The second phase of a $24 million mixed-use development on Albuquerque’s West Side is slated to move forward, with a public plaza and restaurant space in the works.
The Albuquerque City Council approved the site plan for the second phase of Nuevo Atrisco last week. The approval allows project developer Maestas Development Group to add 10,000 square feet of retail, as well as a 17,000-square-foot public plaza to the six-acre parcel at the corner of Central Avenue and Unser Boulevard.
Karen Iverson, manager of the city of Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency, said the project figures into the city’s plans to add density along the Central Avenue corridor by ensuring that residents of the property have easy access to food and entertainment.
“As we think about building density along the Central corridor, and using that Central corridor as a way to help alleviate the housing shortage, we also need to be plugging in and providing other amenities,” Iverson said.
The first phase of Nuevo Atrisco, which held its grand opening in February, converted a rundown parcel into an apartment complex containing 68 units of affordable housing, and 12 market-rate units. Iverson said the housing complements other recent city-led initiatives in the area, including a transit center and a library branch, and adds density to an area of the city dominated by single-family homes.
“The future of sustainable and affordable development really hinges on having dense housing along transit corridors,” Iverson said.
However, that portion has long lacked an abundance of retail options. An analysis from Colliers International showed that the area of the city that’s south of Interstate 40 and west of Interstate 25 had about one-third of the retail space that other parts of the city did as of 2019. Iverson noted that the parcel across the street from the apartment complex remains vacant.
“It’s been a struggle to recruit retail to this intersection,” Iverson said.
Iverson added that she’s hopeful having a local developer like Maestas will eventually help draw national developers to the area.
The city is targeting a mix of dining options, with space that will be aimed at sit-down offerings, along with hookups for food trucks. Iverson said the plaza will be used for a variety of public events, ranging from farmers markets to car shows. Under the agreement with the city of Albuquerque, the developer will be responsible for at least 52 public community programming activities per year.
“And we’re hoping that, as we see this site develop and be activated, that we will see the catalytic impact on the other side of the street,” Iverson said.