A stretch of vacant desert land in Tucson, that in recent years has been used for illegal dumping, could turn out to be the home to more than 20 acres of new commercial development.
The Pima County officials are contemplating the idea of building restaurants, shops and hotels on property adjacent to the big Kino Sports Complex at 2500 East Ajo Way.
The move comes just weeks after the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved more than $9.6 million in funding for an expansion of the complex, adding some 145 acres to a complex site that already measured 155 acres.
Originally constructed for $38 million in 1997, the Kino Sports Complex has served as the home for both the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team as well as the spring training venue for the Chicago White Sox.
County officials have expressed confidence that an adjacent complex commercial project would be successful not only because of its proximity to the sports facility, but because it would be located just off of Interstate 10.
By Garry Boulard
In a stunning announcement, online commerce giant Amazon has announced it is pulling out of a deal to build a new $3.6 billion headquarters in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York.
The announcement comes in the wake of angry opposition from many local and state political leaders, in particular members of the New York State Legislature, who have criticized incentives offered by the state to Amazon to the tune of nearly $3 billion.
In a statement, Amazon said that even though recent polls showed an overwhelming majority of state residents wanted the company to build in New York, “a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project that we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”
Responding to Amazon’s decision, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted what he called a small group of politicians who “put their own narrow political interests above their community” in opposing the project.
“The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage,” Cuomo continued. “They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.”
But New York Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed Amazon for the failed deal, saying there was a minimum of communication between the company and local officials and residents. “Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity,” the Mayor said, also in a statement.
Although Amazon has affirmed that it is going forward with building a separate part of the second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, the company has not announced what other city might replace New York.
In the national competition to offer a new home to Amazon, hundreds of cities offered a variety of incentives and other amenities. Ultimately Denver was placed on a top twenty finalists list in early 2018.
According to sources, Denver officials have remained in touch with Amazon, even after the company announced its New York pick last November. During the earlier bidding process, Denver had submitted thirteen sites to Amazon as possible headquarter locations.
In an analysis published just three days before Amazon’s New York exit, Yahoo!Finance picked Denver as one of its top three choices to replace New York, along with Newark, New Jersey, and Austin, Texas.
The web news service argued that Denver is a “serious tech hub, with hundreds of startups based there.”
Colorado’s relationship with Amazon has seen the company so far build three of its fulfillment centers in the state.
By Garry Boulard
A facility designed to house up to 800 people at any given time seeking immigration status in the U.S. could see construction later this spring.
The facility, which has long been proposed by immigration officials, would measure around 250,000 square feet, roughly the size of the largest Walmart Supercenters, and would go up on the west side of El Paso.
The project would belong to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is designed to replace a series of small cells that are currently used for holding purposes.
Those processed at the centers will primarily be migrant families who have crossed the Mexico/U.S. border, but were subsequently apprehended by Customs and Border Protection agents.
Plans for the center are particularly animated by a changed migrant profile which was once almost exclusively single males, but in recent years has increasingly been made up of families.
According to Customs and Border Protection records, some 8,600 migrant family members were apprehended and processed by agents in 2017.
But that number has dramatically increased to more than 25,700 just between October of 2018 and January of this year.
The new structure is expected to cost $190 million to build, money that has been included in new federal border funding legislation just passed by Congress.
That legislation also includes $564 million for ports of entry inspection equipment and $100 million for border surveillance technology.
A construction start date for the project has not yet been announced.
By Garry Boulard
A more than 30-year old hotel property on the south side of Santa Fe is slated to be redeveloped into affordable housing.
The Residence Inn by Marriott, located at 1698 Galisteo Street, has been purchased by the Provo, Utah-based PEG Companies.
PEG, one of the largest commercial real estate developers in Utah, has had extensive experience transforming similar properties into affordable complexes.
The company has also developed more than $500 million in hospitality, residential, office and retail projects since 2003.
