In a move that could lead to future retail and commercial construction, University of New Mexico officials are pushing for a Tax Increment Development District designation for the school’s under-utilized South Campus.
In a unanimous vote, members of the Albuquerque City Council have given their approval to a resolution allowing for negotiations to begin between the school and the city as a first step in securing that designation.
UNM has long wanted to find new uses for the roughly 50-acre South Campus, which is located north of Gibson Boulevard, running parallel with Interstate 25.
The site serves as the home to the Isotopes Park stadium, and also has some student housing, but for the most part has been underutilized.
School officials say previous attempts to develop the site have been frustrated primarily due to the cost of building new utilities and road infrastructure in the area.
In comments made before the council, Kim Murphy, a real estate broker working with Lobo Development, the entity that handles business development for the school, said earlier efforts primarily fell short of the mark due to a lack of a “comprehensive, integrated vision, and more importantly, a cohesive implementation strategy to address the significant infrastructure challenges of the area.”
If the area were to be fully developed, the new retail and commercial space could generate up to $516 million in tax revenue over the next 25 years.
The council vote means that school and city officials will be working together in the coming months to craft a precise development agreement within the confines of a Tax Increment Development Distract.
That district would allow for tax revenue coming from new developments on the South Campus to be used to pay for some infrastructure construction.
Once the agreement is completed, it will have to be reviewed and ratified by both the Albuquerque City Council as well as UNM’s Board of Regents.
By Garry Boulard
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