www.elpasobuilders.com www.epbuilders.

org

Builders

utlook

2013
issue 11

TAB Awards:
Tropicana Homes recognized
as Texas Builder of the Year
The El Paso Association of Builders is
proud to have the Texas Association of
Builders J. B. Sandlin Texas Builder of
the Year as a member. Tropicana
Homes was honored at the Texas
Association of Builders Hall of Honor
and Excellence in Leadership awards
dinner held at the historic Driskill Hotel
in Austin on November 21. The selection
of Tropicana Homes was made by the
TAB leadership in rewarding Tropicana
Homes for contributions to TAB, the
EPAB and to the community. Accepting
the award for Tropicana Homes was
Randy and Greg Bowling.
The
Bowling’s were genuinely surprised at
the announcement since they had been
asked to go to the dinner with Frank
Torres, Edmundo Dena and Ray Adauto
under the pretense that there was an
award to be given to the local
association. When they realized the
award was for them the surprise turned
into handshakes and congratulations.
“We are honored that the Texas
Association of Builders singled us out
for this award and we are grateful for
that honor,” said Randy Bowling. Randy
shared the crystal oblisque with his

Builder
Confidence
Holds Steady
in November
Builder confidence in the market for
newly built, single-family homes was
unchanged in November from a
downwardly revised level of 54 on the
National
Association
of
Home

Texas Builders
contract class
coming
January 15
StrucSure Home Warranty and the
law office of Bush, Rudnicki, and
Shelton (Dallas, Texas) will present an
informative two hour lunch and learn
on January 15, 2014 at the El Paso

brother Greg who told The Builders
Outlook “This represents a lot to us as a
company and as a family.” “I can’t wait
to share this with our parents and the
employees of Tropicana Homes,” Greg
continued. “And we want to make sure
that we share it with everyone at the
EPAB also,” Randy added. Edmundo
Dena, 2013 EPAB president and Frank
Torres,
VP,
acknowledged
the
accomplishment as well. “We are so
proud to have Tropicana Homes
honored because it would have been
easy to select someone from the larger
associations rather than ours,” Dena
said. “The fact that it was such a
surprise is a credit to Ray Adauto for
keeping it secret, a really neat deal,”
Dena continued. “I am glad to have
been here to see this,” said Frank
Torres.
Every year, the Texas Association of
Builders recognizes distinguished
service by its members. Each entry is
judged on the basis of state, local, and
national association involvement.
Contributions are judged on previous
years’ involvement, as well as current
year’s activities.

Left to right:

Ron Rohrabacher
(2012 award winner),
Greg Bowling,
Randy Bowling
2013 Recipients:
J.B. Sandlin Builder of the Year:
Tropicana Homes
Associate of the Year:
Morrison Supply Company
Remodeler of the Year:
Jeff Hunt
Ted Schlossman
Lifetime Achievement Award:
George Lewis

Philanthropist of the Year:
Randy French
Local Association Accomplishment
of the Year:
Heart of Texas Builders Association
Presidential Distinguished Service
Awards:
Greater San Antonio Builders
Association, Greg Harwell, Beverly
Koehn, Dan Markson, David Miller,
James Rudnicki, Don Shelton, Terry
Weaver, Susan Wright

Developer of the Year:
Mike Sugrue

Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market
Index (HMI) released today. This means
that for the sixth consecutive month,
more builders have viewed market
conditions as good than poor.
“Given the current interest rate and
pricing
environment,
consumers
continue to show interest in purchasing
new homes, but are holding back
because Congress keeps pushing
critical decisions on budget, tax and
government spending issues down the
road,” said NAHB Chairman Rick
Judson. “Meanwhile, builders continue
to face challenges related to rising
construction costs and low appraisals.”
“Policy and economic uncertainty is
undermining consumer confidence,”

said NAHB Chief Economist David
Crowe. “The fact that builder confidence
remains above 50 is an encouraging
sign, considering the unresolved debt
and federal budget issues cause
builders and consumers to remain on
the sideline.”
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.
The HMI index gauging current sales
conditions in November held steady at
58. The component measuring
expectations for future sales fell one
point to 60 and the component gauging
traffic of prospective buyers dropped
one point to 42.
The HMI three-month moving average
was mixed in the four regions. No
movement was recorded in the South or
West, which held unchanged at 56 and
60, respectively. The Northeast
recorded a one-point gain to 39 and the
Midwest fell three points to 60.

Association of Builders office, 6046
Surety.
Available only to builder/remodeler
members of the Texas Association of
Builders, TAB’s contracts package
subscription is your blueprint for typical
construction and remodeling
transactions in the State of Texas. At a
cost of only $299.99 plus tax, the
package of contracts and related
addenda is a fantastic value and can
save you thousands of dollars in legal
fees. The subscription includes any
needed updates that may occur during
the two year cycle.

