Plans are in the works for the construction of 23,000 square feet of new lab space on the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado.
That space will be built beneath the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, which is a research department at the school with a faculty of more than one hundred scientists.
The overall program, in a series of large buildings, houses atmospheric science, space physics, and planetary science research.
The lab has been an active participant in the nation’s space program for more than seven decades and is primarily funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
What is ultimately expected to be a $100 million project, will also see the renovation of existing space in the A-wing of the compound, as well as upgrades to office space in the B and S wings.
The facility’s 56,000 square foot X wing was built just over seven years ago at a cost of $32 million.
School officials hope to issue a Request for Proposals for the big project sometime early next year.
By Garry Boulard
The more than 20 year-old Duck Park Vista Apartments complex in downtown Phoenix is in line for an extensive upgrading and reconfiguration.
The facility is owned by the city’s housing authority Phoenix Housing.
Located at 1125 N. Third Street, across the street from the historic Grace Lutheran Church, the complex’s 56 affordable units will be expanded into 201 units.
As planned, the new layout of the complex will see 75 workforce units and 126 affordable units.
Also included: a community room, fitness center, commercial space on the building’s first floor, and outdoor courtyard area.
A release from Phoenix Housing said the Duck Park’s upgrading is primarily designed to “create more affordable housing opportunities in the heart of the city.”
Work on the upgrading of the complex could begin in the fall of 2021, with a rough November 2023 completion date.
By Garry Boulard
A buoyant housing market appears to be contradicting reports of a recessionary economy, according to a new survey just released by the National Association of Realtors.
The Chicago-based group in its latest quarterly report shows that home prices increased by 7.7 percent in the quarter ending on the last day of March, compared with the same period a year ago.
The average home price now stands at $274,600, with double-digit increases particularly noted in Western cities.
One of the largest increases was seen in Colorado Springs, where the average home price at $339,000 was up by 14.4 percent over the first quarter of 2019.
Overall, home prices saw increases in 96 percent of the metro markets surveyed by the NAR.
The report showed an 11.4 percent increase in the Albuquerque market, with the median home price at $231,000.
A second New Mexico metro market saw a 3.8 percent increase: Farmington, with an average house price of $185,000.
In El Paso, the market had improved by 6 percent over early 2019, for an average home price of $166,700.
Phoenix, meanwhile, saw an 11.8 percent increase with an average price of nearly $309,000. The Tucson market was only marginally less resilient, with an increase of 7.5 percent, and an average price of $248,100.
Metro markets in Colorado, which have been at or above the national average in surveys conducted over the last two to three years, showed Denver’s prices up by 6.1 percent, with an average price of $473,800.
Boulder’s increase was smaller at 3.1 percent, but with a higher average price of $622,000.
Although the survey takes in only the first month of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent national economic shutdown, Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist, said, “Due to very limited listings, home prices are showing no signs of buckling.”
Even during the final month of the survey, sales prices rose 8% over March of 2019.
In a statement, Yun said, “Supply is extremely limited, and there are simply not as many homes for sale to meet the demand among potential buyers.”
Yun added, in a thought encouraging to home builders, that “more supply and more listings are needed to provide a faster recovery for the economy.”
By Garry Boulard
Work may begin sometime next year on the building of 92 condominium units in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District, all to be geared for affordable housing.
The city’s Department of Housing Stability, otherwise known as HOST, is providing nearly $3.6 million in funding for what is being called the La Tela project.
The project has several partners, including the Urban Land Conservancy, which purchased the 18,000 square foot site in question more than a year ago for $1.8 million with the idea of it being transformed into affordable housing.
Located at the corner of W. 6th Avenue and Inca Street, roughly one mile to the south of downtown Denver, the planned five-story La Tela will feature units with ceiling heights of 9 feet, bike storage space, and LED lighting throughout the project.
Of the total units planned for the project, 64 will be studios, 24 are designated as two bedrooms, and four will have four bedrooms.
All of the units, priced anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000, will be restricted to residents making no more than $52,000 a year.
