Six months after committing to play in the Talking Stick Resort Arena for another two decades, the Phoenix Suns basketball team is providing more details regarding a massive upgrading of that 18,000-seat venue.
The upgrading will include the building of an 8,500 square foot video wall, new sound and lighting systems, and a 15,000 square foot kitchen and corner bar.
The project will additionally include enhanced fan suites, while also offering the latest 5G technology.
As part of an agreement to keep the Phoenix Suns in the Talking Stick arena, the City of Phoenix will contribute around $150 million to the project, with the team itself paying for the remaining $80 million.
What is being called “Project 201: PHX Reimagined” will also see the building of a 10,000 square foot food court and new seating.
The entire renovation project could take up to two years to complete, but Phoenix Suns officials say more than half of the work will be done by next summer.
The Talking Stick Resort Arena was opened in the summer of 1992, making it one of the oldest arenas in the National Basketball Association.
By Garry Boulard
The Marlton, New Jersey-based Sheex, Inc., a company specializing in fabric bedding, sleepwear, sheets, pillows, and mattresses, has announced plans to build fifty new stores nationally.
Launched just over a decade ago by University of Tennessee basketball star Michelle Marciniak and Susan Walvius, a former head coach at the University of South Carolina, Sheex has seen its products placed in nearly 1,000 retail stores nationally.
Earlier this month, the company announced it was opening its own 1,700 square-foot store in the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania.
Primarily selling its goods via direct television marketing, the company has enjoyed an increase in revenue of around 200 percent since early 2018.
“The key for us now is to build out these retail stores,” Marciniak recently told the Morning Call newspaper. “We have a five-year plan to build as many as 50 retail stores across America.”
The first stores are expected to open in 2020.
Where the new Sheex outlets will be built, and whether they will open in existing mall spaces or as new stand-alone stores, has not yet been announced.
By Garry Boulard
Nearly a dozen New Mexico communities are receiving a total of $4 million for a variety of street and public space revitalization projects.
The funding is coming jointly from the New Mexico MainStreet program and the New Mexico Economic Development Department as part of an ongoing effort to return the downtown areas of many of the communities to their former glory.
An award of $100,000 is going to Alamogordo for that city’s work, along with the Alamogordo MainStreet program, to revitalize the 800 and 900 blocks of New York Avenue.
That avenue, lined with stately one- and two-story brick buildings mostly built during the first decade of the last century, has long been regarded as Alamogordo’s core business district.
In Albuquerque, an effort to update historic South 4th Street in the neighborhood of Barelas is also receiving $100,000. That project is being done in a partnership between Barelas Main Street and the City of Albuquerque.
A neighborhood of roughly 3,700 people, Barelas’ main thoroughfare has always been 4th Street, populated with any number of small restaurant and retail operations.
The Farmington MainStreet program, working with the City of Farmington, is getting $360,000 for its Downtown Farmington Revitalization Complete Streets Project work; while the largest dollar amount at $800,000 is going to a partnership between the Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District and the City of Gallup for the phase one construction of the Coal Avenue Commons.
MainStreet de Las Vegas and the City of Las Vegas are in line for $400,000 for the phase two revitalization building of Railroad Avenue, with the Lovington Main Street program and the City of Lovington getting $40,000 for phase three of its “Love Lovington: Going Green Wayfinding Project.”
The Lovington “Going Green” project has been designed to upgrade and revitalize outdoor park and plaza spaces. The wayfinding effort includes the construction of downtown gateways, directional signage, and kiosks with common colors and fonts.
In Raton, $100,000 will target a Roswell Market Walk project, a joint effort between the Roswell MainStreet program and the City of Roswell; Silver City, meanwhile, is getting $170,000 for a combined program sponsored by the Silver City MainStreet/Arts and Cultural District and the City of Silver City for the phase three construction of the Main Street Plaza.
Tucumcari MainStreet, working with the City of Tucumcari, is getting $600,000 for the phase one work on its historic Second Street.
