Up to $1 million in state money may soon be secured for infrastructure work at the 64-acre campus that once belonged to the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.
City officials, with a good deal of input from the public, have been trying for the past three years years to find a new use for the campus in downtown Santa Fe, with a particular emphasis placed on transforming the site into a mixed-use development with affordable housing.
Earlier this year, a Texas-based development firm pulled out of an effort to redevelop the campus, noting, in part, that the property’s infrastructure was “incomplete and obsolete.”
That firm, KDC/Cienda Partners, also said it would require at least $30 million to demolish outdated structures on the campus before anything new could be built.
Earlier this month members of the New Mexico State Legislature voted to approve roughly $5 million in capital outlay projects for the City of Santa Fe, with $1 million going to the improvement of roads and other infrastructure on the campus.
Other Santa Fe projects in line for capital outlay funding include construction of a Southside Teen Center, with $1.8 million in state backing; and some $1 million that will go for general park improvement and upgrade projects.
The outlay projects are now awaiting the final approval of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
By Garry Boulard
President Biden’s plan to spend an unprecedented $3 trillion on infrastructure is expected to meet with an enthusiastic response on Wall Street, with construction and engineering stocks most likely to take off.
The plan, according to a market analysis by the financial services company Olsen & Associates, is “fueling optimism that the U.S. economy will bounce back much faster than initially expected.”
Analysts in recent weeks have already been pointing to a strong 2021 stock market fueled by the hoped-for end of the pandemic and continued job growth.
According to a report just published by the site Motley Fool the “catalysts are in place for a major bull market to take shape under the new administration.”
The boom is also in no small way related to the fact of another big round of stimulus spending, as well as “ongoing quantitative easing measures from the nation’s central bank.”
An initial gain in the Standard & Poor’s index came earlier this month with new Labor Department numbers showing the creation of some 379,000 jobs, over an anticipated 200,000, prompting economists from the Bank of America to note that the “U.S. labor market is beginning to heal.”
A new Bank of America analysis is specifically regarding as a good investment companies which manufacture semiconductors, in response to a push for more broadband construction in the President’s infrastructure plan.
Also, companies making materials and parts for electric vehicle systems and charging stations could be poised for gains, according to the analysis, as well as companies involved in clean energy production.
By Garry Boulard
Nearly 600 acres of solar panels will comprise a new wind farm planned for an open swath of land near the town of Valle, Arizona.
The Next Era Energy Resources company of Juno Beach, Florida says it wants to build just over 60 turbines on land that is partly owned by the State of Arizona and partly owned by a private party.
Ultimately the farm will have a capacity of up to 161 megawatts of wind energy, as well as 60 megawatts of solar energy.
The planned site is just over 50 miles to the northwest of Flagstaff.
What is being called the Babbitt Ranch Energy Center will eventually encompass just under 63,000 acres, with plans for the project set to be submitted to the Coconino Planning and Zoning Commission this summer.
If approved, work on the solar farm could launch later this year.
Next Era is now one of the largest global generators of renewable energy from the sun and the wind, with more than 125 projects currently in operation in both the U.S. and Canada.
The company built the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in the country in Florida in 2009, and followed that up with construction of the country’s first solar-gas hybrid power plant the next year.
By Garry Boulard
The Sandia National Laboratories has announced plans to build a new facility allowing researchers, developers, and manufacturers to test and develop new concentrated solar power systems on its Albuquerque campus.
In essence, the funding will allow Sandia to demonstrate a next-generation solar thermal power plant.
The agency is receiving a $25 million contract through the federal Department of Energy to make operational a facility that will produce thermal energy for thousands of hours. The heat, in turn, can be applied to generate electricity, among other purposes.
The funding is part of a larger goal earlier announced by the Energy Department to reduce by some 60% solar power costs in the next 10 years.
Sandia, which has already been working on wind turbine development and other renewable energy systems, is additionally the home to the National Solar Thermal Test Facility.
In a statement, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm remarked that in “many parts of the country, solar is already cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels, and with more innovation we can cut the cost again by more than half within the decade.”
Besides the $25 million awarded to Sandia by the Energy Department for what is officially called the Gen 3 Particle Pilot Plant, an additional $5 million is being put up by Sandia itself.
By Garry Boulard
The Federal Transit Administration has just announced that over $30 billion in transit project funding is up for grabs as a result of the recently-passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Signed into law by President Biden on March 11, the legislation contains $26.6 billion for urban and rural, as well as tribal government, transit initiatives.
The legislation also includes $2.2 billion in FTA grants for communities demonstrating additional pandemic-associated needs.
Overall, both the revenue and ridership for transit providers has taken a significant hit in the last year due to Covid-19, and with the loss of that revenues those providers have been more hard-pressed to take on needed system upgrades.
In a press release, the FTA said that formula funding under the American Rescue legislation “will be made available this week and eligible funding recipients can begin developing and submitting their grant applications to the Department immediately.”
In a statement, Nicole Brewin, government and public affairs vice president with the Railway Supply Institute, said the new funding will “help ensure that our customers can continue to serve riders and communities across the nation, and by extension, the hundreds of railway suppliers who support these operations.”
The FTA says competitive funds for projects will be made available through the Notices of Funding Opportunity process published in the Federal Register.
In addition, the FTA plans to host a webinar on the grant funding application process on April 2.
By Garry Boulard
The World Trade Center of Denver has announced plans to open its new headquarters in a sprawling 41-acre site on the north side of the city’s downtown area.
The organization, which has long been planning to move from its current location, will now be a part of what is known as the Fox Park in the Globeville neighborhood of Denver near the intersection of Interstates 25 and 70.
