In response to the continuing challenge of finding housing for homeless veterans, members of the Bernalillo County Commission are considering a plan that would see the construction of a residential complex for them.
If approved, the new $8 million facility would feature 60 apartment units as well as on-site support services.
Additional costs would include an annual $1 million budget to operate the complex.
Money for the project will come out of funds from an earlier approved county gross receipts tax designed to pay for behavioral health initiatives.
Bernalillo’s move to build a veterans housing complex comes just as the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has released a survey showing that homelessness in New Mexico increased by 2.8 percent during the last year.
The HUD statistics says there are more than 2,500 people in New Mexico classified as homeless, with 290 of that number made up of veterans.
The survey, called the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, additionally shows 31 states reporting homelessness decreases in the last year, and 19 states seeing increases.
Overall, the national homeless population has dropped from 647,000 a decade ago to 552,000 this year.
Despite that positive trend, the report also says that New Mexico had one of the highest rates of homelessness among veterans at 15 percent, behind only Montana with 17 percent.
By Garry Boulard
The largest provider of commercial cleaning devices in the world has announced plans to build a combined headquarters and manufacturing facility in the city of Aurora.
Karcher North America wants to put up a modern 380,000 square foot facility on a 23-acre currently vacant site just to the north of the Aurora Highlands Master Planned Community.
The new facility will serve as the company’s North American headquarters, which is currently located at 4555 Airport Way in Denver.
Plans call for the building, which will also be used as a Karcher staff training facility, to include up to 75,000 square feet of Class A office space.
The more than 80 year-old company, which manufactures a wide variety of home and garden products, vacuums, hot water heaters, floor scrubbers and cleaners, among other items, is expected to spend at least $50 million building its new location.
Because the office and plant will be going up in a designated “Opportunity Zone,” Karcher will also be eligible for future capital gains tax breaks.
If all goes according to plans, construction on the new Karcher building will launch early next year, with a fall 2019 target completion date.
By Garry Boulard
One big transportation project in Arizona and three in Colorado are slated to receive crucial federal funding through an infrastructure grants program headed up by the Department of Transportation.
Construction of the 1.7-mile Verde Connect project in Arizona is receiving $15 million from the DOT’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation grants program.
The Verde Connect project will see the construction of a two-lane roadway on State Route 260 and a bridge running across the Verde River.
Upon completion, the roadway will connect with the northern edge of both the Yavapai-Apache Nation, as well as the Town of Camp Verde.
The South Midland Avenue Reconstruction and Rural Broadband Project in Glenwood Springs, Colorado is receiving just over $7 million in grant funding for new curbs, gutters, and intersection improvements.
The project will also see the installation of both rock fall mitigation technologies as, well as broadband infrastructure.
A 537-mile network making up vehicle-to-everything technology, in primarily rural environments in Colorado, is receiving $20 million from the DOT. That money will also be used to install just over 200 miles of new fiber optic lines.
Another $20 million is going to the Interstate 25 North improvements, which will include the rebuilding and widening of a dozen bridges, upgrading and expanding three interchanges, and adding a third lane between Colorado State Highway 56 and State Highway 402, just south of the city of Loveland.
In total, grants with a dollar value of more than $1.5 billion, funding 91 projects nationally, are receiving discretionary DOT grant funding.
In a statement, Elaine Chao, the Department of Transportation Secretary, described the grants as “major investments in road, rail, transit, and port projects that serve as a down payment on this administration’s commitment to America’s infrastructure.”
By Garry Boulard
A company known for its power supplies, electrical cords, and industrial cables has announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
The Taoyuan City, Taiwan-based Admiral Cable wants to build a massive 240,000 square foot facility that will go up in two phases.
Altogether, the company is expected to invest up to $50 million on the structure, with plans for the facility to be operational in the early part of 2020.
The project is the result of talks between Admiral and the New Mexico Department of Economic Development which has agreed to put up around $3.9 million in support to get the facility built.
