The Department of Defense is preparing to send out a Request for Proposals related to the greater development of 5G technologies for defense-related purposes.
“History is replete with examples of the DOD partnering with the private sector to foster innovation and collaboratively bring leap-ahead technology to the forefront,” said Lisa Porter, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for research and engineering, in a public statement.
The department is asking that respondents focus on how to use 5G technology in “congested environments with high-power, mid-band radars.”
Respondents should also contemplate how to integrate what is called “Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality” into overall mission planning for training ranges.
And finally, RFP respondents are being asked to talk about how to use Smart Warehouses to leverage 5G’s ability to enhance operations.
Porter added that the Defense Department wants private industry to take the lead on 5G technologies, adding, “We will never let up on our commitment to continuously innovate with our partners in the private sector, as well as with our partners across the government.”
As planned, the Defense Department will most likely officially issue a 5G Request for Proposals in the next several weeks.
5G technology is regarded as being twenty times faster than current wireless technology and, according to sources, is on the verge of being widely embraced by the private sector, including the construction industry.
Earlier this year, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said his agency is trying to come up with a comprehensive 5G adaptation strategy based on modernizing outdated regulations, updating infrastructure policy, and creating more spectrum in the marketplace.
Pai has also promised that there will be at least 200,000 small cell sites across the country by the end of this year to help launch the technology.
In speaking this month before the Mobile World Congress trade show, Pai said of the coming 5G technology wave: “It has an echo of the rural electrification of the 1930s and 1940s.”
By Garry Boulard
Feeding into a strong El Paso housing market and overall economy, a local developer has announced plans to build a 550,000 square-foot mixed-use property.
The commercial development firm Prestige Development Group has purchased for $11 million a 20-acre mostly undeveloped site in the city that will soon be home to everything from apartments, retail space, offices, restaurants, and even hotels.
What is being called the Gateway will go up at 6767 Gateway West Boulevard, not far from Airway Boulevard, running parallel with Interstate 10.
As proposed, the project will be virtually a small city with four buildings fronting I-10 and housing stores and restaurants.
There will also be two offices buildings of three floors each, and, finally, an eight to ten-story structure with apartments on the top levels and parking space in the middle of the building.
The $50 million project will be located less than a mile from the Cielo Vista Mall, one of the most popular retail destinations in metropolitan El Paso.
It its more than two decades in El Paso, Prestige Development has spearheaded any number of shopping center, restaurant, and medical space projects.
Current plans call for work to begin on the Gateway in early 2020, with a general completion date of sometime in 2023.
By Garry Boulard
tax increment development district could transform university of new mexico property
A large swath of property, part of the University of New Mexico’s more than 600-acre main Albuquerque campus, could be significantly developed if a plan in the talking stage with the City of Albuquerque gains any traction.
Both school and city officials have long wanted to do more with what is known as the South Campus, which is located north of Gibson Boulevard SE and runs parallel to Interstate 25.
Although the South Campus’ roughly 50 acres is the home to the Isotopes Park stadium, along with a small amount of student housing and an existing tech park, it has never been developed to its potential, say officials.
Now Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller is said to be looking at the possibility of entering into an agreement with the school’s Lobo Development agency that would allow for the creation of a tax increment development district.
That district, in turn, would provide a funding mechanism providing tax revenues for the building of any new residential or retail space on the defined South Campus area, along with any infrastructure costs.
It is not known when the Keller Administration will officially announce a South Campus plan, but such a project would be the first such economic development partnership between the city and UNM.
By Garry Boulard
Hoping for Congressional action before the end of the year, a group of nearly forty industry associations have come together to ask the Senate leadership to move on a new transportation infrastructure bill.
“History has demonstrated that delaying action on such measures until their deadline leads to two outcomes: short-term extensions; and the disruption of state highway improvement plans,” the groups have written in a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The groups, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, along with the American Society of Civil Engineers, says it sees such legislation as essential to the country’s well-being.
“It would provide historic investment levels, deliver beneficial projects faster by cutting red tape, tap private sector capital and innovations, prioritize safety, and improve the quality of life for rural and urban communities,” the letter continued.
In July, members of the Environment and Public Works Committee gave their approval to a bill that would establish a 5-year time frame designed to fund any number of road and bridge infrastructure projects nationally.
But a significant hurdle to the legislation’s ultimate passage has always been the question of funding in the form of raising the federal fuel tax.
The authors of the McConnell letter have come out in favor of raising the current 24 cents per gallon diesel tax and the 18 cents per gallon gas tax. That tax has not been increased since 1993.
Last month, in an interview with CNBC, McConnell, while not commenting specifically on the fuel tax question, nonetheless predicted: “We’re going to do a transportation bill, maybe later this year.”
By Garry Boulard
In an effort to makes it services more accessible to a growing population of nearly 450,000 people, Arizona’s Pinal County wants to build several new structures that will house a variety of government departments.
Plans are currently in the works for the construction of a development services building and emergency operations center in the county seat of Florence.
That project, at the intersection of Florence and Park streets, is expected to cost at least $16 million to build.
The county also wants to build a new county complex at 31500 N. Schnepf Road in San Tan Valley, as well as an addition to an existing county building at 1995 North Wilson Avenue in the city of Maricopa.
The San Tan Valley project would be built on a 5-acre site owned by the county near the campus of Central Arizona College, and is also expected to have a construction price tag of $16 million.
The $11 million Maricopa project, meanwhile, will go up within the Maricopa Heritage District on four acres owned by the county and would see the building of two structures for a combined 42,000 square feet.
In August, members of the county’s Board of Supervisors approved a $63 million bond to fund the construction of the projects.
Request for Proposals for all of the projects, with varying submission deadlines, have now been issued by Pinal County.
