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Out-of-state contractor overseeing Topgolf’s ABQ project

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Topgolf in El Paso. (COURTESY OF BAXTER IMAGING LLC)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Illinois-based ARCO/Murray will serve as general contractor on the controversial $39 million Topgolf project, the city’s Economic Development Department has confirmed.

ARCO/Murray and Topgolf have not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Topgolf, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is building an indoor golf entertainment complex near I-25 and MontaƱo, the site of the defunct Beach Waterpark. The company says it will create 132 full-time jobs at the facility in addition to more than 200 part-time jobs. About 300 jobs will be created during construction.

In June, Bernalillo County approved $250,000 in Local Economic Development Act funds and $1.5 million in gross receipts tax reimbursements for the project. In August, the City Council approved $2.6 million in incentives for the project over the veto of Mayor Tim Keller, bringing to company’s total incentive package to $4.3 million.

Council President Ken Sanchez has expressed strong support for the project and told the Journal he has “no problem” with Topgolf hiring an out-of-state firm as a general contractor. The company has told the city verbally and in filings that it plans to hire as many local subcontractors as it can, according to Sanchez.

“I feel very optimistic (about ARCO/Murray). They’ve built a number of Topgolfs around the country,” said Sanchez. “(Topgolf) has stated to me personally that the majority, if not all, of the subcontractors will be local.”

Albuquerque officials have been split on whether the project warranted more than a million dollars in incentives from the city. In a letter to the council explaining his veto, Keller said the project “does not reflect . . . the view that economic development projects should prioritize economic base jobs with benefits.”

“If we think of the Albuquerque economy as a pie, economic base jobs make the pie bigger,” wrote Keller. “In contrast, projects like Topgolf are more likely to just shift who gets a slice of the existing pie.”

In an interview with the Journal, Synthia Jaramillo, the director of the city’s economic development department, said Topgolf has long made it known to the city that it planned to use ARCO/Murray as the general contractor.

“We prefer local contractors all the way around (the project), but we’re committed to working with Topgolf,” said Jaramillo. “At this point, we just want to see it succeed.”

The department said Albuquerque-based civil engineering, land use planning and project management firm Tierra West has been retained by the land developer on the project. The Journal has not yet been able to confirm the exact nature of the arrangement.

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