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Local restaurant to open Downtown eatery

Workers are finishing a new Downtown Albuquerque retail center, the future home to a new concept from the owner of a popular local Mexican restaurant.

The new building, near 6th and Lomas NW, is expected to be completed by the end of January, according to Vanessa Valadez, leasing representative from Peterson Properties LLC, which purchased the property in 2017.

A Downtown retail space under construction at 616 Lomas NW will house a restaurant run by the owners of Cielito Lindo. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

The building contains 3,625 square feet of leasable space, which can be used as one contiguous space or leased by multiple tenants, Valadez wrote in an email. Peterson is still advertising the property, but German Peña-Rodriguez, the owner of Cielito Lindo, signed on to the project when it was originally announced.

Cielito Lindo opened on San Pedro Drive SE in 2012, before expanding into a second location on Albuquerque’s West Side, at Central and 52nd NW.

Peña-Rodriguez told the Journal he plans to include a mix of old favorites and new concepts at the new location. He said he plans to include Mexican dishes such as shrimp tacos and other mariscos that have been popular at Cielito Lindo’s first two locations, while adding traditional New Mexican dishes like sopaipillas and enchiladas. He said he is still trying to decide whether the new location will also be named Cielito Lindo.

Downtown Albuquerque has long struggled to attract and retain commercial operations. Commercial real estate group CBRE reported Downtown had a commercial vacancy rate of 23% in the first half of 2019, the highest rate among the 13 subsectors included in the study.

Still, Peña-Rodriguez said he is excited about the new space. He cited the development’s location – specifically, its proximity to a few state and municipal buildings – as part of the lease’s appeal.

“I just feel like there, we’re gonna do good,” he said.

Assuming the building is completed on schedule, Peña-Rodriguez said he hopes to open the restaurant by March.

Valadez wrote that the company is still seeking other retail-focused businesses, including other restaurants, to fill the rest of the space. Prospective tenants may contact Peterson Properties at 505-884-3578.

Dry cleaning company bringing stores to ABQ

Albuquerque will soon be home to a new national chain of dry cleaners, one that claims a business model designed to disrupt a static industry.

Customers drop off clothing at a ZIPS Dry Cleaners location. The dry cleaning company offers same-day pickup for all clothing dropped off by 9 a.m. (Courtesy of Zips Dry Cleaners)

ZIPS Dry Cleaners, which operates franchise locations in 10 states and Washington D.C., has reached a development agreement with Patel Cleaners LLC, a group of Albuquerque-based businessmen, to open at least five locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe over the next several years. Pranav Patel, one of the partners on the project, said ZIPS appealed to him because the company has addressed some of the common annoyances that go along with taking shirts and pants to the cleaners.

“We’re frustrated by the model,” Patel said.

Rick Rozelle cleans the windows at 616 Lomas NW, a new Downtown Albuquerque retail space. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Patel said he and his partners, who own and operate several other retail franchises around the city, said the idea to establish a chain of dry cleaners occurred to them during their own experiences going to the cleaners, where they grew frustrated by some stores not posting prices online or in a convenient place in storefronts.

“That’s really no way to transact anything these days,” Patel said.

Rather than use a tiered pricing system where different items are cleaned for different prices, Patel said, ZIPS dry-cleans every garment it receives, from dress shirts to wedding dresses, for the same price: $2.49.

Additionally, ZIPS offers same-day pickup for any item dropped off by 9 a.m.

“You need those clothes back; you can’t wait a week for them,” Patel said.

The New Mexico stores will also feature an area where customers can drop clothes off while the store is closed.

Patel declined to give specific locations for the new stores but said his group is considering space in the Northeast Heights for a full-service location and is looking to add a drop-off location along Coors. The group’s first store is expected to open by the middle of the year.

Longer term, Patel said he hopes to have four or five locations in Metro Albuquerque and one or two in Santa Fe in the next two or three years.

“We want to be in every major trade area,” he said.

Stephen Hamway covers retail and real estate for the Journal. You can reach him at or by phone at 505-823-3919