In an industry where a 300,000 square foot facility is considered to be of average size, a new hospital that will go up inside a still-growing master-planned community in Tucson is somewhat on the modest side.
The Carondelet Health Network, which is based in Tucson and has nearly two dozen health care facilities in operation in Arizona, has announced that it wants to build a one-story, 32,500 square foot hospital off of La Estancia road not far from Interstate 10.
Uniquely, what is being called a micro-hospital will go up within the borders of a 540-acre community called La Estancia.
That community, currently in development by the Scottsdale-based Sunbelt Holdings, has already seen the construction of three hundred new homes, with plans in the works for at least two thousand more.
The micro-hospital will feature eight inpatient rooms, an operating room, and an emergency department with thirteen beds.
Carondelet, a Catholic health care provider, is also building a similar stand-alone facility in the growing town of Marana near Cortaro Farms Road and Interstate 10. That facility will include eight inpatient rooms, two operating rooms, and a 14-bed emergency department.
Work on the micro-hospital in La Estancia could begin later this year, with a general completion date of late 2020.
By Garry Boulard
A new federal court ruling in the Southern District of Texas may remove from federal protection roadside ditches running adjacent to transportation projects.
The decision in Texas v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overturns the 2015 version of the Waters of the United States rules which said that such ditches are subject to federal oversight when it comes to transportation construction projects that may impact those ditches.
A coalition of groups, including the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and the National Association of Home Builders, contended that the Waters of the United States rules were too oppressive and expansive.
In their plea to the district court, the groups charged that the new rules exerted jurisdiction “over a staggering range of dry land and water features—whether large or small.”
Those groups also said that the rules would make such ditches subject to unnecessary government oversight leading to the delay and increased cost of many transportation projects.
The Southern District of Texas decision means the Waters of the United States rules are now going to be sent back to the Environmental Protection Agency for an updated review.
In a press release, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association called the court decision a “win for the nation’s transportation construction industry and builders of other much-needed infrastructure.”
By Garry Boulard
A Colorado-based mining company has submitted operational plans for future exploratory mineral drilling inside the Santa Fe National Forest.
The company, Comexico LLC, is a subsidiary of New World Cobalt, which is based in Australia and has offices in West Perth, Washington.
Earlier this year, New World Cobalt, with a focus on mineral resources exploration and development, acquired the Terrero VMS Project based in the New Mexican community of Tererro, a project comprised of gold, copper, and zinc mining exploration.
Comexico has submitted two Notices of Intent with the Santa Fe National Forest requesting access to roads belonging to the U.S. Forest Service that are usually closed to the public
The company will use those roads to begin geophysical testing, while also collecting surface samples.
According to a press release issued by the offices of Santa Fe National Forest, the drilling activities within Comexico’s plan of operation will require analysis as defined by the National Environmental Policy Act.
The level of that analysis, the release continues, “will depend on the scope of Comexico operations and the degree of disturbance to vegetation, soil, water, air or wildlife.”
In submitting its plans to the Forest Service, Comexico has said that its drilling operation would have an impact on roughly 2.2 acres. The company is also asking for an exploratory permit from New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department.
Comexico says it has identified 83 possible sites for drilling, but is currently planning to drill in no more than 30 of them.
Before any activity can take place, the company must also submit an environmental impact analysis, general biology surveys, and hydro-geologic surveys, as well as cultural surveys to identify resources that may need protective measures.
The project has sparked the opposition of the Santa Fe-based Wild Earth Guardians, which has said that the drilling could have a negative environmental impact on the forest as well as the Pecos River.
By Garry Boulard
As part of an increasing effort to collect and process both recyclables and solid waste in Dona Ana County, a move is underway to build more transfer stations to handle such materials.
South Central Solid Waste Authority, which is jointly operated by both the county and City of Las Cruces, already has one such facility up and running at 180 McCombs Road in the community of Chaparral.
That one-story, 3,400 square foot station, officially called the Chaparral Collection and Recycling Center, was opened in the spring of 2017 and serves a population in Chaparral and surrounding area of around 16,000 people.
Now county officials want to expand SCSWA’s waste collection efforts and is thinking about building as many as three more such facilities.
Last month, members of the Dona Ana Board of County Commissioners approved instructing the county’s management department to work with SCSWA on putting together an ordinance that will allow for the construction of the additional stations.
Where exactly those new facilities will be built is not yet known, but it is thought that one may go up in the northern part of the county in order to serve the village of Hatch; with another built off of Highway 70 and designed for the community of Organ and surrounding area.
A third facility would likely be built in the south Mesilla Valley, serving the communities of Berino, Chamberino, and Vado.
When exactly the enabling ordinance for the new processing centers will be introduced has not yet been announced.
By Garry Boulard
Legislation is now working its way through the House of Representatives calling for keeping intact a federal tax credit that has helped to see the preservation of more than 40,000 historic structures across the country.
The Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act, as introduced by Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer, essentially reaffirms a tax credit that has been in place since the early 1980s.
That credit, according to preservation experts, was diminished as a result of the sweeping Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
That 2017 legislation included what is officially called the Historic Tax Credit Basis Adjustment, requiring building owners to subtract the credits from the worth of the preserved building in question.
This meant, according to a think piece published earlier this year by the National Trust Community Investment Corporation that Washington was “giving an incentive and then taxing that incentive.”
The new legislation will increase the Historic Tax Credit from 20 percent to 30 percent for any preservation project with a rehabilitation expense of less than $2.5 million.
“Proponents of the bill hope that the expanded credits will incentivize the owners of smaller, income-generating properties to rehabilitate their buildings,” notes the news service Archinect.