That money is coming through the department’s Local Economic Development Act funds.
In a statement, T.C. Huang, chief executive officer of I-Sheng Electric Wire & Cable, which owns Admiral Cable, said the company is excited to establish its “domestic manufacturing capacity in New Mexico.”
I-Sheng primarily manufactures computer peripheral products, including signal transmission cables, fiber optic cables, and power cord connectors.
Huang also noted that the Santa Teresa location for the plant, “affords us greater proximity to our customers with efficient market access, supply chain efficiencies, and high-quality labor.”
In return for the LEDA funding, the company has committed itself to hiring nearly 350 local and area workers.
I-Sheng, which was founded in 1973, realized nearly $240 million in revenue last year.
By Garry Boulard
A project that could see the construction of a single-track trail running from the peak of the Grand Mesa mountain to the small town of Palisade in western Colorado could soon receive more than $100,000 in development and building support.
Members of the Mesa County Commission have given their approval to applying for a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs that will help fund an envisioned 31-mile trail.
That trail, according to county documents, will be a “destination single-track,” open to “non-motorized uses such as biking, hiking, and equestrian uses.”
While the 31-mile trail isn’t long, its depth will be nothing less than breathtaking, dropping more than 6,000 vertical feet from an elevation of just over 10,700 feet to 4,700 feet in Palisade.
In the planning and talking stage for more than two years, the project last month won a $527,000 grant from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife division.
If the latest funding request proves successful, work on the first 18 miles of the trail is expected to begin next spring, with the second half of the trail seeing construction later in the year.
Besides the trail construction, the Palisade Plunge Trail is also expected to see the building of a parking lot and restroom facilities at the top of the Grand Mesa.
Mesa County and Town of Palisade officials have estimated that the completed trail could generate up to $2.5 million annually in visitor revenue.
By Garry Boulard
In one more sign of an ongoing strong labor market, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting that there were more than 292,000 existing job openings in the construction industry as of the end of October.
That number is not only larger than the 233,000 openings recorded in October of 2017, it is also the largest such October figure recorded by the BLS since the agency launched its job openings survey in 2000.
What is officially called the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey also showed contractors nationally hiring more than 352,000 people during the month of October.
At the same time, according to the Associated General Contractors, the number of unemployed workers with any level of recent construction work experience was at its lowest level for any October in the last 18 years.
Overall, the number of job openings in all industries in October stood at 7.1 million, with openings surpassing the number of unemployed workers by more than 1 million.
By Garry Boulard
City of Phoenix officials are planning to hold at least five public input meetings in the next month regarding the future of the 26 year-old Talking Stick Resort Arena.
That facility, located at 201 E. Jefferson Street in downtown Phoenix, is the home to the Phoenix Suns basketball team, which has been asking for significant renovations to the 18,400-seat arena.
The team’s owners have long complained about the condition of the arena, which include issues with the plumbing and electrical systems, suggesting that the Suns may move to another city if the facility is not significantly upgraded.
A proposal hammered out between Phoenix and the Suns is calling for a $230 million renovation, $150 million of which would be paid for by the city. The Suns would kick in the remaining $80 million.
But members of the Phoenix City Council have decided to hold off on a final vote on the proposal in the wake of public opposition to the proposal.
That opposition was particularly given voice in a council appearance that has won national attention by retired 90 year-old realtor Greta Rogers who said the city should not be “in the business of paying cash to support private enterprise.”
In a video statement, meanwhile, Suns owner Robert Sarver took issue with the charge that he wanted to move the team out of Phoenix if the city fails to modernize the arena.
“I’m 100 percent committed, and have been for the last four years, to find a solution to keep them in downtown Phoenix where they belong,” said Sarver.
Sarver added that he simply wanted to see the Talking Stick Resort Arena restored as a “world class facility.”
The proposal that will be taken up by the council in January also calls for Phoenix to pay $2 million every year into a fund that will be used for ongoing renovations needs, with the Suns contributing $1 million.
