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Local Developer Picked for Grocery

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The city of Albuquerque plans to negotiate with local developer Geltmore LLC to bring a small grocery store to the Downtown core.

The grocery — 6,000 square feet — would be operated by the owner of P’tit Louis Bistro, a French restaurant nearby. The store would offer baked goods, a deli, produce, cheeses, frozen food and household essentials, the city said.

It would be on the ground floor of a four-story building that would also include 61 apartment units, plus space for retail.

“We hope this grocery store is a catalyst for the revitalization of our cherished Downtown,” Mayor Richard Berry said in a written statement.

The Albuquerque Development Commission approved the Geltmore selection Thursday. Paul Silverman, chief executive officer of Geltmore, is a member of the development commission, but he recused himself from the decision, said Gilbert Montaño, Albuquerque’s deputy chief administrative officer.

The other two proposals up for consideration came from local developers Rob Dickson of Paradigm and Co., who redeveloped the old Albuquerque High School, and the owner of G Mart, a convenience store.

Montaño said the Geltmore proposal was attractive because it had a commitment from someone who will operate the grocery store.

The city hasn’t committed to any specific incentives yet. That will be worked out under a development agreement still to be negotiated, Montaño said.

But Berry started the process by suggesting the city would provide an acre of land it owns at Second and Silver SW as the “carrot” to interest developers. The land, worth about $575,000, could be sold to the developer or rented or leased, Montaño said.

The hope is that construction can begin in six months to a year, Montaño said. The grocery will be about half the size of a Trader Joe’s, he said, and will offer all the basics, though perhaps not as many different brands and varieties as a larger store.

Montaño said the store will be a “full-service” grocery, but it may be “French-leaning” in some of the foods that are offered.

The apartments above will be “market rate” studio or two-bedroom units, he said.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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