Officials in Dona Ana County are seeking around $4.2 million in state funding in order to design and build a diversion channel just to the north of U.S. Highway 70.
The project has already received some $1 million in capital outlay funds previously approved by the New Mexico State Legislature to fund property acquisition, as well as both archaeological and environmental studies.
The Brahmin Diversion Channel project is located four miles to the north of Highway 70 and its intersection with Holman Road.
This latest capital outlay request for the diversion channel comes as the New Mexico State Legislature begins its two-month 2021 session on January 19.
Dona Ana is also seeking $2.5 million in capital outlay funding for the design and construction of a series of general flood control projects in the county, which will also include the building of detention ponds, drainage channels, and new culvert pipe replacements.
An additional Dona Ana project, if funded in Santa Fe, will see the long-planned construction of the Industrial Road Overpass, set to be built over Union Pacific Railroad tracks at the Santa Teresa Industrial Park.
Late last year that project received around $1.3 million in grant support through the Department of Transportation’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement Program.
The county is requesting $9.6 million from the state legislature to plan, design, and build Industrial Road overpass.
By Garry Boulard
While new home construction, along with new homes sales, have been one of the bright spots in the national economy during the last year, continued growth may be hampered by rising prices.
Those prices, according to a study issued by the National Association of Home Builders, reflect many market trends, but in particular the rising cost of construction due to a lack of immediate building materials.
Notes Robert Dietz, chief economist with NAHB, just lumber prices alone have seen a 60% increase since November, “adding thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home.”
Despite all that, asserts Dietz, “the overall macroeconomic outlook is expected to improve this year,” predicting an increase in the Gross Domestic Product as well as a lowering of the nation’s unemployment rate.
But, adds Dietz, “these forecasted improvements are dependent on the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.”
The economist admits that his generally positive forecast for the upcoming months, “assumes mass deployment of the vaccine between March and September, which should allow for more normalization of the overall economy and continued strength for housing demand.”
The NAHB report comes as home builder confidence has soared, even throughout the most dormant months of the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, with single family construction in second-home communities up by a significant 24% on a yearly basis.
Even so, new home sales have continued to outpace actual new home construction.
“While strong demand suggests continued gains for home construction in 2021,” adds Dietz, “affordability declines and supply-side limitations will generate lower housing growth rates than those recorded last year.”
By Garry Boulard
A new high-rise apartment in Denver’s increasingly popular Golden Triangle neighbor could, if all goes well, see construction later this year.
The Charleston, South Carolina-based Greystone Real Estate Partners wants to build the 17-story structure at the intersection of Bannock Street and West 10th avenue. That site, made up of several parcels, measures around 1.5 acres.
According to concept plans submitted to the City of Denver, what is being called Parq II would house up to 324 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartment units, and is set to include 7,000 square feet of retail space on the building’s street level.
Also planned: spaces for up to 437 vehicles.
Greystar has previously developed the 16-story upscale Parq on Speer, which contains 302 units, at 909 Bannock Street and was opened nearly two years ago. That project was designed by the Houston-based Ziegler Cooper Architects which, according to reports, may be the lead designer for the new Parq II project.
An exact construction timetable for the Parq II project, which awaits city approval, has not been announced.
Located on the immediate northern side of Denver, the Golden Triangle neighborhood has seen a boom in both residential and commercial construction in the last two decades.
The neighborhood comprises one of the oldest sections of the city and is distinguished for the larger number of stately Victorian homes along its tree-lined residential streets.
By Garry Boulard
A plan to redevelop a 2.5-acre site in Tempe, well known for a popular Mexican restaurant and historic train depot, has received an important green light.
Members of the Tempe City Council have given their unanimous approval to a project that will see the construction of two high-rise structures going up near the intersection of Third Street and Ash Avenue.
Altogether, the project will total some 319,000 square feet, with one tower at 18 stories, and the other topping out at 10 stories.
The 18-story structure will feature a 280-room hotel, along with some 9,400 square feet of conference space, and another 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
There will also be a 22,600 square foot street-level public gathering and plaza space.
The project, which belongs to the Phoenix-based Red Development, has attracted considerable attention due to the developer’s plan to secure a new space for the Tempe Macayo’s Depot Cantina, which closed two years ago.
In addition, according to city documents, the project will “preserve and rehabilitate the train depot as part of the proposed redevelopment of the site.”
More specifically, the one-story brick structure will be repurposed as retail, restaurant, and bar space.
By Garry Boulard
Construction project backlogs in both the commercial and institutional sectors, as well as in infrastructure, saw an increase towards the end of last year, says a new industry report.
Published by the Associated Builders and Contractors, the report indicates that while the project backlog for the heavy industry sector was markedly down from November, the overall national backlog average had marginally increased from 7.2 months to 7.3 months.
Those numbers were aligned with the commercial and institutional backlog, increase from 7.2 months in November to 7.3 months in December.
Infrastructure project backlogs increased from 8.7 months in November to 8.9, while only in the heavy industry sector was the backlog on the downside, from 4.5 months in November to 4.2 months in December.
The largest regional increases were in the Midwest, with a 6.0 backlog growing to 6.2 months, and a 7.1 backlog in the Northeast growing to 7.9 months.
The South saw a marginal decrease from a backlog of 8.4 months in November to 8.3; while the West saw the most significant change, from 7.8 months to 6.7 months.
The ABC study also showed that both sales and profits margins were on the upside for responding construction companies in December, with roughly 30% of those firms saying they expected their profit margins to increase in the near future; up from less than 25% who said that in November.
“Thee baseline expectation is that by the spring, the U.S. economy will blossom,” Anirban Basu, chief economist with the ABC, said in a statement.
