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Nob Hill considers a Business Improvement District

nobhilloneALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Building upon the brand identity of Nob Hill as safe, walkable and interesting is a big reason behind a push to establish a Business Improvement District and levy a tax on commercial property owners along a just over one-mile stretch of Central Avenue, said one of its proponents.

“Why are we distinct from everywhere else?” said Walt Arnold, member of the Nob Hill BID Steering Committee. “Build on that and I think, over time, the payback will be good.”

A BID requires the approval of 51 percent of the affected property owners through a petition. In Nob Hill’s proposed district, there are about 160 commercial property owners in the 44-block area straddling Central from Girard east to just past Washington.

The petition drive is underway. The steering committee plans to submit the petition, BID plan and letters of support to the City Council for final approval in October.

The proposed BID will be discussed Tuesday at an 8 a.m. breakfast meeting for affected commercial property owners at O’Neill’s Pub, 4310 Central SE. O’Neill’s co-owner Robert Munro, a supporter of the BID, is president of the Nob Hill Main Street organization.

The Nob Hill BID plan outlines raising $150,000 in its first year through a real estate tax on property values. When divided among 160 owners, the first-year budget works out to an average of $630 per owner. The plan says the minimum assessment would be $250 and the maximum would be $5,000.

“We tried to learn from things that didn’t go right Downtown and that’s why we’ll have a maximum amount,” Arnold said. “We tried to make it more palatable for the large property owners.”

The only existing BID in the state encompasses Downtown and is administered by the Downtown Action Team. The legality of its tax levy on commercial property owners has been challenged in an ongoing lawsuit in state District Court.

The Nob Hill BID would be administered by Nob Hill Main Street. With a small annual budget of $150,000, Arnold said the BID would be limited in what it could do. It would supplement services delivered by the city, not replace them, the steering committee says in a news release.

“It’s a stream of income,” Arnold said. “If we got some capital improvements funded by a grant – lighting in the alleys, small things you can do to improve walkability – the income could be used to maintain the improvements.”

Although Nob Hill’s commercial corridor extends just over a mile, it is somewhat divided in the middle where Carlisle crosses Central. The stretch west of Carlisle is what most people know as the trendy Nob Hill, while the stretch east of Carlisle is generally characterized as “emerging.”

“Part of the idea is to strengthen and enhance that (east) area,” Arnold said.