Builders utlook
issue 10
With home prices and household
formations rising and household
balance sheets healing, the ongoing
housing recovery is expected to gain
momentum next year even as several
challenges remain, according to
economists who participated in
yesterday’s National Association of
Home Builders (NAHB) Fall 2013
Construction Forecast Webinar.
“The cards are in play for a decent
and fairly strong recovery in 2014 and
particularly in 2015,” said NAHB Chief
Economist David Crowe. “From the
standpoint of GDP growth, housing has
been a plus, growing at two, three and
four times the rate of the rest of the
economy in recent quarters.”
Helping to spur the housing rebound
was a double-digit increase in home
prices over the past year, driven in part
by tight inventories of new and existing
homes for sale and gradual gains in
“We expect to see price increases
moderate in the next few years as we
see additional inventory on the market
and investors back away as the
bargains disappear,” said Crowe.
Another bright spot is rising household
formations that were delayed during the
downturn as college graduates and
young professionals were forced to
move back in with their parents or
double up as roommates. At the height
of the housing boom, the U.S. was
producing 1.4 million additional
households every year. That figure
plunged to 500,000 during the depth of
the recession and today is now back up
to 700,000.
Meanwhile, households across the
nation have been increasing their
savings and shedding debt. “They’ve
corrected a lot of excesses and feel
more comfortable about moving
forward,” Crowe said, noting that the
University of Michigan Consumer
Sentiment Index shows that the
percentage of consumers who believe
that now is a good time to buy a house
is back up to levels last seen near the
housing boom.
However, Crowe cited several
headwinds that are impeding the
“Credit conditions are much tighter
now, builders are increasingly facing
labor shortages, lot supplies are tight,
building material prices are rising, and
inaccurate appraisals are hurting home
sales” he said.
“You can’t charge more than you can
get an appraisal for,” Crowe added.
“Even though we are seeing price
increases in labor, land and materials,
36 percent of builder recently said they
had lost at least one sale over
appraisals coming in below the cost of
A Solid Outlook
NAHB is forecasting 924,000 total
housing starts in 2013, up 18 percent
from 783,000 units last year.
Single-family production is expected
to rise 17 percent this year to 629,000
units, jump an additional 31 percent next
year to 826,000 and surpass the 1
million mark in 2015.
NAHB is projecting that multifamily
starts will increase 20 percent in 2013 to
296,000 units and rise an additional 10
percent to 326,000 units next year,
which Crowe characterized as a normal
level of multifamily production.
Meanwhile, residential remodeling
has returned to previously normal levels
of the early 2000s and remodeling
activity is expected to register a modest
gain this year over 2012.
“Our Remodeling Market Index has
been above 50 for three of the last four
quarters, indicating that remodelers feel
things are going better,” said Crowe.
“Remodeling did not fall as much, so it
does not have as much ground to make
Dodging a Bullet
Regarding the uncertainties
emanating out of Washington over the
government shutdown and the
impending Oct. 17 deadline when the
government will run out of cash to pay
its bills, Mark Zandi, chief economist at
Moody’s Analytics, expressed optimism
that Congress will move quickly to
resolve these critical issues.
“I truly anticipate that lawmakers will
get it together, but that is definitely a
challenge to my economic outlook,” said
Zandi. “If policymakers can’t get it
together by Oct. 17, we’re toast, and I
think we are going into recession.”
Assuming the government meets
these challenges, Zandi cited three
reasons for optimism moving forward.
First, the fiscal drag that is weighing
heavily on the economy in the form of
tax increases and government spending
cuts that are now being implemented
will continue to fade in the coming years.
This fiscal drag will shave 1.5 percent off
of GDP growth this year, about 0.7
percent next year and gradually fall to
zero by 2016, he said.
Second, Zandi noted that the “private
economy has done a marvelous job of
reducing leverage and getting their
balance sheets in order. American
companies are in very good shape and
they will do well going forward, with
continued strong export growth.
That will be a strong source of
economic growth for a long time to
Finally, Zandi said that demographics
make a compelling argument for a
strengthening housing market.
“In the current housing market, supply
is running around 950,000 annual units,”
he said. “In a normal economy, we
should be producing 1.7 million units.
That’s a big difference. We’ve already
made a lot of progress in working off
excess inventory. We won’t get housing
construction up to 1.7 million quickly.
The big problem in the next five years
won’t be too much housing, but too little
All Markets Are Local
Looking beneath the national
numbers, Robert Denk, NAHB’s
assistant vice president for forecasting
and analysis, noted a range of
conditions across the country and
differences among the states in the
amount of distress suffered during the
recession and the headway that is being
made in recovery.
Housing nationwide bottomed out at
an average of 27 percent of normal
production in early 2009.
The hardest hit states where
production soared to unsustainable
levels during the boom years --
California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida
-- bottomed out at 10 percent to 20
percent of normal when the housing
bubble burst. In sharp contrast, better
states that did not experience a huge
production run up during the boom
declined to 50 percent of normal
“We’ve now gotten past the point
where we are digging out of holes and
repairing the carnage of the housing
markets,” said Denk. “It’s no longer
about the boom and the bust. Now it’s
about the underlying [state and regional]
economies and how that is supporting
the housing recovery.”
For example, while Texas and Florida
have roughly the same number of
mortgages, Florida had nearly five times
as many foreclosures during the height
of the downturn and today has less than
Now that housing has entered a new
stage in the healing process, local
economic conditions are dictating the
pace of recovery.
“That’s why the bubble states are no
longer in the bottom tier and have
moved ahead of the industrial Midwest,”
he said.
