A move to upgrade and modernize an existing building in southeast Albuquerque for a growing and diversified business owned by a Florida-based corporation is receiving some $36 million in economic incentives.
Earlier this summer, Nypro Healthcare Baja, based in Carson City, Nevada, announced plans to enhance a structure located at 3801 University Boulevard.
The company, a subsidiary of the St. Petersburg, Florida-based Jabil Incorporated, manufactures everything from telecommunications equipment, computing hardware, and electronics specifically geared for the aerospace, energy, and medical sectors.
The building on University Boulevard will be used to expand Nypro’s 3-D printing technology, an effort that Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, in a statement, said would help to strengthen the city’s “foothold in key technologies and builds on our assets as a technology hub.”
Winning the support last month of the Albuquerque Development Commission, the project has now been approved for $36 million in industrial revenue bonds, along with another $250,000 in Local Economic Development Act funds for the building project.
Nypro expects to invest up to $3.6 million of its own money in renovating and improving the University Boulevard structure.
By the requirements of the ordinance authorizing the bonds, Nypro will hire up to 120 employees, while also agreeing to operate the University Boulevard facility for a minimum of ten years.
By Garry Boulard
A new industry survey suggests that one of the most difficult things about running a construction company is estimating project costs.
The survey, conducted by the Eagle, Idaho-based TSheets by Quick Books, indicated that roughly 20 percent of respondents regarded such estimates as their most troublesome financial activity.
Meanwhile, another 38 percent said their most challenging estimate was figuring out how much to pay workers.
Despite those numbers, some 46 percent of respondents revealed that they now use accounting software to help them come up with realistic estimate figures.
According to Dottie Chong, a writer for TSheets by Quick Books, even though 19 percent of respondents additionally indicated they are using technology to keep track of labor costs, “half of the businesses surveyed are tracking time manually.”
Chong noted that a large number of companies still have managers keeping track of employee hours, or continue to use either a punch clock or paper time cards.
An embrace of new and available record-keeping technology, Chong added, could save time for companies, letting “users track work hours automatically, with location-aware features for added accuracy,” she added.
Even with the continued embrace of older cost-estimating methods, a report released late last year by the publication Fortune indicated that, nationally, construction companies are increasingly “leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud-based data analytics, and mobile computing to drive efficiency and boost margins.”
The report added that in the last 5 years, more than $18 billion has been invested by venture capital firms focusing on an array of new technology for what is seen as a growing construction market.
By Garry Boulard
A current El Paso elementary school will soon be re-purposed as a planetarium.
The Crosby Elementary School at 5411 Wren Avenue on the northeast side of the city is one of four schools that the El Paso Independent School District earlier this year decided to close.
The reason for that decision was the school’s steadily shrinking enrollment, which has seen it operating at a capacity rate of less than 65 percent.
But now, an entirely different use for the structure has been found with a vote by the EPISD Board of Trustees that will see the school serve as the new home to the Gene Roddenberry Planetarium.
The current Roddenberry planetarium, named in honor of El Paso native Gene Roddenberry, creator of the legendary 1960s Star Trek television series, is located at 6531 Boeing Drive.
That structure has also served as EPISD’s main administration offices.
But because that headquarters is being relocated to a downtown building that does not have the room needed for a planetarium, the idea of moving it into the Crosby building quickly gained currency.
The enabling Board of Regents vote comes after a partnership was joined between the district and the City of El Paso for the project.
In order to make the project a reality, that partnership has now secured around $1.1 million in funding from both a Community Development Block Grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as EPISD matching funds.
The funding will be used for roof upgrades to the Crosby building, as well as the carving out of planetarium space in the building, a process that will include the construction of a 40-foot dome.
Work on the Crosby school, which was originally built in the late 1950s, is expected to begin next year, with an anticipated early 2021 opening.
Originally opened in 1969, the Roddenberry planetarium has proven an enduring attraction for both local residents as well as visitors, offering regularly scheduled tours of the sky and deep space galaxies.