What will be called the World Trade Center Denver Complex will measure some 600,000 square feet and will include office and meeting space, as well as a theater, restaurants, fitness center, and even art galleries.
Currently located at 2650 East 40th Avenue, the World Trade Center had been thought to be interested in moving to a campus based in the city’s River North Art District.
But delays related to the pandemic and the size of the project prompted the organization to search for a site elsewhere.
Fox Park is an innovative mixed-use development set to include office and residential space, with a first phase also seeing the creation of around 14 acres of open space and parks.
As planned, the new World Trade Center facility will be the result of an adaptive reuse of an existing 32,000 square foot industrial building.
In an interview with the Denver Business Journal, Karen Gerwitz, chief executive officer of the World Trade Center Denver, remarked: “You look around the world at different World Trade Centers, and you see that there are huge multi-use complexes. Denver is ready for something like this, where we can really claim our spot as a global city.”
Work on the new World Trade Center Denver facility is expected to begin in the latter part of this year, with a general completion date of 2022.
Regarded as a new gateway to the city and region, the Fox Park will also include a children’s day care center, dog park, and waterfall.
The building that the World Trade Center Denver is updating at the park formerly housed the printing press for the Denver Post.
By Garry Boulard
Fort Stanton Upgrade, One of Handful of Lincoln County Projects In Line For New Mexico Capital Outlay Funding
Roughly $165,000 in state funding could soon be approved for work at the Fort Stanton Historic Site near the town of Capitan.
Lawmakers meeting in the recently-concluded winter session of the New Mexico State Legislature approved funding for the historic facility as part of a larger $4.5 million in capital outlay spending for Lincoln County.
Built in 1855, Fort Stanton later served as a Marine Hospital and tuberculosis sanatorium. The property and buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The largest project funding approved for Lincoln County by the legislature is seeing $1.5 million for improvements to the City of Ruidoso’s sewer system.
Ruidoso is also in line for up to $750,000 in funding for the construction of the Wingfield House Museum; and $200,000 for a bridge replacement project.
The town of Carrizozo has been approved for $250,000 for a municipal water system upgrade; while lawmakers also approved up to nearly $200,000 in projects for the town that include improvements to the Sloan-Simpson Park; work on a storm drain system; and upgrades to the Corona Zia Senior Center.
More than $300,000 is slated to go to Ruidoso Downs for planning and design work to the Ruidoso Downs Community Center; the building of a slope drain in Palo Verde; and a parking lot repair project at the Greentree SWA.
All of the projects are now awaiting the final approval of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
By Garry Boular
The massive container ship that is currently stuck in the Suez Canal could impact material costs and delivery dates for U.S. builders.
The Ever Given ship, heading north through the canal, suddenly found itself ground in mud on March 23, with its bow aground on the eastern back of the canal and its stern stuck on the western bank side.
Because of the enormous size of the 220,000-ton vessel, described as being as long in length as the Empire State Building is in height, more than 300 other ships are now part of an unprecedented traffic jam in the canal, waiting in the hope that dredging operations in the 120 mile-long throughway will be able to remove mud and sand from the ship.
In a statement, the Munich, Germany-based insurer Allianz estimated that each day of the vessel’s immobilization “could cost global trade $6 billion to $10 billion.”
Notes Data Digest, a publication put out by the Associated General Contractors of America: “There are likely to be ripple effects, given a shortage of containers in Asia and delayed shipments to the U.S. from Europe of manufactured goods that depend on parts from Asia.”
John Newcomb, chief executive officer of the Builders Merchants Federation, told the Construction News: “The longer it goes without resolution, the more likely it is that imported building materials such as screws and fixings, tools, plumbing items, sanitary-ware and shower enclosures may be affected.”
The canal, connecting the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and completed after ten year in 1869, is one of the busiest routes for shipping in the world.
By Garry Boulard
The always-growing city of Aurora, Colorado may soon see construction of a new apartment community.
Grubb Properties Incorporated, which is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has announced plans to build a 405-unit complex at the intersection of Peoria Street and East Colfax Avenue in downtown Aurora.
To be called Link Apartments Fitz, the apartment community will be built across the street from the sprawling Fitzsimons Innovation Community and within the boundaries of a designated Opportunity Zone.
Part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones allow for developers and investors to take on large projects in economically troubled areas through a series of tax credits.
A segment of the new Link Apartments Fitz units will be given over for affordable housing.
Grubb Properties is a long-standing, full-service real estate company which several years ago launched its Link Apartments brand, designed to focus on mostly urban and affordable housing projects.
The brand is known for its amenitized and stylishly designed units.
Earlier this month the company announced that it was moving forward on another 224-room Link Apartments project in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Work on the Link Apartments Fitz is expected to begin early this summer.
By Garry Boulard
More than 1,600 new homes may be built just to the east of the Peterson Air Force Base, according to plans just approved by the Colorado Springs City Council.
The project will also include the construction of a certain amount of business and commercial space.
What is being called the Reagan Ranch will go up on roughly 237 acres near the intersection of Marksheffel Road and Colorado Highway 94.
Altogether, the development is expected to see just over 1,100 single-family homes, and another 500 multifamily units.
The unanimous 7 to 0 council vote calls for a zoning change at the big site, allowing also for the construction of retail space and office buildings.
That zoning change, according to city documents, takes the property from a research & development designation to a commercial/office/light industrial designation.
According to the plans submitted to the City of Colorado Springs, the development will additionally include just over 2 miles of walking trails.
Four separate parks, ranging in size from 4 acres to 7 acres, will also be a part of the site.
The project is being spearheaded by the Equity Group, a Colorado Springs real estate development company.
By Garry Boulard
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