The site of a shopping center in northwest Phoenix that suffered extensive fire damage a year ago could soon see a massive redevelopment.
A Scottsdale-based commercial real estate investment development company called SimonCRE has announced plans to bring the Park Northern Shopping Center back to life, spending up to $18 million in the process.
That 2018 fire most affected a Safeway store at the site, which subsequently closed its doors.
As proposed, the Park Northern project calls for demolishing the former Safeway space to make way for some 60,000 square foot of newly-built space.
The arc-shaped shopping center, located on 15 acres at 3428 W. Northern Avenue, was originally built in 1981.
Work could begin on the redevelopment work later this year, with a rough completion date of early 2021.
Since its founding in 2010, SimonCRE has developed 155 projects in some 20 states.
By Garry Boulard
A vote in the U.S. House of Representatives gradually hiking the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour is expected to face tough going as it moves to the Senate.
The measure, approved on a 231 to 199 vote, would effect an immediate mandated minimum wage this year of $8.40 per hour, up from the current $7.25.
The schedule, approved in what is being called the Raise the Wage Act, then calls for yearly increases of one dollar and ten cents for each year heading into 2025 when the rate would hit $15.
In praising the legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the legislation honors workers by “giving 33 million Americans a long overdue raise and lifting many out of poverty.”
The Speaker also said that the legislation “grows our economy and increases families’ purchasing power,” adding that it will create economic growth that “lifts up all communities.”
An earlier-released analysis by the Congressional Budget Office said that up to 1.3 million people could be gradually lifted out of poverty should the House proposal become law.
Tacking a different tack, the Nashville-based National Federation of Independent Business is predicting that up to 6 million people could lose their jobs if the new minimum wage bill is passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump.
In a statement, Juanita Duggan, chief executive officer with the NFIB, remarked: “In states and municipalities across the country, a mandated minimum wage hike has consistently led to lost jobs, production, and income, and it must not be replicated on the federal level.”
Construction sector analysts, noting that the average wage in the industry today is just a little over $30 an hour, expect builders to be minimally affected should the legislation become law.
A press release issued by the Associated General Contractors of America noted that in the last year “average hourly earnings in construction—a measure of all wages and salaries—increased 3.2 percent over the year to $30.73.”
The federal minimum wage has been raised nine times since it was first implemented in 1938. The current $7.25 per hour was passed by Congress in 2009.
According to Department of Labor statistics, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico have minimum wage rates varying between $7.50 and $11.10 an hour.
By Garry Boulard
A vacant former furniture store that is part of a Roswell shopping center may soon be reconverted into a 108-seat restaurant.
The Albuquerque-based Dion’s Pizza, which specializes in pizzas, sandwiches, and salads, has announced plans to upgrade a 4,500 square-foot space in the one-story Roswell Pavilion Shopping Center.
The Roswell project is only Dion’s latest expansion effort. Besides New Mexico, the company has outlets in Colorado and Texas. Altogether, Dion’s currently operates some two dozen restaurants.
Earlier this year, Dion’s announced plans for a second location in metro Santa Fe, a 4,000 square foot restaurant inside the 550-acre mixed-use Las Soleras development.
Now one of the largest restaurant chains in New Mexico, Dion’s raised $10 million in 2014 for further expansion efforts.
The Roswell Pavilion Shopping Center, located at 1320 S. Main Street on the south side of Roswell, is in a mixed retail and residential neighborhood.
The space that Dion’s will be upgrading and reconverting was once the home of a Skeen Furniture store and warehouse, which moved out of the site in 2015.
Work is expected to begin on the new Dion’s outlet by fall, with a target completion date of early next year.
By Garry Boulard
In a market that is experiencing a pressing need for more modern senior housing, a Colorado Springs nonprofit has announced plans to build 54 new housing units.
Greccio Housing, a community housing development group promoting increased affordable housing, says it wants to build what is being called the Atrium at Austin Bluffs, with units targeting income levels ranging $19,000 a year to just over $39,000.
The project will also include a business center, library, health and fitness space, and community room.
Additional features will see the construction of a rooftop garden space and atrium as well as a small dog park.
Set to go up at the intersection of Austin Bluffs Parkway and the Templeton Gap Road, roughly six miles northeast of downtown Colorado Springs, the project has now secured funding through the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
Greccio Housing officials think the design and engineering phase of the project could take up to 18 months to complete, with actual construction launching sometime in early 2021.
Earlier this year Greccio saw the beginning of construction on another affordable housing project called the Ridge on the south side of Colorado Springs. That project, which is expected to see completion next February, includes sixty housing units of varying size.
By Garry Boulard
With hotel construction nationally showing no signs of abating, a new report contends that an increasing number of projects are incorporating sustainable building elements into the actual design of such structures.
The report, Sustainability in Hotels: Opportunities and Trends Shaping the Future of Hospitality, notes that in an effort to minimize waste and reduce construction time, the industry is more and more adapting prefabricated and identical hotel project modules that are put together offsite.
The new hotels are also seeing a greater use of smart guest room technology, as well as sustainable room fixtures and furniture, all designed to reduce the carbon footprint of such structures.
The increased use of water purification systems and circadian lighting are also regarded in the report as positive signs of hotel sustainability initiatives.
Published by the Urban Land Institute of Washington, the report details the results of a series of hotel sustainability projects nationally, while also offering the insights of just over two dozen hotel developers, investors, and owners.
A press release from the ULI states that of all commercial buildings, “hotels are among the highest per-square-foot energy and water users, and that carbon emissions for full-service hotels exceed emissions for limited-service hotels.”
In addition, the report argues that while such things as high-efficiency energy management systems undoubtedly require a greater front-end investment on the part of hotel owners, long-term dividends include increased net operating income and greater utility savings.
