Monday, May 5, 2008
3rd Phase of ABQ Uptown Includes Hotel, Offices, Shops, Condos and Parking Structures
By Richard Metcalf
Copyright © 2008 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer
Quorum, the moniker of Hunt Development Group’s final and arguably most ambitious phase of its ABQ Uptown development, is designed to capture a densely developed and stylishly designed mix of uses.
Included in the $100 million project are a seven-story hotel, offices for both lease and purchase, shops, residential condos and extensive parking structures on the now-vacant 7.5 acres bounded by Louisiana, Indian School and Uptown Loop NE.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind piece of dirt,” said Trent Stafford, a Hunt vice president in charge of the project. “You can do things here you couldn’t pull off anywhere else in this market.”
The name of the third phase— Quorum— follows a “Q” theme established in the opening phase of ABQ Uptown, the lifestyle center with its chic stores and restaurants. The center has a tower with an illuminated Q on top. (Q also serves as a trendy slang abbreviation for Albuquerque.)
The second phase of the project, ABQ Uptown Village, has 198 apartments just west of the lifestyle center on the north side of Indian School.
Still under construction, the apartment project should be ready for tours by potential tenants in late May, said Terri Brown of Southwest Real Estate Advisors Inc.
The first tenants are expected to move in in June, said Brown, whose company will manage the apartment complex.
Almost a half-million square feet
Quorum, at a total of approximately 490,000 square feet on three blocks, would be the most dense use of land outside of Downtown, Stafford said.
Hunt Development’s goal is to begin construction late this year or early 2009. The roughly $100 million project would take about two years to build, Stafford said.
The first major component of the third phase would be a two-level underground parking structure that would take up roughly half of the site. The structure would have about 530 spaces.
The preliminary ground-level layout shows five buildings, a plaza and a park. One of the lifestyle center’s main thoroughfares, Q Street, would be extended south into the Quorum phase.
The highest-profile building would be a seven-story, 152,000-square-foot hotel near Louisiana and Uptown Loop.
A hotel that size would have about 200 rooms. Negotiations are under way with a hospitality company to own and operate it.
Two mixed-use buildings are also proposed:
A two- and three-story building with up to 80,000 square feet of offices. The ground floor of one wing in the L-shaped building would be used for retail.
A five-story building at the corner of Indian School and Uptown Loop would have some retail on the first floor and its own parking. The top three floors would have about 95,000 square feet of residential condos. Condo owners would have access to a rooftop swimming pool above a second-floor parking level.
The final phase would also have two restaurant buildings, both single story, along Louisiana.
Hunt Development plans to seek approval of a Tax Increment Development District to cover the cost of the parking structures.
A TIDD is an incentive for private development of a designated area that meets a local government’s land-use goals and objectives.
A TIDD works by diverting a portion of the gross receipts and property taxes generated in the designated area from government coffers to a special fund to pay for infrastructure improvements.
Hunt will seek approval of its proposed TIDD from the city, county and state, Stafford said. Details are still being worked out.
City Councilor Sally Mayer, who represents Uptown, said she expected city approval of the TIDD because the Quorum project is urban infill— one of the goals of the TIDD program.
Vacant for just more than 20 years, the property currently generates no tax revenue, “but a lot of dust,” she said.
The southeast corner of Louisiana and Indian School NE was home to Monroe Junior High School from 1952 to 1974.
Albuquerque Public Schools closed the school due to commercial development and traffic congestion in Uptown, but continued to use the building until mid-1987.
The property was sold to a private development company, which tore down the building in 1988 and then defaulted on its purchase.
APS regained ownership of the land and, in early 2002, sold it to Hunt Development.
Hunt plans to submit its proposed development plan to the city Environmental Planning Commission in June.
Mayer said the proposal, with its residential condo component, conforms with the current Uptown Sector Plan.
Adopted in 1995, the sector plan says past ideas for developing the Monroe site included a 400-room hotel and 500,000 square feet of office space.