In late April, members of the Fort Collins City Council are expected to take up the controversial issue of rezoning the land that was once the home to the big Hughes Stadium.
That stadium on the far west side of Fort Collins was home to Colorado State University’s Rams football team for nearly 50 years until CSU completed its new on-campus stadium in 2017.
After proposals suggesting that the old stadium could be repurposed were rejected, the structure was demolished in 2018.
Since that demolition, both Fort Collins city officials and residents have, sometimes contentiously, been discussing the site’s future.
A proposal to build as many as 1,000 new homes on the property, some geared for middle and low-income residents, has been greatly criticized by neighbors expressing concerns about traffic and density issues.
A group called Paths for Hughes has been pushing for a project that would see less homes and more of an emphasis on open and walkable space.
In early 2019 CSU entered into a $10 million agreement with developer Lennar Homes, which would allow the Denver-based developer to build at least 600 homes.
Lennar has said that it will not pursue its building plans at the site unless the city approves an updated zoning designation specifically allowing for those 600 homes.
By Garry Boulard
Confirming earlier industry predictions, some 39 percent of contractors in a brand new survey say project owners have either delayed, or outright halted, new construction projects in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America during the third week of March additionally showed that some 45 percent of contractors were experiencing some kind of project disruption related to a shortage of parts, equipment, and materials.
The delays were also being caused by a lack of personal protective equipment needed for workers.
Adding to the challenge, exactly 18 percent of respondents said they are burdened by a lack of craft workers, while 16 percent pointed to a dearth of government inspection and permitting officials needed to get a project underway.
A lower 13 percent said their projects had been delayed due to a “potentially infected person” visiting a job site.
The sudden drop in projects, said Ken Simonson, “is taking a swift and severe toll on construction.”
Chief economist for the AGC, Simonson in a statement continued: “This sudden drop in demand stands in sharp contrast to the strong employment levels this industry was experiencing just a few weeks ago.”
Some 1,640 contractors nationally participated in the survey.
By Garry Boulard
Just over $1.2 million in state funding has been approved for the construction of a long talked-about Route 66 Visitors Center in Albuquerque.
The funds, passed by the New Mexico State Legislature earlier this year and subsequently approved by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, will be added to money for the project already secured from county and city sources.
The project, designed to celebrate the historic Route 66 highway stretching from the Midwest to Southern California, which slices through Albuquerque, will include an amphitheater, banquet and meeting space, and communal kitchen.
Additional Bernalillo County capital outlay funding signed off on by the Governor includes $1.1 million for the building of the Mesa Del Sol Regional Outdoor Sports Complex to go up inside the growing Mesa Del Sol subdivision in south Albuquerque.
As planned, the 180-acre facility will be used for a variety of recreational activities, including soccer, rugby, and cricket.
Exactly $500,000 has been approved for the building of the North Valley Aquatic Center in the North Valley of Albuquerque; while another half million is slated for general improvements to the Rio Bravo Park at 3912 Isleta Boulevard.
The county has also secured $1 million for the planning, design, and building of a transitional living and recovery center.
The largest appropriation, at nearly $2.6 million, is going for the purchase of land, and the planning, design, and building of a new fire station on the west side of the county.
The Governor vetoed eleven Bernalillo County projects, the largest of which is the demolition and replacement of the South Valley Multipurpose Senior Center at 2008 Larrazola Road.
The legislature had approved $4.7 million in funding for that project.
By Garry Boulard
Members of the Arizona State University’s Board of Regents may soon sign off on a plan to build a new 5,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Tempe that would be used primarily by the Sun Devils ice hockey team.
University officials have submitted a plan to the Regents’ finance committee calling for the construction of the big facility adjacent to the existing Sun Devil Track Stadium, to the east of S. Packard Drive near East 6th Street.
Earlier plans called for the project to be a part of the Desert Financial Arena’s renovation. That arena, located at 600 E. Veterans Way, is the home to the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.
If approved, the anticipated $120 million project could see work beginning no later than November of this year, with a likely late summer 2022 completion date.
The Sun Devils currently play most of their games at the Oceanside Ice Arena, also in Tempe.
A decision on the new arena plan could be made by the Regents Board in early April.
By Garry Boulard
A homebuilding industry group based in Santa Fe has issued a statement emphasizing the continuing role to be played by builders and contractors during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a press release, the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association is maintaining that despite the current health crisis represented by the virus, builders are still going to be needed to “address electrical problems that have the potential to cause fire or electrocution.”
The non-profit trade group also says that builders may be essential to “speedily fix waste water and sewer problems,” preventing future contamination problems.
The SFAHBA had earlier successfully asked New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to categorize the construction industry as an essential service that should be “continued during this time in support of our state’s resiliency efforts and economic sustainability.”
That communication was supported by the New Mexico Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors as well as the Mechanical Contractors Association of New Mexico, among other groups.
The SFAHBA statement noted that the construction industry is for the present on the “front lines of this crisis—we support hospitals and health care facilities, we support education facilities, we support the transportation system, and we support first responders.”
The group additionally has argued that permit and inspection personnel at all levels should be kept available to “keep these systems operational.”
The SFAHBA statement comes on the heels of a declaration issued on March 23 by New Mexico Secretary of Health Kathyleen Kunkel, who, in part, directed that all non-essential businesses should reduce their in-person workforce by 100 percent.
Essential businesses, continued Kunkel, “May be open, provided they minimize their operations and staff to the greatest extent possible.”
In its press release, the SFAHBA also noted that the construction industry is needed to “ensure heating for residential, commercial, or local government facilities,” while also guaranteeing the “safe, sanitary delivery of water.”
