new combined office, retail, and restaurant project proposed for rare empty space in downtown denver
Plans have been announced for the construction of a $20 million mixed-use structure on property that is currently owned by the City of Denver.
The Denver-based Nichols Partnership says it wants to build the five-story building at 1701 Platte Street on a 1.4-acre site that is currently being used as a parking lot.
Nichols specializes in office, retail, hotel, and multi-family development.
The City had earlier issued a Request for Proposal soliciting development and building ideas for the site, which is located just north of the South Platte River in a neighborhood of office and mixed-use structures.
As designed by the Denver-based Beck Group Architecture, the building would measure around 246,000 square feet, with the top four floors built for offices, and the ground floor dedicated to restaurant and retail space.
The project currently has a 2020 completion date and is awaiting the approval of the City.
By Garry Boulard
How President Trump’s proposed infrastructure plans will be funded remains a big question, as some Congressional leaders have announced their opposition to increasing the federal gas and diesel tax.
Those taxes have been seen by many members of Congress, as well as transportation experts, as the most likely way to fund a variety of infrastructure projects nationally.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster has been among those saying that the current 18.4-cent gas tax, and the 24.4-cent diesel tax, should be increased.
In an address to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Shuster said of the tax increase: “It’s a user fee,” adding, “I believe if you use something, you should pay for it.”
But House Speaker Paul Ryan has announced his opposition to the idea, saying the gas and diesel tax increase would substantially negate other tax cuts passed by Congress last December as part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017.
Rather than pushing through one large piece of legislation advancing the President’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure rebuilding idea, Ryan has suggested that Congress will address the question with half a dozen smaller bills that most likely won’t be voted upon until this summer.
Trump’s infrastructure blueprint, which also called for $200 billion in federal seed money, emphasized incentives for both private sector and local government infrastructure investment.
By Garry Boulard
A Santa Fe warehouse built more than one hundred years ago will soon see work transforming it into a unique museum and artists’ studio space.
The historic structure at 2118 S. Guadalupe Street, is a part of the larger Santa Fe Railyards and for years served as the home to New Mexico’s State Records Center and Archives.
More than two years ago, officials with the New Mexico Museum of Art decided that the warehouse with its high ceiling and brick walls would make for a great exhibition space, launching a campaign to raise $10 million to pay for the building’s upgrading and renovation.
That effort has now been considerably bolstered with a $4 million donation from Santa Fe art patrons Robert and Ellen Vladem. Robert Vladem has served as a member of the Georgia O’Keefe Museum’s board of trustees, as well as a member of the board of directors of the Santa Fe Opera.
The transformation project, under the design of the Albuquerque-based architectural firms of DNCA Architects and Studio GP, will see the construction of a second story with an emphasis on light filtering through a facade of perforated metal.
A repurposing of space on the ground floor will allow for the creation of a gallery and lobby, while the basement of the building will be used for storage and a workshop.
With $7.7 million now secured, museum officials expect to raise the final $2.3 million for the project in the months ahead through the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Centennial Campaign.
Current plans call for work on what will be called the Vladem Contemporary Art Museum to begin in early 2019 with a 2020 completion date.
By Garry Boulard
At least one of three lawsuits designed to prevent the construction of a $180 million multi-purpose arena in El Paso may be discarded.
Attorneys for arena critic Max Grossman say they are withdrawing a lawsuit contending that the City of El Paso willfully violated a court order preventing the demolition of structures in the Duranguito neighborhood, the same neighborhood where the arena is slated to be built.
The motion on behalf of Grossman, a former member of the El Paso Historical Commission, says “evidence produced during discovery will likely not show that officials with decision-making authority” violated that 8th Texas Court of Appeals order.
Issued last September, the appeals court order instructed the City of El Paso to hold off on the demolition of several properties in the neighborhood.
Two other related lawsuits remain to be resolved. One contends that El Paso was in violation of the Texas Antiquities Act for failing to notify the Texas Historical Commission of plans to demolish historic structures in Duranguito.
The remaining lawsuit is centered on whether El Paso can use Quality of Life bond funds to build the arena, which city officials have said will be used for sporting events.
That lawsuit contends that because the ballot language for the arena never specifically mentioned that sporting events would be housed at the facility, the bond funds cannot be used in its construction.
El Paso city officials have vowed to pursue both the demolition of the Duranguito neighborhood, as well as the construction of the new arena, once and if the legal questions regarding the project are cleared up.
By Garry Boulard
As a sign of the nation’s initial 2018 prosperity, economic activity is up in all twelve of the Federal Reserve Districts for the first two months of this year.
Those findings, reported in the Federal Reserve Systems’ Beige Book, show “modest gains in home sales and construction, with the latter constrained by shortages of labor and materials.”
The twelve districts are centered in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco.
Arizona is part of the 12th San Francisco-based Federal Reserve District, while Colorado is located in the 10th district based in Kansas City.
New Mexico is divided between the 10th district and the Dallas-based 11th district.
According to the most recent Beige Book, “activity in the residential and real estate markets” of the Arizona-included 12th district “remained strong, and conditions in the commercial real estate sectors were robust.”
The 10th district, taking in Colorado and the northern part of New Mexico, saw “consumer spending, real estate and energy activity” modestly increasing, with additional gains expected “in most sectors in the months ahead.”
The 11th district, taking in southern New Mexico and El Paso, saw a slight slowdown in financial services activity, while “hiring remained solid despite a tight labor market.”
Known more formally as the Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions, the Beige Book is published eight times a year. It’s called the Beige Book because all or a part of its covers have traditionally been printed in the color beige.