In addition to addressing new
legislatively mandated contractor
payment requirements in locallydeclared disaster areas, many
improvements have been made to the
2013 - 2015 package, which include:
• a new construction services
agreement between the builder and
prospective clients;
• performance standard updates and
numerous other changes that reflect
best practices and up to date
construction transactions;
• integration of several court decisions
in the last two years that more clearly

define the rights of all parties; and
• revised warranty and performance
standards, including foundation
performance to reflect current
engineering practices.
• The end result is that the contracts
are even more comprehensive than
before without adding length. The
contracts package was prepared by a
TAB committee for exclusive use by
TAB builder/ remodeler members.
Reservations must be made no later
than January 10. The event is free to
registered builder/remodeler members
only.

2

Builders Outlook

2013 issue 11

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2013 issue 11

3

Builders Outlook

President’s Message |
Edmundo
Dena

El Paso Disposal

President,
El Paso Association
of Builders

So the reality of what a President is and does has finally hit me.
Some would say that it’s a little late, but I think every President has this
happen just before the end of his or her term. I also know that no
matter what kind of plans you make there will always be hiccups on the
way, and challenges that sometimes you can overcome and others that
you just have to let go. I think that looking back is important but it’s
more important to look forward, to what we can become and to how we
can become. I am so grateful to the many people who have
volunteered and worked on behalf of the association, and in a round
about way, they worked for my presidency. We all get judged at some
point and I hope that you will be kind enough to think of my tenure as a
good one. I will tell you that in this chair you can’t take credit for all the
good things, and you have the burden of taking the hits when
something goes wrong. I’ve experienced both while your president and
it has made me better as a leader and better as a man. I will continue
to serve but am glad to hand this title to Frank Torres, a heck of a good
guy and a friend.
I won’t say all that I want to say now because I’ll save it for my last
editorial. I do want to share the excitement of seeing Tropicana Homes
get the Texas Association of Builders JB Sandlin Builder of the Year
2013 award. Wow, was that something to be a part of. Congratulations
to the Bowling family and all the employees of Tropicana. It would be
good for others to follow their lead and get involved at the local, state
and national level. It’s good for the association, your business and the
soul. Go out and sell something.

772-7495

Showroom:
2131 Missouri
915 • 533 • 6045

fax • 533• 6096

Thomas R. Brown, Owner

4

Builders Outlook

2013 issue 11

Perspective

Ray Adauto,
Executive
Vice President
EPAB

As the year creeps to an end there
are so many things left to accomplish
and so much that already has. The El
Paso Association of Builders reached
another accomplishment with the
successful WestStar Bank Pro-Am that
was held at Painted Dunes. A Pro-Am
has quite a few rules to follow and it’s
not always an easy thing to do, even
with all the planning that has to go on.
First and foremost my thanks goes to
WestStar Bank and in particular Larry
Patton, President of WestStar Bank, for
his undying support for this event. He’s
a tough negotiator but an avid fan of
the EPAB and he brought significant
resources to this event just like he does
to so many others. Our partners
included Whirlpool, HUNT, Lawyers
Title, Pioneer Bank, CEMEX, and El
Paso Building Materials. Tee Box
partners were Stewart Title, HUNT,
Lawyers Title, Southwest Land, Pointe
Homes, El Paso Building Materials, Joe
Bernal, Rudy Guel Construction,
Joseph Homes, Bella Homes/Custom
Dream Homes, Lonestar Title, and
Carefree Homes.
Wow, what an
outstanding group of supporters and

As year winds down we have much to celebrate
volunteers. Thank you one and all. A
list
of
winners
is
on
Sam
Shallenberger’s column.
As with all the planning that went on
we can’t forget the work and
cooperation from our member Painted
Dunes Desert Golf Course. Mark
Gonzalez and Anthony Bellow run the
course and they are so good to work
with. Thank you guys and pass along
our thanks to your fine staff. We play a
lot of different tournaments each year
and year after year we get great
comments from dealing with Painted
Dunes. The course is only as good as
the people running it, so obviously we
know why it’s so much fun there.
Our next event was traveling to
Austin for the Texas Association of
Builders meetings and an awards
presentation. By now you’ve heard
that the TAB 2013 Builder of the Year
honor went to our own Tropicana
Homes. I have to admit that during the
nearly three hour event patience was at
a premium as we waited to hear if El
Paso would actually get an award or
we were just teased. Low and behold
the last award of the night was the TAB

Builder of the Year, and frankly it was a
big surprise to Randy and Greg
Bowling who I coerced into to going to
the dinner. It was a little sneaky on my
part as I had been asked by TAB to get
the Tropicana gang there without
spilling the beans. I was told it was a
big award, nothing else, so frankly I
was a little anxious myself as award
after award was doled out during the
evening. President Edmundo Dena
and VP Frank Torres joined us and all
they knew was what I knew and that
was only a little bit. So when the

Tropicana name was announced it was
truly a surprise to all of us. A great big
beautiful surprise considering the
thousands of builders in the state.
Excellence is recognized when nothing
is expected in return. I can attest, as
can those that attend TAB meetings,
that Tropicana Homes, Randy, Greg,
and Bobby IV are respected as experts
and contributors. We owe them a great
deal of gratitude for the time, money
and commitment they bring to us.
Please thank them and congratulate
them on this Big Texas Honor.