The gradual and steady housing
recovery now underway across the land
will bring nationwide housing starts to 71
percent of normal by the fourth quarter
of next year and 93 percent of normal by
the end of 2015, Denk said.
Leading the way will be oil and gas
producing states Texas, Oklahoma,
North Dakota, Louisiana, Wyoming and
Montana; and Iowa, supported by
agricultural commodities.
In another way of looking at the long
road back to normal, by the end of 2015
the top 20 percent of states will be back
to normal production levels, compared
to the bottom 20 percent, which will still
be below 84 percent.
Picks Up
Steam Despite
Builders Outlook 2013 issue 10
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President’s Message |
El  Paso Disposal
2013 issue 10 Builders Outlook
El Paso Association
of Builders
2131 Missouri
915 • 533 • 6045 fax • 533• 6096
Thomas R. Brown, Owner
The GEICO commercial with the camel asks “what day is it”? The
answer is hump-day, what we call mid-week or Wednesday. Well my
friends, my presidency’s hump day was just a short few months ago
and now I see the end of the year coming closer and closer. We have
accomplished quite a bit during my term thanks to dedicated team that
I’ve been lucky to surround myself with. Two months to go. Sounds
like around the corner but we still have a lot to do.
Both Ray and I along with Randy Bowling, Greg Bowling and Frank
Torres will be in Austin for Texas Builders meetings in November, right
before Thanksgiving. It’ll be my final “official” visit on behalf of the
EPAB and I’m excited to go. We’ll have the election of officers and
board at our November 12 meeting here in El Paso and we’ll welcome
a new slate of officers at our installation in December. So while I think
about all those things I want to remind you that we still have work to do.
Politics, regulations and just getting through the mess we see from
Washington affects us 24/7. As President I’ve gotten close enough to
the action to know how important this association is and how relevant it
has become. When you have coffee with your vendors or other
builders ask them to join. We need them now more than ever, and so
do you.
It has been a little more than 100
days since the new Mayor and City
Reps took office. So far the perception
of the public seems to be positive with
a minor hiccup on the city budget and
raising of city taxes. While the taxes
were relatively small ($28 per
year/$100,000) it was made clear that
raising taxes does not sit well with
anyone right now.
For the newcomers (Mayor, Lilly
Limon, and Larry Romero) who were
pushed into budget reviews the lessons
are harsh but lessons they will use
every year they are on council. Now
that the honeymoon is over the reality
of the office is starting to settle in and
so far it seems that the newbies are
adjusting. We will see where they draw
some lines in the coming months as
issues surrounding the massive costs
of moving city offices starts to be
clearer and the search for a new City
Manager begins.
Joyce Wilson announced that she
will be leaving the City Managers post
when her contract expires in
September of 2014. That’s actually a
good thing for the city as termination
would have cost several hundreds of
thousands of dollars payout to Ms.
Wilson, so by her resigning or
completing her contract the only
amount owed to her will be her
contracted pension of $60,000 a year
for life. (I need to find out who her
agent is). One thing is certain; our
version of the Iron Lady has done a
good job transitioning the city from
strong mayor to city manager type of
control. My perception is that while not
all of her moves have been good for us
I would challenge anyone to have done
better given who she had to work with
on City Council and in the Mayor’s
seat. Ms. Wilson was directed by self-
serving interests and that put some real
pressure on her since her position
reports to City Council. I would ask that
as you review her job you remember
who she answered to. We will work
with the new council and Mayor to
ensure that the next City Manager
understands the importance of a strong
new home construction industry in El
Paso. We will be vocal in our choice
and we will serve notice to that.
The last quarter of the year is upon
us and soon we will have a new sitting
President and Board of Directors. I
would like to thank all of those
members who have agreed to lead this
association. It is not a task that is easy
and one that carries risk by the mere
fact that the Board is the responsible
party who puts their neck on the line for
the association. Our leaders are good
leaders and fortunately we have good
people to choose from. At the
November board meeting the 2014
Executive Officers and Board will be
elected and on December 13 those
same members will be installed to take
over the reins on January 1. What an
exciting time for the association.
I’d also like to thank the following
members for their service on the
Capital Improvements Advisory
Committee for impact fees, working
with PSB and other city agencies.
Bobby Bowling, IV, Mark Dyer, Sal
Masoud and I have been on this board
since 2008. Bobby and I will be termed
out this month along with a couple of
other appointees. Bobby served as
chairman and frankly was the one
person we all turned to with questions
on the state law governing this
committee. He knows his stuff and
proved once again that involvement is
the key to understanding and to being
on top of issues dealing with the law.
He is one smart guy and every builder,
developer and vendor owes Bobby a
really big round of thank you’s for his
unselfish job on the committee. Well
done Bobby.
Finally I’d like to say thanks to all of
the dozens of members who continue
to make this year a very productive
year for the association. We still have
November and December but if it
wasn’t done by now we’d be left in the
dust. Thank you again, see you at the
Halloween bowling event and the
upcoming Pro-am golf tournament.
Ray Adauto,
Vice President
Builders Outlook 2013 issue 10
First 100 days of city government, search for new manager begins
2013 issue 10 Builders Outlook
NAHB Estimates Sept.
Housing Starts will
Approach 900,000 Units
Builder confidence in the market for newly
built, single-family homes fell two points in
October from a downwardly revised reading in
the previous month to a level of 55 on the
National Association of Home Builders/Wells
Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released
in October.