Designed by the Denver-based architectural firm Completiva, the project is seen as another step by HOST to increase the city’s permanent affordability housing stock.
By Garry Boulard
The rehabilitation of an existing structure on the campus of the Community College of Denver may be accelerated due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The school had earlier announced plans to add 10,000 square feet to the Boulder Creek Building’s existing 65,500 square feet, but now may be in the process of recalibrating some of the structure’s space due to the distancing requirements of the virus.
The Community College of Denver project is just one of many across the country, according to a survey recently completed by a school facilities group, exploring how spaces within buildings are being altered because of COVID-19.
The Alexander, Virginia-based APPA, formerly known as the Association of Physical Plant Administrators, noted that the survey indicated that some 64 percent of respondents were currently in the throes of making new plans for specific facility space because of the virus.
In a separate question, nearly a third of respondents said they do not have the space needed to respond to the coronavirus’ spacing needs.
Representing more than 1,300 learning facilities across the country, as well as museums and libraries, APPA has been trying to determine the scope of campus facility alternations currently under consideration.
In so doing, the group will soon be hosting a web meeting dedicated to, among other things, enabling planning teams to “move toward true data-driven decision-making using effective asset inventory and capital budgeting strategies.”
Notes E. Lander Medlin, APPA’s executive vice-president: “Facilities leaders are undertaking more complex maintenance efforts throughout their entire real estate portfolios as a means of enhancing student safety.”
Survey responses indicate that while new campus facility space, for the present, may not be built, existing space is likely to be repurposed.
At the same time, respondents indicated that across the board smaller classroom spaces will be replaced by substantially larger classroom spaces.
Campus spaces seen as the most likely to undergo interior alternations in the weeks to come include the now-abandoned offices of both school staff and faculty that are no longer being used and can be readapted as classrooms.
By Garry Boulard
Most of the preliminaries appear to be out of the way now for the construction of a new housing development at the site of a northeast Colorado Springs golf course opened more than two decades ago.
Classic Homes of Colorado Springs has now received approval to build what could be anywhere from 600 to as many as 1,000 single-frame homes and townhouses at the site of the Springs Ranch Golf Course.
That 18-hole course, located at 3525 Tuft Boulevard, has in recent years had financial issues, opening the way for a purchase of the land and its redevelopment for a different purpose.
As part of the deal allowing for the development to proceed, the City of Colorado Springs is receiving some 23 acres at the northern edge of the course that will soon become a part of the nearby Norman Bulldog Coleman Community Park in the 4300 block of Tuft Boulevard.
Altogether, well over 100 acres of the golf course will be open for development by Classic Homes, which primarily specializes in upscale residential properties.
A timetable for the construction of what is being called the Greenways at Sand Creek has not yet been announced.
By Garry Boulard
Work could begin sometime next year on the construction of a mammoth semiconductor manufacturing facility in metro Phoenix.
The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, whose corporate offices are based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, wants to build a $12 billion facility that will go up in phases and will produce chips for Apple, Inc., as well as a number of other clients.
The company, with revenues of more than $35 billion last year, manufactures more than 10,700 products and has design centers up and running in Austin, Texas and San Jose, California.
Construction of the Phoenix facility comes after negotiations with TSMC and State of Arizona officials.
The building of the new facility, said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a statement, is a sign of a “renaissance in American manufacturing.”
TSMC, which also operates a manufacturing facility in Camas, Washington, additionally makes products that are used in smart phones and automobiles.
Although the exact site for where the company will build in greater Phoenix has not yet been announced, TSMC officials say they want to see work beginning on the new facility next year, with the plant becoming operational in 2024.
It is expected that additions to the facility will be built over a 5-year period after the initial opening of the plant.
By Garry Boulard
A virtual public input meeting has been conducted in El Paso asking residents for their thoughts on the design of the upcoming Mexican American Cultural Center.
Construction of the center has been in the planning and talking stage for several years and is one of the marquee projects to be funded out of the Quality of Life bonds approved by voters in 2012.