The team is also committing to putting up a new practice facility that could cost as much as $50 million to build.
By Garry Boulard
A trend that is exciting outdoor enthusiasts across the country may soon see construction in Farmington.
Members of the Farmington City Council have voted to approve funding a feasibility study that will look into the possibility of building an aerial adventure park that could go up at Lake Farmington or along the banks of the Animas River.
It’s estimated that such a park could cost anywhere from $750,000 to $1.5 million to build.
The study will be conducted by the Albuquerque-based Groundwork Studio, which specializes in landscape architecture, urban design, and planning. According to city documents, Groundwork will be tasked with providing a “market analysis and conceptual design” for the project.
Aerial adventure parks are becoming increasingly popular nationally and usually include such physically challenging features as rickety bridges, spider nets, rock climbing, and swinging platforms.
Usually built in open green space or woods-like environments, such parks also offer zip lines: a pulley suspended on a cable that is often made of stainless steel, allowing users to travel in the air many or a few feet above the ground.
The Unicoi Zipline & Aerial Adventure Park in Helen, Georgia, which features an aerial tower as well as sky bridges, also recently introduced zip lines 75 to 100 feet in height.
It has been suggested in public meetings that an aerial adventure park in Farmington might work best as a joint private/public project.
By Garry Boulard
school construction trends up, but some districts opting instead for facility upgrades and renovations
New school construction continues to increase across the country, according to numbers compiled by the U.S. Census, with spending up by nearly 5 percent in the first 10 months of this year over the same time period in 2017.
Overall, for the entire year, school construction projects are up by 8.5 percent nationally.
According to an analysis of those trends by the Washington-based Associated General Contractors, the national increase in school construction has been fueled by increases in residential and commercial property values.
Those increases mean more property tax revenue for school facility projects.
But voter support of general obligation bond issues across the country have also been providing the means for new school construction projects.
Despite those trends, according to the AGC study, the largest district population increases among students ranging in age from 5 to 15 years old have also been in districts more likely to see the renovation, upgrading, or expansion of existing, older buildings.
The districts included in the AGC study include Arizona’s Glendale Union High School District, the Mesa Unified District, the Phoenix Union High School District, and the Tucson Unified District.
Two districts in Colorado were reviewed: the Denver County School District 1, and the Jefferson County School District 1; while in New Mexico, the AGC looked at the Albuquerque Public Schools district.
By Garry Boulard
A move announced by multinational technology company Apple to build new offices and plants nationally will also see a new facility located in Boulder, Colorado.
Whether that facility will be offices for the Cupertino, California-based computer giant, or a software development plant, is not yet known.
But Boulder is a part of a larger company expansion that will most prominently see the building of a new $1 billion, 3 million square-foot campus in Austin.
“Talent, creativity, and tomorrow’s breakthrough ideas aren’t limited by region or zip code,” Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said in a statement, “and with this new expansion, we’re doubling our commitment to cultivating the high-tech sector and workforce nationally.”
Earlier this year, Apple announced it was thinking about opening a major office outside of California, while staking more than $30 billion in new capital investment between now and 2023.
The Apple search for new locations has been done quietly in contrast to Amazon’s quest for a city in which to build a second headquarters.
That search ended up seeing more than 200 cities competing to get the company to locate within their borders before the internet retail giant last month announced it would split its second headquarters between Long Island, New York and Northern Virginia.
Apple already has a retail store in Boulder, with other Colorado retail locations up and running in Aspen, Broomfield, Cherry Creek, Colorado Springs, Littleton, and Lone Tree.
The company similarly has half a dozen retail locations in Arizona, and one in New Mexico.
Apple also has what it calls a “global data command” center in Mesa, Arizona that measures more than 1.3 million square feet and was opened in 2014.
With a multinational presence, Apple this year has seen more than $70 billion in revenue.
By Garry Boulard
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