“Builder optimism remains above 50 and we
are still seeing signs of pent-up demand in
many markets across the country,” said NAHB
Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from
Charlotte, N.C. “This slight dip in builder
sentiment is the result of continuing challenges
in the marketplace with regard to the cost and
availability of labor and lots and uncertainty in
“A spike in mortgage interest rates along
with the paralysis in Washington that led to the
government shutdown and uncertainty
regarding the nation’s debt limit have caused
builders and consumers to take pause,” said
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
“However, interest rates remain near historic
lows and we don’t expect the level of rates to
have a major impact on sales and starts going
forward. Once this government impasse is
resolved, we expect builder and consumer
optimism will bounce back.”
Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB
has been conducting for 25 years, the
NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index
gauges builder perceptions of current single-
family home sales and sales expectations for
the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.”
The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of
prospective buyers as “high to very high,”
“average” or “low to very low.” Scores from
each component are then used to calculate a
seasonally adjusted index where any number
over 50 indicates that more builders view
conditions as good than poor.
All of the HMI’s three components each fell
two points in October. The component gauging
current sales conditions registered 58, while
the component gauging sales expectations in
the next six months posted a reading of 62 and
the component gauging traffic of prospective
buyers was 44.
Looking at the three-month moving
averages for regional HMI scores, the South
held steady at 56, the West declined a single
point to 60 and the Northeast fell three points
to 38. The Midwest posted a one-point gain to
NAHB Estimates Housing Starts Approach
900,000 Units in September
** With the partial shutdown of the federal
government preventing the U.S. Census
Bureau from releasing a housing starts
estimate for September, NAHB has prepared
its own.
NAHB estimates that the seasonally
adjusted annual rate of construction for single-
family homes was between 620,000 and
630,000 units in September.
NAHB estimates that the pace of
construction of multifamily units was an
additional 255,000 to 270,000, bringing the
anticipated pace of total housing starts in
September to between 875,000 and 900,000
“The NAHB estimate of 875,000 to 900,000
total housing starts is based on continuing
improvement in single-family starts and
ongoing volatility in multifamily construction,”
said Crowe.
“Single-family starts dipped in July but
rebounded in August, and we expect
continued strength in September,” Crowe
added. “The Fed meeting in mid-September
provided additional relief to builders and
buyers that interest rates would remain near
historic lows for the immediate future,
encouraging consumers back into the housing
“Meanwhile, multifamily starts have been
unusually volatile since the beginning of the
year, swinging between 250,000 and 400,000
units from month-to-month. We expect some
bounce back from the August pace of 263,000
as multifamily starts continue to trend around
300,000 units.”
New Index Shows Housing
Markets Back to Normal in
52 Metros
Housing markets in 52 out of the
approximately 350 metro areas nationwide
have now returned to or exceeded their pre-
recessionary levels of activity, according to the
newly minted National Association of Home
Builders/First American Leading Markets
Index (LMI), released today. The index’s
nationwide score of .85 indicates that, based
on current permits, prices and employment
data, the nationwide housing market is running
at 85 percent of normal activity.
Baton Rouge, La., tops the list of major
metros on the LMI, with a score of 1.41 – or 41
percent better than its last normal market level.
Other major metros at the top of the list include
Honolulu, Oklahoma City, Austin and Houston,
Texas, as well as Harrisburg, Pa. – all of
whose LMI scores indicate that their housing
markets now exceed previous norms.
Looking at smaller metros, both Odessa
and Midland, Texas, boast LMI scores of 2.0 or
better, meaning that their housing markets are
now at double their strength prior to the
recession. Also at the top of the list of smaller
metros are Casper, Wyo.; Bismarck, N.D.; and
Florence, Ala., respectively.
“This index helps illustrate how far the
U.S. housing recovery has come, and also
how much further it has to go as we continue
to face some significant headwinds in terms of
credit availability, rising costs for lots and labor,
and uncertainties regarding Washington
policymaking,” said NAHB Chairman Rick
Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.
The LMI shifts the focus from identifying
markets that have recently begun to recover,
which was the aim of a previous gauge known
as the Improving Markets Index, to identifying
those areas that are now approaching and
exceeding their previous normal levels of
activity. More than 350 metro areas are scored
by taking their average permit, price and
employment numbers for the past 12 months
and dividing each by their annual average over
the last period of normal growth. For single-
family permits and home prices, 2000-2003 is
used as the last normal period, and for
employment, 2007 is the base comparison.
The three components are then averaged to
provide an overall score for each market; a
national score is calculated based on national
measures of the three metrics. An index value
above one indicates that a market has
advanced beyond its previous normal level of
economic activity.
“Smaller metros are leading the way to a
housing recovery, accounting for 43 of the top
50 markets on the current LMI,” observed
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This is
very much in keeping with the results of our
previous index for improving markets, and is
an indication of the extent to which local
economic conditions dictate the strength of
individual housing markets.”
“The housing markets of 118 metros scored
by the LMI this month show activity levels of at
least 90 percent of their previous norms – a
very encouraging sign of things to come,” said
Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First
American Title Insurance Co., which co-
sponsors the LMI report.
Editor’s Note: In calculating the LMI, NAHB
utilizes employment growth data from the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price
appreciation data from Freddie Mac and
single-family housing permit growth from the
U.S. Census Bureau. The LMI is published on
the fourth working day of each month, unless
that day falls on a Friday -- in which case, it is
released on the following Monday.
Industry News
Builders Outlook 2013 issue 10
2013 ISSUE 9 Builders Outlook
Builders utlook on the scene |
The October general meeting
featured guest speaker Gerald
Cichon, CEO of the El Paso
Housing Authority. Mr. Cichon
gave the assembled audience
some insights into why and how the
EPHA operates and the challenges
it faces. Over 60 people attended
the meeting that was held at the El
Paso Club. Special recognition
was given to Cindy Bilbe, President
of Stewart Title El Paso, who was
recognized by Junior Achievement
El Paso as one of the top
Professionals in El Paso.
