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Old October 18th, 2011, 02:21 AM   #41
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Virgin Galactic Dedication



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Spaceport America Dedication. Photo by Mark Greenberg by Virgin Galactic, on Flickr

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Spaceport America Dedication
Photo by Mark Greenberg

Sir Richard Branson, (r) with New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, Mohammed al-Husseiny -CEO of aabar Investments and New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce pose in front of the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo at the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space Hangar, Monday October 17, 2011 near Las Cruces, New Mexico.
It was part of a dedication and christening of the hangar to Virgin Galactic.
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Spaceport America Dedication. Photo by Mark Greenberg by Virgin Galactic, on Flickr

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Spaceport America. Photo by Mark Greenberg by Virgin Galactic, on Flickr

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Sir Richard Branson and Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico watch as an air show with the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo takes place at the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space Hangar, Monday October 17, 2011 near Las Cruces, New Mexico.
It was part of a dedication and christening of the hangar to Virgin Galactic.
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Spaceport America Dedication. Photo by Mark Greenberg by Virgin Galactic, on Flickr

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Sir Richard Branson along with performing with Project Bandaloop on the side window wall of the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space Hangar, Monday October 17, 2011 near Las Cruces, New Mexico.
It was part of a dedication and christening of the hangar to Virgin Galactic
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Spaceport America Dedication by Virgin Galactic, on Flickr

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Spaceport America Dedication by Virgin Galactic, on Flickr

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Spaceport America Dedication. Photo by Mark Greenberg by Virgin Galactic, on Flickr

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Spaceport America Dedication. Photo by Mark Greenberg by Virgin Galactic, on Flickr

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Sir Richard Branson (c) along with son Sam (left in black) and daughter Holly (far right) performing with Project Bandaloop on the side window wall of the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space Hangar, Monday October 17, 2011 near Las Cruces, New Mexico.
It was part of a dedication and christening of the hangar to Virgin Galactic.



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Old November 8th, 2011, 04:59 AM   #42
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Old December 5th, 2011, 04:21 AM   #43
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Pegasus May Build Mock City In Dona Ana County

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LAS CRUCES - Should the plans of Washington, D.C.-based Pegasus Global Holdings pan out, a new city will spring up, within three years, somewhere in New Mexico on what's now vacant land.

Oddly, the city would not be occupied. Instead it would be a life-sized laboratory for new urban technologies, ranging from the mundane to the cutting edge. And the company appears to be leaning strongly toward locating its $300 million project - and 350 direct jobs - west of Las Cruces, said sources who declined to speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the information.

Pegasus CEO Robert Brumley said Friday the company has not made a decision about where it will build the project, but has been in talks with officials in a number of New Mexico cities and is carrying out a feasibility study. The company will reveal more details in about two weeks. "We've been in the state two years now working on the project," he said. "We're about to finish this up and turn it over to what would be a more localized and visible activity."

The company is eyeing blocks of state trust land near an interstate for its city - called the Center for Innovation, Test and Evaluation, or, CITE. Built on a 3-by -5-mile expanse, it would be a near replica of a yet-unnamed American municipality, complete with a downtown area, multi-story buildings, shopping centers and suburban neighborhoods, according to Brumley. It plans to open for business in 2014.

Pegasus Global Holding selected New Mexico primarily because of the availability of contiguous parcels of state, federal and tribal land, Brumley said. The universities and the federal labs were factors, as well.

Asked about the Las Cruces area as a possible location, Brumley described it as "fabulous." The company has been in contact with local officials, who back the project, he said. "It meets all the criteria, but we haven't made any decisions that it's going to be in Las Cruces," he said.

[...]
This is a massive, unique project that has attracted attention from around the globe. I'm guessing a potential Dona Ana County location for this behemoth would be west of Las Cruces along I-10.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 04:28 AM   #44
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New Mexico base: Virgin Galactic sets up shop in Las Cruces

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LAS CRUCES - Southern New Mexico is starting to grow into one of its nicknames. With word that Virgin Galactic has chosen a site here to open an office, Las Cruces has taken another step toward becoming the "Space Place," a moniker developed for a marketing campaign by the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance several years ago.

