State funding has been secured for a waterline upgrade project at the Moriarty Municipal Airport in central New Mexico.
The New Mexico Economic Development Department has announced that it is providing up to $283,000 for the project. That support is coming through the department’s Local Economic Development Act funding.
Located at 506 George Applebay Way in Moriarty, the airport is the third busiest of its kind in the state, with more than 75 hangars. The airport underwent a nearly $2 million runway resurfacing upgrade in 2010.
The $283,000 marks the first time that the Economic Development Department has awarded a grant for a rural infrastructure project.
In a press release, the department noted a new focus allowing it to assist “communities with improvements to publicly owned industrial properties.”
By Garry Boulard
The continued rise in materials prices continues to plague the construction industry, according to a new report issued by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Materials prices overall have seen a nearly 13% jump between March of 2020 and March of this year.
Noting also a 3.5% jump in prices since February, the AGC notes that both price index increases “were the highest recorded in the 35-year history of the series.”
The increases, ironically, come as the industry is feeling more bullish regarding business in general, notes the publication Construction Dive.
“To build things, contractors need willing owners to finance them,” continues the publication, adding that those owners may prove harder to come by in an environment dominated by delays in the global supply chain and extended delivery times.
A county contractor in Lincoln, Nebraska is reporting a 300% increase in steel prices; in Michigan, the cost of lumber is up by nearly 250%; while a Nashville construction company has seen a doubling of lumber prices this spring.
In Arizona, lumber prices have roughly tripled, prompting some projects to be put on hold.
According to the latest Producer Price Index released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, softwood plywood products nationally are up by over 101% in the last months, followed by softwood lumber with an 83% jump.
Copper wire and cable saw a nearly 27% jump between February and March; with hot rolled steel bars up by 20.3%.
Compounding the problem is the availability of materials: A survey issued by Dodge Data & Analytics notes that some 71% of responding contractors said they are currently experiencing difficulty getting materials.
The survey also notes that the “supply chain challenges may suggest long-term effects that are harder to rectify.”
For all of that, continues the Dodge survey, some 65% of civil contractors are optimistic about the ability of the market to provide new work, up from 58% from the last quarter.
Meanwhile, according to the National Association of Home Builders, the materials price jump has now led to a nearly $36,000 increase in the price of the average new single-family home.
The lumber price hike, adds the NAHB, “has also added nearly $13,000 to the market value of an average new multifamily home.”
By Garry Boulard
Negotiations are expected to begin in earnest next month between Colorado State University and the City of Fort Collins regarding the future of a 161-acre site that was once the home of the Hughes Stadium.
The latest ripple in an ongoing wave of legal actions regarding the property is seeing the Colorado Attorney General’s office announcing that the university has a right to develop the site as it pleases, which means that the school can build housing there for its students and employees.
That decision comes after voters in the city approved, by a 68% to 32% margin, a measure directing the city to purchase the land from CSU and rezone it as open space.
What to do with the property has challenged both school and local leaders ever since the school built a new stadium on its Fort Collins campus, leading to the 2018 demolition of the 50 year-old stadium.
Community activists have repeatedly pushed for the site to remain as open space, noting that the housing development plans as previously presented by CSU would be harmful to local wildlife and create too much traffic.
With plans for the site currently stalled, the Colorado State University System has moved to cancel a contract earlier entered into with the Lennar Corporation to develop the property for housing.
The last official proposal for the land presented by the school called for the construction of nearly 700 residential spaces comprised of single-family homes, apartments, duplexes, and townhomes.
CSU has also said that it wants to see the building of an urgent care center, childcare facility, transit hub and some commercial space at the site.
By Garry Boulard
A new pocket park, the first of perhaps many, may soon be built in Scottsdale.
Plans are underway for the construction of the park at the intersection of North Drinkwater Boulevard and East Indian School Road, just blocks to the southeast of Old Town Scottsdale.
That busy intersection is populated with apartment, office, and commercial development.
