It could happen.
The city’s Development Commission on Thursday voted to pursue negotiations with developer One Central Operating Associates, LLC for a project on city-owned land at 1st and Central, a space the city wants to turn into an entertainment hub.
One Central’s proposal calls for a $38.5 million mixed-use project on the 1.75-acre site that would include 39,000 square feet of commercial space, an additional four stories of apartments totaling 76 units and a four-level parking garage with more than 400 spaces.
Jerry Mosher, one of the partners in One Central, said the commercial space could accommodate up to 10 businesses and that his team already has begun discussions with several potential tenants, including a bowling alley operator, multiple restaurants, a brewery and a juice bar.
Many details must still be ironed out, since the proposed financing for the project includes the city’s purchase of the project’s parking garage for $17 million and possible incentives such as a gross-receipts tax abatement for construction costs.
While some commissioners raised questions about the many moving parts associated with the project, they voted that the city’s metropolitan redevelopment agency begin negotiations with One Central for development of the parcel in the hopes that process would yield more clarity.
One Central’s project was the only proposal the commission heard for the land. Only two groups submitted projects in response to the city’s 2014 request for proposals for the land, and city staff said an ad hoc committee determined only One Central’s met the standards.
Mosher — whose partners include Tony Pisto of Maranatha Construction and Dale Armstrong of TLC Plumbing & Utility — said the concept has been more than a year in development. He said it addresses the need for additional Downtown parking and creates some of the residential density needed to sustain more restaurants and entertainment venues in the area. He said the property would be pedestrian friendly and patio-laden with apartments designed with Millennials in mind.
“It’s a hard place to build something because it’s small and it’s right on the corner, but the design we have is so cool,” he said in an interview.
If negotiations are successful and the city gives the group the green light, he estimated the parking garage would take 14 months to build, while another eight months would be needed to finish the entire project.
The city has said the project is intended to complement Innovate ABQ — an entrepreneurial center being developed by the University of New Mexico, the city and others — which is just across the railroad tracks from the 1st and Central site.