Bicycle route work that will encompass a combined 7 miles of streets in El Paso is expected to get underway later this fall.
The work, subject to public input meetings earlier this year, follows the first phase of the project seeing 8.4 miles of new bicycle infrastructure in the city.
Together, the two phases have an estimated $1.9 million price tag.
As planned, the second phase of the connectivity project, like the first, will see the removal of existing striping, new striping surface preparation, new pavement markings, and new signage.
All of the new bicycle lanes will have a width size of 3 to 4 feet, with a buffer zone measuring 1.5 feet to 2 feet in width.
Funding for the project was approved late last year by the El Paso City Council, following up on that body’s support in 2016 of an overall bicycle route plan for the entire city detailing what was then described as the creation of a workable bicycle infrastructure.
That plan called for the eventual creation of more than 1,000 miles of new bicycle routes and paths throughout the city.
By Garry Boulard
Statistics compiled by the Washington-based National League of Cities indicate that cities, towns, and villages across the country are expected to be hit with a revenue loss in excess of $134 billion as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and economic shutdown.
The group additionally predicts losses to the tune of $117 billion next year, and around $110 billion in 2022, for a total revenue decline of $360 billion between now and the beginning of 2023.
In response, the NLC has launched an initiative called Cities Are Essential, asking Congress for up to $500 billion in direct and flexible aid to cities, towns, and villages of all sizes.
In a statement, Clarence Anthony, chief executive officer of the NLC, said, “Providing federal relief for municipalities across the nation is critical to advancing the reopening of America and to our national economic recovery, on which millions of jobs and the livelihoods of American families depend.”
According to NLC research, localities generating most of their revenue from sales or income taxes have been hit the hardest by the virus and shutdown. Places that rely more on property tax revenue, have so far seen less of an impact.
According to NLC research director Christiana McFarland, cuts in response to ongoing revenue losses will “exacerbate infrastructure challenges, which will place future fiscal burden on local, state, and federal government.”
In a research paper for the NLC, McFarland also says that a reduction in revenue is leading to a decline in capital projects.
An earlier analysis by the group showed that on average, cities, towns, and villages in the Middle Atlantic States and the Midwest are confronting a probable revenue loss of anywhere from 30 to 40 percent by the end of this year.
Localities in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico are expected to see a revenue decline in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 percent.
Localities in only seven states, Connecticut, Florida, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming, are expected to see total 2020 revenue losses below 15 percent.
By Garry Boulard
Just under 160 multifamily units within a four-story building could soon see construction inside the Journal Center business park, around 9 miles to northeast of downtown Albuquerque.
That park is distinguished for its neighborhood-like setting, with hundreds of trees lining a series of streets and trails.
The project, which belongs to the Albuquerque-based Titan Development, will go up on a currently vacant 6.5-acre site at 7800 Headline Boulevard NE, and will also include a fitness center, swimming pool, and spa.
A recent staff report for the Albuquerque Development Review Board noted that “due to the site’s location within a major employment center with no surrounding residential uses, the proposed development will have little impact to the surrounding area.”
The Board subsequently gave its approval to the project.
The roughly 300-acre Journal Center was created in 1979 by the Albuquerque Journal, and continues to serve as the home for that paper, as well as a number of other office and retail interests.
According to reports, Titan’s Journal Center Lofts will be the first multifamily project in the business park.
In a statement, Josh Rogers, director of development for Titan, said of the project: “Bringing urban housing to a suburban office park is incredibly exciting for the Journal Center and the City of Albuquerque.”
By Garry Boulard
New water mains and water service lines, among other project details, are scheduled to be built at the Mescalero Apache Reservation, just under 100 miles to the north of Las Cruces.
The federal Indian Health Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has issued a Request for Proposals for what is being called the Mescalero Well Connection and Water Main Extension project.
The overall four-month project, which could ultimately have a budget of up to $1 million, will see the construction of a new 6-inch PVC water main and associated appurtenances.
The project will also include new pump house plumbing.
One part of the project is segmented as the South Tularosa Well Connection, which will see a new water main, water main connections, valves, hydrants, and four pressure-reducing valve vaults.
The Orosco Drive Water Main Extension involves the construction of just under 2,800 linear feet of 6-inch PVC water main, the installation of new water service lines, and water meter can combinations.
Submission deadline for the RFP is June 8.
By Garry Boulard
Responding to losses attributed to the COVID-19 outbreak, the department store company J.C. Penney has announce that it is going to shed just over 240 of its existing 846 stores.
The Plano, Texas-based company has entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings expected to see a 35 percent slice of its property put into a real estate investment trust.
In a statement, Jill Solteau, Penney’s chief executive officer, said the COVID pandemic has “created unprecedented challenges for our families, our loved ones, our communities, and our country.”
Solteau continued that, in response to the virus outbreak and a precipitous decline in store sales, the company has been forced to make “difficult decisions in running our business to protect the safety of our associates and customers and the future of our company.”
Exactly what stores will be closed and where has not been officially announced, but analysts are saying that those properties, which on average measure around 110,000 square feet, could prove alluring to other companies who may want to repurpose them for a new use.
The publication National Real Estate Investor speculates that online commerce giant Amazon may be interested in purchasing many of stores, noting: “It would gain a bricks-and-mortar footprint that could propel its burgeoning apparel business through the creation of a network of satellite distribution centers.”
Although J.C. Penney has always had a large presence in urban and suburban America, many of its stores, offering work clothes and hardware, were located in rural areas. “Of the roughly seventeen hundred stores in the J.C Penney chain,” notes author David Delbert Kruger in his 2017 biography of store founder James Cash Penney, more than half were located in “towns of fewer than fifteen thousand residents.”
