Voters in Denver may be presented with a bond question in November asking for their approval of either the new construction or renovation of an existing school building in the city’s Montbello neighborhood.
The former Montbello High School in northeast Denver was officially discontinued in 2010, with a final class graduating in 2014, and subsequently replaced with ten smaller school facilities.
The school had served a school body that was more than 90 percent black and Latino.
Now, after a series of meetings with area parents, Denver school officials say they are in favor of returning to a single comprehensive school facility.
In going back to the single large high school concept, the Denver Public Schools district would either end up renovating the existing building that once housed Montbello High at 5000 Crown Boulevard, or building an entirely new structure altogether.
What happens with the Montbello school will depend on what happens with a $810 million proposed bond crafted by members of the Denver Public Schools’ community planning and advisory committee.
That committee has spent months looking at the facility needs of the larger city school district, before deciding on a series of construction and upgrading projects most in need of funding.
A final decision on whether or not the bond will actually be put on the November ballot is expected to be made next month by the Denver Public Schools school board.
The original Montbello school, with an eventual enrollment of more than 1,500 students, was opened in the fall of 1980.
By Garry Boulard
FEDERAL aviation administration announces grants for arizona and new mexico airports
Five airports in Arizona and New Mexico have been selected by the Federal Aviation Administration for airport safety and infrastructure construction grants.
The funding, equaling just over $4 million, is part of a larger $273 million in new airport safety and infrastructure grants released by the FAA for airports in 41 states.
In a statement, Elaine Chao, secretary of the Department of Transportation, said new grant funding for the nation’s airports will “strengthen safety, improve travel, generate jobs, and benefit local communities.”
Some $242 million in grants is coming through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, while $31 million is being funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
The grants will be used for everything from constructing and repairing runways and taxiways, to installing signage and lighting, and building airport perimeter fencing.
In Arizona, the Kingman Airport is receiving $329,000 in grant funding for the rehabilitation of a runway. The Cochise County Airport, to the west of the city of Wilcox, is slated to receive $164,000 for an apron reconstruction project.
In New Mexico, the Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport is getting nearly $167,000 for the installation of weather reporting equipment; while the Moriarty Municipal Airport is slated for just under $164,000 for the installation of a runway vertical/visual guidance system.
One of the largest grants, at $3.1 million, is going to the Roswell International Air Center for a long-planned apron rehabilitation.
By Garry Boulard
Exactly $50 million in federal funds are being made available to small businesses throughout New Mexico negatively impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said the funding is coming from a larger $178 million fund that New Mexico earlier this year received from Washington as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
As announced, the state effort will make grant funding available to local governments across New Mexico which, in turn, will be able to help small businesses continue to weather the virus with the help of grants of varying sizes.
In order to receive the funding, local governments will be required to submit applications to the state. As part of that process they will also be required to list by priority the small businesses within their jurisdictions that are most in need of assistance.
By the requirements of the CARES Act, all such funds will only be available until the end of this year.
In announcing the funding availability, Lujan Grisham remarked: “This unprecedented public health and economic crisis has caused a tremendous strain on local governments and on small businesses across our state.”
Application forms have now been sent out to local governments from Santa Fe, with a submission deadline of August 7. State officials have said that all such applications will be reviewed within a 10-day time period, with recipients receiving grants by no later than August 21.
The initiative, as announced by the Governor, also includes $28 million for tribal governments.
Earlier this month, Lujan Grisham signed into law the Small Business Recovery Act of 2020, which was approved by lawmakers in a special session in June and is designed to help both small businesses as well as nonprofits in the state.
In announcing the signing of that legislation, the Governor’s office noted that eligible businesses and nonprofits could borrow two times their average monthly expenses up to a maximum of $75,000.
The statement added: “The measure set the interest rate at one-half the prime rate on the day the loan is made. The initial loan period is three years.”
By Garry Boulard
new plans for 30-story denver office building seen as response to covid-19 concerns
A project that will see the construction of around 700,000 square feet of rentable space in downtown Denver is also placing an emphasis on built-in health features.
Announced earlier this year, the 30-story building, to be developed by the Chicago-based Riverside Investment & Development, will go up on a 1.2-acre site between Arapahoe and Lawrence Streets.
Other developers in recent years have considered building on the site, which is currently a parking lot. But the Riverside project is the first to have a concept plan approved for the property by the City of Denver.