By Gary Boulard
More than a dozen senior citizen centers in various parts of New Mexico will be seeing facility improvements as a result of legislation passed and signed into law by Governor Susana Martinez.
Among the severance tax bonds approved in House Bill 306 is $90,000 for the planning, design and construction improvements, along with parking lot and accessibility features, at the Thoreau Senior Citizens Center in the town of Thoreau.
Another $90,000 will target the expansion of kitchen facilities at the Belen Senior Center in Belen; while $80,000 will go for the for the planning, design, and improvement construction of the Roy Senior Center in the northeastern village of Roy.
A project that will see the planning, design, and construction of a building belonging to the Hondo Senior Center in the southeastern community of Hondo is getting $75,000; with $70,000 going for the design and construction of improvements, and a new parking lot, sidewalks, and covered entry, for the Fort Sumner Senior Citizens Center in Fort Sumner.
Up to $50,000 is being allocated for the planning, design, and construction of improvements to the Ramah Senior Citizens Center in the census designated place of Ramah in northwestern New Mexico. The Ramah project will also include roof work, parking lot improvements, and wastewater connections.
Altogether, the New Mexico Legislature approved more than $787,000 requested by the state’s Aging and Long-Term Services Department.
By Garry Boulard
Even though it is a city with a population of just over 6,800 people, Aspen’s administrative needs have grown to the point where it requires expanded space for its offices.
Last year, the Aspen City Council approved a two-pronged project that will see the upgrading of the current City Hall, located inside the 1890s Armory Building at Galena Street and E. Hopkins Avenue.
A second part of the project called for expanding an existing one-story structure that until last fall was the home to the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.
According to plans, work on that building at 425 Rio Grande Place in downtown Aspen would see the creation of up to 15,000 square feet of office space, 15,000 square feet of lobby and storage space, and another 3,900 square feet of meeting room space.
Altogether, the project is expected to cost around $22 million to complete.
But a timeline for the renovated and expanded space has been complicated by a citizen-initiated lawsuit that says the project should have been decided through a voter’s referendum.
In January, Ninth Judicial District Court Judge John Neiley ruled in favor of the lawsuit. But the Judge has since said he is open to reconsidering the City of Aspen’s argument that the approval of the project was a legislative matter not subject to a referendum.
Neiley is expected to make a final ruling on the matter within the month.
By Garry Boulard
Active hotel construction projects are enjoying new growth, with more than 12,600 projects underway globally, comprising a more than 6 percent increase in such projects over 2017.
According to the Global Construction Pipeline Trend Report, published by the Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based Lodging Econometrics, Marriott International is leading the way this year with more than 2,400 construction projects, representing nearly 401,000 rooms.
Second up is Hilton Worldwide Holdings with 2,100 projects for a total of 315,600 new rooms.
The country by far with the most hotel construction projects is the U.S., with 5,100 projects equaling 623,000 new rooms.
A distant second is China with 2,500 projects and 560,000 rooms.
In the U.S., New York currently is seeing some 180 hotel construction projects representing 30,600 rooms. Dallas and Houston come in second and third, with 149 and 146 projects respectively, for a total of 55,000 new rooms.
In February, Lodging Econometric reported that extended stay hotels accounted for 27 percent of all new hotel construction projects nationally.
That segment is growing from 239 new hotels in 2017 to an expected 332 by the end of this year.
By Garry Boulard
A Tucson cathedral and surrounding complex that for nearly 80 years served as the home to a Benedictine Monastery is on the verge of being redeveloped for residential use.
Built in 1940, the 87,000 square-foot structure has been called the “Pink Rose of the Desert,” and hailed by preservationists as being one of the most important buildings designed by well-known Tucson architect Roy Place.
With its intricately detailed Spanish Renaissance façade, expansive red clay tile roof, and ornate interiors, the former Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration structure has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for more than two decades.
The property at 800 N. Country Club Road, lined with orange and palm trees, was sold late last year to Tucson real estate developer Ross Rulney. Last month, the remaining sisters still living and worshipping at the monastery moved to what is called the Mother House for the order in Clyde, Missouri.
Rulney, with extensive experience in residential development throughout Tucson, has said that he wants to redevelop the facilities on the 7-acre site for use as luxury apartments. But he has also indicated that the structures could be re-purposed for student housing.
In several public meetings, Rulney has said he is committed to preserving the façade of the cathedral and as many of the iconic architectural details of the property as possible.
Members of the Miramonte Neighborhood Association, representing an area adjacent to the property, say they are particularly opposed to the monastery being redeveloped for student housing.
More details regarding the future of the site are expected to be made public in the coming weeks, especially if that site needs to be rezoned for the purposes of the redevelopment.
By Garry Boulard
Plans are underway for the construction of a 13,895 square-foot building off of Barstow Street in northeast Albuquerque.
The Katy, Texas-based Primrose Schools says it wants to build a two-story structure on a currently vacant 0.9-acre rectangular-shaped site between Wyoming Boulevard NE and Barstow Street NE.
The building, housing a combination preschool and day care center, will be built to for space for up to 200 students, and according to plans will also include a 400 square-foot plaza area, as well as parking space for just over 30 vehicles.
The new school, which has won the approval of Albuquerque’s Environmental Planning Commission, will be part of a rapidly expanding network by Primrose which today includes over 370 such facilities in 29 states. More than 30 of those schools were built in 2017.
The preschool franchise company, catering to students varying in age from 6 weeks to 12 years, has 10 schools up and running in Arizona, and 28 in Colorado.
By Garry Boulard