Work could begin before the spring of next year on a new dog park in the central part of El Paso.
According to sources, the park will be built at the northwest corner of Tom Lea Lower Park at 1203 Schuster Avenue, roughly two miles to the north of downtown El Paso.
As planned, the new park, which is expected to cost just under $465,000 to build, will include water fountains, benches, waste disposal stations, maintenance gates, and a fenced-off section for smaller dogs.
Funding for the project is coming through a Community Development Block Grant.
El Paso currently has 5 off-leash dog parks of varying sizes and in different pockets of the city.
Dog parks are increasingly becoming an urban mainstay, according to the Trust for Public Lands, which has tracked a 40% increase in such parks during the last decade.
According to a study published earlier this year by the site 24/7 Wall Street, cities in the West have been particularly committed to building such parks. Albuquerque to date has built 17 dog parks, followed by Denver at 16; and Colorado Springs at 11.
By Garry Boulard
A series of what are officially called Tribal Technical Assistance Program centers are being established to facilitate the upgrading of roads and bridges in Tribal communities.
“We have heard directly from tribal leaders across the country about how decades of underinvestment in infrastructure affects tribal communities,” Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in announcing the centers.
Buttigieg noted that six of the centers are now underway, with a seventh in the planning stage.
Up to $3 billion in funding has been made available through the department’s Tribal Transportation Program, which, in turn, is funded via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The establishment of the assistance centers comes partly in response to input from tribal leaders who said they preferred a regional model to a single, centralized location.
The centers, located in Alaska, Arizona, California, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Washington, are designed to serve the twelve established Bureau of Indian Affairs regions. According to a press release issued by the DOT, the centers will be tasked with meeting the “transportation training and education needs of Native American communities, building skills and expertise to ensure the safety and maintenance of tribal roads.”
Announcement of a seventh center, designed to serve the Eastern and Midwest Bureau of Indian Affairs regions, is expected to be announced later.
By Garry Boulard
A staff report for the Durango Planning Commission has given tentative approval to the construction of a three-story, 80,000 square foot multi-purpose medical facility in Durango.
The project belongs to the Mercy Regional Medical Center and would house a variety of outpatient services as well as an ambulatory surgery center.
The site for the project is just to the north of Mercy’s main hospital building at 1010 Three Springs Boulevard between Nighthorse Circle and Primrose Circle.
In a letter to the commission, Jeff Beardsley, associate principal with the Boulder Associations architectural firm, noted that the project will also require a “reconfiguration of a portion of the soft surface single-track trail that currently exists in the area.”
The largest medical facility in southwest Colorado, Mercy Regional Medical Center is a general hospital tracing its roots to 1882. It currently houses 82 beds.
The center is owned by the larger Centura Health system, which is based in Centennial.
A specific plan for when the new Mercy Regional building will be built has not yet been released.
By Garry Boulard
Work is underway to create a new Tax Increment Development District in Albuquerque, the revenues from which will fund the expansion of a research park at the University of New Mexico.
Such districts are mechanisms used to support economic development through gross receipts tax financing as well as property tax financing for public infrastructure projects.
School officials say they want to significantly grow the UNM Science and Technology Park, while building a new entertainment district in the process, as part of a plan that has been in the talking stage for several years.
That entertainment district could include everything from a hotel and movie theater to a restaurant, bar, and retail space, with the overall project also taking in roads, water, and sewer lines and stormwater drainage.
The projected site, off University Boulevard between Basehart Road and Gibson Boulevard, encompasses just under 340 acres.
By design, the TIDD would have a 25-year life, during which time it is expected that it could generate up to $336 million.
UNM is tasking its nonprofit Lobo Development Corporation with putting together the TIDD, which will ultimately have to go before the New Mexico State Board of Finance.
That board may take action on the proposal during its upcoming December 20 meeting.
By Garry Boulard
Modest is the word most used in the preface of the just-released Beige Book to describe economic activity across the country this fall.
