Just over 17,600 acres of land belonging to the federal Bureau of Land Management in both northern and southern New Mexico may soon be open for new oil and gas drilling.
The Bureau of Land Management has announced that it intends to sell leases to the lands in question this coming February 6.
In Rio Arriba and Sandoval counties in northern New Mexico, a combined 1,750 acres will be available for leasing. In the southeast corner of the state in Eddy and Lea counties, the amount of land open for leasing comes to just over 14,000 acres.
A public comment period specific to an environmental analysis of drilling in those areas will expire on October 28.
A press release from the Bureau of Land Management notes that, “Revenues from onshore oil and gas production on federal lands directly funds the U.S. Treasury and state budgets, and supports public education, infrastructure improvements, and other state-determined priorities.”
New drilling sites often prove a boon for construction companies with the need for the building of access roads, reserve pits, and well foundations, among other rig site preparations.
By Garry Boulard
Even though the era of large warehouses measuring more than 200,000 square feet continues unabated, some analysts say the need for smaller warehouse space is growing, largely because of the demands of e-commerce.
Looking at what it calls the “push for faster delivery” of e-commerce goods, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that e-commerce companies are looking at smaller warehouse options, particularly near large urban population centers.
Continues the paper: “More recently, businesses have been adding smaller fulfillment and distribution locations that put inventory closer to customers, who often expect items to be delivered in two days or less.”
This means that such companies will increasingly be relying upon warehouses measuring 120,000 square feet or less.
Not surprisingly, rents for smaller warehouse space in the last year have seen a 33 percent increase.
At the same time, according to the CBRE Group, the availability of existing smaller warehouse facilities nationally has declined from 11 percent of the warehouse market in 2014 to around 7 percent today.
But in an earlier report, the CBRE Group, which is based in Los Angeles and specializes in real estate services and investments, noted that much of the existing warehouse space is not up to current standards, with uneven floors, low ceilings, and inadequate docking.
By Garry Boulard
A new housing project that could see the construction of around four hundred housing units on currently vacant rural land could be going up on the east side of Lafayette, Colorado.
Leaders in Boulder County have been trying to respond to the twin challenges of rapidly increasing rents and a rapidly increasing population.
Average rents for a one-bedroom apartment in Lafayette now stand at more than $1,700 - nearly twice what they were 15 years ago.
Meanwhile, Lafayette, roughly 23 miles to the north of Denver, continues to experience an increase in its population, from 24,000 in 2010 to nearly 30,000 today, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in Colorado.
Now, officials with the Boulder County Housing Authority are proposing to build a new housing project at the intersection of E. Emma Street and 120th Street, with rents geared to area median income.
As proposed, the 24-acre project will see the construction of 130 townhomes, 120 multi-family homes, and another 120 senior multi-family units.
Besides the different style of housing units, as designed by the Boulder-based Coburn Architecture, the project will also include walking trails, dog parks, and a community center.
What is being called the Willoughby Corner will see 20 percent of the housing units priced for those making anywhere between 60 and 120 percent of area median income, while a much larger 80 percent of the units will be exclusively for those earning 30 to 60 percent of area median income.
The Boulder County Housing Authority has described the new project as a community of “diverse homes for families, seniors, our workforce, and others who are struggling with the high cost of housing in our community.”
A preliminary plan for the project has won the approval of the Lafayette Planning Commission, with a final plan expected to be reviewed and voted upon later this year.
By Garry Boulard
In a move to help travelers pass the time more enjoyably, the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is contemplating the installation of a network entertainment broadcasting system.
The system would provide a closed-circuit television network with a broadcast mission of providing programing relevant to air travelers, including news and local content information.
The system would be available for passengers in the holding rooms of the airport’s big Terminals 3 and 4.
The concept of such airport-specific broadcasting systems is becoming increasingly popular in the nation’s airports with one company, the Burbank, California-based Clear TV Media, providing programing for airports in Dallas, Denver, New Orleans, and Grand Rapids, among other cities.
One of the largest airports in the country, the Sky Harbor saw more than 45 million passengers last year.
A Request for Proposals was recently issued by the City of Phoenix’s Aviation Department. The project would include the design of the infrastructure, concept and programing, installation, and a management and/or operations plan.
The deadline for submissions in response to the RFP is November 6.
By Garry Boulard
The U.S. has the world’s most competitive economy, says a report looking at the country’s labor market, market size, and macroeconomic stability, among other factors.
The Global Competitiveness Report, published by the World Economic Forum, which is based in Cologny-Geneva, Switzerland, also lauded the U.S. for its innovation capability and business dynamism, noting that it is the “home to one of the most dynamic financial systems in the world.”
Nevertheless, as regards its overall competitive climate, the report put the U.S. in second place behind Singapore, which received high marks for its infrastructure, health, and labor markets.
The report added that Singapore’s city-state economy is “driven by its business-friendly regulatory environment, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and high levels of foreign investment.”
The Global Competitiveness Report, which analyzes the economic metrics of just over 140 countries, is issued annually by the World Economic Forum. Its second place ranking this year for the U.S. is a drop from the first place scored by the U.S. in 2018, but still an improvement over the 7th place ranking America held in 2013, during the Great Recession.
According to the report, among the other top country rankings were the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark.
Countries receiving the lowest rankings were primarily based in Africa and Central America.
In looking at the challenges facing all countries, the report asserts that while technology in general is obviously a good thing, it has also “impacted inequality by reducing demand for low-skilled jobs and rewarding high-skilled jobs disproportionately.”
In order for all ranked countries to improve quality of life, the report suggests greater healthcare access, a more vigorous enforcement of antitrust policies, and increased funding for such “productivity-enhancing investments as education, infrastructure, and innovation.”