2013 issue 11

Builders Outlook

5

Industry News
Federal Backstop
Essential Element of
Housing Finance
Reform, NAHB Tells
Congress
The National
Association
of
Home Builders
(NAHB)
told
Congress that an
effective housing finance reform plan
must include a federal backstop to
ensure that 30-year, fixed-rate
mortgages and reliable mortgage
financing for multifamily housing remain
readily available and affordable.
Testifying before the Senate Banking
Committee, NAHB Chairman Rick
Judson, a home builder from Charlotte,
N.C., said that NAHB is a strong

proponent of housing finance system
reform.
“NAHB believes that the U.S. housing
finance system must be multifaceted
both
competing
and
with
complementary components, including
private, federal and state sources of
housing capital,” said Judson. “To
achieve this, it is important to reform
and restructure the conventional
mortgage market and also improve
other parts of the housing finance
system, including FHA, the Federal
Home Loan Banks and state housing
finance agencies.”
The key to the sustainability of the 30year, fixed-rate mortgage is a
securitization
outlet,
because
originators do not have sufficient
capacity to hold such long-term assets
which are funded with short-term
deposits. Currently, Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac provide the securities
vehicle along with a government
guarantee for investors.
“There are serious doubts on whether

a private housing finance system would
be capable of supporting this type of
product without some government
backing,” said Judson. “At a minimum,
the cost and terms of 30-year
mortgages would be significantly less
favorable under a totally private system
and many fewer families would be
eligible for home loans.”
NAHB recommends establishing a
new securitization model for singlefamily and multifamily mortgages where
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be
transitioned to private housing finance
entities
that
would
aggregate
mortgages into securities for sale to
investors worldwide. Private capital
from mortgage originators and
securities issuers would be in the first
loss position, but the principal and
interest for investors in the mortgagebacked securities would be guaranteed
through a privately capitalized,
federally-backed insurance fund. The
new system would be overseen by a
strong and independent regulator.

NAHB believes that the Housing
Finance
Reform
and Taxpayer
Protection Act (S. 1217), introduced by
Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Mark
(D-Va.),
represents
an
Warner
important bipartisan step in the debate
on overhauling the U.S. housing
finance system and incorporates many
of the elements recommended by the
association.
“NAHB looks forward to continuing to
work with Senate Banking Committee
Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.),
Ranking Member Michael Crapo (RIdaho), and all the members of the
committee to achieve comprehensive
housing finance reform that maintains
the proper level of federal support
necessary to provide much-needed
long-term stability for this critical sector
of the economy,” said Judson.
The array of federal and state
government programs that have been
developed over the years in response
to identified needs are essential
elements in ensuring that there are
affordable options for providing
housing. Therefore, NAHB believes that
the future housing finance system must
be viewed as more than the private
conventional market.
“The
Federal
Housing
Administration’s single-family mortgage
programs are a unique and vital
component of the housing finance
system,
providing
access
to
homeownership
for
underserved
communities, primarily first-time home
buyers, minorities and those with
limited downpayment capabilities,” he
said. The FHA has also historically
played an important role in the financing
of multifamily rental housing. “These
products have allowed the construction
of needed affordable and market rate
rental housing units, and enabled
property owners to acquire, refinance,
rehabilitate and preserve the nation’s
existing stock of rental housing,” said
Judson.
He also noted that programs
operated by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service
have played an important role in
providing
mortgage
credit
in
underserved rural areas. Moreover, the
VA home loan guarantee program is an
integral component of housing finance
for our nation’s service members,
Judson said, and provides an
outstanding example of how a low-to-no
downpayment program can perform
even in difficult economic markets like
we recently experienced.
Another significant factor in the quest
to provide affordable homes and rental
housing is the cost and availability of
the credit required to produce such
housing. Builders continue to have
difficulty accessing production credit
from the traditional financial institution
sources, forcing some to turn to more
costly non-traditional equity and debt
sources.
“NAHB greatly appreciates the efforts
of Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and
Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) for introducing
the
Home
Building
Lending
Improvement Act (S. 1002), legislation
that addresses several regulatory
barriers that inhibit access to
construction credit,” said Judson. “We
hope that this committee will consider
this legislation and other regulatory
barriers to both construction and
broader small business credit.”

