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South campus project to be delayed

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The new project expected to bring restaurants and retail to the University of New Mexico’s south campus has seen a slight delay.

Regents on Monday approved a 30-day deadline extension for an agreement on the value of about 50 acres off Avenida César Chávez and University SE, with Ohio-based Fairmount Properties, the developer chosen to build the project. Fairmount will lease the land from UNM and develop numerous restaurants, shops and other establishments.

UNM partnered with Fairmount in December, establishing a 60-day deadline to agree on the value of the lease.

“The problem is that over the Christmas break, everybody got behind so they couldn’t get it finished until late last week, so the regents haven’t had a chance to look at it,” regent Jamie Koch said.

Fairmount delivered a first draft of the agreement on Dec. 15. According to a UNM report, the school reviewed it over the winter break and sent back a revised version on Jan. 25. UNM then met with Fairmount in person a few days later to discuss the lease.

“This meeting was very productive, many key provisions were discussed and conceptual agreement was reached on almost all issues,” the report states.

Still, there’s not enough time to meet the Feb. 18 deadline for an agreement.

Koch said on Wednesday that the delay is “no problem.”

“We didn’t take into consideration the Christmas break and New Year’s and all that stuff, and it threw everybody behind,” he said.

The deal is being handled by Lobo Development Corp, the university’s nonprofit in charge of handling real estate transactions. Koch is a member of that board.

UNM has for years tried to develop the land around the Pit and Lobo Village, the apartment-style housing that’s home to about 900 students. In December, regents approved a contract with Fairmount and a commitment to spend up to $10 million on infrastructure, such as streets, lighting and curbs. That money likely will come from the UNM Foundation, the school’s private fundraising arm.

The project will take about five years.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal