Advisory Services Panel – Historic Rail Yards, Albuquerque NM

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Date: February 24–29, 2008

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Sponsor: the City of Albuquerque, theWHEELS Museum, and the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning

Chair: Christopher W. Kurz

Subject Area: Historic Preservation

Download Panel Report

Assignment:

  • How should the city capitalize on its assets and make the most of its community and economic development efforts?
  • How should the city prioritize its planning and development efforts?

Summary of Recommendations:

An ULI Advisory Services panel was asked to evaluate redevelopment opportunities for Albuquerque’s historic rail yards. Successful redevelopment of this area had the potential to unify the surrounding communities and the city. Complicating the redevelopment of the site were four nonnegotiable parameters, which included: 1) major historic buildings had to be kept and rehabilitated 2) WHEELS Museum had to have a location within a historic building 3) there had to be a mixed-income housing component, including at least 30 workforce housing units 4) and redevelopment had to benefit adjacent neighborhoods.

The panel decided that a large-scale, mixed-use redevelopment was appropriate within the context of the city, the neighborhoods surrounding the study area, and the existing business climate. Opportunities existed for various uses of the space, but an anchor use had to be established in order to attract visitors. The panel recommended that the city select an experienced master developer for the redevelopment process. Also, during the predevelopment stage, panel proposed that easements held by BNSF Railway be removed, environmental remediation of the site be completed, and that the creation of a special zoning district would be necessary. The panel stressed that marketing the site with an emphasis on job creation, economic development, and workforce housing would help entice public, private, and non-profit sectors into being a part of the project.

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