Virgin Galactic is part of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and plans to launch suborbital space flights at the $200 million Spaceport America north of Las Cruces. The company will place its Las Cruces facility in the Green Offices at 166 S. Roadrunner Parkway, a building with a curved bluish-green glass exterior. The developer is currently completing the final requirements for LEED "Platinum" designation, part of the green building rating systems certification standards. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.)

"We plan to move in, in January 2012," said Mark Butler, senior program manager with Virgin Galactic. "Initially (we'll have) a small team of four to six people, including (the departments of) travel and tourism, program management, trade controls and export strategy and some administrative support. Over the coming year the team will increase to include members of our operations."

Butler said the company also expects to hire more employees at some point. "We will be filling new positions," he said. "These will be advertised on our website and local press when the time comes to recruit.

[...]

For now, the company is busy setting up operations in Las Cruces.

Jacob Garland with Steinborn TCN Commercial was the lead broker on the deal to get Virgin into Green Offices. "Construction has already commenced, the goal is to have Virgin occupying around the first of the year," Garland said.

Butler said the Las Cruces office gives the company a place to meet with business, contractors and other local interests. "The initial function of the office is to provide VG with a base in New Mexico prior to the spaceport being ready for our use," Butler said.

The Green Offices on Roadrunner Parkway is 18,000 square feet and was built to LEED green building rating systems certification standards.

[...]
Also a second vertical launch area and pad have been approved for the spaceport: http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2011/...-approved.html
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Old December 5th, 2011, 12:18 PM   #45
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Pegasus May Build Mock City In Dona Ana County



This is a massive, unique project that has attracted attention from around the globe. I'm guessing a potential Dona Ana County location for this behemoth would be west of Las Cruces along I-10.
I thought they wanted to be closer to the Labs. I wonder what they mean by that, considering the Labs would be a 4 to 5 hr drive to Cruces when they could be just an hr or 30 minutes away from Abq. Plus, what about the job pool? They are probably going to need lot's of PHD's and specialized degrees to run this thing. Abq has more of that than Cruces or El Paso. And that's not to put Cruces or El Paso down.

What about airport access? I know El Paso has one, but it's probably easier to get a flight to Alb than it is to El Paso. I'm just postulating on this of course.
This article seems to conflict with the others I've read on this project. One article stated that they wanted the project close to I-40 and I-25.

But this is the Cruces paper so it makes sense to present it in a pro Cruces way. It'll be interesting to see what happens with this.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 05:30 PM   #46
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I thought they wanted to be closer to the Labs. I wonder what they mean by that, considering the Labs would be a 4 to 5 hr drive to Cruces when they could be just an hr or 30 minutes away from Abq. Plus, what about the job pool? They are probably going to need lot's of PHD's and specialized degrees to run this thing. Abq has more of that than Cruces or El Paso. And that's not to put Cruces or El Paso down.

What about airport access? I know El Paso has one, but it's probably easier to get a flight to Alb than it is to El Paso. I'm just postulating on this of course.
This article seems to conflict with the others I've read on this project. One article stated that they wanted the project close to I-40 and I-25.

But this is the Cruces paper so it makes sense to present it in a pro Cruces way. It'll be interesting to see what happens with this.
It's still up in the air. I really wouldn't want this near either Albuquerque or Las Cruces. Land near the bustling cities is just too valuable and useful for REAL developments. But we'll see what they finally decide...
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Old December 18th, 2011, 06:38 AM   #47
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WSJ

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THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW DECEMBER 17, 2011
Space: The Next Business Frontier

By next Christmas the airline mogul could be ferrying paying customers outside the atmosphere—and, later, to the bottom of the ocean.



By MARY KISSEL
New York

'I wanted to create a spaceship where myself and my children could go into space, and our friends could go into space," exclaims billionaire CEO Richard Branson with his trademark toothy grin. Coming from someone else, this kind of talk might be considered mildly delusional. But in Mr. Branson's telling it's hard not to believe in the creativity of capitalism to better the world in ways you might not expect. Mr. Branson is in the Steve Jobs category of entrepreneurs—he believes that if he builds it, they will come.