6

Builders Outlook

2013 issue 11

2013 ISSUE 11

Builders

Builders Outlook

utlook on the scene |

Sam Shallenberger
Western Wholesale Supply
EPAB Associates Council Chair

Thank you to all of our partners
and volunteers who participated in
the EPAB Golf tournament, the
Pro-Am.
Thank you also to
Painted Dunes for all their help in
securing the pros and putting on
this tournament. Our winners
were: in First place, Sierra Title;
Second place, HUNT 1; third
place, Texas Gas. We really
appreciate all the teams that came
and played: CD Lee/Britton
Insurance, Foxworth Galbraith,
GECU, GMF Homes, HUNT,
CEMEX, JOBE, Mountain Vista
Builders, MTI Ready Mix,
Passage Supply, Palo Verde
Homes, Sierra Title, Texas Gas
Service,
Tropicana
Homes,
Western
Wholesale
Supply,
WestStar Bank 1, and WestStar
Bank 2.

7

el paso development news
Mulligan
Building Façade
Makes Big
Strides

Mulligan building prior to construction
this year. (In*Situ Architecture)

New Urbanism
Puts El Paso in
Spotlight
City Approached to Help
Others Learn Planning
Concepts

An updated look at the Mulligan
Building’s façade. (In*Situ Architecture)

After less than a year of construction, the
newly-renamed Mulligan Building is starting
to look like its old self. An updated photograph posted by architecture firm In*Situ on
its Facebook page shows that windows have
been installed on the façade facing North
Campbell Street.
The building looked much different earlier
this year after decades of inactivity left the
structure empty and with a previously “renovated” look. The brown and beige façade
covered up historic brickwork and details.
Paul Foster, one of the partners involved
in bringing a Triple-A ball club to El Paso,
donated the 62,400 square foot building to
the City in September of 2012 after officials
voiced concern over the sales price of the
building. The City had been looking for office
space in order to facilitate relocation of
departments so that the former City Hall
could be emptied to make room for the
Triple-A baseball stadium.
Two months ago, the building was
renamed from the “Luther” to the “Mulligan”
Building in honor of John Mulligan, the Irish
immigrant who built the structure in 1915.
The $13.7 million project should be completed later this year, according to In*Situ’s
website (www.insituarc.com). The building
will house the City’s Information Technology
and Engineering & Construction
Management departments.

The City of El Paso shifted its focus a
few years back to promoting smart
growth, mixed-use, and walkable developments, and now officials in other U.S.
cities are reaching out to El Paso when it
comes to learning about new urbanism.
El Paso officials developed a nineweek session on new urbanism to help
affiliate internal department heads and
engineers with the principles of mixeduse and sustainable neighborhood

East El Paso, Fort Bliss
to See More Highway
Construction
Projects Lined Up for Loop
375, US 62, Zaragoza Rd.
The Texas Department of Transportation
(TXDOT) will has held community meetings in recent weeks to inform the public
about three new projects planned for East
El Paso and Fort Bliss. Projects include
widening of highways and roads, building
new frontage roads, and a first-of-its-kind
interchange in El Paso.
Loop 375 Widening
The first project will widen Loop 375
from Spur 601 to Montana Avenue, adding
a lane in each direction. Currently, the
freeway has two travel lanes in each
direction and the project will add a third.
Bicycle “accommodations” will also be
included in the project, according to the
Public Meeting Notice. Frontage roads will
also be added, though it is unclear if this
is for the entire 5.3 mile stretch.
Diverging Diamond Intersection – Loop
375 at Spur 601
A separate project will create a new
type of interchange at the intersection of
Spur 601 and the Loop 375 ramps. A
Diverging Diamond Intersection (DDI) will

development, led by Mathew McElroy,
Director of the City Development
Department. Shortly thereafter, the
sessions were opened up to local
developers.
The fruits of the City’s labors have
become clear as developments using
new urbanism ideals are sprouting up.
The developer of the Montecillo smart
growth community has begun construction on SmartCode zoned lots, a first
for El Paso, and another SmartCode
development, Aldea, is planned immediately to its south.
Now, officials from other cities have
taken notice and invited the City to teach
new urbanism to their engineers and
development personnel. In January,
McElroy will run a learning session for
scores of government workers in
Oklahoma City, and another session is
planned for Austin.
An article last month in Governing
Magazine (www.governing.com) highlights the City’s efforts and goals in

replace the current diamond configuration
and may speed up traffic by reducing the
number of traffic lights.
DDIs work by shifting non-freeway traffic
approaching the interchange to the left,
then back to the right after the interchange. This allows traffic turning left onto
the freeway to continue without needing to
wait for a green left turn light. It also
reduces the number of traffic signals and
their respective delays. These interchanges are relatively new and made their
first appearance in the United Stated in
2009.
Officials may need to educate drivers on
use of the interchange as driving on the
“wrong” side of the road could be disorienting to some. Also, drivers who exit
Loop 375 by mistake will not be able to
simply get back on the freeway at the signal. Exits will force drivers to either turn
left or right onto Spur 601.
US 62 Main Lanes, Frontage Roads
A third project may turn Montana
Avenue (US 62) into more of a freeway.
The Public Meeting Notice for this project
states the proposed improvements would
include constructing frontage roads, sidewalks, and bike lanes in addition to two or
three main lanes in each direction.
Generally, main lanes refer to freeway
lanes while frontage roads are the gateways that run alongside the main lanes.
The project would stretch 7.6 miles from
Global Reach/Yarbrough Drive to
Zaragoza Road.