The Santa Fe Residence Inn houses 120 suites of varying sizes on a site of interconnected two-story buildings with balconies.
It is not yet known how many of the hotel’s suites will be reconfigured, although PEG has said that it wants to offer a mix of one and two bedroom spaces, as well as studio space.
PEG purchased the Galisteo Street hotel, along with six other hotel properties nationally, in September. The total package acquisition was valued at around $130 million.
The company currently has more than $1.4 billion hospitality, housing, and mixed-use projects in the pipeline.
By Garry Boulard
Construction, and other companies exhibiting “good faith efforts” evaluating the competence of their crane operators, will have an additional 60 days to comply with the latest operator rules coming out of Washington.
This most recent Occupational Safety and Health Administration announcement follows on the heels of a November ruling saying that all employers would be required to ensure that their crane operators are certified.
That certification can be obtained, OSHA has explained, from an accredited, third party crane certification group; or via a state and/or local crane operator’s license that meets the federal agency’s standards.
A third option for employers, OSHA has stated, is through an employer-audited crane operator program.
Acting head of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction, Scott Ketcham, said the 60-day extension of the late 2018 rules came in the wake of input from companies across the country that said they needed more time to fully document evaluations of their crane operators.
OSHA has also announced that in the next two months it will provide compliance assistance to help prepare companies for the new rules.
At the same time, OSHA has also let it be known that if an employer has not made a sufficient effort to comply with the new crane operators policy, the agency will “fully enforce all applicable provisions of its final rule.”
The agency has previously asserted that significant safety issues have arisen in the crane industry due to the advancement of new technologies. The new rules, OSHA says on its website, are necessary not only for the safety of the crane operators themselves, but “all workers in proximity to them.”
By Garry Boulard
For decades the Rome-based Fendi has been revered for its high quality clothing and accessories.
“After Fendi,” actor Catherine Deneuve once commented, “everything else is banal.”
But as if being one of the world’s leading fashion houses producing boots that can sell for $900 and dresses twice that amount isn’t enough, Fendi has also extended its famous brand to real estate, launching an upscale hotel in Rome.
Now the company, which started in 1925 as small leathers good shop and fur house, has announced that it wants to build luxury residential housing.
Selecting Scottsdale because of the large number of international travelers who visit the southern Arizona city and may be in the market for a year-around residence, Fendi says it will build just over forty units inside the confines of the larger mixed-use Palmeraie development.
Palmeraie, with upper-end restaurant and retail offerings, is a 122-acre site between Scottsdale and Paradise Valley that is expected to cost more than $2 billion to fully develop.
The Fendi Private Residence project will be the first of its kind in the U.S., with the construction of residential units measuring around 3,500 square feet.
Marco Costanzi Architects, also of Rome, is the designer for a project that will see each unit decorated with a variety of textures, colors, and architectural detail.
Costanzi Architects is widely known throughout Italy for its upscale retail, office, and showroom space work.
Work on the Fendi residential project is expected to begin later this year, with a general completion date of sometime in 2020.
By Garry Boulard
What to do with a sprawling nearly 9-acre swath of land just north of downtown Boulder may finally be decided by members of the Boulder City Commission this summer.
The land, formerly the campus of Boulder Community Health hospital, was purchased by the City of Boulder some 3 years ago for $40 million.
The site is located along Broadway Street at Alpine and Balsam Avenues.
In the months since, city officials have been looking at various proposals for the site, while also conducting a series of public input meetings in the hope of hearing ideas from residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The redevelopment of the site could see the construction of up to 300 affordable housing units, as well as anywhere from 110,000 to 190,000 square feet of new city office space.
An additional challenge with the project revolves around what to do with the site’s 329,000 square foot hospital, which is thought unusable for redevelopment. It has been suggested that the demolition of that structure could cost as much as $12 million.
By Garry Boulard
National road and highway traffic volume has increased by 14 percent since 2000, putting greater pressure on Washington to embrace a new era of infrastructure construction.