I'm sitting with Mr. Branson in his Virgin Group's hip Bleecker Street offices, adorned with a big London Tube mural and modern art, ostensibly to talk about his new book, "Screw Business as Usual." Fine. After a long exposition from one of the world's best-known entrepreneurs on why it's okay to spend shareholder money on "the seemingly intractable problems in the world," I steer him into talking about his extreme tourism companies, Virgin Galactic and Virgin Oceanic.

"The best ideas come from people just wanting to create, like [Google co-founder] Larry Page in his garage just wanted to create a product that he could play with, and then you go and try to make sure that you can pay the bills at the end of the month," Mr. Branson says. He's flanked by Jean Oelwang, CEO of his empire's charitable arm, Virgin Unite, who doesn't seem pleased that I'm not interested in "high-impact social investment." But Mr. Branson is on a roll. "If I'd gone to the accountants and said, could you please work out the profit and loss of starting a spaceship company—especially when we didn't even have a spaceship—they would've laughed at me."

And for good reason. Governments have long dominated space, starting with the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of Sputnik 1. The U.S. soon followed. "If they'd used just a small fraction of that money as prize money and given it to the best commercial companies, that money would've been far better spent," Mr. Branson muses. "The $10 million [Ansari] X Prize very much sparked our move into space travel," he notes, referring to the competition organized by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis and launched in 1996.

Mr. Branson had dreamed of exploring the final frontier for decades. "I think it just simply goes back to watching the moon landing on blurry black-and-white television when I was a teenager and thinking, one day I would go to the moon—and then realizing that governments are not interested in us individuals and creating products that enable us to go into space," he says. In 1995, after making billions of dollars in the music and airline businesses, Mr. Branson registered a new company, Virgin Galactic (the name "sounded good"), at London's Companies House. Then the company started searching for rocket scientists and the right technology.

Several years later, in July 2002, Virgin's team traveled to California to check on American aerospace designer Burt Rutan's progress on the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer, a plane built "to circumnavigate the globe non-stop on a single tank of fuel," according to Virgin's website. Virgin discovered that Mr. Rutan intended to compete for the X Prize with SpaceShip One, the world's first privately developed spacecraft, financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Mr. Branson quickly struck a deal: Virgin would license Mr. Rutan's SpaceShip One technology from Mr. Allen if he won the competition. In 2004, Mr. Rutan did just that, and Virgin Galactic was off to the races.

Fast forward to this October, when Mr. Branson and his children Sam and Holly christened Spaceport America, which advertises itself as "the world's first purpose built commercial spaceport" and is located about 55 miles north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. In typical outsize Branson fashion, the 61-year-old rappelled from the ceiling of the hangar—now called the "Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space"—and, while dangling in midair, chugged from a bottle of champagne in front of a large crowd to celebrate.

Mr. Branson is still radiating enthusiasm. "We've got just short of 500 people now signed up to go, which is actually more people than have been up to space in the history of space travel, and we hope to put those up in our first year of operation," he says, predicting the first commercial flight by "about next Christmas," although he acknowledges that there have been many delays.

He hopes "to get the price down so that hundreds of thousands of people out there will have the chance to become astronauts; not just, you know, a very, very few wealthy people." Tickets today cost $200,000, with deposits starting at $20,000. The Virgin Galactic website enjoins interested parties to "contact one of our Accredited Space Agents around the world."


[...]
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Old January 13th, 2012, 08:24 AM   #48
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NMSU Performing Arts Center Progress Webcam

completion date eyed: http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces...ss/ci_19727283

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Old January 13th, 2012, 08:26 AM   #49
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NMSU Barnes And Noble store opens

http://www.nmsu.edu/ucomm/Panorama/d...article-5.html


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The New NMSU Campus Bookstore - Las Cruces by G. O'Graffer, on Flickr
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Old January 15th, 2012, 07:42 AM   #50
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3rd Walmart Supercenter Due Spring 2013



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LAS CRUCES - Construction should begin in the spring on a third Las Cruces Walmart Supercenter.

