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
The Washington-based Construction Industry Safety Coalition has just issued a series of recommendations emphasizing both the prevention of and response to the coronavirus in the construction industry.
Job site protective measures, according to the guidance, will require employers to order any employee, contractor, or visitor at a job site to “leave the work site and return home,” should they show any COVID-19 symptoms.
Employers and employee should use the six-foot “personal space” rule in all meetings: “Where work trailers are used, only necessary employees should enter the trailers and all employees should maintain social distancing while inside the trailer.”
Employees are additionally encouraged to “stagger breaks and lunches, if possible, to reduce the size of any group at any one time to less than ten people.”
The practice of employees sharing tools should also be discouraged, says the guidance, adding: “To the extent that tools must be shared, the company will provide alcohol-based wipes to clean tools before and after use.”
Employees should also use or drive the same equipment and truck when possible, while also avoiding ride-sharing.
Common sources of drinking water, such as a cooler, should be discontinued in favor of employees using individual water bottles.
“Site deliveries will be permitted, but should be property coordinated in line with the employer’s minimal contact and cleaning protocols. Delivery personnel should remain in their vehicles if at all possible.”
The Construction Industry Safety Coalition is made up of just over two dozen trade associations representing the building and demolition industries, as well as commercial and home building, road repair, and material suppliers.
By Garry Boulard
Exactly $600,000 has been approved for renovations to the busy Roosevelt Science Hall on the Portales campus of Eastern New Mexico University.
Originally built in 1953 as a men’s residence hall, the 42,000 square foot Roosevelt building was repurposed in the mid-1990s as the center of the school’s science department, housing classrooms, labs, and offices.
Renovation work on the structure, which is a part of ENMU’s five-year capital improvement plan, will include upgrading the building’s heating, cooling, and electrical systems.
The building is also the home to the Miles and Minerals Museum, which features a collection of animals, plants, and insects indigenous to New Mexico.
ENMU officials have said that they expect to see work begin on the Roosevelt building early next summer.
The Governor also signed off on $350,000 for the construction of a covered storage facility on the Portales campus, as well as just over $800,000 for the building of a new video surveillance system, along with electrical system upgrades, on the Roswell campus.
The main Silver City campus of Western New Mexico University is receiving $390,000 for campus pathway improvements, along with another $70,000 for the renovation of its Veterans Resource Center.
The largest WNMU capital outlay, at $2.5 million, will go for the construction of a new learning center, which will go up on a 42-acre site at the school’s Deming campus.
By design, the center, currently housed in a building at 2300 E. Pine Street, is dedicated to English as a Second Language and General Education Development instruction for a primarily rural, multicultural, and multilingual population.
By Garry Boulard
Up to $1.6 million in state funding for cosmetic improvements to the Dreamstyle Arena on the main campus of the University of New Mexico has been secured.
That money was originally passed by members of the New Mexico State Legislature in the recently-concluded winter 2020 session.
The project at the Dreamstyle Arena, which is the home for UNM’s Lobo basketball team, was the largest of 36 facility construction and upgrade projects approved for the state’s largest university by lawmakers.
Of that number, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed off on 31 with a capital outlay funding total of some $6.8 million out of the nearly $7.6 million in funding originally approved by the legislature.
Other large UNM projects winning the support of the Governor include $800,000 for improvements to the school’s Popejoy Hall; $750,000 for an Olympic Sport Training Center; and $300,000 for improvements to a learning commons space at the Zimmerman Library.
Two smaller projects approved for UNM’s Taos campus are seeing $75,000 for improvements to the school’s internationally known Harwood Museum of Art; and $85,000 for elevator work and access improvements to the same structure.
The $7.1 million approved by lawmakers for UNM projects was the largest total amount for an institution of higher education in the state.
By comparison, the legislature approved $6.1 million in capital outlay funding for New Mexico State University; $3.0 million for Western New Mexico University projects; and $3.2 million for Eastern New Mexico University.
Just over $400,000 each was approved for projects at Highlands University in Las Vegas and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro.
By Garry Boulard
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