A classic and beautifully designed retreat/residence in southern Santa Fe is on the market with an asking price of $17.5 million.
Located at 4018 Old Santa Fe Trail in a part of the city dotted with sprawling estate properties, what is known as Sol y Sombra sits on 20 acres, with a main three-story house designed in Spanish Pueblo Revival style and built in the early 1930s.
That main structure is made up of adobe walls, aged wood beams, and bedrooms with fireplaces.
Other structures at the site include a theater building, with an attached kitchen and bathroom, built in 1937; and a series of guest houses and spacious meeting center.
The larger site is graced with walking trails, a steel and glass greenhouse, and botanical garden.
The estate once briefly served as the residence for renowned artist Georgia O’Keefe, and was later owned by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.
The property is being listed by the local offices of Keller Williams.
By Garry Boulard
While much of the West is enjoying ongoing growth, the population of nine cities across the country with more than one million people dropped by an average of 1.7% last year, according to a new Census Bureau release.
In a survey titled Fastest-Growing Cities are Still in the West and South, the Census Bureau noted that New York lost the largest number of people in the last year, enduring an overall decline of 3.5%, representing around 305,000 people.
Chicago, the largest city in the Midwest, saw its population decline by 1.6%, accounting for 45,000 people; while the two largest cities on the West Coast, Los Angeles and San Francisco, saw declines of 1% and 6.3% respectively. In raw numbers, the population of Los Angeles dropped by 41,000 people, while 55,000 people moved out of San Francisco.
Conversely, according to a Census Bureau release, "eight of the 15 fastest-growing cities or towns by percent change were in the West--with five in Arizona--and seven in the South."
Growth in Arizona included an 8.9% jump in the cities of Queen Creek Town and an 8.6% increase in Buckeye. Casa Grande was up by 6.2%, with Goodyear, Arizona posting a 5.4% gain.
While larger Colorado has for decades been a population gainer, Denver lost 6,167 people for a marginal 0.9% decline. The city’s population now stands at 711,400, down from the earlier reported 715,500. That drop, according to the Denver Post, “reversed most of Denver's entire prior-year population gain."
Phoenix, on the other hand, was up by over 1%, adding 13,200 new people, to a previously reported 1,608,100.
In a statement, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego noted that the city was not only experiencing an increase in residents, but also "attracting global corporations, startups, and legacy companies."
Albuquerque, also, was on the upside, with a current population of 564,600, up by around 2,000 over the previous count.
By Garry Boulard
Work is expected to begin later this year in Colorado Springs on the construction of a 375-room hotel that will go up just to the east of the U.S. Air Force Academy's new visitor center.
The upscale project will include a restaurant, business center, wellness spa, and swimming pool, among other amenities.
As planned, the project will also see the construction of a conference center.
Described as a "four diamond" hotel, the project will additionally feature in its lobby two flight simulators, in reference to the Air Force Academy, that will create the effect of being on the flight deck of a Boeing 737 aircraft.
The simulators will be equipped with everything from seats, switches, pedals, and throttles.
The six-story hotel will be managed by the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based Coral Tree Hospitality.
If all goes as planned, the hotel is expected to be open for business sometime in early 2024.
As appraised by the American Automobile Association, a four diamond hotel is one that is generally more refined and stylish than most such establishments, with physical elements that "reflect an obvious enhanced level of quality throughout."
By Garry Boulard
Plans are now in the works for the construction of a very large aluminum can sheet rolling mill in the Village of Los Lunas, New Mexico.
A capital investment group has announced that it is putting up in excess of $2 billion to build the facility, which will go up on a 1,300-acre site. The project has been hailed by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, noting that it aligns with efforts to build a renewable energy economy in the state.
“Aluminum that is produced with a low-carbon footprint is in demand as customers continue to push for sustainability, and this innovative new project in Valencia County positions New Mexico to benefit from this industry,” the Governor said in a statement.