As envisioned, the project will feature 9,500 square feet of retail space; 5,200 square feet of lounge space; and a conference center measuring 2,700 square feet.
To be designed by Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects of Denver and the Chicago-based Goettsch Partners, the building will also include fourteen private terraces and enough above- and below-ground parking for more than six hundred vehicles.
In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the project will also incorporate a secondary air purification system, along with touch-free elevators.
Regarding the structure’s health features, Drew Nieman, Riverside executive vice-president, said in a statement: “In collaborating with third party subject matter experts over the past several months, we are confident we are taking aggressive steps to establish an elevated standard for indoor environmental conditions.”
Work on what is being called 1900 Lawrence is expected to begin later this year, with a general spring 2023 completion date.
By Garry Boulard
new defense bill targets arizona, colorado, and new mexico military base projects
Federal military bases throughout the Southwest are in line to receive new funding for a variety of construction and infrastructure projects, as included in the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
That $740 billion legislation, which is currently in the reconciliation process after being passed by both houses of Congress, is providing $34 million for the building of a Defense Information System Agency at Fort Huachuca in southeast Arizona.
The bill also authorizes $14 million in spending for the construction of a new facility at the Military Free Fall School, which is part of the Yuma Proving Ground in the southwestern corner of Arizona.
The new Ready Building will provide housing and dining space for students attending the Free Fall School.
Colorado is slated to receive a total of around $268 million in new Defense construction funding that will go, in part, for the building of the Consolidated Space Operations Facility at the Schriever Air Force Base near Colorado Springs.
The Centennial State will also see the construction of a new National Guard Readiness Center at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; and a new Special Operations Forces tactical equipment maintenance facility at Fort Carson, also near Colorado Springs.
Among the projects based in New Mexico receiving Defense Department funding is the updating of infrastructure for energy testing workloads at the White Sands Missile Range, just north of Las Cruces, which is slated for $15 million.
The Sandia National Laboratories is expected to receive $36 million for a 31,000 square foot new emergency operations center; while $85 million is targeting a training unit for MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle operators at Holloman Air Force Base, six miles to the southwest of Alamogordo.
The reconciliation process for the legislation is not expected to be completed until this fall.
By Garry Boulard
residential and fitness space to be part of unique westside albuquerque development
A complex that will combine modern residential units with gym and fitness space may soon be going up on the west side of Albuquerque.
What is being called The Overlook @ Valley View will be built on a currently vacant site at 9368 Valley View Drive NW in an area of new retail and commercial growth.
Albuquerque realtor and developer Timothy Borror is bringing his expertise as a the owner of the popular Nob Hill gym Anytime Fitness to the project, offering up to 5,000 square feet of fitness and gym space in the mixed-use project.
As planned, the roughly $2.5 million project will comprise three floors, with restaurant and retail space making much of the ground floor, and residential units comprising the top two stories.
The structure will also feature some 1,600 square feet of patio space, and is being advertised as a project providing sweeping views of the Sandia Mountains.
Described as a destination center, The Overlook @ Valley View is following a decided national trend seeing more and more residential projects offering fitness space amenities.
According to the site RentCafe.com, more than 90 percent of new apartment buildings built last year featured some sort of gym or fitness space, up from less than 50 percent three decades ago.
The same report indicated that nearly a third of survey respondents said they would not considering renting at a complex without such amenities.
Plans for The Overlook @Valley View are expected to soon go before the Albuquerque Review Board.
By Garry Boulard
Work could begin later this year on the construction of a new pre-K to 8th grade school in the growing Greeley-Evans School District 6.
The project will go up on an 88-acre site adjacent to the Boomerang Golf Couse, just to the west of 71st Avenue.
Construction of the new school, to be built for a capacity of 900 students, will be paid for out of a $395 million bond approved by district voters last November.
That bond is funding the rebuilding of the district’s Greeley West High School, as well as its Madison Elementary School.
The land for the new pre-K-8th grade facility was owned by the Banner Health group, which has offices in Greeley.
In order to secure that property, the Greeley-Evans School Board agreed to give Banner some 45 acres of school property in another part of the district.
Project architect for the new school is the Denver-based DLR Group.
It is currently estimated that the new school will be completed in time for the fall 2022 semester.
The Greeley-Evans School District serves most of the cities of Evans and Greeley. The district’s enrollment has increased in the last decade from just under 16,000 to nearly 22,500 students in the last academic year.
By Garry Boulard
Although no specific date has been set, a U.S. tariff on imported aluminum from Canada could well be announced by this fall, say industry experts.