By Garry Boulard
A new walking and running trail that would slice through a part of downtown Albuquerque is currently the subject of talk among city officials.
As envisioned, the trail would stretch for roughly half a mile, running adjacent to existing railroad tracks between Central Avenue and Lomas Boulevard.
Five tracks crossing Central gradually merge, becoming two tracks at Lomas, and allowing for more space for the proposed walking and running trail.
According to a feasibility study put together by Albuquerque’s Planning Department, construction of the trail would also include the creation of a buffer space, with a built barrier between the path itself and the tracks.
The walking and running trail could even extend to a crossing over Marquette Street, which runs in the same direction as Central and Lomas.
How much it would cost to build the trail is not yet known.
But Albuquerque officials have contacted the New Mexico Department of Transportation regarding the right to use the adjacent train track space for the project.
The development and construction of walking and running trails adjacent to existing railroad tracks has become a national trend, with more than 2,000 miles of such trails now completed, up from only 300 in the late 1990s.
A Washington-based group called the Rails to Trails Conservancy additionally estimates that the number of new trails built on swaths of land where train tracks are no longer in operation currently equals more than 24,000 miles.
By Garry Boulard
In neighborhood mostly populated with one-story houses and apartment buildings, a Denver firm, known for its emphasis on sustainability projects, wants to develop a combined apartment and condominium complex.
The Denver-based Zocalo Community Development says it will build more than three hundred housing units in an area of the city known as Sloan’s Lake neighborhood, roughly 3 miles to the west of downtown Denver.
The visual center of what is being called 17th & Newton will be a 16-story condominium tower that residents belonging to the Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood Association have said is too tall for the surrounding area.
Also included in the development plans are a bike and pedestrian path, as well as 5,000 square feet of community space.
The project, which will go up on a 5.2-acre site, has now won the approval of the Denver City Council, members of which particularly liked its combination of luxury and affordable units.
Construction on the project’s apartment building could begin in late 2020, with work on the condominium tower slated to start two years after that.
Taking on both new construction and redevelopment work, Zocalo emphasizes water conservation, materials recycling, and solar-powered technology, among other features, in all of its projects.
By Garry Boulard
Construction spending nationally remained strong this spring in a range of categories, according to new numbers just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
But compared with last year at this same time that spending was off by 2.3 percent.
The Census says its data estimates factor the “cost of labor and materials, cost of architecture and engineering work, overhead costs, interest and taxes paid during construction, and contractors’ profits.”
As such, the bureau says that in the public construction sector, spending is up a significant 12 percent over last year at this time, with highway and street construction projects up by 18 percent.
Also in public construction, education project spending was up by 7.9 percent, while spending on transportation construction projects saw a 6.8 percent gain.
The most significant spending decreases were seen in private residential projects. While multifamily construction was up by nearly 9 percent, spending on single family projects dropped 6.5 percent.
And even though some industry analysts predicted the opposite, spending on residential improvement projects was off by 16 percent.
Spending proved uneven in other segments of the large nonresidential category with commercial construction taking a 10 percent decline, while spending on manufacturing and office construction projects increased 11 and 8.5 percent respectively.
According to the latest Census Bureau data, overall construction spending nationally was at the $1.2 trillion mark, down from $1.3 trillion in April.
By Garry Boulard
A project that could see the construction of more than 250 homes in north Carlsbad is being seen as a response to the southeastern New Mexico city’s unprecedented growth.
Members of the Carlsbad City Council have given their approval to a zoning change for the site of a new subdivision called The Flumes. That change will take the site from a rural residential district designation to a residential district number one designation.
Council members also voted to approve a zoning change for a nearby 10-acre site, going from a rural residential district to a commercial district two.
That change, applying to land just west of Callaway Drive and north of the Pecos River, will allow for the development of any number of businesses and retail operations designed to service the residents living in the larger Flumes subdivision.
Carlsbad developer George Dunagan is taking on both the residential and commercial portions of The Flumes project and has told members of the city council that he hopes to see work starting on the subdivision by late 2020.
With a population of just over 25,600 in the year 2000, Carlsbad has seen its population substantially increase due to the current boom in regional oil and gas exploration.
Although no official figures have been released, some have estimated that because of the oil work, the population of Carlsbad could today be twice what it was in 2000.
In a column recently published in the Carlsbad Current Argus, Mayor Dale Janway noted that Carlsbad is “continuing to see significant residential, commercial, and industrial development across the town.”
“We all know that building more houses and apartments is the key issue,” Janway continued, adding: “and the City is committed to supporting that effort.”
By Garry Boulard
Plans for the construction of 68-unit senior center in Santa Fe may be forestalled for the time being until some $80 million in funding is finally secured.
The non-profit retirement community El Castillo has long been interested in purchasing land at the intersection of Old Taos Highway and Paseo de Peralta to build the new center.
But although the project has been declared as eligible for industrial revenue bond funding, members of the Santa Fe City Council’s Finance Committee have decided to hold off on granting that funding for the time being.
That decision was based on a need to learn more information about the project, including its likely economic impact in the city.
As envisioned, the project would see the construction of a more than 200,000 square foot building that would also include a dining room, kitchen fitness center, and interior courtyards.
The Old Taos Highway site in question is the former home of the Presbyterian Church retreat center known as the Ghost Ranch.
A federally-recognized continuing care retirement community based in downtown Santa Fe, El Castillo was opened in 1971 and features 186 individual units, 23 of which are designed as assisted living, with eleven categorized as memory support.
In order to award the industrial revenue bonds for the project, the Finance Committee is required to approve an ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of those bonds.
The committee is expected to take up the question again during its upcoming August 19 meeting.
By Garry Boulard
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