Galles Chevrolet, the last holdout among new-car dealerships that once lined Lomas east of Interstate 25, has purchased 9.2 acres at the southeast corner of Candelaria and I-25 for what a sign posted on the site calls “The Future Home Of Galles.”
Repeated calls to the Galles family seeking information about the land purchase and plans for the Chevrolet dealership were not returned.
The Chevrolet dealership, now headed by Rick Galles, has been at the northwest corner of University and Lomas since 1964. The family’s roots in the auto business trace back to 1908 when Rick Galles’ grandfather, H. L. Galles Sr., began selling cars in downtown Albuquerque.
The land at Candelaria and I-25 was purchased from Kiewit New Mexico, which completed the reconstruction of the Paseo del Norte and I-25 interchange in 2014. It was marketed at an asking price of $2,350,000 by Bill Robertson, Tom Franchini and Lori Roberston of Colliers International.
Galles Chevrolet’s current location at 1601 Lomas NE is on ground leased from the Sandia Foundation, an Albuquerque nonprofit charitable trust that benefits the University of New Mexico, Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., and local charities. The lease expires in 2022.
UNM has for the better part of two decades contemplated development of the roughly 60-acre corridor on Lomas, from I-25 to University, into what has been described as a “campus neighborhood” with a mix of land uses.
“The university still has an interest in assembling the land over the long term for the future development of our north campus,” Tom Neale, director of UNM’s Real Estate Department.
Concerning Galles’ purchase of the Candelaria and I-25 site, he said, “We’ve not gotten clarity of the Galles’ intent, whether it will be a relocation or a new concept.”
The Sandia Foundation did not return a call for comment on Thursday.
Lomas Boulevard was lined with new-car dealerships from the interstate to University in the 1990s, including Bob Turner Ford, Quality Pontiac-GMC-Buick and Melloy Dodge. All moved with the likely impetus being Lomas’ loss of direct access to I-25 during the Big I reconstruction completed in 2002.