University of New Mexico's plan for massive development project moves forward. Here's what's next. - Albuquerque Journal

University of New Mexico’s plan for massive development project moves forward. Here’s what’s next.


Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

The University of New Mexico is seeking to expand its Science and Technology Park and create a bustling entertainment district, in part through public financing for a quarter century.

The city and UNM, through its private, nonprofit Lobo Development Corporation, are in the process of creating a Tax Increment Development District, or TIDD, which would allow for future taxes to help fund the massive development project. The State Board of Finance is scheduled to take action on the request Dec. 20.

The districts allow for developers to collect a percentage of future gross receipts and property taxes to offset the cost of building public infrastructure, such as improvements to streets or sewers, for example.

The district in UNM’s south campus will also allow the developers to collect taxpayer money to cover the cost of a projected $136 million for building improvements planned at UNM’s Science and Technology Park.

Total taxes diverted to the TIDD are expected to be $336 million over 25 years, said Kelly Ward, the executive director of Lobo Development. The TIDD board, which is comprised of city and state officials and representatives from Lobo Development, would be tasked with taking that money and reimbursing the developer.

University officials envision bars, shopping, restaurants, a hotel and movie theater as well as a beefed up business park. Much of the district’s land is near University Arena and the other stadiums in south Albuquerque.

The district is comprised of mostly university and some city land that straddles University Boulevard from Basehart to Gibson. It’s about 337 acres, according to summary documents.

The improvements for the Science and Technology Park would also bring high-paying jobs to the area, UNM officials said. The city is projecting the revamped south campus will create about 4,000 new jobs and $4.2 billion in salaries over the 25-year life of the district.

“Our vision at UNM is to address critical community challenges. We do that … by building an educated, healthy and economically vigorous New Mexico,” UNM President Garnett Stokes said during a state Board of Finance meeting last month.

Justin Snyder, who works in commercial real estate, spoke against the TIDD during a recent County Commission meeting. The county board approved the district.

He said such development would give the university an unfair advantage over other commercial landlords, who pay property taxes while UNM doesn’t. That would allow the school to lease office space at cheaper than market rates.

“In the end, they’ll be leasing space that the taxpayers have paid for, and they’re taking the profit without ever paying taxes,” Snyder said. “UNM is pretty much selling their tax-exempt status.”

Ward said that the redirecting tax revenue is a wise investment for taxpayers, because the money will come from all-new taxes that don’t currently exist.

Iowa State, Oklahoma and Purdue universities are some of the other public colleges that have used public financing to develop their land into research parks.

“I think that the thing to emphasize is this is not raising taxes,” Ward said. “This is a slice of the new revenue that will come from the additional economic activity.”

Ward said some of the development would be taxable. For example, if a developer builds a restaurant or theater on UNM land, Ward said the building would be privately owned and subject to property tax. The university land, however, wouldn’t be taxable.

Members of the State Board of Finance last month questioned whether UNM would be giving away leases on the proposed site for less than other commercial property owners.

Teresa Costantinidis, the university’s executive vice president of Finance and Administration, said such a practice would violate an anti-donation clause.

“We are not permitted to provide discounts to private entities,” she said. “We will make sure that type of experience doesn’t happen here.”

Home » ABQnews Seeker » University of New Mexico’s plan for massive development project moves forward. Here’s what’s next.

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Grammer: When it comes to fans, the obnoxious few ...
ABQnews Seeker
Utah State guard Max Shulga showed ... Utah State guard Max Shulga showed class in his response to unacceptable taunts from a few Colorado State students.
Man critically injured in Santa Fe shooting
ABQnews Seeker
A man was critically injured after ... A man was critically injured after being shot in a Santa Fe apartment complex on Saturday night.
Three teenagers found dead in garage in Edgewood
ABQnews Seeker
Police said in a news release ... Police said in a news release there is no indication of foul play and it appears to have been carbon monoxide poisoning.
Man, woman killed in Hobbs hit-and-run crash
ABQnews Seeker
A man and a woman were ... A man and a woman were killed in Hobbs on Friday night after being struck by a vehicle while walking their dog, according to ...
Child, 10, allegedly sexually assaulted by foster teen at ...
ABQnews Seeker
The offices of the state child ... The offices of the state child welfare agency are used to house foster children despite New Mexico’s promise to provide them with appropriate homes.
Civilians fill in for sworn officers at Albuquerque Police ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said ... Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said he sees hiring civilians as "the forefront of the wave of the future." He added: "The civilians are ...
How close did Albuquerque come to a record-high temperature?
ABQnews Seeker
Temperatures in the Duke City reached ... Temperatures in the Duke City reached 63 degrees, said Jennifer Shoemake, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. That was the warmest ...
Study says New Mexico turning blind eye to several ...
ABQnews Seeker
A UNM study argues that the ... A UNM study argues that the state government, in its efforts to meet climate goals, stops short of requiring cuts to greenhouse gas emissions ...
5 things going on in Albuquerque this week
ABQnews Seeker
From hoops to a mid-week show, ... From hoops to a mid-week show, here’s what’s happening in the Albuquerque next week.