The modernization of the Albuquerque Convention Center was spotlighted Friday for its positive impact on the cityscape and economy at the annual Awards of Excellence luncheon of NAIOP, the commercial real-estate development association.
“The renovated center now reflects Albuquerque’s unique culture, enhances the city’s assets and helps meeting planners view Albuquerque as a ‘must-see’ convention destination,” said NAIOP’s presentation of its Chairman’s Award to the roughly $20 million, 300,000-square-foot remodeling project.
Conceived and built in the late 1960s in the so-called “brutalist” architectural style, the center’s bunkerlike exterior and dated interior underwent both a functional and aesthetic makeover, plus an expansion, in two phases. The project’s hallmark is the new main entry on the building’s west side facing Civic Plaza.
Overseen by the city’s municipal development department, the project team included lead designer Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, engineers Bridgers & Paxton and general contractors Gerald Martin Ltd. and Bradbury Stamm Construction.
Past winners of the Chairman’s Award are the reconstruction of the Paseo del Norte and Interstate 25 interchange in 2014 and Union Pacific’s new railroad facility, officially called the Strauss Yard, near Santa Teresa in 2013.
Also at the banquet, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority was recognized with NAIOP’s Vision Award for its environmentally friendly system upgrades, water conservation program and third-place finish in the American Water Works Association’s 2015 drinking-water taste test.
“Conservation plus surface water usage and a growing reuse program has resulted in rising aquifer levels throughout its service area — a situation that’s almost unheard of anywhere else in the Western U.S.,” the award presentation said.
Past winners of the Vision Award, which isn’t handed out every year, include Central New Mexico Community College in 2012 and Presbyterian Rust Medical Center and the Rust family in 2011.
Beginning this year, the Vision Award has been rebranded the Cleve Matthews Vision Award. Matthews was a driving force behind NAIOP’s growth from a handful of men meeting once a month to a major voice for commercial real estate that currently has 250 corporate members.
Attended by a capacity crowd of more than 500 people at the Albuquerque Marriott, NAIOP highlighted a couple of its own members including outgoing chairman Kurt Browning, who was described as a “legislative-savvy leader” during whose tenure membership returned to its highest level since 2007.
The Chuck Gara Community Leader Award was given to Bob Murphy, whose lengthy résumé as a developer includes the Sandia Heights and Ventana Ranch master-planned communities and whose public involvement has been extensive. He’s currently executive director of the Albuquerque Economic Forum.
The award presentation noted Murphy won a similar award 10 years ago but that, given the sea change in the industry since then, he continues to help to “shape a business voice for our city.”
NAIOP’s Eagle Awards are given each year to the top real-estate projects by category. Competition was open to projects completed between Jan. 1, 2014 and Sept. 1, 2015. There were 60 projects entered for this year’s competition, compared to 63 in 2014 and 72 in 2013.
Five of the nine category winners involved work on existing buildings, rather than new construction, which is the highest number in the past five years.
“Our product is getting antiquated — office, retail and other property types — so there’s more opportunities for expansions, renovations and remodels. It’s a case-by-case basis on whether they pencil out,” Browning told the Journal. “Is that good or bad, I don’t know. New construction contributes more to the economy.”
In addition, there was no award winner in the industrial category for the third time in five years. Construction of warehouses, manufacturing plants and other industrial buildings has been at a low ebb in the Albuquerque metro area for the better part of 10 years.
Here are the nine Eagle Award winners for 2015:
CIVIC/PUBLIC: The 6,000-square-foot Los Alamos County Nature Center, designed to be a sequence of experiences, was built on a canyon rim in a forested area where fire is a danger and winters are severe.
Developer: Los Alamos County. General Contractor: Klinger Constructors. Architect: Mullen Heller Architecture. Engineer: Wilson & Co.
EDUCATION: New Mexico State University’s renovation and expansion of a 1960s theater building into the 53,400-square-foot Pete V. Domenici Hall relied on Building Information Modeling, better known as BIM.
Developer: NMSU Regents. General Contractor: Jaynes Corp. Architect: Van H. Gilbert Architect. Engineers: Chavez Grieves Consulting Engineers, Isaacson & Arfman, Bath Group Inc.
EDUCATION RENOVATION: The 58,000-square-foot renovation and expansion of Wilson Middle School in the Southeast Heights was completed on budget while scheduling around activity on the approximately 545-student campus.
Developer: Albuquerque Public Schools. General Contractor: HB Construction. Architect: Huitt-Zollars. Engineers: Chavez-Grieves, Huitt-Zollars, The Response Group.
HOSPITALITY: The remodel of common areas and expansion of the ballroom at Santa Fe’s Eldorado Hotel & Spa involved a tight project area and intense activity in the middle of winter.
Developer: Guadalupe Hotel Investments. General Contractor: Klinger Constructors. Architect: Lloyd & Associates. Engineer: Bridgers & Paxton Consulting.
MEDICAL: A multi-year renovation and expansion of the ambulatory surgery center, which involved 18,400 square feet, improved health care for veterans at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque.
Developer: Department of Veterans Affairs, New Mexico VA Healthcare System. General Contractor: Faith Enterprises Inc. Architect: Hartman + Majewski Design Group. Engineers: Design Group, Quiroga Pfeiffer Engineering, Bridgers & Paxton.
OFFICE: Construction of an amenities-based 32,085-square-foot building at URENCO USA’s uranium enrichment plant in Eunice, built using the design/build process, created a courtyard environment.
Developer: URENCO. General Contractor: Jaynes. Architect: Dekker/Perich/Sabatini. Engineers: Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, Bridgers & Paxton, Pettigrew & Associates.
RENOVATION/REMODEL: A 50-year-old, 4,116-square-foot building on Central between Downtown and Old Town, last used as an auto shop, was transformed to house 5 Star Burgers restaurant and other uses.
Developer: Rembe Urban Design + Development. General Contractor: Insight Construction. Architect: Mullen Heller Architecture. Engineers: Walla Engineering, Tarleton Engineering.
RESIDENTIAL: The 106,307-square-foot, 151-apartment Silver Moon Lodge on the edge of Albuquerque’s central business district serves as a classic example of urban infill.
Developer: DBG Properties. General Contractor: DBG Properties. Architect: Dekker/Perich/Sabatini. Engineers: Enayat Schneider Engineering, Huitt-Zollars.
RETAIL: The 34,000-square-foot Violet Crown Cinema in Santa Fe, which was built on an extremely tight site at The Railyards, has 11 theaters, a total of 710 seats and a bar and restaurant.
Developer: Violet Crown Cinema. General Contractor: Klinger. Architect: Domiteaux + Baggett Architects, Hartman + Majewski. Engineer: Bohannan Huston.