Josh Phair, a spokesman for Walmart, said that no exact timetable has yet been set. "We expect construction to start later this spring, I'd say in late May or early June," Phair said. "It usually takes about 9 to 12 months to build a store, so I think we would say to anticipate an opening in spring 2013, but it's still early (in the process)."

City of Las Cruces Building Official Robert Kyle said that Walmart has not filed for any permits yet, but the could do so soon. "I did talk to their architects last week," he said. Kyle said that the company could start the permitting process "in the next three weeks or so."

Alameda Property Group sold land to Walmart near the southwest corner of Rinconada Boulevard and Northrise Drive, just off U.S. 70 in 2008. A stop light was installed at the intersection of Northrise Drive and Rinconada Boulevard in anticipation of more traffic in the area when the new Walmart does finally open.

Donnie Brainard, president of Alameda Property Group, said that permits are on the way to the East Mesa. "(That's) after 13 years, four real estate managers and a majority of people saying it couldn't be done," Brainard said.

Alameda Property Group reports that the new Walmart will anchor Rinconada Town Center, a planned 900,000 square foot mixed-use development. The project will consist of retail and office.



* * * *





Las Cruces Sun-News

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Will Walmart attract more stores on East Mesa?
By Brook Stockberger bstockberger@lcsun-news.com
Posted: 01/22/2012 10:06:15 PM MST


LAS CRUCES - A retail explosion on the East Mesa side of Las Cruces was in the offing when Walmart bought land there in 2008 to construct a third store.

There was momentum for a second Target store, a second Ross, and even a second Home Depot to sprout out of the desert, said Donnie Brainard, founder and president of Alameda Property Group, LLC, which sold the land to Walmart and plans to develop the commercial project Rinconada Town Center nearby. In addition, he said the dream situation was to have big retailers and restaurants like the Macaroni Grill and Pappadeaux.

But that was right before the Great Recession really sunk its claws into the economy's flesh. Now that Walmart seems to be finally going forward with its East Mesa project, Brainard said things have changed. "If you'd asked me who our tenants for Rinconada Town Center and the surrounding area would be back in 2007, I'd rattle off an impressive group of national tenants," he said. "(We would have seen) all the other retailers who faithfully follow large Walmart developments."

Now?

"It's not going to be the grand explosion of activity that it could have been five years ago," said Brainard, who said the past four years have been "retail hell." Added Brainard: "Retail expansion is becoming a foreign concept, especially in the 'big box' arena."

That does not mean, though, that all is lost. "I do see numerous restaurants, mostly fast food, locating in the area in the immediate future," he said. "I've been working on several national 'sit-down' restaurant chains who've shown serious interest. We will see a new Walgreens and, if we are very lucky, another supermarket other than Albertson's."

[...]
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Old February 11th, 2012, 08:11 PM   #51
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New fire training structure will lower insurance rates

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LAS CRUCES — A new, four-floor fire training structure the city of Las Cruces began building this week on the West Mesa should help homeowners' pocketbooks and could boost economic development, officials said.

Also, it should help firefighters get more-frequent training, said Las Cruces Fire Chief Travis Brown. The pre-engineered, metal building will be erected in the industrial park near the Las Cruces International Airport. "We're hoping construction will be completed by May of this year," Brown said. The $750,000 facility will be outfitted with another half million dollars in flame equipment, which will be used to simulate live fires.

In addition to the training building, the city is opening a Fire Station No. 7 on the West Mesa on Feb. 26, Brown said. The two projects — which together total about $3 million, excluding the $500,000 that will be spent on the flame equipment — will help the city reduce what's known as its ISO rating. That's a ranking assigned by an independent party that's also used by insurance companies when they set rates for homes and businesses. On the scale, 1 is best, and 10 is the worst.

Now, Las Cruces has a split ISO, Brown said. Most of the city is a 4, while the area on the West Mesa is a 9. "Those two projects are going to be instrumental in us being able to improve that rating," he said. The lower ISO numbers should result in lower insurance rates — depending on the insurer involved — and could help attract businesses to the industrial park, officials said.