The new legislation has won the praise of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
In a statement, Paul Edmondson, chief executive officer with that group, said the legislation will “strengthen the federal historic tax credit and provide communities with new opportunities for revitalization and economic growth.”
Edmondson added that in the last three decades, the tax credit has “consistently demonstrated its ability to kick start job creation and attract private investment while preserving nationally significant historic buildings.”
Companion legislation to Blumenauer’s bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate sometime this month.
A new bill has been introduced by the powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee designed to reassert the federal legislative branch’s role in U.S. tariff policy.
The legislation, proposed by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, comes just days after President Trump threatened to increase tariffs on all imports from Mexico unless that country did more to reduce illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Even though the White House subsequently discarded the increased tariff idea, noting that Mexican officials had promised to increase border enforcement, Grassley said such tariff matters should not be handled solely by the executive branch.
“Congress has delegated too much authority to the President of the United States,” Grassley commented to reporters in discussing his legislation.
While he denied that his bill is a specific response to Trump’s Mexican tariff threat, Grassley said the legislative branch’s abdication in such matters has been going on for decades.
“The constitutional crisis comes from the elected representatives of the people over the last 80 years making a dictatorship out of the presidency,” Grassley said, later replacing the word “dictatorship” for “kingship”
The Iowa Senator said his ultimate goal is to craft a bi-partisan bill that would reduce overall executive branch tariff policy-making and enforcing.
When the White House made its threat to increase Mexican tariffs, Grassley issued a statement remarking: “Trade policy and border security are separate issues. This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent.”
By Garry Boulard
The first phase of a project set to go up in Denver’s Lower Downtown District has won the tentative approval of a city review board.
The Lower Downtown Design Review Board is tasked with both preserving and enhancing structures within Denver’s lower downtown historic district.
The proposed hotel in question is an infill project in the 1600 block of Blake Street.
The site was once the home to three separate buildings, ranging in size from 37 feet in height to 70 feet. All three of those structures were demolished more than 40 years ago.
The site has in recent years been used as a parking lot.
The project is being designed by Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects of Denver for the Newport Beach, California-based T2 Hospitality.
As proposed, the new building will have a height of nearly 84 feet for a total of eight floors with some restaurant and retail space.
According to the board’s records, the project may also include “rooftop deck elements, including planters and a metal awning trellis.”
The façade design of the structure, meanwhile, will include “vertical elements and other architectural features that have been inspired by the district context.”
An exact construction schedule for the new hotel has not been announced.
By Garry Boulard
Seventeen airports in Arizona are in line to receive around $21 million in funding from Washington for a variety of construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance projects.
The Arizona funding is part of a significantly larger $840 million in airport infrastructure grants that have been announced by the Federal Aviation Administration, which operates within the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In a statement, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao noted that the latest round of federal airport grants “will fund construction and rehabilitation projects that will help maintain high levels of safety in U.S. aviation.”
Among the most significant Arizona awards is $6.5 million for taxiway reconstruction at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and $3.7 million for the reconstruction of an aircraft apron at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The Window Rock Airport is also receiving $3 million for a runway reconstruction project.
In Colorado, twenty airports will be receiving more than $17 million for a wide array of projects, including $3.5 million that will help pay for the rehabilitation of a runway at the Denver International Airport.
The Durango-LaPlata Airport is getting $6.8 million to fund the reconstruction of a taxiway; while the Front Range Airport will receive $1.5 million for a runway rehabilitation project.
Sixteen airports in New Mexico are in line to receive nearly $14 million in funding that includes around $5 million for reconstructing 8,500 feet of an existing runway at the Dona Ana County International Jetport in Santa Teresa.
Both the Farmington-based Four Corners Regional Airport as well as the Lea County Regional Airport in Hobbs are receiving a combined nearly $5.4 million in funding for runway improvement work.
By Garry Boulard
Plans have now been set for the construction of a new highway bypass project that will go up in Carlsbad and is designed to lessen the amount of truck traffic currently moving on smaller roads and streets in southeast Eddy County.
The new bypass, long in the anticipation stage, will connect U.S. Highway 285 with U.S. Highway 62/180.
By so doing, the bypass will also be serving as a loop between north Carlsbad and south Carlsbad.
The project is expected to cost up to $30 million to complete and will be done in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Earlier estimates pegged the project at around $25 million.
Nearly $12 million of the funding for the project is coming from the state and $1 million from Carlsbad, with additional funding expected to be secured in the future.
Work on the bypass project will most likely launch sometime in the spring of 2020.
By Garry Boulard
The Trump Administration has announced that it will not, after all, impose increased tariffs against a variety of Mexican imports.
That announcement is in response to a pledge from the Mexican government to become more active in reducing the number of people, primarily from Central America, flooding the Mexican/U.S. border.
In a joint announcement, representatives from both the U.S. and Mexico said that Mexico had agreed to the “deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.”
Although President Trump said if he had not “put tariffs on the table” the Mexican government would not have so positively responded, a number of analysts have suggested that Mexico was prepared to step up their border security efforts before the tariff threat.
A report in the New York Times said the Mexican government had agreed to enhance its enforcement efforts last March during “secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior.”
Although the Administration signaled its satisfaction with Mexico’s response, Trump has since also suggested that he may re-impose tariffs against Mexico if the border immigration issues continue.
The President had originally called for tariffs of 5 percent on all Mexican imports starting on June 10. Those tariffs would have gradually increased to 25 percent by October.
The tariffs would have particularly hit auto and truck parts, as well as construction supplies.
By Garry Boulard
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