence life that allows students to collaborate, socialize, and interact.”
Agrees Multi-Housing News: “Student housing professionals remain optimistic about the future.”
But industry sources say that while significantly large new student housing projects are expected to continue well into 2022, the nuts and bolts of their construction will change in response to the pandemic.
Those sources predict less dense designs, with a greater emphasis on pedestrian flow in new student housing projects.
Also on deck: more outdoor and open spaces, HVAC and touchless access, and increased Wi-Fi due to the fact that so many students will be video conferencing or streaming.
By Garry Boulard
A popular metro Albuquerque donut and coffee shop has received an early green light to build a new 1,300 square foot location in Rio Rancho.
Members of the Rio Rancho Governing Body have given their approval to site plans for the project, which is slated to go up in the 2000 block of Unser Boulevard SE.
As planned, the new Rise + Roast Donuts + Coffee outlet, located within the Petroglyph Medical Plaza, will feature a drive-up window, as well as space for both indoor and outdoor seating.
Project architect for the new location is the Albuquerque-based 66 Architect LLC. A rendering of the project shows a one-story building with a wrap-around glass exterior.
That exterior will be additionally comprised of stucco, metal and fiber board paneling.
Rise + Roast opened its first location roughly 2 years ago at 401 Eubank Boulevard SE and has since sparked a devoted following for its lattes and wide variety of donuts, rolls, fritters and other delicacies.
By Garry Boulard
Work could begin early next year on the construction of a 60-bed hospital that will go up on the southeast side of Tucson.
TMC HealthCare, which is based in Tucson, says the new hospital will be part of an ongoing three-phase program seeing the health care service build out a 22-acre campus medical campus at 10350 E. Drexel Road.
That effort has so far seen the construction of a two-story, 44,000 square foot medical office structure housing primary and urgent care services that was opened in early 2017.
Work is now underway on the project’s second phase: an ambulatory surgery center scheduled for completion in the fall of 2021.
The third phase of the Rincon Health Campus will be the new 60-bed hospital, which will measure around 150,000 square feet.
In a statement, Judy Rich, chief executive officer of TMC Health Care, said the company has offered services to metro Tucson for decades, but that “over time, we have expanded access to healthcare for communities in southeast Tucson.”
Launched as the Tucson Medical Center, the health care service opened its first hospital in Tucson during World War II.
It is thought that the new hospital will cost around $80 million to build.
By Garry Boulard
The market popularity of residential space in less dense parts of the country will become increasingly apparent next year as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, says a comprehensive new report.
According to Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021, published by the Urban Land Institute, homebuyers in the next year are going to be more interested in affordable housing largely in suburban locations.
This means that a movement first tracked by demographers several years ago of young people moving out of urban cores and into the suburbs is only going to increase in 2021.
“The next three to five years could be difficult as demographics favor suburban locations, and restrictions on public transit, office and retail/restaurant density, and live entertainment—and individuals’ concerns about them—make big city life less appealing,” notes the study.
That same demographic is more interested than ever in neighborhoods with plenty of open spaces and parks.
At the same time the ULI study is forecasting a growing demand among retailers for smaller spaces, a trend that may nicely dovetail with the need for mall owners to find new tenants.
Those owners, suggests the study, will increasingly prove willing to break down the spaces left vacant in the wake of closed department stores such as Sears and JC Penny in order to accommodate the more modest needs of newer retailers.
The study, done in conjunction with the tax and consulting service PwC, is based on information provided by more than 1,600 leading real estate experts, and says that overall, Sunbelt cities are likely to prove more popular in 2021 than their counterparts in the North.
Noting that while properties with a large public use component such as sports and entertainment venues are proving less appealing because of the pandemic, “logistics facilities and data centers are generally thriving.”
The study also looks at the future of the urban office, noting that because of the pandemic, many companies have adjusted to having staff working remotely and may keep that practice intact long after Covid-19 has finally died.
“On the other hand,” suggests the study, “the belief is strong among our interviewees that offices provide an amenity-rich environment that fosters communication, creativity, and collaboration that cannot easily be replicated in a workforce entirely ensconced in their homes.”
By Garry Boulard
A decision is expected to be made before the end of the year regarding the construction of a new skate park in Las Cruces or the renovation of an existing one.
Members of the Las Cruces City council are weighing the two options, both of which will cost more than $1 million.
One calls for upgrading an existing 33,000 square foot facility at 151 N. Walnut Street that was built in 1998, but has since experienced some structural decline. It is thought that it will cost just over $1 million for the upgrade.
The second option envisions the construction of a new park, with a cost estimate of $1.4 million.
Earlier this year, Las Cruces received some $845,000 in funding to be applied for either project as a capital outlay approved by the New Mexico State Legislature.
The city is also contemplating construction of several smaller “skate spots” in existing parks in various parts of the city, measuring anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet, with a cost estimates ranging between $50,000 and $200,000.
The city is accepting public comments on the various skate park proposals until November 23, with the hope of making a decision before the end of the year.
An online petition organized last year attracted around 2,000 signatures asking for a new park.
City officials say the design work on either option could begin in early 2021.
By Garry Boulard
Addressing an ongoing controversy, members of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission are expected to vote next week on new rules that will limit the amount of land that can be used for oil and gas exploration.
The commission has already approved a 2,000-foot setback between any drilling and a residential dwelling, while also taking into consideration the proximity of communities that have been historically impacted by past drilling activity.
Those communities include Native American, minority, and low-income neighborhoods where drilling may have taken place.
Now members of the commission are expected to decide on a proposal that will additionally ban drilling activity within 500 feet or more of riparian areas, up from the current 300 feet.
In 2018 Colorado voters rejected a state proposition that would have increased by 2,000 additional feet the then existing 500-foot drilling setback.
But last year Colorado lawmakers approved a bill changing the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation from one of basically promoting drilling, to one that looks at such activity more critically.
The change of the commission’s purpose has been met with criticism by the state’s oil and gas drillers, as well as the Denver-based Common Sense Institute which recently claimed that such proposed setbacks, or buffer zones, could eliminate up to $2 billion in drilling, costing the state and local governments $130 million in tax revenue.
Last year, Colorado was the fifth largest oil-producing state in the country at 187 million barrels per year, behind New Mexico’s 339 million and Texas’ 1.8 billion barrels.
By Garry Boulard
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