developing the learning sessions.
The City’s biggest new urbanism effort
has been the implementation of Plan El
Paso, the extensive planning document
that was adopted into the comprehensive
plan last year. The plan calls for creating
walkable, smart growth neighborhoods
throughout the city, incorporating many
concepts of new urbanism.
Plan El Paso won the Environmental
Protection Agency’s 2011 National Award
for Smart Growth Achievement and has
been lauded by development agencies
and publications throughout the United
States.
The entire Plan El Paso document can
be seen at planelpaso.org. The Lead
Consultant on the project was Dover,
Kohl & Partners of Florida
(www.doverkohl.com).
Above: Mesa Street near UTEP
reimagined using new urbanism and
smart growth principles. (Plan El Paso)

Zaragoza Road/Montwood Drive
The fourth proposal actually consists of
two projects. The first will widen Zaragoza
Road from two to three lanes in each
direction between Sun Fire Boulevard and
Montana Avenue, approximately five miles
in length.
The second project will add a lane to
Montwood Drive in each direction from
Firehouse Drive to Sun Fire Boulevard.
Montwood currently has two lanes of traffic in each direction.
Zaragoza Road at Loop 375 may also
be extended west and take a turn southward to connect with the portion of
Zaragoza Road that is south of Montwood
Drive. Currently, northbound drivers on
Zaragoza must turn right or left at
Montwood Drive.
Aside from the added capacity, the project will also add lighting, bike lanes, and
sidewalks to both projects.
No timeline has been publicized for
these projects. Information can be found
at www.txdot.gov.

Builders Outlook Issue 11.2013

Content provided by
El Paso Development News
visit: elpasodevnews.com

‘Fountains at Farah’ Officially Opens
Lifestyle Promenade Filled with Amenities, Empty Spaces
The Fountains at Farah shopping center
celebrated its official Grand Opening in
November, debuting the promenade area
to the public. Despite the throng of visitors
to the Fountains, many spaces along the
lifestyle area remain empty with only a few
stores open.
Patrons at the center were greeted by
entertainment, activities, and various fountains along the 1,800-foot “main street”
promenade, the shopping area closest to
Interstate 10. This lifestyle portion of the
center includes one lane of traffic in each
direction divided by a large median.
Vehicles can park in angled spaces along
the drive.
In the park-like median, shoppers will
find interactive and decorative fountains,
kiosks, and an amphitheater. An ice skating
rink will soon join the lineup and is scheduled to be operational before the end of
November.
Shops and restaurant spaces line each
side of the “main street,” with storefronts
along the northwestern side hiding the
lower level of the parking garage.
Escalators help shoppers get to and from
the upper big-box level of the Fountains.
And pleasant music fills the air from outdoor speakers placed strategically along
paths.
Walking along the promenade on grand
opening weekend was a steamy affair,
even in the November sun. Somewhat
mature trees should help shade pedestrians from the bright sunlight as the trees
grow larger and increase the canopy over
the years.
Very few retailers were actually open on
the promenade. Only Charlotte Russe,
Altar’d State, and Ann Taylor Loft have officially opened along the storefronts positioned in front of the lower parking level.
On the other side, Verizon, AT&T, and the
Vitamin Shoppe were also open.
Other retailers and restaurants scheduled to open in the next few weeks include
Deutsch & Deutsch, Designer Studio, Kona
Grill, Chipotle, and Barriga’s. Many spaces

Ballpark
Readies for
‘Chihuahuas’
New Team Name Gets
National Attention

Visitors to the Fountains
at Farah shopping center
get an up close look at
the “splash pad” fountain
(Armando Landin/El Paso
Development News)
remain empty, including sizeable glass and
steel structures in the wide median which
resemble conservatories.
The site’s developer, Centergy Retail of
Dallas, has recently stated that 75% of the
Fountains at Farah has been leased, a statistic clearly boosted by the popularity of
the big-box upper level of the center.
Nearly all the retailers here have opened.
The more interesting lifestyle area of the
center is far more vacant.
“I’m not impressed,” stated El Paso resident Gustavo Gonzalez during a visit to the
center on Saturday, adding, “So much of
the lifestyle area is empty. They even had
to bring in food trucks due to the lack of
restaurants. Considering it’s the grand
opening, I was expecting more stores and
restaurants.”
Still, Gonzalez remains hopeful, stating,

