Plans are moving forward for the construction of a new emergency management facility that will serve the residents of Dona Ana County.
To date, at least three locations, down from an initial twelve, are under serious consideration for the new facility, which may require a site of at least 8 acres.
ASA Architects of Las Cruces, working with the county on the project, recently suggested a fourth site, off the Tortugas Trail on property owned by New Mexico State University.
According to county documents, the selected site will have to be located outside of a flood plain, with multiple road access points.
The other sites under consideration are at the intersection of Northrise Drive and Roadrunner Parkway; a former landfill owned by the Bureau of Land Management off Sonoma Ranch Boulevard; and land, also on the Tortugas Trail, near NMSU’s driving range.
It is not yet known what the total cost will be to build the facility, nor where all the funding for the project will come from. It is thought that at least $1.5 million in funding may be secured through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Additional funding might be found as a capital outlay to be passed next year by members of the New Mexico State Legislature.
A timetable for when work on the new center will begin has not yet been announced.
By Garry Boulard
New hotel projects in the pipeline as of the third quarter of this year, represent a 10% gain over where things stood last year at this same point.
So says a new industry survey released by the Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based Lodging Econometrics, which also shows an increase of 6% in the number of new hotel rooms being planned over the third quarter of 2021.
At the end of September, a total of 987 projects, representing just over 135,000 rooms, are already under construction. Plans for the next year, meanwhile, stand at a significantly higher 2,074 projection, for an aggregate total of just under 236,900 rooms.
Such numbers represent what can only be described as a vibrant hotel construction market, particularly after the industry saw many projects cancelled or delayed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a Lodging Econometrics press release, “lending rates have changed significantly in 2022 due to the Federal Reserve’s rate increases.” As a result, “ownership and management groups are finding that reinvesting in their current portfolios, whether that be renovating or repositioning to another brand, is a better return on investment right now.”
Given such trends, it is perhaps not surprising that nearly 900 brand conversion room projects were undertaken in the last quarter, representing 99,474 rooms.
At the same time the renovation pipeline, showing growth numbers not seen since the summer of 2018, has remained strong with 893 individual projects and 140,440 rooms.
In the upper midscale chain segment, Home2Suites by Hilton had 494 projects in the talking stage this most recent quarter; followed by InterContinental Hotel Group’s Holiday Inn Express, at 297 projects; and Marriott’s TownePlace Suites at just under 300 projects.
Among the upscale chains, Marriott’s Residence Inn led the way with 234 projects; followed by its Springhill Suites brand with 148 projects; and IHG’s Staybridge Suites at 125 projects.
By Garry Boulard
A 300,000 square foot industrial building that has long been used by the Arizona Republic as a printing facility is being listed for sale with an asking price of $47.7 million.
Located at 19th Avenue and Williams Drive, the massive plant sits on a nearly 20-acre site in the Deer Valley neighborhood of northern Phoenix, and has been owned by the newspaper since 1987.
Besides the Arizona Republic, the plant has also been used to print regional editions of the New York Times and USA Today, among several other daily publications.
The Arizona Republic is owned by the McLean, Virginia-based mass media company Gannett, which in recent years has been consolidating its printing operations across the country.
Four years ago, Gannett also sold a 10-story building in downtown Phoenix that served as offices for the Arizona Republic. After that sale, the newspaper kept its offices in that building.
Launched in 1890, the Arizona Republic is one of the oldest and most successful continually operating newspapers in the West. The newspaper, which has a daily circulation of around 100,000, was purchased by Gannett in 2000.
The printing facility is being listed by New York-based realtor BellCornerstone.
By Garry Boulard
City officials in Tempe continue to review plans by the Arizona Coyotes hockey team to not only build a new 16,000-seat arena, but also a much more expansive entertainment district.
The city has been conducting a series of public input hearings on the roughly $2 billion project, which will also include the building of new hotels, restaurants, shops, and residential space.