Although most of the chain’s locations are clustered on the East coast and Midwest, there are currently 21 Penney’s stores in Arizona, 16 in Colorado, and 10 in New Mexico.
Launched in 1902 in Kemmerer, Wyoming, J.C. Penney’s saw initial success as the prototype of the modern department store, selling everything from household appliances to garden merchandise, auto parts, and sporting goods.
Hearings in the company’s bankruptcy proceedings are scheduled to be held early next month in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern district of Houston.
By Garry Boulard
Exactly 74 upscale apartments are planned for construction in a growing residential section of Glendale, Arizona.
What is being called Northern 107 will go up on currently vacant land at the southwest corner of 107th Avenue and Northern Avenue on the east side of the city.
The project, on a 9.9-acre site, will also include 4,500 square feet of restaurant space, along with a convenience store and automated car wash.
Members of the Glendale Planning Commission have now approved rezoning the site from medium density residential to high density residential in order to get the project underway.
According to city documents, the project will see the construction of two apartment buildings: one with one floor only, and the other with two.
As a result of public input, the project has been scaled down from an earlier proposed 91 units. The new configuration will see 42 two-story apartments, and 32 one-story units.
Plans also call for the project, which is being designed by the Tucson-based architectural firm of Norris Design, to have what is described as a “centrally located amenity area,” and will include landscaping and screening walls.
The new zoning designation for the site is expected to be reviewed in early June by the Glendale City Council, with construction on the project possibly beginning later this year.
By Garry Boulard
As part of a big settlement that has been years in the making, the Village of Questa in north central Taos County is receiving $2.3 million in funding that will go for a water and wastewater infrastructure project.
That $2.3 million is part of a larger $4 million settlement with the Englewood, Colorado-based Chevron Mining Incorporated in litigation that has also included the federal Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, and the State of New Mexico.
For years, Chevron operated a molybdenum mine near Questa. According to federal and state documents, a pipeline that transported mine waste to a handful of tailing ponds resulted in more than 200 spills during a three-decade period ending in the mid-1990s.
The operation took place on some 3 square miles of land, with the pipeline running adjacent to New Mexico State Road 38. Open pit mining took place at the site for nearly two decades, from 1965 to 1983.
The mine and company milling facility was shut down for good in the summer of 2014.
Chevron, in response, launched the Questa Economic Development Fund designed to foster economic growth and diversity in the village. The company has since invested up to $320,000 annually into that fund.
A new Questa facility designed to treat ground water and storm water was opened in Questa in the summer of 2018.
With a history dating back more than 500 years, Questa was used as part of a trade route by several Native American tribes, and today has a population of just under 2,000 residents.
By Garry Boulard
News that Amazon is building a 465,000 square foot fulfillment center in Albuquerque comes as the online commerce giant is rapidly building across the country.
The new Albuquerque building on the west side of the city near the intersection of Interstate 40 and Atrisco Vista Boulevard follows on the heels of the building of a new 1.4 million square foot distribution center in Deltona, Florida, which is expected to be completed this fall.
Amazon is also currently building a $100 million, 1 million square foot distribution center in Beloit, Wisconsin; as well as a fulfillment center in Clay, New York, that will also measure 1 million square feet and is expected to be operational by the fall of 2021.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent national shutdown two months ago, Amazon has seen its sales skyrocket. According to the online research company Comscore, the company’s website saw more than 2.5 billion visitors in March—a 65 percent increase over March of 2019.
The company has also hired around 175,000 new workers to keep up with demand.
According to the New York-based newspaper, The Observer, Amazon has additionally seen a “record quarterly revenue of $75.5 billion, beating Wall Street estimates, and a net income of $2.5 billion.”
Work on the new Amazon fulfillment center in Albuquerque, which is already underway, is expected to wrap up by the fall of 2021.
By Garry Boulard
Work is set to begin later this year on the construction of 540 market rate apartments about 20 miles southeast of Denver in the growing city of Lone Tree.
The project will belong to the Greenwood Village-based Regency Residential and will go up inside the 3,500-acre master-planned community of Ridge Gate.
That community, on the east side of Interstate 25, features a village-like variety of residential and open space, as well as parks and trails.
The new apartments will be built in two phases of 270 units each, with up to 10,000 square feet of commercial space.
To be located on two blocks between I-25 and Havana Street, the new apartments will also vary in size.
The larger master community is anchored by a Regional Transit District light rail station which was inaugurated in the spring of 2019.
The Regency Residential project in Lone Tree is only the latest residential development in a city that has seen its population jump from less than 4,900 two decades ago to nearly 15,000 today.
With construction set to begin by this fall, the new apartments are expected to be completed sometime in 2022.
By Garry Boulard
The New Mexico Department of Transportation has issued a Request for Proposals regarding the upkeep and rehabilitation of a series of pedestrian overpasses in Albuquerque.
Those overpasses, or bridges, are located on the popular Tramway Multi-Use Trail, which runs parallel with the Sandia Mountains on the east side of the city.
The bridges go over New Mexico State Road 556, also known as the Tramway Boulevard.
The structures were all originally built in the early 1980s and have suffered some deterioration due to use and weather conditions.
The RFP is specifically looking for engineering services to determine the condition of the decks, piers, and abutments, among other elements, connected to the overpasses.
The RFP has a submission deadline of June 16, with a contract to be awarded either this coming September or October.
Last year, the New Mexico Department of Transportation received just over $32.2 million in funding for bike and walking path projects throughout the state.
That money came through the Transportation Alternatives Funding program, which is designed to encourage the building and upkeep of non-motorized vehicle infrastructure projects.
By Garry Boulard
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