So says Ray LaHood, former Transportation Secretary and current co-chair of the Washington-based group Building America’s Future.
In testimony given to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, LaHood noted that in the 1930s just over 4 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product was spent on infrastructure investment, but as of 2016 that number was down to 0.6 percent.
“Almost 40 percent of our bridges were built over 50 years ago when traffic volumes were less,” said LaHood.
Noting that there are today over 54,000 structurally deficient bridges in the U.S., LaHood remarked that if those bridges were connected end to end, “the length of them would stretch 1,216 miles or nearly the distance between Miami and New York City.”
LaHood additionally noted the irony of a country increasingly dependent upon and/or demanding same-day delivery services and the condition of many of the country’s urban streets and thoroughfares.
“Trying to drive in any major city is like trying to navigate an obstacle course with delivery trucks and other vehicles doubled parked on both sides of the street,” he said, adding: “Our streets have become almost impassable.”
Speaking to the same committee, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged Congress to pass infrastructure legislation that rewards innovation, “ensuring new technologies for reducing traffic, cutting emissions, improving goods delivery, facilitating the arrival of scooters, boring tunnels, and bringing electric and autonomous vehicles to our streets that are all developed here in the United States.”
Representing the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Garcetti also said Congress should keep a “keen eye on how we can establish steady, lasting revenue streams so our infrastructure does not fall into dire disrepair in the future with no rapid way to fix it.”
While others appearing before the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have pushed for an increase in the current federal gas tax of 18.4 cents and diesel tax of 24.4 cents to help pay for the country’s infrastructure needs, other participants urged a greater shared funding effort between Washington and the states.
By Garry Boulard
Taking advantage of unprecedented oil and gas tax revenue, members of the New Mexico State Legislature are considering passage of a bill that would provide substantial funding for a statewide series of campus capital projects.
As proposed, New Mexico State University stands to receive $880,000 for upgrades to its 1960s-era Fidel Hall on the school’s Grants campus.
Senate Bill 280 will also provide $1.6 million to demolish the Regents Row Residence Center on the main Las Cruces campus; along with $3 million to renovate utility tunnels on that same campus.
NMSU would additionally receive $425,000 to design and build a series of infrastructure upgrades on its Alamogordo campus.
The legislation would provide $1.2 million for the construction of an electrical supply line and related infrastructure improvements on the Roswell campus of Eastern New Mexico University.
The school is also in line to get $436,000 for infrastructure improvements on its Ruidoso campus, and another $500,000, also for infrastructure work, on the Portales campus.
Western New Mexico State University would receive $1.2 million for the design and building of an electronic door system on its main Silver City campus, as well as $1.3 million for renovations to the school’s Miller Library and Student Memorial Center.
In an analysis of the bill, the Legislative Finance Committee noted that due to “unprecedented levels of nonrecurring general fund revenues related to historically high oil and gas production,” lawmakers this year have a unique opportunity to “cash-finance capital projects rather than relying on bonding.”
By Garry Boulard
A 12-story International style structure, that has served as the Denver headquarters for the telecommunications company Century Link, will soon be seeing extensive renovations in the wake of its sale.
The building at 930 15th Street was purchased last month by an entity owned by the San Francisco-based Steel Wave for $22.5 million.
Steel Wave is a multi-family, commercial and mixed-use real estate management company.
The company is undertaking the project in conjunction with Rialto Capital Management of Miami.
Work on the 225,000 square foot structure will see an update to its exterior, as well as the building of new lobby space with a café, lounge, and bar.
Also included in the renovation will be a new fitness center, which will be built in a rooftop terrace setting, as well as a floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall system.
Renovation designer is Gensler Architect, which has offices in Denver.
Built in 1960 by the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company as a 5-story structure, another seven stories were added to the building by 1966.
Besides Century Link, the structure for decades served as the offices for a variety of companies and non-profits.
By Garry Boulard
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