City Councilor Nathan Small said the fire training facility is the "first step" toward improving the ISO ratings. "Soon after, we'll be able to open a temporary fire station on the West Mesa, which will decrease insurance rates for businesses and make the area more attractive economically," said Small, whose district includes the project.
A little-known fact about new development is that it often lags where insurance rates are higher to to lack of sufficient police and fire resources. The new LCPD substation on the East Mesa will help to unleash a wave of retail and other development up there.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 12:51 AM   #52
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Las Cruces just this past week:

~ Homebuilding permits issued at a rate of over 1,000 per year.

~ A 100,000 sq. ft. shopping/office center being built between El Paseo and S. Espina St.

~ Dick's Sporting Goods may be opening soon in the vacant Sportsman's Warehouse Building.

~ The new Walmart at Rinconada Center is expected to begin construction this spring while other tennants for the 900,000 sq. ft. center are expected to soon follow suit.

~ $11 million in capital outlay funds should be available soon to NMSU for the Branson Library's Domenici Archive as well as the midcentury Hershel Zohn Theatre.

~ Ground was broken on the final phase of the Main St. redevelopment project. Completion allowing full vehicle access once again (after 40 years of closure) expected by November.

~ Ground was broken on a southern extension of Sonoma Ranch Blvd to the new $120 million Centennial High School just north of Dripping Springs Rd. Completion (more or less) by August.

~ New residential development at MetroVerde next to the city's newest golf course, Red Hawk has begun.

Pro's Ranch Market is open and doing well:

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Pro's Ranch Market - Las Cruces, New Mexico by G. O'Graffer, on Flickr
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Old March 1st, 2012, 04:52 AM   #53
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Wow! Go Las Cruces! Is the city booming?
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Old March 1st, 2012, 11:57 PM   #54
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Wow! Go Las Cruces! Is the city booming?
Las Cruces is growing fast but never really booms as such. That said, it's regarded by many as the next Phoenix.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 01:22 AM   #55
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Seems to be doing pretty well for itself

The landscape is prettier than Phoenix though.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 01:29 AM   #56
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Seems to be doing pretty well for itself

The landscape is prettier than Phoenix though.
It's sorta like Phoenix must have been around 1950. Hopefully the smoggy gnarliness can be avoided!


http://desertedge.blogspot.com/2011/...-starting.html


http://newsnewmexico.blogspot.com/20...t-to-soar.html
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Old March 27th, 2012, 03:47 AM   #57
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Big & empty: Dick's Sporting Goods eyes location, will other vacant buildings find tenants?

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LAS CRUCES - A drive around town reveals the skeletons.
The former Bealls store, an anchor location at the Mesilla Valley Mall, has been empty for years. Toys R Us closed its location at 2532 E Lohman Ave. six years ago and the building has remained vacant - not counting a seasonal Halloween store a while back - ever since. Except for a few ghouls and goblins of its own each fall, the Sportsman's Warehouse building at 200 N. Telshor Road has been empty since 2009, although it appears to soon be the location of a Dick's Sporting Goods store.

Those large locations - the Sportsman's building is 45,860 square-feet, Bealls checks in at more than 35,000 etc. - have been a reminder that, despite some positive news, the economy is still dragging its feet.

"Normal business activity means some buildings will be obsolete or have a changed mission, but we now have a huge excess of commercial buildings because of the decline in the construction industry," said David Ikard with NAI First Valley Realty. "How could we expect to grow or fill up existing space, let alone need new buildings, when the No. 2 jobs provider - the construction industry - is in a falling environment, and our No. 1 jobs provider - government - is falling or frozen?"

Grady Oxford with Steinborn/TCN Commercial Real Estate said there has been interest in some of the locations.

"I've showed a couple of the buildings," he said. "We still get calls on all of these (locations). But clearly the economy is having an affect on those types of buildings."