The center, designed to honor the more than 70 percent of El Paso’s population of Mexican American heritage, recently survived a move by several members of the El Paso City Council who thought it would make more economic sense in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak to suspend its construction.
Although many residents and community activists had plugged for a stand-alone center, the council in late 2018 voted to approve a plan incorporating the center into the city’s larger Main Library at 501 N. Oregon in downtown El Paso.
In so doing, the council also approved $15 million in funding for both the construction of the new center as well as an upgrading of the library facility itself.
Of that $15 million total, just under $6 million is coming out of the Quality of Life bonds.
The project has been challenged by delays revolving around where it would ultimately be built, and funding issues as a result of a less than successful private giving campaign.
Final design presentations on the project are expected to be completed by early this summer, with work on the library renovations starting mid-summer.
The actual building of the new center itself is now slated to begin sometime this fall.
By Garry Boulard
Arizona is among just four states that is projecting that its largest revenue drop owing to the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent economic shutdown will occur during fiscal year 2020.
Colorado and New Mexico are in a larger group of nine states projecting that their largest revenue decreases will not be seen until fiscal year 2021.
Such statistics, according to the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, underline the challenging fiscal cards dealt to state governments across the country because of the coronavirus and the business shutdown consequences.
As of today, state budget officials in Arizona are predicting an overall budget shortfall of just over $1.1 billion.
The office of Governor Jared Polis in Colorado has come out with a forecast loss of $3.2 billion for both 2020 and 2021 fiscal years; while New Mexico officials are seeing a drop of anywhere between $1.7 billion and $2.4 billion for fiscal year 2021.
According to the Budget and Policy Priorities center, shortfalls for all states will hit the 10 percent mark at the end of this fiscal year, with a bigger 25 percent chunk expected to come out of the states’ fiscal 2021 year budgets.
“States’ initial revenue projects give a first look at some of the damage the pandemic-induced downturn could cause to state budgets,” notes the center’s recent report, Early Estimates Show Substantial Shortfalls for 2020, 2021.
But the report also makes the point of noting that, so far, the various state budgets are not showing “the increased costs from fighting the virus and from rising demand for state services.”
Solutions are currently elusive, continues the report, which also notes that even though many states will soon be drawing from rainy day funds to remain solvent, such funds will likely prove inadequate.
Meanwhile, the report warns that states will only worsen their economic woes by “laying off employees, scaling back government contracts for business, and cutting public services and other forms of spending.”
An earlier report also put together by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities provides at least one glimmer of hope. While total state shortfalls are expected to reach the $350 billion mark in fiscal year 2021, that figure will decline to a smaller $190 billion by fiscal year 2022.
By Garry Boulard
A major hurdle has been cleared for the construction of a 70-room hotel that will go up at the northeast corner of West San Francisco and Sandoval streets in downtown Santa Fe.
The development plan for the project, which has won the unanimous approval of the Santa Fe City Council, envisions a four-story structure on a nearly 1-acre site.
The block that the site is on is also home to the nearly century-old Lensic Performing Arts Center.
The property in question, which is currently a parking lot, has for several years been looked at by builders and investors for its development potential.
The parking lot was opened after a two-story commercial structure on the site was demolished in 1972 in an urban renewal effort.
In a neighborhood lined with mostly one-story restaurants, clothing stores, and art galleries, it is one of the most familiar blocks in Santa Fe, and one also with a high degree of foot traffic.
An earlier plan to build a combination condominium and retail project on the property never became reality due to the Great Recession.
As currently planned, the hotel will measure around 84,200 square feet and will have a restaurant and bar, retail space, and pedestrian paths around and through the building.
The project will additionally include a two-level underground parking garage.
Work on the property, which is owned by the Santa Fe-based property management company Greer Enterprises, is not expected to actually begin until next spring.
To be designed in the Spanish Baroque architectural style, the project is being developed by Legacy Hospitality & Management of Albuquerque.
By Garry Boulard
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