Plans are now underway for the construction in Taos of a new workforce development and conservation training center geared for younger people.
Funding for the project, which will belong to the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, is coming through a $1.3 million grant issued by the Commerce Department. That grant will be matched by some $315,000 in local funding and private giving.
Headquartered at 1203 King Drive, the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps focuses on educational and workforce training programs for young men and women between the ages of 17 and 25. Part of that training is centered on outdoor conservation and environmental education projects.
In a statement accompanying the announcement of the $1.3 million grant, New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich said that the funding will allow the group to “continue providing up-and-coming outdoor leaders and advocates with restoration and conservation skills.”
As planned, the new facility, as designed by the Living Design Group of Taos, will go up on the southwest side of the city at the intersection of Salazar Road and Este Es roads on a 20-acre site owned by the corps. It is expected that altogether it will cost around $1.8 million to build the new building.
Work could begin in June, with a rough late year completion date. Upon that completion, the corps will move out of its King Drive location.
With offices in Albuquerque, the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps is a part of the larger national AmeriCorps, which fosters programs for young people designed to address community education and poverty issues.
By Garry Boulard
An online real estate marketplace listing a wide variety of commercial properties is recording an unprecedented 56% increase in traffic during the first quarter of this year.
Launched in 1995 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., LoopNet lists everything from hotel, industrial, and multifamily properties across the country, to office, retail, and land offerings.
Owned by the company CoStar Group, which is also based in Washington, LoopNet to date has more than 8 million registered members, partly but not entirely accounting for its more than 31.3 million visitors between January and March.
In a statement, David Mele, president of LoopNet, said the online listing service is “establishing itself as the name brand for commercial real estate property searches among both tenants and investors.”
The company saw a particular increase in traffic during the initial months of the Covid-19 outbreak, when potential real estate buyers preferred the photographic tours of properties offered by LoopNet to visiting those properties.
The site, which also lists lease offerings and upcoming local and regional auctions, additionally regularly runs feature stories looking at everything from co-working space and post-pandemic office trends to affordable housing topics and the metaverse real estate explosion.
LoopNet’s parent company, CoStar Group, has also just announced a 13% increase in revenue at $516 million for the first quarter of this year over the first three months of 2021.
By Garry Boulard
A three-story building built in 1897 in Denver’s Lower Downtown district that once housed hotel space before becoming an office building is on the market for around $11.2 million.
Located at 1433 17th Street, the St. Elmo Building was originally opened as a full-service hotel with a restaurant, tavern, barber shop, dress shop, and newsstand.
Measuring around 20,700 square feet, the structure changed hands several times before being renovated in 1980 for office space on its upper floors and restaurant and retail on the ground level.
The structure, listed as Class B office space, underwent an additional renovation in 2007 that saw the restoration of its original arched masonry entrances and the creation of a two-story modern lobby.
The structure, less than half a mile from the historic Denver Union Station, is now being listed with the local offices of Cushman & Wakefield realtors.
Sitting on a less than half-acre site on a block of modern multi-story structures and high-rises, the former St. Elmo Hotel was once one of half a dozen hotels in the neighborhood catering to railroad travelers and workers.
By Garry Boulard
A more than 100-year-old brick church with a three-story corner bell tower in downtown Loveland, Colorado is listed for sale for around $1.4 million.
The 7,400 square foot, two-story structure has been the home to the Emmanuel Baptist Church and includes an adjacent home measuring around 1,000 square feet.
Located at 404 E. 3rd Street in an older neighborhood of one- and two-story homes, the building sits on a just under half-acre site and is in a designated Opportunity Zone.
Listed for sale by Keller Williams Preferred Realty of Loveland, the building, featuring stained glass windows and a series of vaulted wood beams supporting the sanctuary ceiling, also houses a first-floor meeting room.
Because the structure is a church, the listing is classified as a “special purpose for sale.”
Built when Loveland itself was only several decades old with a population of around 5,000 people, the structure today is one of the oldest buildings in a city of nearly 80,000 people.
By Garry Boulard
The annual rate of workers dying on the job is now at just under 4,800 nationally, according to a new report just issued by the AFL-CIO.
That figure is down from the union’s 2018 report putting the number at 5,250.
In its latest Death on the Job survey, the largest labor union in the country noted that 340 working people died every day due to “hazardous working conditions,” comprising a national job fatality rate that is now 3.4 per 100,000 workers.
“That’s tens of thousands of families losing a parent, a child, a sibling, every single year,” AFL-CIO President Liz Schuler remarked during a press conference discussing the report’s findings.
Schuler added that the accident rate was noticeably higher for black and Latino workers.
Besides deaths, nearly 3.2 million employees reported suffering from work-related injuries and illnesses. Of that total, musculoskeletal disorders, at 21%, comprised the largest portion.
Because the AFL-CIO authors of the report believe that many injuries and illnesses go largely unreported, they estimate that the total figure could be as high as 8.1 million a year.
The report additionally indicated that the agriculture and transportation industries had the highest percentage of worker fatalities at 21.5% and 13.4% respectively. The construction industry accounted for 10.2% of all worker deaths.
States with the highest worker fatality rates were almost all located in the West, where the agriculture, mining, and oil and gas extraction industries are abundant, with Wyoming leading the way with 13 deaths per 100,000 workers, followed by Alaska with 10 workers per 100,000.
The report also noted the role played by the emergence of Covid-19 but added that “workplace infection and outbreak information is limited because there is no national surveillance system.”
By Garry Boulard
A one-story office building in downtown Clovis, New Mexico - illustrative of the mid-20th century Moderne architectural movement - may soon be repurposed as rental property.
Located at 600 Mitchell Street, the structure for decades has been known as the P.E. Hale Office Building.