Whether or not you like the Triple-A
team name revealed in October for El
Paso’s coming ball club, work on the stadium continues at full speed in anticipation of opening day in April. Still, the
newly named Chihuahuas are turning
heads and garnering attention throughout
the country after the announcement of
the team name.
Steel columns and girders have turned
construction vertical at the ballpark construction site, helping define archways
under which visitors to the stadium will
pass. The columns will support the club

“It’s a great looking shopping center, and I
wish trendy spots like Cheesecake Factory
and California Pizza Kitchen could see the
potential. Maybe in a few months there will
more of a selection.”
Traffic was also an issue at times as
vehicles entering the promenade area
encountered a line of cars, particularly
when coming from Hawkins Boulevard.
Entrances to the lower parking level are all
located along the promenade. Holiday traffic will test the center’s design in the coming months.
There were clear signs that the
Fountains is still transitioning from construction site to functional shopping center.
Some decorative sections of wall were
missing in spots, and portable restrooms
lined the entrances to the parking structure
because the permanent restrooms were
and press levels, rising about 50 feet
above Durango Street. Nearly 1,000 tons
of steel will be used in constructing the
stadium.
Construction can also be seen on
structures along Santa Fe Street. These
will house the outfield buildings which will
include levels to be used for parties and
events.
“We are entering a phase of construction in which we’ll see rapid progress,”
states Alan Shubert, the Project Manager
for the stadium construction site, on the
City’s website. “While the steel work is
the most visible, work is progressing rapidly on all corners of the construction
site.”
The team’s website has undergone a
change, switching to an official Minor
League Baseball (MiLB) page. Fans can
now go to epchihuahuas.com to visit the
page which includes the team schedule
for 2014, pictures, logos, and merchandise.
Merchandise for the Chihuahuas officially went on sale the same day the
name was announced, and sales have
been impressive according to team officials. As of Friday, orders had come in
from 35 different states, including as far
away as Massachusetts, with some items
selling out.
The team posted a map on its
Facebook page with the Chihuahuas

not yet ready.
The center’s website is also under transition. Visitors to the site will find a “New
Website Coming Soon” message with no
links, a sign that the website is will soon
most likely resemble a shopping center site
with information like hours of operation, a
map, and tenants list.
The Fountains at Farah shopping center
replaced a long-vacant, blighted factory
building that was highly visible from
Interstate 10. Local businessman Paul
Foster purchased the property years back
and tapped Centergy Retail to develop the
land into a shopping center. The City of El
Paso approved incentives for the center to
help guarantee that the eyesore warehouse
would be demolished.

team logo showing from where items
have been purchased. The Facebook
page had over 22,000 likes as of Sunday
night.
And media in national and other markets has turned its attention to El Paso,
mainly due to the controversial team
name. The Thursday following the
announcement, the Texas Monthly
(www.texasmonthly.com) published an
article proclaiming that “It’s Time to
Embrace the El Paso Chihuahuas,” noting that other MiLB teams have
embraced “fun” team names.
The following Sunday, the San
Francisco Chronicle published an article
lauding the marketing decision behind the
Chihuahuas name. The team has been
mentioned on ESPN, trended on Twitter,
and inspired national attention. Still, the
story points out the change.org petition
calling for a name change that had over
9,000 supporters as of the same Sunday
night.
A Google search for news on the El
Paso Chihuahuas shows stories from
sources ranging from the Seattle Times,
which predicts the “world’s smallest strike
zones,” to the Latin Times calling the
name “racist stereotyping.” It’s clear, the
new team name has struck a chord.
Opening day for the Chihuahuas is
scheduled for April 11, 2014, at the 9,500
seat stadium in Downtown El Paso.

10

Builders Outlook

2013 issue 11

Expert Advice

Joe Bernal
Employee Benefits
of El Paso

SIMPLE IRAs:
The Low-Cost
Retirement Plan
Only 28 percent of small and
medium-sized organizations offer
retirement benefits to their full-time
employees. And the reasons are
simple: Many don’t want to deal with the
administrative hassles and cost of a
401(k). SIMPLE IRA plans provide
these employers with an alternative.
A SIMPLE IRA plan (Savings
Incentive Match PLan for Employees)
allows employees and employers to
contribute to traditional IRAs set up for
employees. It works well for small
employers not currently sponsoring a
retirement plan, as it does not have the
start-up and operating costs of a
conventional retirement plan.
The Basics
Any business with 100 or fewer
employees that does not have another
retirement plan can easily establish a
SIMPLE IRA plan by using a form
available on the IRS’s website: Form
5304-SIMPLE or 5305-SIMPLE. The
form you choose depends on whether
you or your employees select the
financial institution where your
employees’ individual IRA accounts will
be held. Alternatively, you can use a
SIMPLE IRA prototype available from a
bank or financial institution or an
individually designed plan document.
You can set up a SIMPLE IRA plan
effective on any date from January 1
through October 1 of a year, provided
you did not previously maintain a
SIMPLE IRA plan. This requirement
does not apply for new employers that
set up a SIMPLE IRA plan as soon as
administratively feasible after the
business comes into existence. If you
previously maintained a SIMPLE IRA
plan, you can set up a SIMPLE IRA plan
effective only on January 1.
All employees who received at least
$5,000 in compensation from you
during any two preceding calendar
years (consecutive or not) and who you
reasonably expected to receive at least
$5,000 in compensation during the
calendar year can participate in the
SIMPLE IRA plan for the calendar year.
Employees have the option of making
salary reduction contributions. For
2013, employees can contribute up to
$12,000. Employees age 50 or over can
make
an
additional
catch-up
contribution of up to $2,500 in 2013.
While employees can contribute or
not, employers must contribute to the
plan each year. They must either make
a 1) matching contribution up to 3% of