The park will go up on land owned by the city and will include a shade structure, seating, and bike space.
Funding to the tune of $150,000 was approved last year by members of the Scottsdale City Council for the project.
The seating will be designed by local sculptor Michael Beitz.
Funded by a group called the Downtown Cultural Trust, the idea behind the project is to show how such a public space can be integrated into a larger urban environment.
Work is scheduled to begin on the project later this summer with an early 2022 completion date.
Pocket parks, often measuring less than 10,000 square feet, are proving to be increasingly popular uses of small public spaces.
According to the book Pocket Park Design, urban planners have turned to the concept of the pocket park as “modern cities become denser and buildings taller.”
Such parks are relatively inexpensive to build and can also be used as infill development.
Scottsdale city officials have said that, depending upon the success of the pocket park at North Drinkwater and Indian School Road, more such public spaces may be built in the future.
By Garry Boulard
Legislation has now been introduced in Congress to update the National Environmental Policy Act as it pertains to infrastructure project reviews and costs.
Officially titled the Building U.S. Infrastructure Through Limited Delays & Efficient Reviews, the legislation will shorten the review process time for those projects.
As introduced by Louisiana Representative Garret Graves, the legislation will replace a review process that many builders have described as burdensome.
That process, said Graves, has made it “longer to study projects than the time needed to complete them.”
Graves added that his bill will not do away with the National Environmental Policy Act, but will rather update that legislation so that it can “fulfill its purpose and deliver to taxpayers the infrastructure enhancements, coastal wetlands restoration, flood protection, and other improvements it currently impairs.”
The legislation has won the backing of the American Council of Engineering Companies, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, and Associated Builders and Contractors, among other groups.
Signed into law in 1970 by President Richard Nixon, the National Environmental Policy Act requires that all government agencies must compile environmental impact statements and environmental assessments regarding public infrastructure projects.
A number of environmental groups have rallied in support of the National Environmental Policy Act, with the Sierra Club saying the statute is “fundamentally about informed and transparent decision-making.”
The organization adds that the act “requires federal agencies to analyze and disclose a project’s foreseeable environmental, economic, social, and public health impacts.”
Graves’ bill is now under review in the House Transportation Committee.
By Garry Boulard
Up to $500,000 in state funding has been secured for a project that will transform the long-standing Waterworks Building on Little Walnut Road in Silver City.
Plans have long been in the works to transform the structure into a new way station for those walking and riding along the Continental Divide Trail, which cuts through Silver City.
The sandstone building was completed in 1887 and for decades was the operating facility for Silver City’s municipal water system.
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the structure is made up of a one-story section that initially used to house boilers and steam-powered pumps, along with a two-story section that served as the engineer’s residence.
The $500,000 is coming in the form of a capital outlay that was approved earlier this year by members of the New Mexico State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The project will see the construction of museum, retail and event space inside the Waterworks Building.
Late last year a group called the Southwest New Mexico Arts, Culture, and Tourism, received funding through the state’s New Mexico Economic Development Department to also build an education pavilion at the site.
That funding came through the department’s Outdoor Recreation Division.
By Garry Boulard
Plans have now been announced for the construction of a 355,000 square foot building that will house both a furniture warehouse and showroom on the northeast side of Colorado Springs.
The Denver-based American Furniture Warehouse says the structure will be built on some 25 acres to the southeast of the intersection of Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard.
The project is expected to cost around $25 million to complete.
The company already has an up and running facility in Colorado Springs measuring around 145,000 square feet that it opened two decades ago on the northwest side of the city.
The new location has been long in the planning stage, with the American Furniture Warehouse purchasing the site in the spring of 2011.
The new combined showroom and warehouse is tracking population trends on the northeast side of Colorado Springs, which has seen a double-digit growth in residential construction in recent years.
Originally opening in 1975, American Furniture Warehouse is one of the largest furniture stores in the West, with locations in Colorado, Arizona, and Texas.