Congratulations to Cindy from the
of Texas
General Meeting
el paso development news
CRRMA Readies
for Opening of
Toll Lanes
Drivers Can Use
Border Highway Lanes
in December
Sun Bowl Drive Project Moves Into Full Gear
Construction Will Last Through July 2014
The “managed” toll lane will be
the innermost lane in each direc-
tion. Rates per mile will vary
based on congestion and the
time of day. (CRRMA
After years of construction, El Paso driv-
ers will get to choose whether or not to use
“managed” toll lanes on the Cesar Chavez
Border Highway in December when con-
struction is expected to be complete. And
now the Camino Real Regional Mobility
Authority (CRRMA) is preparing to educate
the public about how the toll program will
The CRRMA board will review a presen-
tation on the Cesar Chavez Managed
Lanes Project at its meeting this week that
will include details on the toll collection
process and the marketing outreach that
will roll out in the coming months.
Drivers on the nine mile stretch of the
Border Highway between US-54 and the
Zaragoza Port of Entry will still have two
free lanes to use, while the additional toll
lane will be the left-most lane in each direc-
Pricing for use of the toll lanes will vary
based on the time of day, starting at a base
rate of $0.10 per mile. The minimum toll for
any trip will be $0.40. Large trucks and
trailers will be unable to use the toll lanes,
while emergency and public transit vehicles
will be exempt from tolls.
There will be two tolling points in each
direction, between Midway Drive and
Yarbrough Drive, and between Yarbrough
and Padres Drive. Entrance and exit points
will favor drivers taking longer trips with
only two exits from the toll lane for east-
bound travelers, one before Yarbrough
Drive and another before the Zaragoza
Port of Entry.
The Border Highway has been
widened to accommodate the new toll
lanes. There is still a 10-foot inside-shoul-
der in each direction. The toll lanes will be
separated from the free main lanes by a
two foot buffer.
Collection of tolls will be an electronic
process with no actual payment infrastruc-
ture on the highway. Sensors will scan
vehicles for a toll tag for those that are reg-
istered with a toll service and bill the driver
accordingly. Cameras will be used to cap-
ture license plate information for non-regis-
tered drivers who decide to use the toll
lanes. A bill will be sent to the address of
the vehicle’s registered owner.
The CRRMA expects to spread the
news about the new toll lanes via stories
on various news stations, broadcast adver-
tising on television, radio, and billboards,
and through “grass roots efforts” involving
elected officials and community meetings.
At least two other managed lane projects
are in the works. The Americas Managed
Lanes Project will continue the Cesar
Chavez toll lanes at the eastern terminus
from the Zaragoza Port of Entry north to
Bob Hope Drive on El Paso’s East Side.
And the massive Border Highway West
project will create a brand new tolled
expressway from Downtown El Paso to the
city’s West Side.
The CRRMA will discuss the presenta-
tion at its October 9, 2013 meeting. More
information can be found at
Work to widen Sun Bowl Drive into a
four-lane thoroughfare at the University of
Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is in full swing as
crews have put protective barriers in place
to protect passing vehicles from debris.
Construction workers are “chipping away”
at the rocky mountain on the western
shoulders of Sun Bowl Drive according to
the school’s On the Move website
The $4.8 million project will widen the
roadway, construct five-foot sidewalks on
each side, and install enhanced lighting
along a half-mile stretch of Sun Bowl. The
outside lane in each direction will also be
wider than usual to allow for bicycle traffic.
A roundabout will help control traffic at the
roadway’s intersection with Glory Road.
“You’ve all undoubtedly noticed that the
width of Sun Bowl Drive varies from two
lanes to four, and that the remaining two-
lane stretch creates a bottleneck and a
safety risk,” UTEP President Diana
Natalicio stated during groundbreaking for
the project on September 16, 2013, point-
ing out the issues with traffic caused by the
reduced lanes.
The school’s Campus Transformation
may add to Sun Bowl Drive’s importance in
handling traffic traveling around the cam-
pus; one of the Transformation’s goals is to
remove vehicular traffic from the inner
Sun Bowl Drive will remain open during
construction, but officials urge caution due
to shifted, temporary lanes. Drivers should
expect delays.
Officials expect the project to last ten
months, which means completion in July
The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
campus will get a major new addition by
2015. Groundbreaking for the new Gayle
Greve Hunt School of Nursing building
took place last month.
Construction crews are now laying the
foundation for the 34,000 square foot
facility which will be located on North
Concepcion Street across from the School
of Medicine’s Medical Education Building.
The building will include 12,000 square
feet of simulation labs, four classrooms,
and collaborative learning spaces.
Currently, the Hunt School of Nursing
operates out of a temporary location at
415 East Yandell Drive in Downtown El
Paso. The Medical Center of the Americas
(MCA) Foundation is helping to make the
new building a reality.
The School of Nursing accepted its first
class of students in 2011 after a $10 mil-
lion donation from the Hunt Family
Foundation helped form the school in
2010. Officials hope to have 300 nursing
students at the school within five years.
There are now 116 students and 13 facul-
ty members at the school.
Construction helps to add to the MCA
campus which is also working on a new
Tech Park which will soon start construc-
tion on a $28 million, 83,000 square foot
biomedical research structure. Completion
of the building is also expected in 2015.
The entire MCA campus encompasses
440 acres of land in South Central El
Paso. Other anchors of the campus
include University Medical Center, El Paso
Children’s Hospital, and the Paul L. Foster
School of Medicine. The MCA’s Master
Plan envisions an integrated medical
treatment, learning, and research campus
within 50 years.
More information on the Gayle Greve
Hunt School of Nursing can be found at and
Lanes on Sun Bowl Drive have been shifted as work has begun on the widening project.