[...]
The collapse of retail chains such as Toys 'R' Us left behind a trail of empty storefronts. New chains such as WinCo Foods are starting to gain momentum alongside the recovery. Las Cruces is on the map for Dick's Sporting Goods and will be of interest to many others.
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Old March 27th, 2012, 03:51 AM   #58
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Las Cruces Sun-news

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Spaceport America near Las Cruces heads into Phase II of construction
Posted: 03/22/2012 05:39:38 PM MDT



UPHAM - Phase I of construction at the $209-million Spaceport America north of Las Cruces, which includes the 10,000-foot runway, the terminal hangar facility called the "The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space", and the internal roads, fencing, electrical system, water/sewer systems, and the dome-looking Space Operations Center, is nearly complete.

Phase II construction has started and includes the final build out of the permanent Vertical Launch Complex facilities, the visitor center on the main spaceport campus, and the southern road to the spaceport. Phase II is projected to be complete in 2013. At that time, the spaceport becomes fully operational.

===

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Old March 31st, 2012, 05:43 AM   #59
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Las Cruces High School To Undergo Major Overhaul

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LAS CRUCES — Based on initial reactions among interested Las Crucens, there appear to be plenty of questions, but a noticeable amount of excitement about plans for major expansion and renovation for Las Cruces High School.

Las Cruces High School Principal Jed Hendee is excited, and so is LCHS science teacher Santiago Terrazas, about plans that would significantly change the look of the 57-year-old high school at the corner of El Paseo and Boutz roads.

"I like it," said Terrazas, after watching and listening to a presentation Thursday on the "new look" Las Cruces High. "There's been discussions about improving student flow between classes, and this is something that will definitely help. We have a large student population here, but not a lot of space to work with. This will definitely help."

A total makeover of Las Cruces High School is planned. It could begin as soon as this fall, and would continue for six to eight years. The cost of the project would range from $75 million to $80 million, and would be paid for through a combination of Las Cruces Public Schools bond money and state funds.

...

A unique feature that would be added to the LCHS campus is an overhead walkway that would stretch above El Paseo Road. It would connect a new two-story classroom building that would be built across the street. A new student parking lot would also be built on that seven-acre property.

"The Las Cruces High campus is land-locked, so the district acquired the property across the street to allow the additional land that's needed for the campus," said Dane Kennon, LCPS associate superintendent of operations. "Extending onto the other side of El Paseo will free up space on the main campus, allowing for new classroom buildings and a playing field."

The new playing field would be built near the El Paseo-Boutz intersection, replacing what is now being used for student parking.
This is a big turnaround for a school that officials considered closing ahead of the new Centennial High opening.
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Old March 31st, 2012, 05:53 AM   #60
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Spaceport Runway To Grow 2,000 Feet


http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2010/10/2...eport-america/

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LAS CRUCES — New Mexico spaceport officials this week OK'd a 2,000-foot extension to Spaceport America's runway after concerns by Virgin Galactic that the company's spaceflight vehicles wouldn't be able to safely land and take off.

The change will add a $7 million cost to the spaceport — money officials plan to pull from other project budgets, including the visitors center proposal, officials said. Spaceport America, located just north of Doņa Ana County, sports a 10,000-foot-long runway now.

That length was settled upon in the state's initial discussions with Virgin Galactic years ago, before the company's plane-spaceship combination had been built, said spaceport authority Chairman Rick Holdridge on Thursday. Virgin Galactic had wanted a 15,000-foot runway, but the state couldn't afford it. So the company agreed to curtail the length.

But it did so with a certain condition spelled out in a contract negotiated by former spaceport official Rick Homans, under Gov. Bill Richardson's administration, Holdridge said. "Since Virgin was making a very optimistic assumption about how much runway they'd need, in order to make them feel comfortable, we agreed to allow them to make changes in the future," once the space vehicle needs were known, Holdridge said. "That was before they had a spaceship, before they had a WhiteKnightTwo."

The WhiteKnightTwo is a plane that totes a spaceship into the atmosphere for it to launch. The vehicles are under development in California, but Virgin Galactic plans to move them to Spaceport America eventually to start spaceflights for tourists. Flights could begin in 2013.
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