Its locations vary in size: two years ago the company announced the construction of two locations in metro Houston, one measuring 355,000 square feet and the other just under 499,000 square feet.
Work on the new Colorado Springs site could begin this fall, with a rough completion date of late 2022.
By Garry Boulard
Continuing a trend that has been underway for more than a generation, the U.S. Census Bureau is reporting that states in both the South and West have seen the greatest population increases in the country during the last decade.
Altogether, the nation’s population was up by 7.4% since 2010, with Utah seeing an 18.4% increase, followed by Idaho at 17.3%, and Texas, at just under 16%.
Both Arizona and Colorado were in the second-highest category, with increases of between 10% and 15%.
Combined, the states of the West were up by 9.2% in the latest Census survey.
New Mexico, with a growth rate of 2.8%, had the second slowest growth rate in the West, ahead of Wyoming at 2.3%.
Despite the lower numbers, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said an exhaustive effort had been made to count everyone in the state, noting: “The results of this immense effort will ensure that New Mexico receives every federal dollar to which we are entitled.”
While Arizona’s population was up by some 700,000 people in the last decade, that increase, according to reports, was not enough to give it a new seat in Congress.
While Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has not yet officially commented on the Census numbers, the Arizona Complete County Committee noted that “countless volunteers embarked on a statewide campaign to reach underrepresented communities, resulting in Arizona’s highest self-response rate in decades.”
Colorado’s gain of nearly 800,000 people, on the other hand, means it will almost certainly have a new Congressional seat. In a statement, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said the new Census numbers reflect “incredible growth and transformation in our state.”
New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and California are all expected to lose one Congressional seat each as a result of the new population figures.
While the nation’s total population, according to the Census, has now topped 331 million people, the rate of growth in the last decade was one of the slowest since the years of the Great Depression.
By Garry Boulard
Work is expected to begin later this year on the building of a new luxury apartment complex in northeast Albuquerque.
The planned Markana Uptown will see the construction of a single, six-story building housing 243 units.
To be built off Americas Parkway near the Hilton Garden Inn in an area of both hotels and offices, the project will also include co-working space, a fitness center, swimming pool, and patios.
The residential units will vary from studios to one-, two-, and three-bedrooms, with sizes ranging from 589 square feet to 1,226 square feet.
The project belongs to Legacy Development & Management, which already has two other apartment projects in the state: the completed Markana in the 6300 block of Alameda Boulevard in Albuquerque, and the Markana de Santa Fe, which is still under construction.
General plans call for work on the Markana Uptown to begin by late this summer with a fall 2022 completion date.
Legacy Development & Management was founded in 1978 and is based in Albuquerque. The company has long specialized in apartment, hotel, and office development, among other focuses.
A master-planned community in the far eastern edge of Phoenix may see the building of up to and more than 10,000 homes, providing housing for around 30,000 people in the decades to come.
Developers Brookfield Residential Properties and D.R. Horton, Incorporated, have secured nearly 2,800 acres through an Arizona State Land Department auction for the project.
Called Superstition Vistas, the project will be bounded by East Ray Road on the south and East Elliott Road on the north, and is said to take in an area larger than the cities of Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe combined.
Long in the talking and planning stage, the project, just over 20 miles to the southeast of downtown Phoenix, encompasses both private and public land, and is designed to accommodate what is expected to be the continuing growth of Pinal County, slated to increase from it current 494,000 people to more than 1 million in the next three decades.
The development is also expected to include some commercial space.
Those involved with the project say it will be a gradually developing entity, expected to be fully built out by 2070.
Th next step in Superstition Vista’s development comes with a move on the part of the developers to annex around 8,100 acres from the town of Apache Junction for the project.
Members of the Apache Junction City Council are expected to vote on that move sometime this summer.
Brookfield Residential Properties is based in Calgary, Alberta. While Arlington, Texas is the headquarters for D.H. Horton.
By Garry Boulard
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