Building Adds to
School of Medicine
Builders Outlook Issue 10.2013
Content provided by
El Paso Development News
Closer Look: 2014 Unified Transportation Program
TXDOT’s Program Document Gives Snapshot of Future Projects
The Texas Department of Transportation
(TXDOT) programmed hundreds of millions
of dollars earlier this year for El Paso’s
Border Highway West extension, a project
whose total budget could reach $800 mil-
lion. That’s according to the state’s latest
Unified Transportation Program (UTP),
approved by the Texas Transportation
Commission in June.
TXDOT uses the UTP to authorize trans-
portation projects for the state, but does
not necessarily mean full present-day fund-
ing is available for each individual project.
Although the Border Highway West has a
certain budget in the document, only $300
million has been approved so far.
The nearly 1,200-page UTP includes
about 30 pages dedicated to developments
in the El Paso District. Timeframes in the
report look forward about ten years from
the present.
Projects listed for Fiscal Year 2014,
which began on September 1, 2013, are
spread throughout the city and county. The
largest listed in the document is construc-
tion of FM 3880 from Alameda Avenue to
Interstate 10 in southeastern El Paso
County in Tornillo. The new $17.2 million
highway will help take traffic to and from
the expanded port of entry at the Mexican
border, currently under construction.
About $11.5 million is programmed for
reconstruction of streets in Downtown El
Paso. Another $5.5 million may be used to
make improvements to Pan American Drive
and Winn Road near the Zaragoza Port of
Smaller projects include purchases of
buses for use in the County, construction of
sidewalks around town particularly along
Mesa Street to compliment the Bus Rapid
Transit System (RTS) line, and a light-rail
study for the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry.
Fiscal Year 2015, which begins in
September of next year, has a longer list of
projects than the previous year. By far, the
largest is the Border Highway West project
which could start construction next year. At
$800 million, no other project is even close
in budget or scale.
The $36 million Americas Managed
Lanes project is scheduled for 2015 and
would create a tolled lane in each direction
on Loop 375 from the Zaragoza Port of
Entry to Bob Hope Drive on the East Side
of El Paso.
Another $21 million may be used to con-
struct two more direct connectors between
I-10 and Loop 375 at the Americas
Interchange. These would be the final two
ramps for the interchange; the fourth, fifth,
and sixth connectors are currently under
Also in the eastern portions of the area,
$12.6 million could help widen Eastlake
Boulevard from four to six lanes from I-10
to Darrington Road. The state hopes the
project will ease congestion in one of the
fastest growing neighborhoods in the area.
The City of El Paso’s RTS corridors
could get programmed funds, with around
$9.2 million for the Dyer Street Corridor
and $9.7 million for the Montana Avenue
Corridor in 2015. And $9.2 million may be
used for reconstruction of Alameda Avenue
from Padres Drive to Loop 375.
The Lower Valley may see other proj-
ects, such as a $5.6 million project to
replace the Carolina Drive bridge off of
Alameda Avenue and a $1 million Park-N-
Ride project for the Zaragoza Port of Entry.
Smaller projects include texturizing of
shoulders on various highways, construc-
tion of curb ramps, and rehabilitation of
In Fiscal Year 2016, the largest project
listed in the UTP is a new $10 million four-
lane street that will continue Eastlake
Boulevard southward from I-10 and con-
nect it to North Loop Drive. Another $2.48
million may be used to install a continuous
turn middle lane on Socorro Road of which
$2.15 million has been programmed.
Delta Drive in South Central El Paso will
have a bridge replaced in a $1.8 million
project. And Doniphan Road may receive
raised medians from Mesa Street to the
New Mexico state line in a $1.13 million
In other general projects, $3 million may
be allotted for highway aesthetics improve-
ments on I-10, while surface streets will
see traffic signal improvements, curb ramp
installations, and re-planking at railroad
The UTP lists only smaller projects for
2017, then two large projects to begin in
2018. The first project will add collector-dis-
tributor lanes to I-10 from Executive Center
Boulevard to Mesa Street in West El Paso.
According to the UTP, the project cost is
$39.4 million, of which $24 million is pro-
grammed for 2018.
A related project would construct an
interchange at Mesa Park Boulevard plus
frontage roads that would connect Mesa
Park to Executive Center Boulevard. The
project may cost $55 million, of which $45
million is programmed in the UTP.
Mesa Park Boulevard will connect com-
muters to the Aldea El Paso SmartCode
development which earlier this year
received approval from the Camino Real
Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) to
help fund construction of the interchange
and frontage road project. The 2018 time-
line for the project in the UTP differs some-
what from the deal Aldea’s developer
struck with TXDOT, which has the project
starting in 2014.
Tentative Funding and Other Projects
Projects for 2019 through 2023 are not
listed in the UTP, though there are associ-
ated total dollar amounts for each year. In
all, the next ten fiscal years amount to
about $1.36 billion for the El Paso District
in programmed funds.
As with any transportation plan, local-,
regional-, or state-level projects may be
added or deleted from documents like the
UTP. Plus local project lists are usually
longer and more optimistic than those
approved at the state-level. The El Paso
Metropolitan Planning Organization’s
(MPO) Transportation Improvement
Program, for instance, lists scores more
projects than the UTP.
State transportation funds have been a
contentious issue in recent legislative ses-
sions, though Texas voters may give new
construction and maintenance projects a
$1.2 billion shot in the arm next year.
Lawmakers approved putting the proposal
on the November 2014 ballot earlier this
year. Funds would be diverted from oil and
natural gas tax revenue that would normal-
ly go into the state’s reserve.
