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Baby supply to defense contracting: ABQ space to get new life

An aerial view of the former Babies R Us store at 45 Hotel Circle NE. The retail store will be converted into an industrial space for the engineering firm Verus Research. (Photo courtesy of Resolut RE)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Verus Research, an Albuquerque-based engineering firm, is set to move into a new research facility located in a former big-box store this fall, according to the company.

Verus, which already operates several facilities in the city, will renovate the former space of Babies R Us at 45 Hotel Circle NE into a 41,240-square-foot research and office space with plans to keep the other facilities and office spaces open, the company wrote in a statement announcing the move.

“Our expansion will provide room for offices, team collaboration centers, testing facilities, equipment and product storage, large open laboratories and 10 program-specific laboratory stations all under one roof,” managing director and CFO Hank Andrews said in the statement.

Verus Research works on research and development of lasers, nuclear engineering and electromagnetic technology, and has landed numerous defense and government contracts, including a $15 million army contract it secured in early March of this year.

According to the company, the conversion of the retail space into an industrial and office space was spurred in part by the lack of available industrial inventory in Albuquerque.

An NAI SunVista report from January found that the industrial real estate market for the fourth quarter of 2020 had a vacancy rate of 2 to 3% with a record low rate of 2.24% by the end of the year.

Other companies, like Goodman Realty Group’s remodel of an entertainment venue into an industrial building, have also followed the reconversion trend by changing the use of former big-box stores.

“To meet the growing needs of Verus Research, we had to creatively look at the problem and find the right space to accommodate the company’s expansion in Albuquerque,” Rob Powell, principal with Resolut RE, said in the statement.

Resolut RE worked with Verus Research to find the space.

Improve Group, Design Plus Architects, Gardenswartz Realty and AIC General Contractor also worked with the company to convert the space.

Construction on the facility is slated to begin this week and will be completed by August.

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