The project is being spearheaded by Bluebird Development LLC, which has corporate offices in Phoenix. Bluebird is owned by Alex Meruelo and the Meruelo Group, which also own the hockey team.
The project could end up being built along the south bank of the Salt River on a 46-acre site that was formerly a landfill. The team earlier pledged to spend up to $40 to pay for the remediation of that site. According to some reports, toxic landfill materials could be buried up to 37 feet below the surface.
The Coyotes have been involved in negotiations with city officials as well as the Tempe City Council since last summer, going over the details of the project.
It is thought that that council may vote sometime next month on the proposed development.
By Garry Boulard
New Gross Domestic Product Numbers Show Growth But Fail to Lessen Recession Fears
The Gross Domestic Product, after turning in desultory performances for most of 2022, came roaring back in the quarter ending in September, registering a 2.6% rate of growth.
That figure, just released by the Bureau of Economic Analysts, exceeded most economists’ expectations, and was fueled by an increase in manufacturing and consumer spending.
The 2.6% increase was particularly impressive when compared with the 1.6% recorded in the first quarter of this year, and the minus 0.6% from April to June.
Measuring the value of all goods and services produced over a three-month period, the Gross Domestic Product is seen as both a retrospective look at where the country has been in the last quarter, as well as a hopeful harbinger in terms of where it may be going.
The 2.6% increase, according to the BEA, reflected increases in “both goods and services.”
According to a press released issued by the agency, “within exports of goods, the leading contributors to the increase were industrial supplies and materials.”
In the consumer spending category, the increase was led by health care and other services, although someone offset by a decrease in goods.
Meanwhile, the quarter also saw an increase in federal government spending, led by the Department of Defense, and state and local government spending reflecting an “increase in compensation of state and local government employees.”
In a statement, President Biden hailed the new numbers, remarking: “Today we got further evidence that our economic recovery is continuing to power forward.”
In digesting the new numbers, the New York Times said that while the new numbers were hopeful, “key components continue to show an economic slowdown.”
The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, remarked that “economists don’t expect the third-quarter rise in exports to endure, given a stronger dollar and weakening global economy.”
In an interview with the publication Vox, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, noted that while the latest numbers show “the economy is not in recession,” there remains a 50% chance that a recession will be underway by next year.
By Garry Boulard
A busy shopping center with a variety of tenants in what is known as the Southwest Mesa of Albuquerque is being listed for sale for $6.4 million.
The Sage Marketplace is located at 9550 Sage Road SW, just a little over 6 miles to the southwest of downtown Albuquerque in a part of the city that makes up one its oldest sections, yet has seen a substantial amount of new suburban residential construction.
Construction on the one-story L-shaped retail center began in late 2005 and was completed the following year. The center makes up around 21,100 square feet of space and is classified as a Class B building.
The Sage Marketplace is home to such tenants as Domino’s pizza, a Family Dollar store, an H&R Block office, and Shared Fitness studio.
The property is being listed by the Phoenix-based realtors Marcus & Millichap.
By Garry Boulard
The Phoenix-based Nikola Corporation, known for its production of zero-emission commercial trucks, has announced plans to build a massive hydrogen production hub that will encompass just over 900 acres.
The project will go up at 28702 W. Patterson Road in the town of Buckeye, Arizona, roughly 37 miles to the southwest of Nikola’s corporate office.
As planned, the facility will support a Nikola goal of producing 30 metric tons of hydrogen supply per day, increasing through the completion of the plant to up to 150 metric tons.
The hydrogen will be used primarily to serve those who have previously purchased a Nikola truck.
Nikola earlier spent $16.5 million acquiring the site, located across the street from the Arizona Department of Corrections’ Lewis Prison, and hopes to see construction begin on the site later this year.
Launched in Salt Lake City in 2014, Nikola set up operations in southern Arizona three years ago.
