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Pueblo corp. going big on 12th Street development

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This rendering by Studio SW Architects shows the retail development planned around the existing Starbucks across from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. (Courtesy of Studio SW Architects)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It started with the state’s biggest Starbucks.

Now the pueblo-owned corporation developing the land across from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is about to go big again.

With the Albuquerque City Council’s approval last month of an updated development plan, the corporation expects to continue with what could ultimately be $95 million more worth of work on the 46-acre tract along 12th Street between Menaul and Indian School. That would include finishing the first phase of retail that started with last year’s mega-sized Starbucks, adding another round of retail, creating a second level of parking over the existing lot and building two office buildings.

“This gives us the green light to move forward with the rest of the development,” said Dwayne Virgint, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Indian Pueblos Marketing Inc. The for-profit entity is owned by New Mexico’s 19 pueblos and is meant to generate revenue and economic opportunities.

It will be several years before the entire vision is realized, Virgint said. But finishing the first phase of retail, which is slated to include a two-tenant, 6,000-square-foot building north of the Starbucks and an 8,000-square-foot building northeast of the cafe, should happen by next year, he said.

Virgint said he expects some of the infrastructure work, like interior roads with names like Pumpkin, Parrot and Eagle in honor of pueblo clans, to begin in January. He said it should dovetail with the city’s 12th Street improvement project.

The city has a multi-phase plan for about $7.3 million worth of upgrades to 12th between Interstate 40 and Menaul, including the addition of a southbound left turn lane at Indian School and a roundabout at 12th and Menaul, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Municipal Development. The city has not released a construction timeline yet.

“It’s going to make it really user-friendly for residents, commercial tenants and, of course, visitors,” Virgint said of the city’s plans.

Indian Pueblos Marketing is working with commercial real estate brokers Ed Anlian and David Kleinfeld and has letters of intent out with two potential tenants for the forthcoming first-phase retail properties. It’s already starting to look toward the second retail phase.

Speaking to real estate professionals he gathered at the property earlier this week, Anlian said the plan is to bring in restaurants, soft goods retailers and service providers. He touted the area for its existing activity — about 500,000 people visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center every year, he said — and location.

“It really is becoming the center of town,” he said.

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