The project is being spearheaded by Manna Capital Partners of Louisville, Kentucky; with the Broomfield, Colorado-based Ball Corporation serving as a long-term supplier for the facility.
Support to get the project off the ground is coming through $5 million in Local Economic Development Act funding from the New Mexico Department of Economic Development.
The project is also expected to qualify for Industrial Revenue Bond funding via the Village of Los Lunas.
Talks between interested parties regarding the project have been going on for months, with construction scheduled to launch on the facility towards the end of 2023.
Manna Capital Partners is a private investment firm targeting acquisition and investment opportunities across the country. The Ball Corporation, launched in 1880, is the largest provider of sustainable aluminum packaging in the world.
If all goes according to the announced timeline, the new Los Lunas facility is expected to be completed sometime in 2026.
By Garry Boulard
As part of a process that has been ongoing for several years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that it hopes to secure funding soon for the construction of at least eight new cemeteries nationally soon.
According to estimates it will cost as much as $24 million to build all the cemeteries being discussed, with an emphasis placed on creating sites in rural areas.
At least two of the cemetery projects under discussion will be columbariums. Those above- ground tombs are set to be built in the New York neighborhood of Queens, as well as Indianapolis.
A separate columbarium is set for construction in San Francisco, with a general 2027 site opening date.
Two months ago, the VA announced plans to build a new cemetery in Elko, Nevada, prompting Matt Quinn, VA Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs, to remark in a statement that once the Nevada site is completed, “approximately 94% of America’s Veterans will have a national, state, or tribal cemetery located within 75 miles of where they live.”
For the present, the closest VA cemetery from Elko is located some 170 miles to the north in Buhl, Idaho. Recent VA work has additionally seen the expansion of existing cemeteries in Hawaii, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, among other localities.
There are currently nearly 160 veterans’ cemeteries in more than forty states that are a part of the U.S. National Cemetery System, with the most famous, the 639-acre Arlington National Cemetery in northern Virginia, containing more than 400,000 graves.
By Garry Boulard
New legislation approved by Colorado lawmakers will make it mandatory for local governments to update their building codes to make structures in the state substantially more energy efficient.
House Bill 1362, otherwise known as the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Bill, calls for the establishment of what is being called an Energy Code Board that will adapt and enforce updated energy codes, while also putting in place a clear air building investments fund to support energy efficiency building initiatives.
Proposed by Representative Tracey Bernett and Senator Chris Hansen, the legislation sets a January 2, 2025, deadline for local government, as well as state agencies, to adopt an energy code in keeping with the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code.
According to a fiscal analysis of the bill, some $3 million, coming out of Colorado’s General Fund, will be available to help local governments with the new energy codes and to fund training to “assist architects, builders, contractors, and designers in implementing the energy codes.”
The measure has won the support of various energy efficiency and green building groups, while also garnering criticism from the organization Switch Automation, whose chief executive officer Deb Noller told the Denver Post: “It’s certainly not aggressive enough to be addressing where the built environment needs to go over the next five to six years.”
The bill has also been derided by industry groups such as the Colorado Springs Home Builders Association which has said that the new code requirements will add at least $12,000 to the price of building a home.
The measure has now been sent to Governor Jared Polis for his signature.
By Garry Boulard
A portion of a former Macy’s store on the east side of Colorado Springs will soon repurposed by a popular and expanding local church.
The Zeal Church, which is currently operating out of a large space at the nearby Creekside Event Center at 5515 Palmer Park Boulevard, has purchased the lower level of the Macy’s site for $3.5 million.
The 97,000 square-foot site at the Citadel Mall, located at 750 Citadel Drive, has been vacant since 2019 when the Macy’s company announced it was closing nearly a dozen underperforming stores nationally.
Macy’s overall footprint at the Citadel Mall exceeded 195,000 square feet on two levels. The second floor of the former store has since been taken over by an elementary charter school. That adaptive reuse, creating a dozen classrooms, came with a $5.6 million price tag.
