ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Regents on Tuesday approved a major land development deal that will bring restaurants and retail to the University of New Mexico’s south campus.
The vote, 6-1 with only Regent Gene Gallegos dissenting, means UNM will now move forward with Fairmount Properties, of Cleveland, on determining the value of the lease of three parcels of land totaling nearly 50 acres off Avenida César Chávez and University SE.
In a separate motion, regents also approved a commitment to spending up to $10 million on providing infrastructure. The money would likely come from the UNM Foundation, the university’s private fundraising arm, regents said.
The development of the barren land, which is surrounded by Lobo Village, the apartment-style housing home to about 900 students, and The Pit, which has 1.3 million visitors a year, has been several years in the making. UNM also has other offices in South Campus.
The process got started in 2007, when UNM picked a developer after putting out formal requests for proposals. But when the economy crashed in early 2008, that developer pulled out. The university again tried attracting a developer in 2010, but received zero proposals after putting out another request.
UNM’s Lobo Development Corp, a non-profit organization that handles the school’s real estate transactions, then started working with Forest City Real Estate Services, an Ohio-based consultant that helped asses the value of the land. The company also helped develop a strategy to attract developers.
Forest City Real Estate Services pre-approved four firms early this year. After a second review process, the Lobo Development Corp. picked Fairmount Properties, of Cleveland.
The deal went before the regents’ finance and facilities committee last week, but members passed on approving the deal and instead sent it straight to the full board of regents.