ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A development company is proposing grandiose new plans for Albuquerque's old Winrock Mall including a massive rock-climbing wall, indoor scuba diving and indoor skydiving.
"Wouldn't it be incredible if you're parking your car and there's a guy in a (scuba) tank looking at you as you're parking?" said Gary Goodman, who heads the company that owns the sprawling shopping center in Albuquerque's Uptown district.
Construction on the project is set to begin this summer or fall, he said.
"We should see a substantial amount of activity over the next several months," said Goodman, CEO of Goodman Realty Group.
At its busiest, Winrock was home to more than 100 shops, department stores and restaurants. But the vast majority of businesses moved out shortly after plans were announced to transform the indoor mall into an outdoor shopping and entertainment complex.
The tough economy slowed things down, however. But now financing has been secured to begin work on the initial phases of construction, Goodman told News 13.
The first phase includes a 16-screen Regal Cinemas movie house, complete with an IMAX theater. The cinema complex will sit at the east end of the property.
Along with the IMAX plans also include building the tallest rock-climbing wall in the Southwest, indoor skydiving and wakeboarding facilities, a zip-line, a super slide, and the largest indoor scuba tank in the nation, which is slated to sit next to a future parking structure.
But don't expect any of those extreme sports facilities to materialize anytime soon, he said. The rock wall, the scuba diving, skydiving and wakeboarding facilities will all come in the future, depending on the economy, Goodman said.
"We have to get all the retail, office, residential uses in place; then you can do something like that," Goodman said.
Even though difficulties securing financing stalled the project, Goodman said work on the mall's transformation has never stopped. The planning and the prep work continued.
"We've been anything but idle," Goodman said.
Letters of intent have been signed with a handful of retailers who will be new to the Albuquerque market, Goodman said. The total cost for the project is about $650 million, a huge feat in difficult times.
"Lenders are there," Goodman said. "But they're moving very slowly, very cautiously. So everything takes longer to accomplish."
The new Winrock will also play a role in attracting major employers to the Albuquerque area, Goodman said. The mall developer has already made pitches to several companies looking to move their corporate headquarters.
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