By Garry Boulard
A new 34,000 square foot building that will house advanced integrative medicine research may be going up near the main campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson.
School officials have said that they would like to see construction begin on the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine sometime next year with a completion date set for some time in 2022.
The building is one of several new construction and existing facility upgrades that have been submitted to the Arizona Board of Regents for approval.
If approved, the structure would go up near the intersection of East Mabel Street and North Vine Avenue in a neighborhood populated with offices and single-story houses.
According to the capital plan submitted to the regents, the new facility would be designed to offer a “physical environment that supports the evidence-based philosophy of integrative medicine.”
The document further states that the center will “support a distinctive life-enhancing environment that will attract the local community, national, and international visitors.”
The building would be named in honor of well-known physician Andrew Weil, a prominent proponent of alternative medicine and therapies.
A program, also named in honor of Weil, has been up and running on the UA campus since 1994.
Funding to build the new center is expected to come primarily through private donations.
By Garry Boulard
The cost of building a nonresidential building increased by 5.6 percent in August over the same time period a year ago, says a new survey just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The producer price index, measuring what a wide range of contractors charge for their work, charted a 4.2 percent increase in the healthcare building segment, and a 4.8 percent jump in new office building construction.
Larger increases were seen in the warehouse segment, with a 5.6 percent jump, and in industrial building construction, with a 6.6 percent increase.
The largest jump was recorded in school construction, with the index showing a 6.9 percent increase over August of 2018.
The index also revealed a 2.4 percent increase for roofing contractor prices and a 5.6 percent jump for plumbing contractors.
One of the largest increases was seen with concrete contractors, experiencing a 7.2 percent increase over last summer.
A press release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, looking at the overall arc of product prices, noted that pries for fuels, chemicals, and allied products also were on the upside.
“Conversely,” said the BLS statement, “margins for machinery and vehicle wholesaling declined 4.2 percent.”
By Garry Boulard
After years of discussions among the members of the local district school board, voters in Grand Junction, Colorado will finally get to decide on the question of whether they want to see built a brand new high school.
The current Grand Junction High School was opened in 1956 and is in rough shape. “Woeful, decrepit, and obsolete,” a columnist of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel recently put it. “Anyone that’s spent time in that building could surely conjure up additional adjectives to describe it.”
Problems with the structure include classrooms with no windows, sagging floors, and more than two dozen entry and exit points—a greater safety concern today than when the structure was originally built.
On top of everything else, the school has also suffered at times from both rodent and cockroach infestation.
The new school would cost $124 million to build, and would be folded into a larger $189 million bond that would also fund repairs to three other existing high schools.
Proponents of Proposal 4A feel particularly hopeful regarding the November ballot, considering that voters in District 51, which takes in all of Mesa County, approved a similar bond proposal in late 2017 designed to fund the construction of a new middle school.
As proposed, the new high school, with a single point of entry and exit, would include classrooms, gymnasium, auditorium, studio, and both lab and office space.
If approved, construction on the new high school would begin sometime next year on the north side of the current high school’s campus at 1400 N. 5th Street.
Upon completion of the new school in the fall of 2022, the existing school will be demolished.
By Garry Boulard
An ongoing movement to improve the popular and much-used Las Cruces Skate Park may be spurred by a study showing exactly how much it will cost to take on such work.
Members of the Las Cruces City Council are expected to soon decide on contracting out for what will essentially be a feasibility study looking at how much upgrading work the park currently needs and what the final price tag will be.
Earlier this year, public testimony was received by council members indicating that while the park, located at 151 N. Walnut Street, was considered advanced at the time of its opening in 1998, it has aged simply due to use.
Work on the new study, if approved by the council, will be taken on by the Albuquerque-based Morrow Reardon Wilkinson and Miller Landscape Architecture firm.
City officials say the study must be completed by the end of the year in order for the project to be included as part of Las Cruces’ 2020 capital improvement request list.
