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Developer eyeing mixed-use venture on Alameda

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The developer of a project under way in Albuquerque’s Barelas neighborhood is eyeing a vacant four-acre site for a possible mixed-use venture at Alameda and Rio Grande boulevards.

A Zydeco 66 development official said the venture, called Orchard on the Alameda, is in the pre-planning stage and calls for retail and residential spaces on a 4.3-acre chunk of land.

“This is very early on in the process,” said Andy Wilkinson, Zydeco development coordinator. He said the Santa Fe-based company will hire a firm soon to conduct a market feasibility study before moving forward with any kind of build-out. The land is owned by Richard Yates, principal of Zydeco, the real estate development and management firm behind the $4.5 million Zocalo Lofts mixed-used project taking shape on the 500 block of Fourth Street in the Barelas neighborhood.

“Zocalo has come to the forefront of our priorities” for the next year, said Wilkinson.

Located at the northeast corner of Alameda and Rio Grande boulevards in Albuquerque’s North Valley, Orchard is described as “a unique combination of residential live/work homes, loft condominiums and retail shops,” according to the Zydeco website.

As envisioned, Orchard on the Alameda would encompass 22,100 square feet of retail space “thoughtfully placed in nine stand-alone buildings ranging in size from 850 to 6,300 square feet.” Two of the buildings feature second floors. In addition, Wilkinson said “four or five individual house lots” are part of the proposed build-out, with the residences accessed via individual driveways off a paved private road.

Yates, who is also an architect, said the development will be a pedestrian-friendly environment “so people could stroll, shop and linger in a relaxed manner.” The small village design will be enhanced by a lush landscaping plan with a significant number of trees — even an orchard along Alameda Boulevard, a heavily traveled commuter route with 40,000 vehicles passing by the site each day.

Yates said Bernalillo County and surrounding neighborhood associations have been apprised of the proposed infill development. “There is very little commercial development in this part of Albuquerque’s North Valley,” said Yates.

“We wanted to be sensitive to the residential neighborhoods and the county’s requirements, and provide a project that would deliver value to both retailers and consumers,” he said on the website.

Once the feasibility study is completed and if the developer decides the project is viable, Zydeco will determine a ballpark cost, make architectural drawings available and then seek planning approvals, said Wilkinson.

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