That preface notes that five of the dozen Federal Reserve Systems, as of the last week of November, were reporting “slight or modest gains in activity,” with the rest experiencing “slight-to-modest declines.”
The preface additionally notes that “residential construction slid further at a modest pace,” while nonresidential construction was “mixed but down slightly on average.”
Published eight times a year by the by the Federal Reserve, the Beige Book is a compilation of interviews with business people, economists, and market experts, among others, gathered from all twelve districts of the Federal Reserve.
Meant to be nothing more than a reflection of current economic attitudes and opinions, the Beige Book has come to be regarded as predictive by some economists and policymakers.
The latest publication reporting on trends in the Kansas City-based Tenth District, which takes in all of Colorado and northern New Mexico, notes that overall activity was slightly off. “Job growth was subdued as labor demand cooled. Prices continued to rise at a robust pace, but several contacts noted growth in prices of construction materials and other manufacturing inputs slowed.”
At the same time multifamily housing real estate activity swiftly declined in the Tenth District, “while energy activity expanded slightly.”
The Eleventh District, based in Dallas, including all of Texas and southern New Mexico, saw declines in retail spending, home sales, and lending activity.
“Input and labor cost increases continued, prompting cost cutting and downsizing some firms,” the report continued of Eleventh District conditions, while “outlooks were generally pessimistic, with contacts again citing concerns about inflation, labor shortages, and slowing demand.”
Meanwhile, the Twelfth District, based in San Francisco and encompassing all of Arizona, reported tight labor market conditions, slowly increased manufacturing activity, and an increase in the demand for retail goods and services.
“Residential real estate activity weakened, and lending activity declined moderately,” the report added of overall Twelfth District trends.
The latest Beige Book findings, contends the Wall Street Journal, are proof of “greater uncertainty and increased pessimism for the U.S. economy.” The publication GlobeSt, at the same time, said the publication reveals “no big disasters, just small setbacks gathering everywhere.”
By Garry Boulard
Plans are now underway for the construction of up to 265 new ranch-style homes in Prescott Valley, Arizona.
The project will belong to the Fain Signature Group, also of Prescott Valley, and will go up off E. Bradshaw Mountain Road, next to the existing Quailwood Community.
The site is roughly 7 miles to the southeast of downtown Prescott Valley.
What is being called “Parsons Preserve,” according to the website SignalsAz, will use the “Natural topography and aesthetics of the land and surrounding area to maximize the beauty of the neighborhood.”
According to plans, each home in the project will be built on sites measuring no less than 1.5 acres.
The gated community project has been long in the concept stage, with developers talking to both city and state officials, as well as area residents.
Patrons Preserve is in part a response to demographic trends in Prescott Valley, which have seen the town’s population jump from 23,500 two decades ago, to just under 47,000 today.
By Garry Boulard
Located at 125 2nd Street in downtown Albuquerque, the ten-story Hotel Andaluz is known as the very first hotel high-rise in New Mexico and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Opened in the summer of 1939, the building is treasured by preservationists as an example of New Mexico Territorial Revival design with its southwest style woodwork and roofline brick coping.
For decades a part of the Hilton Hotel chain, the hotel has now been purchased by the Legacy Hospitality company, with a renovation timetable that is expected to see completion by late 2024.
The hotel, one of the first Hilton Hotels in the country when it was built, was sold by the Hilton company in 1974, and has since been owned by a number of different entities.
Legacy Hospitality, with offices in Albuquerque, specializes in hotel, apartment, office, and retail development, has announced plans to update Hotel Andaluz’s restaurant space, while also building a new fitness center.
Built at a cost of $700,000, the Hotel Andaluz was the first structure of its kind in the state to have an elevator, and also the first to have air conditioning. The building was the fourth hotel built by hospitality magnate Conrad Hilton, who spent his 1942 honeymoon there with actress Zsa Zsa Gabor.