By Garry Boulard
Plans are advancing for the construction of what is being called an emergency homeless shelter in Albuquerque, which would include space for families and provide both clinic and support services.
The project, as envisioned, would uniquely also include bike space and a dog run.
As proposed by Mayor Tim Keller construction of the shelter - expected to cost around $14 million to build - would be funded by a substantially larger $128 million general obligation bond, which it is hoped city voters will approve in November. The funding for the new shelter is folded into a specific section of the $128 general obligation bond asking for a total of just over $21.7 million for city senior, community, and homeless facility projects.
The shelter would provide temporary housing for up to 300 people and would also serve as a centralized 24-hour facility, providing counseling service.
According to city documents the new shelter, open to men, women, and families, would also house administrative offices, separate men and women’s quarters, and two courtyards.
The new shelter would be ultimately designed to replace an existing shelter located at 7440 Jim McDowell NW on the far west side of the city. Detractors have argued that because that shelter is nearly 20 miles away from downtown Albuquerque, it is too difficult to reach by those who need it.
Plans currently call for both site selection and design work for the new facility to begin sometime next year.
By Garry Boulard
Just days after the Texas Supreme Court lifted an injunction against the further demolition of an historic El Paso neighborhood in order to make way for the construction of a multi-purpose arena, another court has stepped in to stop that demolition.
Judge Patrick Garcia of the 384th Judicial District Court of El Paso County said that in issuing the temporary injunction, the court was trying to prevent damage done to an historic site that would be “permanent and irreplaceable.”
The injunction, however, will only be in place until October 21, when a hearing will be held in the district court on the question of imposing a more permanent ban on demolition activity in the Duranguito neighborhood.
The Judge’s order specifically mentioned the possible existence of Mescalero Apache remains that may still exist in the Duranguito area.
According to Max Grossman, an associate professor of art history at the University of Texas at El Paso, the Mescalero Apaches lived in what were described as “peace camps” established by Spain in the Duranguito area in the late 18th century.
There has as of yet been no official response from the City of El Paso regarding the District Court ruling.
By Garry Boulard
In an effort to reach an accordance on the larger issues, the Trump Administration has announced that it is holding off on the imposition of new 25 percent tariff on a range of Chinese imports.
In return, Chinese trade officials vowed to purchase between $40 and $50 billion in U.S. farm goods.
Despite the lull in what has been increasingly confrontational trade negotiations between the two countries, the U.S. remains committed to imposing a scheduled December 15 tariff hike on some $160 billion in smart phones and other imports.
The truce, reports the New York Times, “will help calm a trade fight that has taken a significant toll on the world’s two largest economies and threatened to further slow global growth at a precarious moment.”
The Chinese People’s Daily, which is the official paper of the Communist Party in that country, cautiously noted that “the final outcome will depend on whether the U.S. can walk together with China, and create the necessary and sufficient conditions to push ahead.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has additionally reported that both U.S. and Chinese negotiators have reached an “almost complete” agreement on financial services and currency issues.
In a press conference, Mnuchin said the U.S. was additionally considering withdrawing an official charge accusing China of currency manipulation, noting: “We’ll be making a decision about that, evaluating that.”
China is the world’s number one construction market with the U.S., with more than $968 billion in construction goods traded between the two countries.
By Garry Boulard
A new development that would see the construction of more than five hundred homes could be going up at the site of the current Springs Ranch Golf Course on the east side of Colorado Springs.
The developer, Classic Homes which is also based in Colorado Springs, announced several months ago that it wanted to transform roughly 150 acres of the site into a neighborhood of upscale homes.
The company has already hosted several neighborhood input meetings during which it was noted that the homes would be of varying sizes and styles and priced between $300,000 and $450,000.
Classic Homes has now submitted an application to the City of Colorado Springs asking that the zoning for the site be changed from its current agricultural area to residential.
The ultimate decision regarding approval of the project will eventually be decided upon by the Colorado Springs City Council.
Springs Ranch Golf Club owner Tom Tauche earlier this year told the publication Colorado Avid Golfer that he wanted to sell the property both owing to a downturn in golf participation and the fact that it could cost several million dollars to bring the course up to date.
The publication added that even though Tauche said he’d like to see the property continue on as a golf course, “He hasn’t found a golf developer or operator willing to pay him what a real estate developer would.”
The golf course, at 3525 Tuft Boulevard, opened in 1997 and has long been valued by area neighbors for providing open space in a part of Colorado Springs that in recent years has seen the construction of a number of new single-family homes and apartment complexes.
For that reason, many of those neighbors have expressed their opposition to developing the site.
City officials say all comments regarding the project will be fully reviewed during the zoning hearing process.
By Garry Boulard
A move is underway to restore and expand the popular 17-acre Heritage Farm exhibit within the Albuquerque BioPark.
That unique exhibit has long featured a farmhouse, orchards, vineyards, and even farm animals as part of a display showing what farm life along the banks of the Rio Grande was like nearly a century ago.
Now, the City of Albuquerque has issued a Request for Proposals asking for architectural services to upgrade the exhibit and make it more user-friendly.
According to city documents, the goal is to create an “interactive, friendly environment for families to learn where food comes from and to showcase sustainable practices.”
Among the challenges of the project is the fact that the site does not currently have WIFI, and is “not well-designed, resulting in people getting lost and missing current attractions.”
There is also insufficient space for educational programs, a lack of food and drink availability, and an unclear entrance to the farm.
The deadline for responses to the RFP is November 1.
The Albuquerque BioPark encompasses Tingley Beach, the Rio Grande Zoo, the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden, and the Albuquerque Aquarium.
By Garry Boulard
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