Work could begin sometime next spring on a new multi-family complex near the Sandia Mountains foothills in Albuquerque.
The Allaso High Desert complex will go up on Tennyson Street NE not far from the intersection of Academy Road and will include 281 units.
The larger area surrounding the complex is mostly undeveloped, with some new apartment complex and residential construction dotting the landscape in recent years.
As planned, the project by Albuquerque-based Titan Development will also feature a host of amenities including an indoor driving range, outdoor fitness area, and swimming pool and spa.
The site will also see construction of one exercise building and one building for leasing and recreation purposes.
Of the total planned units, roughly a fourth will be built as townhome-style units.
According to city documents, the site plan for the complex shows just under 103,000 square feet of landscaping, as well as a parking space for more than 500 vehicles, including 10 spaces specifically designated for electric vehicles.
The project, which last month received the approval of the Albuquerque Development Review Board, will be designed by ORB Architecture of Phoenix.
A general construction schedule for the Allaso High Desert complex calls for its completion most likely during the first half of 2023.
By Garry Boulard
Responding in part to market economics dictated by Covid-19, hotels and motels across the country are increasingly being re-purposed into apartment and multi-family properties.
Perhaps the most visible project is the Harrah’s Reno Hotel and Casino, which is currently in the process of being converted into a property that will include office and retail space, as well as multifamily housing.
The $5 million Harrah’s project is seeing the hotel’s 530 rooms turned into 530 apartment units, with 150,000 square feet of office space and another 78,000 square feet of retail.
Los Angeles-based George Smith Partners’ Davies Group is in the process of arranging the financing to convert part of a hotel in Salt Lake City into studio apartments.
Meanwhile, the Vivo Investment Group, specializing in converting low-demand hotels into apartment complexes, has this year taken on extensive hotel conversion projects in Mesa, Arizona; South Bend, Indiana; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The company has also just announced plans for the purchase of another hotel, this one in San Antonio, which will also turned into apartment housing.
Such conversions, observes the Wall Street Journal, are a “symptom of the turmoil the pandemic has caused in the hotel sector. Many properties are shut down or running steep losses because of a drop in travel.”
But those involved in the conversion business say challenges in the industry include complying with local residential building and zoning codes.
Speaking earlier this year with the site GlobeStreet.com, Richard Rubin, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles-based Repvblik, which has converted a former Days Inn in Branson, Missouri into an affordable housing complex, also noted that not every hotel property is the same.
“It’s not a simple formula because it depends on the vintage of a hotel and the style of building,” said Rubin.
Generally speaking, say some contractors, newer hotels and motels are more cost-effective to convert than older ones; while properties with two stories or less are more appealing than high-rises.
Repvblik is currently in the process of converting some two thousand hotel rooms into apartment units.
By Garry Boulard
The Chicago-based P3 Advisors is working on a master development project that will transform a one-time landfill 30 miles to the southeast of Denver into a mixed-use community.
The project is called Miller’s Landing, and it will see the construction of a 359-room hotel that will also include about 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.
Tryba Architects of Denver is part of the design team for the project.
Earlier this year, it was also announced that CoralTree Hospitality, based in Greenwood Village, will oversee the operation of the hotel.
The ambitious project, virtually creating a new walkable village, will additionally include an office park and retail amenities.
P3 has previously worked with the city of Castle Rock and Douglas County remediating the 9-acre landfill, which had been closed for more than three decades.
Cleanup of the landfill was completed as the result of a public-private partnership fostered by P3 at a cost of $9 million.
The project has been in the talking and planning stage for more than a year, but was delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent difficulty in securing financing.
Now P3 is hoping to see work launch on what will be one of the largest commercial development projects in the history of Castle Rock sometime before the summer of 2021.
By Garry Boulard
The land has now been purchased for the coming construction of what is expected to be the tallest high-rise in the state of Arizona.
The 2.8-acre site, located near Second Avenue and Van Buran Street in downtown Phoenix, was purchased for $9.2 million by Scottsdale-based Aspirant Development.