In announcing the awards, Daniel Gutierrez, director of the New Mexico MainStreet, said the program is designed to work with “local communities to identify and develop catalytic economic development projects that use a holistic approach and build off of the community’s existing assets.”
By Garry Boulard
Reflecting the continued population growth of two northern Colorado counties, plans are underway for the construction of two new fire stations that will be built specifically to accommodate that growth.
The Windsor Severance Fire Protection District, which covers an area of 100 square miles in both Larimer and Weld Counties, already has three operating fire stations, including a $1.7 million headquarters station in downtown Windsor that was opened in 2002.
Now, the district wants to build a new station some four or five miles to the south of downtown Windsor on New Liberty Road.
The other station, which will officially be fire station number 5, is expected to be built on either the northern or eastern side of the district in order to better serve the town of Severance, more than five miles to the northeast of Windsor.
Funding to build the new stations is coming through the November election passage of a mill levy increase, which was approved by district voters by a 53 to 47 percent margin.
In addition to responding to the explosive growth of Larimer and Weld counties, the new stations, say Windsor Severance Fire Protection District officials, will substantially reduce response times for the new growth areas.
That growth, by any measure, has been significant, with Larimer County showing an increase of 100,000 people since the year 2000 for a current population of 350,500.
Weld County, during that same period of time, has gone from 180,000 to just over 314,000.
By Garry Boulard
A bill, designed to provide up to $100 billion in funding for the construction of new housing and the maintenance of existing housing, is currently being reviewed by members of Congress.
The Housing Infrastructure Act of 2019, if passed, will increase funding budgets for several different public housing-related federal agencies, and will specifically commit $70 billion to address what is regarded as a current public housing backlog.
The bill also calls for providing $1 billion for the building and maintenance of the country’s rural public housing stock.
In introducing the measure, California Senator Kamala Harris said, “Too many Americans are fighting tooth and nail to keep a roof over their heads as our nation continues to face a housing affordability and homelessness crisis.”
Introduced in the House Financial Services Committee by chairwoman Maxine Waters of California, the measure would give $5 billion to the existing Housing Trust Fund for the construction of several hundred thousand new housing units geared for low-income households.
The Native American Housing Block Grant Program will receive $1 billion to take care of substandard housing conditions on tribal lands.
Also included in the legislation: $10 billion for the Community Development Block Grants program to incentivize states and cities in an effort to eliminate impact fees and reduce the process for the development of affordable housing.
Although the chances for passage of the Housing Infrastructure Act, especially in the Senate, are currently uncertain, the measure has won the support of a wide array of groups including the National Association of Home Builders and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
By Garry Boulard
An Albuquerque company specializing in medical isotopes has announced plans to build a 70,000 square-foot production facility in southeast New Mexico.
Although the exact site for the plant has not yet been disclosed, it is known that it will be on 240 acres somewhere between the cities of Hobbs and Eunice.
Eden Radioisotopes is a medical technology startup, launched in 2012, focusing on uranium substances used in medical imaging procedures for diagnosis purposes.
The new facility, long in the planning stage, will include the construction of a less than 2-megawatt nuclear reactor to be used exclusively to produce the medical isotopes.
The company has exclusively licensed technology originally developed by the Sandia National Laboratories to produce medical isotopes and has just received, with Sandia, a regional Federal Laboratory Consortium award.
That award is given in recognition of federal laboratories and their partners for outstanding work in developing and commercializing innovative technologies.
Earlier this year, Eden additionally secured crucial backing for the reactor project through an investment agreement with the Artesia, New Mexico-based Abo Empire, an energy development company.
Eden’s purchase of the 240 acres is expected to be finalized by next spring, with construction of the new facility beginning in either late 2021 or early 2022.
By Garry Boulard
Located at 1001 Main Street, the Louisville Historical Museum is a popular tourist destination celebrating the frontier history of Louisville, Colorado.
Uniquely, the museum is actually a complex of three wood-frame buildings constructed during the first decade of the last century.
