ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Editor’s note: This story was updated this morning to include final action by regents. The action includes a different rent-escalation clause than previously reported.
University of New Mexico regents voted unanimously this morning to approve the development plan for the parking lot of university stadium.
Development group 54 development was given the go ahead to draw up official peaking and construction plans for one acre of the lot at avenida Cesar Chavez and university.
The project will include bars, restaurants, retail and socializing space.
Developers will pay the university about $75,000 annual rent with a 10 percent escalation every 5 years for 40 years with an option to continue to 60 years. The group will also give the university 2 percent of retail sales from the site.
The area will be a “festive fun environment,” said Paul krebs, Athletic director for the school.
The University of New Mexico has moved closer to building an entertainment district on its South Campus after regents on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a 25,000 square-foot restaurant, bar and retail development plan.
The private development is set for one acre in the far northwest corner of the seven-acre parking lot at University Stadium on Avenida Cesar Chavez and University.
Paul Silverman, a member of the 54 Development LLC team behind the project, told the UNM Finance and Facilities Committee the development will “transition the massive parking lot into what will create a new, dynamic center in Albuquerque and the state.”
Regents on the committee voted unanimously to approve leasing that portion of the parking lot to the group, and the full regents board is expected to approve the plan during its meeting Friday.
Under the agreement, the development group will lease the land for between 40 and 60 years, paying the university $77,000 a year in rent, with a 5 percent annual increase, plus about 2 percent of sales revenue generated on the site.
“We expect 1.2 million people there, and that is just with the events currently scheduled,” Silverman said, adding the facility also aims to bring additional events to the area.
The plan already has been approved by Lobo Development Corp., a private, nonprofit corporation affiliated with UNM and created to diversify the school’s revenue stream.
“It will … add energy and an excitement and will enhance what we and the Isotopes are trying to do in that area,” said Paul Krebs, UNM’s athletic director.
Food and beverage services at the development will be handled by the company owned by Ken Young, a managing partner of the Albuquerque Isotopes, Silverman said. The contract grants WisePies Pizza & Salad a non-compete clause for pizza sales at the property.
One of the bars will be named Urlacher’s after Lobo football superstar Brian Urlacher.
The building will be U-shaped with a plaza, two stories of restaurants and bars and several very large television or projection screens.
“They are really what energizes the facility,” Silverman said.
Silverman and his group started brainstorming their plans this summer after UNM’s first attempt at developing the space fell through.
At that time, Silverman said his group’s preliminary estimates for how much they would put into the project was about $6 million. There was no discussion of how much they would invest in the project at Thursday’s meeting.
The group must get its detailed plans and parking plan approved by regents before construction begins.
“We think it’s worth it, and if it helps the university, it helps us,” Silverman said.