Projects making that list can be funded through both local and state sources.
An online petition calling for the construction of an entirely new skate park has so far attracted more than 1,900 signatures. That petition on the Change.Org website claims that the park’s “transitions are completely messed up and parts of the park are sinking.”
By Garry Boulard
Exactly one hundred existing Macy’s stores are scheduled to get a new look in the next two years.
The effort is a continuation of some $200 million in upgrades that the department store giant has already spent on fifty existing stores.
Upgrades for the next one hundred stores will see the building out of space for clothing; entirely new children’s shoes and mattresses departments, and upgraded fitting rooms and restrooms.
Also included will be new LED lighting and new flooring.
With corporate offices in both New York and Cincinnati, Macy’s, with roots reaching back to 1858, is one of the oldest department store chains in the country.
The company, seeing revenues last year of $25.7 billion, currently has more than six hundred stores throughout the U.S., with just under 140 located in the southwest.
According to a statement from the company, store upgrade work is scheduled to take place at the Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix and the Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale.
Colorado will see an upgrade of its Cherry Creek Macy’s outlet, with an upgrade also scheduled for the Macy’s store in Albuquerque’s Coronado Center.
The Macy’s outlet in El Paso’s Cielo Vista Mall is also scheduled for upgrade work.
In a statement, John Harper, Macy’s chief stores officer, said customer response to the chain’s initial 50-store upgrade “has given us the confidence to expand the strategy to 100 more stores this year.”
By Garry Boulard
Spurred by the $41 million upgrade of N. Brighton Boulevard, new office and commercial space projects have seen construction in the last two years up and down the four-lane thoroughfare.
Now, a new 10-story office building may soon be going up at the site of one of the last small businesses on the street: the Do-It-Ur-Self plumbing supply store in the 3100 block of Brighton.
Although the name of the project’s developer has not yet been publicly revealed, the new building will include nearly 9,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, with 325,000 square feet of office space on floors two through ten.
The remaining upper two floors on the 1.8-acre site will taper off to around 80,000 square feet.
Also to be included in the project is parking space for just over 600 vehicles that will be built to the rear of the structure on floors one through five.
The upgrading of Brighton, which has included the addition of two lanes and new street lights and sidewalks, has spurred up to $61 million in new residential and commercial construction in the area, according to city officials.
The one-story Do-It-Ur-Self structure, which was built in 1949, houses a building that was once a machinery shop, becoming a plumbing supply business in the early 1970s.
The structure, which will be demolished to make way for the new 10-story project, is the last such older building of its kind on a street that is now dominated by new multi-story complexes.
Although an initial development proposal for the project has been submitted to the city, a construction schedule remains to be announced.
Formerly a district largely made up of manufacturing plants, garages, and warehouses, the River North Art District, popularly known as RiNo, has become one of the most popular sections of Denver with restaurants, coffee shops, and art galleries contributing to a lively street scene.
By Garry Boulard
A much-discussed plan to redevelop a prominent historic property in Denver has been given a green light by the Denver City Council.
The 72-acre Loretto Heights College campus at 3001 South Federal Boulevard was for decades the home to a Catholic high school for girls.
Last year, the site was purchased by the Denver-based Westside Investment Partners for $15.7 million.
In an ongoing interactive process with city officials, Westside Investment has proposed re-purposing a number of structures on the campus for use as housing, restaurant, and retail space.
At the same time, the company has committed itself to preserving many of the structures at the site, including the six-story red stone administration building built in 1891, as well as a chapel.
One of those structures, the more than 90 year-old Pancratia Hall, will be transformed into housing with more than 60 two- to three-bedroom apartments.
Also to be preserved: a cemetery bearing the remains of 62 Sisters of Loretto nuns.
While the council vote approves the overall redevelopment vision for the Loretto site, a subsequent vote permitting a rezoning of the site remains to be taken.
By Garry Boulard
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