The Unified Transportation Program may
be viewed at TXDOT’s website,
The University of Texas at El Paso
(UTEP) began its 100-day Centennial
Countdown last week with the unveiling
of a large LED screen donated by GECU.
The countdown clock will be displayed on
the screen, which is fashioned into a
Bhutanese style tower in front of the
Centennial Museum.
The countdown began amid fanfare,
music, dancing, and speeches at the for-
mal unveiling where UTEP officials cele-
brated the school’s past, present, and
“We’ve achieved much over the past
99 years and we have even bigger aspi-
rations for the future,” stated UTEP
President Diana Natalicio, adding, “We
take great pride in the achievements of
our alumni and share out students’
dreams for a bright future.”
A new Centennial Welcome Center has
been added to the museum, the official
headquarters for the Centennial
Celebration. It will feature exhibits on the
school’s history, photographs showing the
campus throughout the years, and a chil-
dren’s learning area.
A gift shop has also been added and
will feature limited edition Centennial
Wines in white and red varieties. The
wines come from the Miner Winery in
Napa Valley, California. A Centenario
Salsa line will also be available and was
created by Desert Pepper Trading
Other available Centennial collectibles
include t-shirts, ties, and a coaster set
with six different “mandala” designs
inspired by medallions on campus build-
ings. Visitors to the Welcome Center may
park in the Sun Bowl Parking Garage in
designated areas.
Opera Bhutan
UTEP officials plan a myriad of activi-
ties and announcements during the 100
days leading up to the final countdown
day on New Year’s Eve, December 31. A
Centennial Blog has been created (trans- which will include
information on events and activities dur-
ing the celebration.
Up next for the school is homecoming
week, which started yesterday,
September 29. And on October 12, UTEP
singers and musicians will perform an
opera in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Opera
Bhutan, as it is called, is a production of
Handel’s Acis and Galatea which will
incorporate Bhutanese dance and cultural
It will be the first opera to ever be per-
formed in the tiny Himalayan country.
Thirty-three UTEP students, faculty, and
staff are already in the Kingdom of
Bhutan for a three-week visit which will
include the performance.
The history of UTEP and Bhutan’s rela-
tionship goes back nearly 100 years
when the school used Bhutanese-influ-
enced design in its first building. In 2008,
Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck of the
Kingdom of Bhutan was a guest at UTEP
during Bhutan Days at the campus.
Campus Transformation
Construction on UTEP’s Campus
Transformation project is also ongoing,
and the school has installed cameras at
different locations around the future
Centennial Plaza site which show a live
feed of crews at work.
The large plaza area is part of UTEP’s
plan to move automobile traffic out of the
center of campus. Several Transformation
projects will eventually create large
pedestrian-friendly environments in and
around the center of the school.
Centennial Plaza should be complete
in August 2014, in time to host the west-
ern debut of Opera Bhutan. Information
on UTEP’s Centennial Celebration can be
found online at
Funding for the final two
Americas Interchange ramps
has been programmed into
the UTP. (CRRMA)
Limited edition UTEP
Centennial wines are avail-
able now, created by Miner
Winery of Napa Valley.
UTEP Update:
Countdown Begins
Builders Outlook 2013 issue 10
This Just In…
The Affordable Care Act prohibits group
health plans or group health insurers from
imposing any waiting period that exceeds 90
days. (Neither plans nor insurers must
impose any waiting period.) In March, the
Internal Revenue Service, the Employee
Benefits Security Administration, and the
Health and Human Services Department
proposed regulations that would clarify how
waiting periods would apply to employees
with variable hours.
A group health plan that conditions
eligibility on an employee regularly working
a specified number of hours per period (or
working full-time) would be able to take “a
reasonable period of time” to determine
whether a variable-hour employee meets
this condition. This “measurement period”
can last no more than 12 months, beginning
on any date between the employee’s start
date and the first day of the first calendar
month following the employee’s start date.
The measurement period will not be
considered out of compliance with the 90-
day waiting period limitation if coverage is
made effective no later than 13 months from
the employee’s start date, plus the time
remaining until the first day of the next
calendar month. Plans cannot impose a
waiting period in addition to the
measurement period. For more information
on implementing the Affordable Care Act in
your workplace, please contact us.
Health Insurance
ACA Spurring Interest in Self-Insurance
Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage
of people with employer-based health plans
enrolled in self-insured plans increased
nearly 10 percent, according to the U.S.
Agency for Healthcare Research and
Quality. The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
creates new incentives for smaller employer
groups to consider self-insuring.
What Is Self-Insurance?
Employers providing health benefits to
employees have three basic choices: buying
a fully insured plan, self-insuring or offering
employees a choice of fully insured and self-
insured plans. With an insured plan, the
employer pays a flat per-enrollee premium
to an insurer that administers the plan and
pays claims. Like an insured employer, a
self-insured employer has a written plan.
However, it pays for its workers’ claims
directly as incurred and retains the risk of
higher-than-expected claims.
So Why Do Employers Self-Insure?
State laws that regulate fully insured
group plans usually do not apply to self-
insured plans. And some provisions of the
federal Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act of 2010 pertain to fully insured
plans but not to self-insured plans.
Self-insurance offers a variety of
potential advantages to employers,
• Autonomy, control and flexibility of plan
design, including exemption from state-
mandated benefit requirements;
• Lower administrative costs than a
commercial carrier would charge;
• More timely and complete access to data
on health claims, which can help
employers make more informed decisions
about plan design;
• Ease of altering their contract with a third-
party administrator (TPA) or stop-loss
insurer without affecting employees’
choice of providers;
• Improved cash flow generated by keeping
funds in-house until needed for payment of
claims; and
• Avoidance of state insurance premium
Once the Affordable Care Act is fully
implemented, several provisions will affect
fully insured small group plans (100 or fewer
employees) that will not affect self-insured
• Community rating will apply. Insurers will
be allowed to vary premiums only according
to actuarial value of the plan, geographic
region, age, tobacco use and family size.