By Garry Boulard
For the eighth month in a row, existing home sales are on the downside, indicating an increasingly sluggish market, says a new survey published by the National Association of Realtors.
The survey shows that sales were off by 1.5% in September, compared to the month before, and a big 23.8% off over September of 2021.
In a press release accompanying the survey, the NAR noted that “three out of four major U.S. regions noted month-over-month sales contractions, while the West held steady.”
But looking at things from the perspective of the fall of 2021, the survey shows that “sales dropped in all regions.”
In a statement, Lawrence Yun, chief economist with NAR, noted that the “housing sector continues to undergo an adjustment due to the continuous rise in interest rates, which eclipsed 6% for 30-year fixed mortgages in September and are now approaching 7%.”
Yun added that “expensive regions of the country are especially feeling the pinch and seeing larger declines in sales.”
Home sales in the Northeast were off by 1.6% for an average price of $418,500; with the Midwest off by 1.7% for an average price of $281,500.
The South, meanwhile, saw a drop of 1.9% for a median price of nearly $352,000.
Conditions were most stable in the West, where there was no drop in the home sale price. The median price in the West, at the same time, is now the highest in the nation at nearly $600,000.
By Garry Boulard
A project that could take nearly 30 years to complete may get a green light next month by voters in Denver.
An advocacy group in the city has put on this year’s ballot Ordinance 307, otherwise known as the Denver Deserves Sidewalks initiative, which is designed to raise up to $40 million annually to repair, upgrade, and build hundreds of miles of new sidewalks.
Studies have shown that Denver currently has a deficit of up to 300 miles of sidewalks that are simply missing in places where one section of a sidewalk ends and just feet away, another begins.
Those same studies have documented more than 800 miles of existing sidewalks that are regarded as too narrow.
Reports have indicated that, altogether, up to 40% of Denver’s sidewalks are either nonexistent or nonfunctional.
The campaign behind the ordinance has noted that a significant number of unsafe and poorly maintained sidewalks are in the city’s lower income neighborhoods. Missing, narrow, or inadequate sidewalks are also a particular challenge to residents with disabilities.
A Denver Deserves Sidewalks promo, noting that sidewalk improvements would also make it safer for kids to walk to school, additionally references studies showing that children who walk to school have “higher academic performance and lower levels of stress during the school day.”
The ballot ordinance has won the support of a variety of groups, including the non-profit Denver Foundation and Denver Regional Mobility & Access Council.
But it has also generated controversy because homeowners would be required to pay an annual fee, with those owning larger properties hit the hardest. While agreeing with the need to repair the city’s sidewalks, the Denver Post recently remarked that it “sees too many flaws in the Denver Deserves Sidewalks proposal to support it at this time.”
By Garry Boulard
Funding for Bernalillo County Drainage and Water System Upgrades on November Ballot
New wastewater, drainage, and wastewater system projects are expected to be undertaken across Bernalillo County, depending upon the results of the November election.
The most populous county by far in the state, Bernalillo has an ongoing need for new infrastructure construction and upgrade projects.
Voters in the county will decide on three separate bond proposals, with the first asking for general obligation bonds not to exceed $1.5 million to purchase new materials in Bernalillo’s big library system.
A second question proposes bonds of just below $13 million for planning, designing, and building any number of public facilities. Depending upon the need, those facilities could include everything from courthouses to detention centers to fire stations.
Two other proposals are calling for general obligation bonds not to exceed $11 million for park and recreational facility improvements; and $10.2 million to both build and rehabilitate roads, sidewalks, and trails, among other transportation projects.
The final bond proposal, at $4.3 million, would pay for the acquiring of property, as well as planning, designing, and building of water, drainage, and wastewater systems throughout Bernalillo County.
The $4.2 million may also go for the equipping, repairing, and general improvement of those systems.
County officials have said that the bonds will particularly be applied to eliminating flooding in the North and South Valleys, as well as the north side of Albuquerque.
By Garry Boulard
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