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Commissioners Weigh Project

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Bernalillo County Commission on Tuesday will decide whether to move forward in a process that could bring 79 acres of commercial development to the South Valley.

The project, which is being called La Estancias, is being supported by commissioner Art De La Cruz, who represents the area.

De La Cruz said the project would bring in money from property taxes and potentially provide more than 570 permanent jobs. It would be located on Coors south of Rio Bravo in what is now an alfalfa field, which the commissioner said provides only a small amount of tax revenue to the county. De La Cruz said the property is currently zoned for commercial development, and has the potential to bring in more revenue in the form of property and gross receipts tax if developed.

De La Cruz said the project would include big-box retailers, restaurants, smaller stores and possibly a movie theater.

“We (the South Valley) are very much underserved when it comes to retail,” he said. “We’ve always wanted to have places around here to go and shop.”

On the agenda for approval is a “notice of intent” to adopt an ordinance that would allow the project to move forward. De La Cruz said the mixed-use development would provide construction jobs and when built, gross receipts taxes if retailers choose to locate there.

Developers Mike Mechenbier and Steve Maestas with SCM Property Company and Roy D. Mercer LLC, the site owners, are asking the county to make about $1.5 million in road improvements to the area so there can be better access, De La Cruz said.

The commissioner said the South Valley has not seen a commercial development of this size since the early 1990s.

“I believe there is a minority that will oppose this and who don’t want to see growth,” he said. “But it’s not good for the environment if you have to drive 10 miles to shop.”

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