Months in the planning stage, the $420 million project will actually see the construction of two towers, with the tallest topping out at 535 feet. That’s more than 50 feet higher than the record-holder, the Chase Tower, also in Phoenix, which was built in 1972.
The second new tower will reach 380 feet.
Combined, the two towers will comprise some 1.8 million square feet, with nearly 400 luxury apartments and a 254-room four-star hotel.
Plans are additionally calling for 290 co-living units, 15,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, and 190,000 square feet of Class A office space.
What is being called the Astra Phoenix, on a site that is currently a parking lot, won the approval of the Phoenix City Council in November.
Work is expected to begin on the project in sometime in the third quarter of 2021.
By Garry Boulard
Return to Government Building Neoclassical Architecture Mandated by Trump Order
An executive order has been signed by President Trump calling for a return to the kind of 19th century architectural styles that distinguishes the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court building in Washington.
What is officially called the Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture order states that all new federal buildings in the nation’s capital must be designed in the traditional neoclassical style.
The order additionally applies to the construction of federal buildings and courthouses in cities and districts outside of Washington, if the construction price tag of the building is more than $50 million.
While the order does not outright prohibit more modern architectural designs for new government buildings, it does specifically state that “classical architecture shall be the preferred and default architecture for federal public buildings, absent exceptional factors necessitating another kind of architecture.”
The order has won the condemnation of the American Institute of Architects, which says it is opposed to “uniform style mandates for federal architecture.”
But the National Civic Art Society, as quoted by the publication The Architect’s Newspaper, has announced its support for the order, contending, “The design of federal buildings should reflect the aesthetic and symbolic preferences of the people they are built to serve—namely, classical and traditional architecture.”
Although the executive order may well apply to federal buildings currently in the planning and design stages, its ultimate future remains, at the very least, murky. Says the publication Ad Pro: “From the moment Joe Biden walks into the West Wing, he will be under considerable pressure from industry groups and the media to reverse the order.”
By Garry Boulard
Broadband construction is expected to greatly accelerate across New Mexico with the awarding of more than $165 million in grants coming out of Washington.
The projects, as funded through the Federal Communications Commission, will specifically target rural areas of the state that have long been under served.
The funding is coming through the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which was established earlier this year with the goal of directing more than $20 billion over the span of a decade to finance gigabit speed broadband networks.
In a statement, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich noted that the “challenges over this last year in accessing virtual learning, online economic opportunities, and telehealth services have only reinforced the importance of bringing high-speed broadband service to all of our communities.”
While the FCC has awarded a variety of grants to various states for broadband construction, in New Mexico, 18 cable companies, satellite businesses, electrical cooperatives, and wireless providers are receiving funding ranging from $3,100 to $59.2 million.
Altogether, some 180 companies and non-profits nationally secured Regional Opportunity Fund grants worth a total value of $9.2 billion.
According to the parameters of the program, recipients must meet periodic buildout requirements leading to their reaching all of their assigned locations within a six-year period.
According to a press release issued by the FCC, the selected companies will be “incentivized to buildout all locations as fast as possible.”
The New Mexico grant recipients include the Resound Networks with $59.2 million; the Continental Divide Electric Cooperative, with $38 million; and the Space Explorations Technologies Corporation, with $25.6 million.
The City of Farmington is slated for $3.1 million.
By Garry Boulard
Continuing a marginal but still persistent decline recorded earlier in the year, the American Institute of Architects is seeing a more than 1 point decline in its latest Architecture Billings Index.
That index, running on a 0 to 100 scale, charts the billing activity of the nation’s architectural firms. A total index score of less than 50 means that firms experiencing a decrease in new billings are more numerous than firms reporting increased billings.
The latest index results show an overall industry score in November of 46.3, down from 47.5 the month before.
An index charting the value of newly-signed design contracts was also on the downside, dropping from 51.7 in October to 48.6 last month.
Regionally, the index reveals the Midwest reporting the strongest numbers at 50.1, followed by the West at 48.3, and the South at 46.7. The Northeast saw the lowest numbers at 38.7.