By Garry Boulard
A senior living center, with an emphasis on affordable housing, has been approved for construction by the Boulder Planning Board.
The project will go up on a 1.6-acre site at 1665 33rd Street and will include four buildings organized around a central courtyard.
The center will be owned and operated by the Boulder-based Academy Senior Living, which already has another senior residence complex up and running in the city with a combination of independent living, assisted living, and memory care residential space.
The new center will house 100 one-bedroom units and 6 two-bedroom units.
According to city documents, the project will also include office, restaurant, and retail space, along with an adult education facility.
Uniquely, while the center’s units will be affordable, marketed at 60 percent or less of area median income, there will be no space for resident vehicles, appealing to a growing senior segment without cars.
The site of the new center once served as the longtime home to Fruehauf’s, a popular Boulder patio and garden supply store that last year announced it was moving to Westminster.
By Garry Boulard
More recent immigrants have achieved a higher level of education than immigrants in previous decades, a new report issued by the Washington-based Brookings Institute says.
“When looking at the net gains of 2010-2018 foreign-born adults (age 25 and above), 61 percent were college graduates, compared to 33 percent among the native-born population,” says the report, US Foreign-Born Gains are Smallest in a Decade, Except in Trump States, written by Brookings senior fellow William Frey.
Although arrivals from Mexico continue to make up the largest segment of immigrants, increased numbers in the last few years have also been recorded from Latin America and Asia.
The report additionally indicates that contrary to popular opinion, immigration on average has declined in the last 5 years, from more than 1 million people in 2013-14, to just over 202,000 in 2017-18.
The states where many of the immigrants have located tend to be states that Donald Trump won in the 2016 presidential election, continues the Brookings report, with both Texas and Florida seeing what is defined as a “high concentration” of new arrivals at near 14 percent.
Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico saw what is described as a “medium concentration” of anywhere from 5 to 13.7 percent.
Low concentration states were primarily located in the Deep South and upper Western states of the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming.
Because the education level of more recent immigrants has increased, notes the Association of General Contractor’s Data Digest, the U.S. construction industry may “continue to have trouble finding foreign-born craft workers.”
A report issued last year by the National Association of Home Builders noted that immigrant workers made up nearly 25 percent of the overall construction workforce, and an even higher 30 percent in the construction trades.
That report also showed that the construction trades with the highest percentage of immigrant labor included plasterers and stucco masons, drywall installers, carpet and floor installers, brick masons, and both stonemasons and brick masons.
By Garry Boulard
With the support of a recently-secured federal Community Development Block Grant, officials in Bullhead City, Arizona are making plans to upgrade a well-used senior center.
In issuing a Request for Proposals, the City of Bullhead is looking for qualified engineering consultants to work on the project.
As proposed, the downtown facility, located at 2285 Trane Road, would see a general safety code upgrading, as well as restrooms and doors updated for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.
Windows in the building will also be replaced with an eye towards making the new ones more energy efficient. Additionally, the center’s HVAC system will be upgraded.
More generally, improvements to interior walls, floors, and ceilings will be done as needed.
Submission deadline for the RFP is November 7.
The Community Development Block Grant was awarded through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The one-story Bullhead City senior center is more than 40 years old and daily provides meals to area seniors, as well as operating a Meals-on-Wheels program.
By Garry Boulard
A project that will see the eventual construction of nearly 450 new housing units of varying sizes has received good news from the Fort Collins City Council.
The project, set for mostly undeveloped land on the northeast side of the city, will see the construction of homes to be priced anywhere between just under $300,000 and nearly $450,000.
A smaller section will include around one hundred affordable rental units.
The council vote created a series of metropolitan districts where revenue from property taxes will be used to help pay for the roughly $30 million in infrastructure needed for what is being called the Northfield subdivision.
To be developed by the Windsor, Colorado-based Landmark Homes, the subdivision will include just over three hundred condominiums and 138 townhomes, as well as a 3,000 square foot mixed-use building.
The project has been several years in the talking stage and is partly designed in response to a need for more housing in Fort Collins in a market that has also seen a significant increase in home prices.
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal listed Fort Collins as one of fifteen cities in the U.S. with the greatest increase in home prices since the Great Recession.
Construction could launch sometime in 2020.
By Garry Boulard
united states department of agriculture announces funding for a variety of infrastructure projects nationally
More than $200 million in funding, for a series of rural water infrastructure projects, has just been released by the federal Department of Agriculture.
In announcing the funding Donald LaVoy, the new deputy undersecretary for rural development with the Agriculture Department, noted that “modern, reliable and accessible infrastructure is critical to economic development and quality of life.”
LaVoy added that the Department of Agriculture remains committed to “partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
In Arizona, $2.7 million in funding will go to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority for work designed to increase the water supply and provide drinking water to various areas of the Navajo Nation.
The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Ganado/Lower Greasewood project includes the construction of a storage and pumping system, and both a piping and control valve facility.
Two projects in Colorado are receiving funding: The Stage Run Homeowners Association in Aurora is getting just under $600,000 to drill a new well and build a well control house and access road for a community of 59 homes.
The town of Antonito in southern Colorado is slated to receive just over $1.8 million for the building of a wastewater mechanical system.
In New Mexico, just over $11 million will target the installation of a new wastewater delivery system set to be built to the north of Las Cruces in the San Ysidro Colonia. Once built, that system will be a part of the City of Las Cruces’ larger wastewater collection system and treatment facility.
The City of Belen is receiving $2.6 million in funding for the construction of an arsenic water treatment facility. According to city officials, water from a well there currently exceeds federally-mandated drinking standards for arsenic.
The latest round of Department of Agriculture funding will support infrastructure projects in a total of 31 states.
By Garry Boulard
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