Progress report - Albuquerque Journal

Progress report

Gary Goodman had planned on having Winrock, the city’s first shopping mall, fully remade into a green, mixed-use development by now. It looks like that vision will take a few more years to be fully realized.

The 83-acre parcel has been in the rebuilding process since it was purchased by the Goodman Realty Group in 2007. Among the items on Goodman’s site plan that have yet to be completed: a 150-room hotel with several hundred adjoining residential units and a 2-acre park surrounded by more stores and restaurants.

Anthony Johnson, president of Pegasus Group LLC, the leasing agent for the property, said the completion of Goodman’s vision is tenant-driven.

“We have a few tenants that haven’t confirmed with us that are critical to the overall development of this project,” Johnson said. “Until we can pull the trigger on a big lease, we will not have the financing vehicle for the (planned) park.”

He said Winrock is in negotiations with a prospective tenant for the 60,000 square foot top floor of the former Montgomery Ward on the southeast side of the old mall.

Johnson said if he had to pick a completion date for the Winrock project, it would be 2023 or 2024, although he said, “It’s never really done.”

In the works now is a new street that will connect Louisiana Boulevard to the Regal Cinemas movie theater running through the middle of what was the old mall.

“This road also gives way to what we call more ‘streetscape retail,'” Johnson said. “We’ve actually begun to prep it, and once that street is in, then we will really be activating the park, which could be as soon as this summer.”

Plans for the center also continue to evolve. Johnson said there is discussion now of building two hotels, as well as an apartment complex at Pennsylvania and Indian School NE.

Darin Sand, vice president of development at Goodman Reality, said Winrock is behind schedule because of the state of the economy.

“Albuquerque is not the top city on many potential tenants’ lists unfortunately,” Sand said. “If Albuquerque were like an Austin, or a Denver, developing Winrock would be different.”

Sand said that when the plans for Winrock are finished, there is a good possibility that it could be a place visitors put on their list of stops when visiting Albuquerque.

Projects completed

An aerial view of the original Winrock Mall taken while it was under construction in 1960. (Courtesy of Darin Sand)

Parts of the former mall still survive intermingled throughout Winrock’s campus. For example, the men’s and women’s sections of Dillards remain in two buildings in the middle of the property, and Garduños and Macaroni Grill are still doing business in their original spots on the property.

The rest of Winrock is all relatively new, including a dozen new retailers such as Nordstrom Rack, DSW and T.J. Max. Winrock’s offering of eateries has also grown to include Firehouse Subs, Dave and Buster’s, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse and others. The space for a new Crackin’ Crab is being prepped in the southeast section of a new line of stores across from Regal Cinemas.

The two-story parking structure that began four years ago is complete and ready for use. Also new in the past year is the more-than 40,000 square foot Chuze Fitness center in the old Toys R Us building.

Regal Cinemas, one of the first big businesses to come into the new Winrock, has been open for more than six years.

Green initiatives

Winrock is still moving forward on several water and energy conservation initiatives that when completed will leave a green footprint through the mall’s campus.

Work has begun on a new road, which will be lined with stores, between Louisiana NE and the east side of Winrock. (Stephen Montoya/Albuquerque Journal)

Winrock already has a water recycling system at Regal Cinemas, providing water for irrigation. The plan, Goodman told the Journal four years ago, was for Winrock to grow its own fruits and vegetables that could be sold at a farmer’s market at a 2-acre park planned for the center of the property.

Sand said a section of the park-and-ride lot south of the Macaroni Grill will be used for a larger recycling system to filter runoff and gray water generated in the development for irrigation and a water feature at the planned park.

“We are looking to partner with the water authority to create a water treatment plant in the old park-and-ride,” he said. “After filtration, we would use the water to irrigate and also flush some toilets with it. We are really working to conserve water, so it can basically be used three times.”

Sand said construction of the treatment plant could begin in about 18 months.

“It’s beyond an idea; we’ve been working with the water authority for a couple of years on this project,” he said.

Another green component already in place is solar energy. The roof and awnings above the stores on the south side of the property, which was part of the original mall, has already been fitted with over 2,000 solar panels. Sand said the panels generate 78 percent of the power for the shops in that part of the building, and more solar could be coming with some of the future development.

Special tax district funding infrustructure

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