compensation, or 2) 2% nonelective
contribution for each eligible employee.
Under the “nonelective” contribution
formula, even if an eligible employee
doesn’t contribute to his or her SIMPLE
IRA, the employer must make a
contribution equal to 2 percent of the
employee’s compensation.
Unlike other plans, SIMPLE IRAs
have no filing requirements. They also
do not require discrimination testing,
which can be complicated and timeconsuming. And while some other types
of retirement plans have several types
of fees, SIMPLE IRAs generally involve
only a small per-participant or peremployer fee per year, payable to the
financial institution(s) that holds your
employees’ SIMPLE IRA accounts.
Pros and Cons
Pros:
• Employees can choose to contribute
pre-tax dollars, thus reducing
employees’ taxable income and the
employer’s payroll tax liability.
• Funds accumulate tax-free.

• Employees can manage their
accounts by moving funds around
within the financial institution that
holds their account (subject to the
institution’s
rules
and
fund
participation requirements).
• The employer need not conduct
annual discrimination testing.
• The employer has no annual filing
requirements.
• The
employer
has
minimal
administrative responsibilities.
Cons:
• The employer must contribute each
year, even when cash flow is poor.
• Employees are immediately 100
percent vested in their entire SIMPLE
IRA account balance. This can
counter their appeal as a tool to
encourage employee loyalty.
• SIMPLE IRAs have lower contribution
limits than some other retirement
plans.
• Participants cannot take loans from
their IRA accounts, unlike with

401(k)s. While this might discourage
some employees from contributing to
their account, it also preserves
savings for retirement.
Funds will be taxed at the employee’s
regular income rate when withdrawn
after retirement. As with other
retirement plans, employees making
withdrawals before age 59 ½ must pay
an additional penalty of 10 percent. If
withdrawals are made within the first
two years of participation, the 10%
additional tax is increased to 25%.
As you search for the right financial
institution for you and your employees,
you should have an idea of what sort of
investment options your plan’s IRAs
should include and what level of service
to expect. For more information on
retirement benefit options, please
contact us.

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2013 issue 11

11

Builders Outlook

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12

Builders Outlook

2013 issue 11

The Economy

Tampering with Tapering
Economist Elliot Eisenberg is
a regular contributor to the
Builders Outlook. His wealth of
experience on housing has been
the model for HBA’s across the
country over the past decade.
Now in private practice, Dr.
Eisenberg brings his insight every
month to our members.

While Q4 GDP growth will probably
be about 2.4%, slightly above the
average rate of growth since the end of
the Great Recession, it would be very
surprising if the Federal Reserve Board
(the Fed) were to begin reducing its
monthly purchases of $45 billion in
Treasuries and $40 billion in mortgage
backed securities anytime soon.
While there are many reasons why,
the most potent is that the mere
suggestion last June that tapering might
commence as early as mid-September
rattled markets enough to raise interest
rates on 30-year home mortgages by
close to one-and-a-half percent in a
matter of weeks, and in the process
stop forward progress in the housing
market dead in its tracks. The housing

market is crucial to the recovery
because with auto sales and
manufacturing activity having all but
returned to pre-recession levels,
construction activity in general and its
biggest component, new single family
residential activity, is the last large
cyclical sector not fully participating in
the economic recovery. To have a selfsustaining recovery it is essential for all
cyclical sectors to be at or near full
capacity or rapidly moving in that
direction.
In addition to a flat housing market,
the labor market is showing signs of
slowing down. During the first quarter
of 2013 job creation averaged
while
it
was
207,000/month,
182,000/month in the second quarter
but just 143,000/month in the third
quarter.
Worse,
while
the
unemployment rate has been steadily
falling since the end of the Great
Recession, it has been primarily thanks
to the steady decline in the labor force
participation (LFPR) rate from 65.5% at
the end of the recession to just 63.2%
today, the first time ever that the LFPR
has declined after the end of a
recession.