“With many households sitting on mounds of savings and sustaining pent-up demand for many goods and services, the U.S. economy is set for rapid growth as it reopens more fully during mid to late 2021,” continued Basu.
While Basu cautioned that a resurging economy may not happen overnight, projects that were earlier cancelled due to the pandemic and economic shutdown, “are likely to come back to life over the next several months.”
Although the latest project backlog numbers in the infrastructure and commercial and institution sectors have increased, they are still substantially lower than where those sectors stood in December of 2019, three months before the Covid-19 outbreak.
By Garry Boulard
A vacant lot that was once the site of a popular neighborhood shopping mall in Albuquerque could become the new home to an emergency services center.
Located at the intersection of Kathryn Avenue SE and San Mateo Boulevard, roughly 7 miles to the east of downtown Albuquerque, the facility would be used for first responders serving calls specific to behavioral health and homeless issues.
Mayor Tim Keller has proposed the center, which would cost around $7 million to build, as part of a significantly larger $140 million infrastructure spending plan.
That plan, to be reviewed by members of the Albuquerque City Council, will eventually be presented to voters in November as a general obligation bond.
Located in an area of mostly small commercial structures and some apartment housing, the Kathryn/San Mateo site was formerly the home of the Parkland Hills Shopping Center.
That mall, dating to the 1960s, was closed in 2005 and subsequently demolished some 5 years ago.
If built, the new emergency response service could be a part of a larger multi-use public safety complex.
By Garry Boulard
A town in Arizona known for having one of the tallest man-made fountains in the world may soon be getting international attention for a second reason.
Plans have now been announced for the construction of an $18 million combined observatory and planetarium in Fountain Hills, some 31 miles to the northeast of Phoenix, that will also include a theater and large telescope.
What is being called the International Dark Skies Discovery Center will go up in downtown Fountain Hills on land donated by the town near the public Centennial Circle, which also includes a community center and museum.
The 15,000 square foot center will also include an exhibit hall with interactive displays and exhibits. The planetarium will feature immersive digital technology, while the theater will have 150 tiered-seats, using 8K projection technology.
Three years ago Fountain Hills was designated as a dark sky community by the Tucson-based International Dark Sky Association. That designation, now given to some 130 places around the world, recognizes localities that have made significant efforts to preserve the night sky through a reduction of light pollution.
A fund-raising drive to build the Dark Skies Discovery Center, which has been in the talking stage for the last several years, has now been launched.
While a timetable for the drive as not been revealed, it is expected that once the needed support is secured, it will take around 2 years to fully design and build the facility.
By Garry Boulard
President-elect Joe Biden has announced a plan for stimulating the economy that will include direct checks to Americans, a raise in the federal minimum wage, and funding for small businesses.
“The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight and there’s no time to waste,” Biden said in announcing what amounts to a $1.9 billion effort whose centerpiece is a $1,400 check for individuals making less than $75,000.
“We have to act and we have to act now,” Biden continued, saying that what he calls his American Rescue Plan will “tackle the pandemic and get direct financial assistance and relief to Americans who need it the most.”
Biden is also proposing enhanced unemployment benefits of $400 a week, up from the current $300, with an expiration date of next September, and a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour, up from the current $7.25 an hour, which has been in effect since the summer of 2009.
Up to $15 billion in Biden’s plan will go directly to help small businesses impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak and economic shutdown.
“I know what I just described does not come cheaply, but failure to do so will cost us dearly,” Biden continued. “The consensus among leading economists is, we simply cannot afford not to do what I’m proposing.”
The plan will additionally include $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, and territorial governments.
Responding directly to the pandemic, Biden’s plan would see $20 billion spent for a national vaccination program, $50 billion for improved testing, and $40 billion targeting an increase in the nation’s stock of protective gear and supplies.
A second piece of legislation, which is expected to include a comprehensive infrastructure construction funding proposal, will most likely be introduced by Biden early next month.
By Garry Boulard
Plans are underway for the construction of a new Nissan dealership location on the south side of Fort Collins.
If approved by the city, the project would go up on a currently vacant site in the 5800 block of S. College Avenue, near a current Nissan dealership showroom.
Once the new 40,000 square foot building is completed, the existing showroom structure will be repurposed as a Kia dealership facility.
The new building, along with a lot large enough to display nearly 400 vehicles, will be built on 6 acres at the intersection of Crestridge Drive and South College Avenue.
The idea behind the twin construction and renovation projects is to combine in one place the vehicle dealerships owned by the Valley Auto Group.
Although an exact construction schedule has not yet been announced, it is thought that work building the new Nissan dealership structure could launch later this year, with a rough 2023 completion date.
Besides allowing for the display of two different brand vehicles all at one site, the project will also provide for a staging area specific to the growing electric vehicle market.
By Garry Boulard
At least four public libraries located in Arizona will be receiving grants for a variety of building improvement initiatives.
The funding is coming from the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records department, and will include $39,000 for the renovation of a children’s book and study area in the Snowflake-Taylor Public Library in the central Arizona town of Snowflake.
The Cottonwood Public Library, also in central Arizona, is getting nearly $15,500 for a sidewalk improvement project; while the Parker Public Library, on the southeast side of the state, is hoping to build a new annex storage building, and is getting $7,500 in funding.
The Camp Verde Community Library, 90 miles to the northeast of Phoenix, is in line for $5,000 for restrooms upgrades and new lighting.
The funding is a result of the creation of a state grants-in-aid program established by the Arizona legislature and designed to provide funding for both cities and county library districts.
Such grants are often used to pay for just a portion of a project, with additional funding coming from other sources.
Last year more than $850,000 in grants were awarded for library facility projects ranging from the installation of xeriscape landscaping to creating Internet use areas, and building spaces for the visually impaired.
By Garry Boulard
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