ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, long a place to eat and learn about a unique part of New Mexico history, is now seeking to be a place to hone new trades, head to work, shop or possibly enjoy a brew.
Indian Pueblos Marketing Inc., the for-profit development wing of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, has plans to build a new 130,000-square-foot office building on the northeastern edge of the Cultural Center’s campus, along with a new retail center along 12th Street NW.
The cultural center also plans to add an “innovation center” – a business incubator focused on agricultural, food production and other skills.
This development is in addition to a new hotel under construction on the campus, which will join the recently renovated Holiday Inn Express that’s already open.
Mike Canfield, president and CEO of the cultural center, said the new developments, which are expected to cost a combined $70 million, reflect an effort to shift the cultural center into more of a destination for residents and visitors alike.
“We were a pretty well-kept secret here in town,” Canfield said.
The center opened in 1976, years after the 19 pueblos purchased the property, which had once housed the Albuquerque Indian School, as a way to create a meeting place for the pueblo people while educating visitors about pueblo culture, Canfield said.
Across the road from the cultural center, Indian Pueblos Marketing oversees businesses like Laguna Burger, and Dominos Pizza in Avanyu Plaza. Monique Fragua, vice president of commercial operations for the center, said expanding office and retail options gives them a chance to attract additional visitors.
“I think it creates a district, it creates a community that’s centered around culture and art,” she said.
Canfield said the new $12 million retail complex is slated to break ground in January, and will include three storefronts totaling around 46,000 square feet. The developers have not announced any tenants, but Canfield said the space could be a good fit for businesses ranging from cell-phone companies to restaurants.
“We could see a taproom or a brewpub or something like that,” he said.
Canfield added that construction on the three-story office building will begin during the middle of next year. The pueblos are targeting federal government agencies to use the building, with potential relocations coming from elsewhere in New Mexico and the country. All told, Canfield said he expects the new building to house around 300 employees.
The first round of new development is already underway. The 92-room Marriott-brand hotel broke ground on the campus late last year, and Canfield said he expects it to open by December, giving the campus two hotels with 200 total rooms.
On the nonprofit side, the center is planning to tear down two buildings north of the cultural center next month to build the new innovation center. The 16,000-square-foot building will have space for a commercial kitchen and a small farm, and will offer classes on topics like financial literacy and business planning, Canfield said.
Canfield expects the new developments to help transform the campus into an area where visitors can live, work and play.
“It’s changed so much in 20 years, and the next 20 years are going to look completely different,” Canfield said.