Two of the buildings are former residential structures, while the third - known as the Jacoe Store - is a replica of what a small town retail space was really like a century ago.
Because of the age of the structures, museum officials have long been aware of what the buildings lack: Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and adequate meeting space, as well as collections storage space.
Now the City of Louisville has issued a Request for Proposals for services to design an updated campus, which will also include a new visitors center.
The work is expected to build on the recommendations of a study competed in late 2017 by the Denver-based Roybal Corporation Architects, which emphasized the importance of any new construction being visually compatible with the museum’s existing structures.
The submission deadline for the RFP is December 4.
By Garry Boulard
Concerns over Mexican labor laws may push back a ratification vote in Congress on the recently negotiated United States, Mexico, and Canada trade agreement, otherwise known as USMCA.
In a public statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said any agreement must serve as a “template for trade agreements that will serve us well in the future negotiations.”
Pelosi’s stance has received the backing of Richard Trumka, the president of the American Federation of Labor/Congress and Industrial Organizations, who said the Speaker “wants the same thing we do: an enforceable agreement that actually works for workers.”
The USMCA, designed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, was negotiated by trade representatives from all three countries last year with the understanding that the legislatures of those countries would subsequently ratify the deal.
The White House had earlier predicted that Congressional ratification of the USMCA could probably be realized by the end of this year.
But now President Trump has described the effort to ratify the nearly 2,000-page agreement before December 31, as “dead in the water.”
Pelosi has remained more optimistic, remarking of talks between the House leadership and the Office of the United States Trade Representative: “We made progress. I think we’re narrowing our differences.”
Mexico’s Congress of the Union ratified the agreement earlier this summer. Members of the Parliament of Canada are expected to take up the matter when they meet in session beginning on December 5.
The USMCA, which has won the backing of the Associated General Contractors of America, includes updated tariff rate quotas on a wide variety of construction equipment and materials on both the import and export side.
By Garry Boulard
Planning is now underway in El Paso on a series of public safety facility construction and upgrade projects that include a long-desired new police command center on the city’s east side.
That center is expected to cost around $38.6 million to build and will give to the El Paso Police Department its first facility presence in a section of the city that has seen its population increase from 211,000 in 2010 to more than 239,000 today.
El Paso voters earlier this month approved a $413 million bond that will also fund construction of a new police headquarters. The project will replace the late 1940s structure at 911 N. Raynor Street that currently serves as the department’s headquarters.
That building, formerly a Sears & Roebuck store, has been plagued with a number of structural issues including a leaking roof and generally aging infrastructure.
It is projected that the new police headquarters will cost just under $91 million to build. The location for the new headquarters is currently not known.
Additional police facility work includes the $20 million building of a new training academy. The current academy building at 2300 Scenic Drive was built in the mid-1950s. A location for a new academy has also yet to be determined.
A central regional command center is forecast to cost $24.6 million to build and will replace the current command center location at 200 S. Campbell Street. That facility is more than 120 years old and was last upgraded in 1994.
Four separate regional command centers, with a combined price tag of $44.8 million, are also expected to be remodeled and renovated.
The public safety bond was approved by El Paso voters by a 59 to 41 percent margin.
By Garry Boulard
A more than 50 year-old building in downtown El Paso may soon see an extensive renovation spurred in part by just under $3.2 million in tax credits.
Members of the El Paso City Council have approved the credits for what is being called “Project Trinity,” a redevelopment of a 220,000 square foot building at 300 E. Main Street.
Those credits are coming in the form of a property tax rebate and construction materials sales rebate, as well as an overall city incentive of $2.4 million to be applied over a 10-year period.
The El Paso-based Summit Investment Group wants to repurpose the 13-story building as a mixed-use development.
According to city documents, the project will see a combination of retail space, offices, and event space on its ground floor, while some 80 new multi-family units will be built on floors two to thirteen.
The building is connected to the 12-story Hotel Indigo, formerly known as the Artisan Hotel, a structure built in 1963 that was redeveloped four years ago.
By Garry Boulard
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