In exempting the construction industry from her COVID-19 restrictions order, Lujan Grisham also exempted gas stations, banks, and logistics companies, among other services. The Governor’s order will remain in effect until April 10.
By Garry Boulard
Continued population and enrollment growth in a northern Colorado school district may prompt the construction of at least two new elementary schools.
Officials with the Weld RE-4 School District, which includes the towns of Windsor and Severance, are contemplating the possibility of putting on this November’s ballot a bond proposal to pay for the new construction.
Those officials would additionally like to see the Severance Middle School, located at 1801 Avery Plaza Street, expanded so that it can house another three hundred students in addition to its current roughly 600-student enrollment.
At the same time, the District is pursuing a $9.5 million grant to renovate the Windsor Middle School, located at 900 Main Street in Windsor.
That grant would come from the Building Excellent Schools Today program, which funds school facility projects out of revenue from Colorado’s state-wide lottery.
The last time the District presented a bond question to voters was three years ago, when a $104 million bond was passed to build a new high school and make upgrades to an existing high school.
Both Windsor, which is the headquarters for the school district, as well as Severance, have witnessed unprecedented population growth, and a concurrent increase in home construction, in the last two decades.
Windsor’s population has bloomed from 9,800 in the year 2000 to around 30,000 today, while the smaller Severance has gone from around 600 residents to just over 5,000 today.
By Garry Boulard
Plans are expected to be submitted to the city of Rio Rancho this summer for the construction of an imaginative 65-acre village project geared for medical-related tenants.
The Health Village at Rio Rancho will go up next to the Presbyterian Rust Medical Center in the 2400 block of Unser Boulevard SE, and could ultimately cost upwards of more than $100 million to fully develop.
Beverly Hills, California-based Geringer Capital is proposing the project, which will place an emphasis on walkable space and will also include a grocery store, movie theater, and, possibly, a hotel.
A boutique real estate investor, Geringer Capital has developed a 394-unit Class A multifamily project called the Falls at Westover Hills in San Antonio, as well as a 136,000 square-foot office and warehouse for the baby product manufacturer Munchkin in North Hills, California.
Geringer Capital has long been interested in developing the Unser Boulevard site, which it purchased some 15 years ago.
By Garry Boulard
The Senate has now passed a $2.2 trillion bill designed to offer relief to both individuals and small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
What is called the CARES Act, providing direct aid to those who may have lost their jobs due to the spread of COVID-19, also offers some $350 billion in loan money for small businesses that may also be enduring hardships caused by the virus.
In particular, the legislation is targeting companies with fewer than 500 full and part-time employees, allowing them to apply for loans through the Small Business Administration of up to $10 million.
The bill also makes small businesses, which have not been closed down by the virus, eligible for tax credits for maintaining their payroll. That eligibility will allow for such companies to receive in credits up to what they pay their workers in wages, topping out at $5,000 per employee
The 880-page bill, comprising the largest peacetime relief expenditure in history, passed the Senate on a 96 to 0 vote and is expected to be swiftly approved in the House.
In a statement, Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors, hailed the bill for providing “construction employers and employees with critically needed access to capital, expedited cash flow, worker benefit protection, and critical tax relief.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the measure is a “step in the right direction,” that will “keep American families and businesses afloat through the crisis.”
Rebates under the legislation will see individuals receiving checks of up to $1,200.
In a just-released analysis, the Joint Committee on Taxation says those rebates will decrease federal revenue by some $292 billion in the next decade.
By Garry Boulard
A vacant slice of land in Thornton, Colorado that was once proposed as the site for Amazon’s second headquarters, may be the future home of a sprawling mixed-use development.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based Noddle Companies has purchased 192 acres of the site located off the intersection of the E 470 toll road and Interstate 25.
When Amazon, in the fall of 2017, announced that it wanted to build a second headquarters, it also invited cities to make pitches regarding why certain sites in those cities might fulfill the online commerce giant’s needs.
Thornton was one of what would prove to be 200 cities responding.
In their pitch, Thornton city officials mentioned the vastness of the site, its access to highways, and the metro area’s high education levels.
Ultimately, in the fall of 2018, Amazon decided on building its new headquarters in both New York and Arlington.
Now the Noddle Companies has announced tentative plans to develop the Thornton site, with work initially expected to take place on some 82 acres of the property.
The developer of several shopping centers in metro Denver, the Noddle Companies has taken on more than 150 office, retail, and mixed-use commercial developments in nearly two dozen states.
One of its most recent projects is called the Aksarben Village in Omaha, on the site of a former horse racing track.
That mixed-use development on some 70 acres has seen the building of restaurants, entertainment space, walkable space, and bike trails.
By Garry Boulard
As the metro Phoenix area continues to boom with a population that is expected to increase by 1 million people over the 4.7 million who already call it home, one homebuilder is banking on the growth of two of the region’s most vibrant areas.
The Salt Lake City-based Woodside Homes, with a long history of building in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, wants to build new houses in Queen Creek and Glendale.
Both Phoenix metro communities have witnessed explosive growth in the last two decades.
Queen Creek’s population has jumped from 4,300 in the year 2000 to more than 42,500 today. At the same time Glendale, just under 50 miles to the northwest, has seen its population increase during that same period of time from 218,000 to 250,000.
Altogether, Woodside Homes hopes to build up to 800 new entry-level homes in both locations that will be designed to appeal to the metro area’s growing employee base across the swath of metro Phoenix.
Last year, Woodside launched the master planned Elegance community in Mesa, with homes ranging in price from $465,000 to $565,000. Homes in the company’s Crestwood Estates section in Roy, Utah start at around $270,000 and pass the $500,000 mark.
While still in the planning stage, the company’s plans for Queen Creek and Glendale are expected to see construction between this year and 2022.
By Garry Boulard
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