For all of that, respondents to the index survey expressed a degree of optimism regarding business prospect in 2021, with a buoyant 7% saying that they expect it will be a great year.
The largest category response saw 39% anticipating a good year, with another 25% predicting a moderate, or “so-so year.”
A troubling 4% of respondents are anticipating that 2021 could prove ruinous to their firms.
In looking at the overall numbers, Kermit Baker, chief economist with the AIA, remarked: “In previous design cycles, we typically haven’t seen a straight line back to growth after a downturn hits.”
In appraising this year’s Covid-19 outbreak and national economic shutdown, Baker added: “The path to recovery is shaping up to be bumpier than we hoped for. While there are pockets of optimism in design services demand, the overall construction landscape remains depressed.”
By Garry Boulard
Construction is expected to begin next year on the second phase building of Phoenix’s extensive light rail network.
Once completed, the extension will provide connections between downtown Phoenix, the Arizona State University campus, and the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The Federal Transit Administration has announced that it is awarding nearly $50 million in grants to the Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority for the continuation of a long-anticipated extension project.
That project centers on the construction of new light rail infrastructure heading west on Dunlap Avenue from 19th Street and then up and over Interstate 17 at the Mountain View Road.
The 1.6-mile light rail extension project will also see the building of Valley Metro’s first elevated transit station, to be used for both light rail and bus services.
The FTA is also awarding Valley Metro $1 million for planning the project.
What is anticipated to be a total $401 million project is expected to be completed sometime in 2024.
By Garry Boulard
An exurb of Denver that has become known for massive warehouse and office growth is about to see the construction of a 1.1 million square foot industrial park.
The Dallas-based Trammell Crow Company has announced plans to build the park on a nearly 90-acre site in Commerce City near the intersection of East 104th Avenue and Interstate Highway 76.
A leading real estate development and investment company, Trammel is taking on the project in a partnership with Clarion Partners, which is headquartered in New York and specializes in real estate investment and management.
The ambitious $125 million project is being called the 104th Commerce Park, and will see the construction of five industrial and distribution structures housing business tenant spaces ranging from 15,000 square feet to as much as 290,000 square feet.
“The site provides a new opportunity for industrial infill development with an accessible location to reduce drive-times for transportation routes in every direction,” Bill Mosher, Trammell Crow managing director, is quoted as saying of the location in the publication Mile High CRE.
First phase construction of the park is expected to launch in 2021 with a completion date of sometime the following year. Second phase work will begin shortly afterwards.
Trammell Crow has been increasing its eastern Colorado footprint, taking on industrial, office, and residential projects in the last 10 years with an estimated worth of nearly $3 billion.
Located 8 miles to the northeast of Denver, Commerce City, which has experienced a tripling of its population in the last two decades leading to just over 60,300 residents today, has also seen a double-digit growth in large and medium-sized warehousing facilities, and is now home to more than 100 distribution and logistics companies.
By Garry Boulard
Plans are underway for the construction of nearly 400 new apartments on a currently vacant site next to the Zia Road Rail Runner station in south Santa Fe.
The project, on a 20-acre site, also includes 28 townhomes, with a designated number of units available at market rate rents.
The mixed-use, transit-oriented project, near the intersection of Zia Road and St. Francis Dive, will additionally include 120,000 square feet of both commercial and office space.
Currently, plans call for the project to be built in two phases, with the first phase on just over 12 acres seeing the construction of 244 apartments and 14 townhomes.
Because it will be built next to the Rail Runner station, the project will satisfy the city’s quest for more transit-oriented mixed-use projects.
Partners in the project are the Dallas-based Aberg Property Company and developer SF Brown of Santa Fe.
The project has engendered a variety of responses from area residents, with some saying it partially addresses Santa Fe’s need for more apartment housing, while other have expressed concerns over its size and the likelihood of increased traffic.
Additional public input on the project is expected to be solicited in the weeks to come.
The Zia Road Rail Runner station, at 2401 Galisteo Road, was opened in the spring of 2017.
By Garry Boulard
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