Your group’s health status or actual claims
experience will not matter.
• Risk adjustment will begin. The ACA allows
the transfer of funds from plans with
enrollees having lower than average costs
to plans with employees having higher
than average costs.
• Plans offered to small groups must cover
“essential health benefits” (EHBs). The
EHBs include items and services within
ten general categories, including
prescription drug coverage and mental
health and substance-use-disorder
The EHBs will likely drive prices up for
many small group plans. And with
community rating and risk adjustment,
healthier groups will essentially subsidize
the cost of covering less-healthy groups.
Therefore, if you have a relatively young,
healthy group, you may save money by self-
Self-insurance has potential
disadvantages, however. These include:
• Financial risk of unexpectedly large
• Regulatory compliance, which is easier
with a fully insured plan;
• Loss of some discounts. Insurers and
larger employers have the clout to
negotiate discounts with health providers
that smaller employers lack.
Although some self-insured employers
administer their plan, most outsource plan
administration and claim processing to a
third-party administrator. They can also
mitigate some of their risk by purchasing
stop-loss insurance, which will reimburse a
covered employer for claims above a
specified dollar level.
Note that a stop-loss policy is a contract
between the carrier and the employer, not a
health policy covering individual plan
participants. This means the pre-existing
condition and guaranteed renewability
requirements that apply to health insurers
do not apply to stop-loss insurers. Stop-loss
insurers can refuse coverage or drop
coverage if a group experiences too many
However, the ACA will make changes that
will allow self-insured employers to switch
back to a fully insured plan at a later date
without having to worry about an insurer
refusing to cover the group or specific
individuals. When fully implemented, the
ACA will not allow health insurers to:
• Refuse to write small group plans based
on health status.
• Exclude specific individuals from a small
group based on health status. Insurers
must “take all comers,” regardless of
health status.
• Charge higher premiums based on the
health status of your group or the gender
of your employees. It will also limit how
much premiums can vary based on age.
In our next issue, we’ll discuss some self-
insured plan structures and stop-loss
insurance. To discuss self-insurance options
in more detail in the meantime, please
contact our office.
6068 Gateway East
2290 Trawood Drive
7015 North Mesa Street
(915) 782-2400
Proud to be part of your
Checking Accounts
24-Hour Account Access
Saturday Banking Hours
Convenient ATMs
Text 2 Bank
Mobile Banking
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Savings Account
Mortgage Loans
Auto Loans
Credit Card
Business Accounts
For over 110 years, we’ve provided
solid financial services to our
communities. Come to Pioneer Bank
today and discover the difference a
local banking team can make!

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7015 North Mesa S
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6068 Gateway Eas

5) 782-240

Expert Advice

Joe Bernal
Employee Benefits
of El Paso
2013 issue 10 Builders Outlook
Give your customers
the ‘option of the sun’
Now more than ever,
El Paso home buyers
are planning for the
Border Solar can help
you offer your
customers solar power
as a sensible
The future starts
Crossing to Clean Energy
7365 Remcon Circle
El Paso, TX 79912
(915) 613•4168
follow us on twiter and
e options builders asked
for are right here.
Developed with the backing of the strongest insurance carriers
serving the Texas building industry, the exclusive TAB endorsed
insurance program oers new exible options and rates that are
more competitive than ever before.
Program Highlights
· ¨A" rated admitted insurance companies, several options available
· GL onering coverage for property damage that results from faulty,
defective, or poor workmanship in your work
· GL limits of up to 3 million and higher available
· Expanded policy form for commercial projects
· Builder's Risk master policies, monthly reporting, annual and one shots
· Workers' Comp - two highly cost-enective programs
· Excess Liability for commercial general contractors
· Commercial Umbrella
Contact your local approved agent today!
El Paso, Permian Basin and Surrounding Area
HUB International Insurance Services
Lance Van Deman, CLCS
Builders Outlook 2013 issue 10
Builders utlook on the scene |
The Professional Women’s Council held a special member-guest
lunch and learn with guest speaker Michelle Cromer. Ms. Cromer’s
topic was Feng-Shui, the art of balance in life and in your surroundings.
Ms. Cromer was brought to us by Margaret Livingston and introduced by
PWC chairwoman Lorraine Huit. This was the largest number of
attendees at this councils meeting this year.
Women’s Council
Membership News
Thanks to our OCTOBER
Palo Verde Homes
To Ted Escobedo on the loss of
his mother Eloise Escobedo
11395 James Watt, Suite A-11 79936
2013 Issue 10 Builders Outlook
Bonded, insured for
your peace of mind.
6:00 P.M.
Probably by the time you receive this,
our Bowling Outing will be done and over. I
am sure that everyone that participated will
have had a great time. We still have some
sponsorship available for our El Paso
Desert Open Sun Country Pro Am at 9:00
am November 13th. This is a great
opportunity to advertise as this event is a
sellout. Please call Margret for details.
As the year is passing by rapidly and the
end is near I just want to say thank to all the
Associates that participated in our events
this year as it has made a big difference.  I
would also would like to thank the board for
all the support and a Big Special Thanks to
Frank Torres who without a doubt is the
Guru of all Parade of homes.
Once again a big Thanks to everyone
that has made this a special year with two
events to go.
Builders Outlook 2013 issue 10
Sam Shallenberger
Western Wholesale Supply
Associates Council

Located in the heart of Downtown El Paso.