The Trump Administration had initially proposed a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports in 2018, but a year later exempted Canada through a series of exclusions.
Since then, aluminum imports from Canada into the U.S. have been surging. By the end of last year, just under $6 billion in such imports exempted from the initial 10 percent tariff had entered the U.S.
But U.S. aluminum producers say the Canadian aluminum exclusion process has put them at a competitive disadvantage.
In an open letter to the President, the American Primary Aluminum Association has asked that the 10 percent tariff be re-imposed.
“Now is the time to put America First and for President Trump to enforce our trade agreements, stop this unprecedented Canadian import surge, and stand strong with American workers by reinstating the 10 percent tariff on Canadian imports,” APAA chief executive Mark Duffy said in a statement.
But in a press conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said of the move to recompose the tariff: “This is something that again is a little difficult to understand, because the United States relies heavily on imports of Canadian aluminum, in particular for their domestic manufacturing capacity.”
The Arlington, Virginia-based Aluminum Association has estimated that at least 50 percent of the materials going into the construction of a modern high-rise today are made up of aluminum products and used for everything from roofs and siding to door and window frames and facades.
By Garry Boulard
An environmental review process that is currently underway looking at the building of a proposed border crossing in Sunland Park is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Once that process is finished, Sunland Park officials anticipate the submission of applications for permits leading to the construction of the new port of entry.
Talked about for decades, the crossing would connect Sunland Park with Ciudad Juarez to the south, and could carry with it a construction price tag of just over $124 million.
Called the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Port of Entry, the project is expected to be built in two phases, the first of which will be a crossing for just passenger vehicles and pedestrians.
A second phase would see a crossing specifically for truck traffic.
The idea for the Sunland Park/Ciudad Juarez crossing was first floated in the early 1970s, but never gained traction for a number of reasons, including the reported opposition of officials in nearby Santa Teresa, home of an already-thriving port of entry.
Proponents of the Sunland Park port entry contend that a second crossing would serve to decrease traffic congestion at the Santa Teresa port.
Funding for the proposed crossing, which would require the cooperation of national, state, and local Mexican government agencies, could come from a variety of sources, including revenue raised through the creation of a tax increment development district, as well as grants, and authorization bonds paid for through a gross receipts tax.
Officials estimate that if built, the Sunland Park crossing could easily serve a combination of more than 1,600 passenger cars and trucks daily, as well as around 200 pedestrians.
A study conducted by the McAllen, Texas-based S&B Infrastructure, the company that is serving as project’s engineer, said the border crossing’s traffic numbers could increase to 2,250 vehicles and 575 pedestrians a day by the year 2040.
Already the subject of several public input meetings, the border crossing project would most likely be built just south of McNutt Road on some 790 combined U.S. and Mexican acres.
The S&B study, completed last year, noted that in conversations with both U.S. and Mexican officials, “the project was well received, piqued interest, and received good support among several of the agencies.”
By Garry Boulard
The fast growing discount retailer Five Below has announced plans to build a roughly 850,000 square foot facility in the city of Buckeye, Arizona.
What is estimated to be a $75 million project will go up on currently vacant land at the southwest corner of Miller Road and W. Durango Street, and will be yet one more sign of the Philadelphia-based store’s rapid growth.
Founded in 2002, Five Below caters to a child and teenage clientele selling everything from clothing apparel to school supplies and a wide variety of toys and games.
The company takes its name from the fact that the vast majority of items sold in its stores are listed at $5 or below, although a smaller number of products are priced between $6 and $10.
With more than 950 stores nationally, Five Below has announced an aggressive campaign to expand its retail presence by eventually building and opening some 2,500 locations.
In the first quarter of this year, the company opened 20 new stores on the way to a planned total of 120 new stores by the end of this year.
Because of its expansion, Five Below earlier this year also opened a new 715,000 square foot distribution center in Forsyth, Georgia.
Although most of its stores have been located in the Northeast and South, the company is increasingly opening new outlets in the West. Currently Five Below has ten stores in Arizona, six in Colorado, and four in metro El Paso.
In a statement, Joel Anderson, Five Below’s chief executive officer, said the new Buckeye center will service the company’s stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Nevada, among other Western locales.
“We are really excited to continue our expansion out West and to build out our distribution network,” said Anderson.
Work on the Buckeye facility is expected to begin later this year with a late 2021 completion date.
By Garry Boulard
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