In recent years the building has served as the administrative office space for the Eastern Regional Housing Authority as well as the Doerr and Knudson law firm.
Earlier this spring, developer and investor Darren Hyder purchased the structure from the ERHA. Hyder has since told the Eastern New Mexico News that he hopes to restore the structure “to the way it looked in its heyday.”
The structure is defined by its curved corners, glass window bricks, and clean exterior vertical design lines.
Eastern New Mexico, in the 1930s and 40s, saw its fair share of both Moderne and Art Deco design structures, some built by the federal Works Progress Administration.
Examples of the style in Clovis are seen in the Roosevelt Brewing Company Taproom at 515 Main Street, as well as the original James M. Bickley Elementary School at 500 W. 14th Street.
By Garry Boulard
The fast-growing housing market, with ever increasing prices in every section of the country, may be reaching a point of implosion, suggest some industry experts attempting to answer the age-old question: how high is high?
A new report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas contends that “evidence points to abnormal U.S. housing market behavior for the first time since the boom of the early 2000s.”
The report goes on to note that “reasons for concern are clear in certain economic indicators,” adding that both rents and overall house prices “appear increasingly out of step with fundamentals.”
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the average sales price of a home was at $278,000 a decade ago but saw a dramatic increase during the initial months of the pandemic in 2020, hitting the $375,500 mark.
One year ago, the rate stood at $418,000, on the way to the just under $508,000 seen during the first quarter of this year.
Home prices have seen their greatest increases in the West, with prices up on average anywhere between 24% and 48%. The smallest increases, at 12%, are recorded in the Midwestern states of Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio.
The site Realtor.com, noting the non-stop rise in home prices over the last year, contends: “It’s been uncomfortably reminiscent of the run-up to the housing bust that blew up the world’s economy roughly 15 years ago.”
Noting that a housing bubble occurs when “home prices become artificially inflated,” the publication Business Insider says a housing bubble today is not comparable to what happened leading up to the Great Recession.
Then house prices saw drastic increases, but availability was anything but an issue. “Today,” says the publication, “the problem is a bit simpler: housing supply is unable to meet demand.”
That equation is echoed by the site Bankrate.com, asserting: “There’s one obvious reason home prices won’t crash—the supply of homes dramatically trails demand for homes.”
Nevertheless, the site adds that a market correction, if it is to come at all, will most likely play out geographically: metro areas experiencing population growth and inventory shortages are not expected to see a sudden decline in home prices.
But metro areas with “with shrinking populations and plentiful supply could experience a crash.”
By Garry Boulard
A sizable chunk of a town in southwestern Colorado that was once a silver mining center is on the market for $10 million.
Located at 0 North River Street in Rico, the site is made up of more than 1,100 acres and 181 parcels. Comprised of some structures and much open land, the property is being billed as the largest mass commercial listing in the state.
Rico saw an explosion of activity in the late 1800s as silver mining spurred the town’s population from less than 500 to more than 5,000 people over a two-decade period.
That boom led to the construction of any number of structures, including two churches, a theater, courthouse, and nearly two dozen saloons. Some of those structures, such as the Dey Building, with a saloon on the ground floor and office on the second level, have since been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The town’s industry was hit hard by a national economic recession before the turn of the century. With silver mining declining precipitately in the years to come, Rico’s population, according to the Census Bureau, dropped to 76 people by 1980.
But the town in the last decade has enjoyed something of a comeback, with a current population of around 250. According to a market commentary provided by Telluride Properties, which is listing the 1,100 acres for sale, “approximately 30 new, young families have relocated to Rico in the last two years, the energy and enthusiasm is palpable.”
Officially listed as the Silver Springs at Rico, the site is located within a designated Opportunity Zone, and is adjacent to an extensive network of biking, hiking, and horseback trails.
By Garry Boulard
New and Modern Cross-Generational Center to See Construction in Surprise, Arizona
A 38,000 square foot recreational facility designed to serve and appeal to residents of all ages and demographics is set to go up on the near east side of Surprise, Arizona.
City officials, working in conjunction with larger Maricopa County, say the $26 million Multigenerational Community Resources Center will include meeting, cafeteria, and office space.
According to city documents, the new center will also serve as a centralized campus for the existing Hollyhock Library, as well as both the Surprise Resource Center and Surprise Senior Center.
Construction of the planned one-story building on city-owned land at the intersection of Hollyhock Street and Santa Fe Drive will be partly paid for out of American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Some $18 million in ARPA funding earlier awarded to Maricopa County is going to the project, on top of another $8 million, also through the ARPA program, via the City of Surprise.
The city and county earlier this month entered into an intergovernmental agreement to get the project underway.
Work on the center is expected to begin either later this year or early next year, with a completion date in 2025.
By Garry Boulard
Plans have been announced for the construction of a large liquefied natural gas storage facility that will go up roughly 10 miles to the west of downtown Rio Rancho.
The project will belong to the Albuquerque-based New Mexico Gas Company and is designed to provide a source of secure supply for the company’s more than 540,000 customers.
NMGC will build the facility, which will include a storage tank capable of holding about 1 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas and liquefaction and vaporization equipment, on some 20 currently vacant acres out of a 160-acre site recently purchased by the company.
The portion of the site not used for the project will serve as a buffer zone.
Gas would be “transported to the facility in its regular gaseous state and then liquefied for storage,” Tim Korte, a NMGC spokesman, remarked to the Rio Rancho Observer in describing the project.
Plans for the project have now been presented to the Rio Rancho Governing Body, with hopes that if duly approved, work on the facility will begin two years from now. The plant would then be expected to be fully operational by the final quarter of 2026.
The largest natural gas utility in the state, NMGC is part of the larger Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Emera Energy company.
By Garry Boulard
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