415 North Mesa ࠮ 225-8200
Cindy Bilbe, President
Congratulations, Cindy
on your induction into the
El Paso Business
Hall of Fame!

Expert Advice
David De Rego
Hardware Specialities &
Glass Co., Inc.
For bathrooms, the trend in color is more.
"It used to be that there wasn't a lot of color
in the bathroom, so more color is definitely
a newer trend. Neutral shades such as
cream, beige and taupe have long been
popular color choices for the bathroom
because they wear well and fit easily into
any design scheme. But these safe colors
are giving way to bolder palettes that create
a cheerful, fun place to wake up to every
morning. While bold can be beautiful, it's
not necessarily for everyone. Color
forecasting is about reinventing the ways
you put colors together so you get a fresh,
clean feeling, without abandoning the hues
that fit your personal taste.
A Touch of Color
If you don't want color everywhere in
your bath, try adding small doses in
cheerful colors such as sunny yellow or
fire-engine red that are inspired by
children's bathrooms. Plastic or enamel
faucets or fanciful geometrically shaped
light fixtures are two bold solutions that can
give your bathroom a unique look.
Those who like to change color
frequently, for example with the seasons,
should consider rotating accessories. You
can easily add a touch of updated color —
an unexpected 'aha' — with towels, rugs
and other accessories. Try cool spa colors
such as sapphire blue and seafoam green
for spring, and brighter beach colors such
as flamingo pink and chartreuse for
summer. With the fall comes warmer
shades of brown, while winter-influenced
colors include candy apple red and maroon
with an undertone of pink.
Timeless Colors
While we're going to see more and more
color in the bathroom, certain timeless
guidelines still apply. Most skin tones are
pink or of a lighter shade tan, so if you want
warm tones that will pick up that color use
peach, rose and light mocha colors to
enhance the subtle feel.
Don't rule out those cool spa colors the
soothing blues, blue-greens, greens and
blue lavenders that enable tranquility and
relaxation. Ultimately, your choice of colors
boils down to your expectations of what you
want in a room that suits your comfort level
and décor.
What’s Trending
in bathrooms
I execuTive oFFicerS
edmundo Dena – President
Accent Homes
Frank Torres – vice President
GMF Custom Homes
edgar montiel – Secretary/Treasurer
Palo Verde Homes
Sam Shallenberger – Associates chair
Western Wholesale
Frank Arroyos- immediate Past President
Cisco Homes
ray Adauto – executive vice President
El Paso Association of Builders
I couNciL/commiTTee cHAirS
Associates council
Sam Shallenberger
Build PAc
Randy Bowling
Desert Green Building council
Javier Ruiz
Land use council
Sal Masoud
Young Designer Award
John Chaney
remodelers council
Rudy Guel
membership retention
Mike Santamaria, Greg Bowling
Finance committee
Edgar Montiel
Women’s council
Lorraine Huit
I ADviSorY To THe BoArD
J. Crawford Kerr, Attorney, Firth, Johnston
& Martinez
I BoArD oF DirecTorS
Juanita Garcia, Icon Custom Builders
Samira Gonzalez, Edwards Homes
Walter Lujan, Dawco Construction
Carlos Villalobos, Pointe Homes
Don Rassette, Rassette Homes
Beverly Clevenger, Automated Division 6 Builders
Frank Spencer, Aztec Contractors
Kathy Parry, Hunt Communities
Sal Masoud, Del Rio Engineering
Robert L. Foster,
Southwest Land Development Services
Leti Navarette, Custom Dream Homes
Linda Troncoso, TR-Engineering
Lance VanDeman, Hub International
John Chaney, Passage Supply
Joe Bernal, El Paso Employee Benefits
Ken Wade, El Paso Building Materials
Ruben Orquiz, MTI Ready Mix
Kathy Carrillo, Pioneer Bank
Henry Tinajero, West Star Bank
Paul Zacour, Zacour & Associates
Chuck Gabriel, Carpets West
Ted Escobedo, Snappy Publishing
Lorraine Huit, Cardel Design
Javier Ruiz, Border Solar & Senercon
2012 Builder member of The Year
Frank Arroyos
Cisco Homes
2012 Pat cox Award
Mike Santamaria
Mountain Vista Homes
2012 Associate of The Year
Sam Shallenberger
Western Wholesale Supply
John Schatzman Award
Hunt Companies
Honorary Life members
Rudy Guel
Brad Roe
Cliff Anthes
Wayne Grinnell
Chester Lovelady
Don Henderson
Anna Gil
Past Presidents
committed to Serve
ePAB mission Statement:
The El Paso Association of Builders is a
federated professional organization representing
the home building industry, committed to
enhancing the quality of life in our community by
providing affordable homes of excellence and
The El Paso Association of Builders is a
501C(6) trade organization.
© 2013 Builder’s Outlook
is published and distributed for the
El Paso Association of Builders
by Snappy Publishing
240 Thunderbird • Suite C
El Paso • Texas • 79912 915-820-2800
6046 Surety Dr. El Paso, TX 79905
915-778-5387 • Fax: 915-772-3038
Greg Bowling
Kelly Sorenson
Mark Dyer
Mike Santamaria
John Cullers
Randy Bowling
Doug Schwartz
Robert Baeza
Bobby Bowling, IV
Rudy Guel
Anna Gil
Bradley Roe
Bob Bowling, III
E. H. Baeza
Hershel Stringfield
Doug Borrett, Karam Co., Life Director
Randy Bowling, Tropicana Homes
I NATioNAL DirecTorS
Bobby Bowling IV.
Demetrio Jimenez
Home BuiLDerS
(800) 368-5242
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Builders utlook

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