The Zeal Church, with a congregation in excess of 2,000 people, was launched in the fall of 2020. According to reports, the church is planning what will be a three-phase renovation of the old store space, a project expected to cost around $3 million, with work on the first phase beginning by mid-summer.
By Garry Boulard
Nearly two-thirds of responding contractors in a new survey say their highway work projects have been to some degree subject to car crashes and accidents.
The survey, conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and the construction software company HCSS, based in Sugar Land, Texas, additionally reveals that some 32% of the contractors questioned said five or more motor vehicle crashes had occurred in their work zones within the last year.
While most respondents indicated that no construction workers were injured during these crashes, a combination of 18% reported that anywhere from 1 to 5 workers had been injured, with 5% reporting worker fatalities.
Just under 40% of respondents said that their projects were delayed by anywhere from 1 to 5 days because of such accidents.
Meanwhile, the idea that everyone on the nation’s highways is driving faster, and that the incidence of vehicular crashes are on the increase, seemed to find support among respondents, with 58% agreeing with the statement that the risks of highway work zone crashes are greater now than they were a year ago.
While speeding and increased traffic were pointed to as two reasons for a generally more dangerous highway work zone environment, overwhelmingly, at 81%, respondents pointed to drivers talking on cell phones as the number one reason for accidents.
When asked what measures would help reduce the number of highway work zone crashes, respondents listed a “greater police presence” at such sites; followed by a stricter enforcement of both laws regarding work zone moving violations and cell phone usage.
In a statement accompanying the release of the survey, Steve McGough, chief executive officer of HCSS, called for greater surveillance of such work zones as a means to lessening the incidence of work zone accidents.
“Utilizing speed cameras with a zero-tolerance policy would go a long way to protect the traveling public and our workforce,” said McGough.
By Garry Boulard
Plans are now underway to redevelop one of the most unusual and visible structures in downtown Phoenix.
Located at 3443 North Central Avenue, the Phoenix Financial Center site is made up of several structures, but the centerpiece has always been the 19-story high-rise known as the Punch Card Building because it looks like a mammoth vertical 1960s computer punch card.
Designed by modernist architect Wenceslao Sarmiento and originally opened in 1964, the building, with two adjacent 9,000 square-foot rotundas, has for years served as the home for both private companies and government agencies.
Measuring around 285,000 square feet, the structure is regarded as a treasure by architectural historians, and an intact example of 1960s southwest design styles.
Now a developer has announced plans to incorporate the famous building and adjoining structures into a larger mixed-use campus. As designed by Davis Partnership Architects of Denver, the project will see the building of a $100 million multifamily complex that will comprise some 400,000 square feet.
As envisioned by the developer, Ironline Partners, new construction adjacent to the Punch Card Building will see the building of a fitness area, swimming pool, and resident co-working space, all built over two sublevel parking garages.
A general construction schedule is expected to see the new part of the site completed by 2024 or 2025.
By Garry Boulard
An effort is continuing in southwestern Colorado to build a grocery store in a town where none currently exists.
According to plans, officials with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe want to build the store in Towaoc, a town of around 1,100 people. The store would go up on vacant land just to the north of the Ute Mountain Casino, which is located at 3 Weeminuche Drive, just off U.S. Route 491.
It is thought that it will cost at least $12 million to build the store, with a first step taken with the awarding of a $30,000 grant from the Rocky Mountain Health Foundation. Tribe leaders have said they intend to soon launch a capital campaign for the project.
That capital campaign is expected to be completed by 2024.
Because of its lack of a grocery store, with the nearest available market located in the town of Cortex, roughly 15 miles to the northeast, Towaoc is characterized as a food desert.
As described by the federal Department of Agriculture, food deserts are locations, often in lower-income communities, where there are either no stores, or convenience stores lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables.
By Garry Boulard
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