At the time of the hotel’s opening in 1939, the Albuquerque Journal made special note of its mezzanine, which the paper said is “constructed of quaking aspen.” The publication added: “Fifteen arches open out of the lobby into the area beneath the mezzanine.”
By Garry Boulard
The single family residential rental market, enjoying an unprecedented boom for more than a year, could soon be challenged by a less expansive economy next year.
So says an exhaustive exploration of the industry recently published by Multi-Housing News, which notes “storm clouds are gathering, brought on by the dimming economic prospects.”
In forecasting the dynamics of the industry’s particular market, the publication predicts that many capital providers will “turn cautious and take a wait-and-see stance until there is more clarity surrounding inflation, interest rates, and asset pricing.”
The challenges come as the industry itself has seen the growth of institutional landlords, thought to make up around 350,000 units nationally. Such large real estate corporations, asserts Investor’s Business Daily, have in recent years become players in a “landscape where rental homes were traditionally owned by individuals or small businesses.”
The largest number of such units are based in the states of the Sunbelt, according to a U.S. House Financial Services Oversight & Investigations committee report released this summer.
As a reflection of current market dynamics, single-family home rental prices, meanwhile, have seen an average increase of $520 per month. That means, according to the website Dwellsy, that the average $1,800 rent for such property in the fall of 2021 is now up to $2,320.
A Washington response to such ongoing trends is seen with the introduction of a bill called the “Stop Wall Street Landlords Act,” which is designed to deny certain tax and other benefits to companies earning more than $100 million a year in revenue through their single-family housing investments.
“The financialization of the housing market by Wall Street exacerbates corporate profiteering and anti-competitive practices that makes it harder for Americans to afford housing or access homeownership,” California Representative Ro Khanna, one of the sponsors of the bill, said in a statement.
That legislation is currently being reviewed by the House Committee on Ways and Means.
By Garry Boulard
Construction could begin early next year on a new medical campus in the growing city of Buckeye, Arizona.
The project belongs to the Phoenix-based Abrazo Community Health Network and is expected to see the building of a 65,000 square foot medical office facility.
As planned, the new facility will be a part of the Abrazo West Campus, which in turn, is a component of what is generally regarded as the largest health care delivery system in Arizona.
In a statement, Hans Driessnack, chief executive officer of the Abrazo West Campus, said that the “array of medical specialties and services that are committed to a presence on the Buckeye camps will have a substantial impact on the community.”
Located near the southwest corner of Interstate 10 and Verrado Way, in a part of the city with a host of planned new residential and commercial projects, the campus will also include an acute health care hospital as well as an ambulatory services facility.
The Abrazo Community Health Network was founded in 2003 and to date includes 5 acute care hospitals, as well as one cardiovascular-specialty hospital.
By Garry Boulard
Innovative Technology Hubs, with $100 Million in State Backing, Set to Be Built Throughout New Mexico
Plans have been announced for the construction of what are being called “venture studios” in Albuquerque and elsewhere in the state which are designed to serve as technology hubs bringing together in one place research and development, capital, and government incentives.
The project belongs to America’s Frontier Fund, an investment platform launched in 2021 and designed to encourage innovation and the development of critical technologies.
Support for the project is coming through the New Mexico State Investment Council, which is dedicated to growing the state’s endowment funds via sound investments and is committing $100 million to making what is being called the Roadrunner Studios a reality.
In a statement, Gilman Louie, chief executive officer of America’s Frontier Fund, noted that the group’s mission is to “build new companies and technologies based on fundamental breakthroughs in science.”
Louie added that such innovations are posed to “transform sectors like energy, healthcare, communications, and manufacturing, and will change the New Mexican, American, and global economy.”
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the Roadrunner Studios will be built in several locations across the state and will primarily be located “next to key research centers,” while being headquartered in the Duke City.
The Frontier Fund is dedicated to promoting and supporting industries in what are known as “Frontier Technologies,” which include everything from advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, microelectronics, and the quantum sciences.
By Garry Boulard
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