The above notwithstanding, the
economy
is
really
recovering.
Household deleveraging is almost over,
manufacturing and transportation
activity have recovered to pre-recession
levels, banks are once again healthy,
corporate and household balance
have
recovered
and
sheets
employment is almost back to where it
was before the recession began. Given
how far the economy has come, I think
the Fed would prefer to essentially
“buy” some downside economic
insurance by continuing their current
level of Treasury and MBS purchases.
Something that would change my
prediction will be the success or failure
the
congressional
budget
of
negotiations that were part of the deal
to end the two week government
closure. Lawmakers have a deadline of
December 13th to produce a budget
blueprint that will drive government
spending for FY2014. The deadline is
just days before the Fed’s last meeting
of the year. A congressional deal would
give the Fed some clarity on the fiscal
front, and undoubtedly hasten the date
of the first taper. On the other hand,
negotiations that end in stalemate

would increase fiscal uncertainty and
reduce government spending by
leaving sequestration in place, thereby
reducing GDP growth.
In short, the economy is currently
growing, but slowly. As a result, the
labor force participation rate continues
to decline, employment growth is weak,
and due to poor Fed communication
about interest rates, the all-important
housing market has stopped growing.
For all these reasons, the Fed may give
lip service to the idea of commencing
tapering following its mid-December
meeting, but any tapering is more likely
to start after its end of January meeting,
and most likely following the Fed’s midMarch meeting, the first in 2014 to be
followed by a press conference. And
remember, short term rates will remain
at their current rock bottom levels for
another 18 months.

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President
of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be
reached at
Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net. His daily
70 word economics and policy blog
can be seen at www.econ70.com.

2013 Issue 11

13

Builders Outlook

www.elpasobuilders.com
www.epbuilders.org

Membership News
UPCOMING EVENTS |
DECEMBER 13
INSTALLATION
MARRIOTT HOTEL
6:00 P.M.

JANUARY 11
BOARD ORIENTATION
8:00 – 11:00 AM
EPAB OFFICE

JANUARY 15
TAB CONTRACTS CLASS
11:00 AM -1:00 PM
EPAB OFFICE

RENEWALS |
CEMEX
JACK WHITE BLDG. SPECIALTIES
BUILDERS SOURCE

CITY LIGHTS
CRAWFORD BUICK GMC LLC
JOSEPH HOMES

NEW MEMBERS |
BORDER CONSTRUCTION SPECIALTIES
CONTACT: RICARDO YVELLEZ
5623 E. PAISANO DRIVE
EL PASO, TX 79925

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1414 N. 25TH AVENUE
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SODA SPONSOR |

For the latest updates &
event information, visit:
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Thanks to our NOVEMBER
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14

Builders Outlook

2013 issue 11

Expert Advice
Are you building
a new home?

David De Rego
Hardware Specialities &
Glass Co., Inc.

Are you thinking of building a new
home or in the process of working with
a builder to create the sweet house
you always dreamed of having?
Building a new home can be quite a
process, filled with paying close
attention to big and small details. The
options are often times endless, and in
many cases it can be a rather stressful
situation. Let me help by shedding a
little light on door hardware.
You’ve invested a lot into your new
home – but protecting your family is
the most important investment you’ll
make. When it comes to securing your
new home high security deadbolts are
your first line of defense. Then whether
you want to incorporate wireless
technology or make an expression of
style that compliments your home’s

over all look is all up to your personal
taste. For finishes, door locks with a
satin nickel finish tie in a modern feel.
Or consider bronze door locks can give
a touch of rustic with a slight traditional
feel. Other colors are available, so
don’t be afraid to experiment. When
choosing knobs or levers always go
with what feels right. One note though
levers are designed to help those with
disabilities but can be aesthetically
pleasing. That’s part of the beauty of
building your own home is that you get
to bring your unique sense of style to
the table and by selecting a more
decorative style of door locks allows

you to truly customize your home. This
can be done at an affordable price
without sacrificing quality of residential
security.
With so many choices to consider in
buying locks for your new home, keep
in mind not all door locks or brands are
equal. Let's face it - if it doesn't keep
the bad guys out, then it doesn't really
matter how pretty or fashionable your
lock is.
For assistance please consult your
trusted and local designer or hardware
specialist...

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Builders

utlook

www.elpasobuilders.com
www.epbuilders.org
6046 Surety Dr. El Paso, TX 79905
915-778-5387 • Fax: 915-772-3038
■ 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

■ TAB STATe DirecTorS
Doug Borrett, Karam Co., Life Director
Randy Bowling, Tropicana Homes
■ NATioNAL DirecTorS
Bobby Bowling IV.
Demetrio Jimenez
NATioNAL ASSociATioN oF
Home BuiLDerS
(800) 368-5242

TexAS ASSociATioN oF
■ 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
■ ADviSorY To THe BoArD
J. Crawford Kerr, Attorney, Firth, Johnston
& Martinez
■ 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

BuiLDerS
(800)252-3625

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
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

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
value.
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