A prime piece of real estate in the heart of Albuquerque is about to be transformed. The Water Utility Authority is about to turn the now vacant land into its headquarters.
“We’re standing on the site of what will be the Water Authority’s new operations and maintenance facility and our new customer care facility,” said Water Authority public information officer David Morris.
It’s a 163 acre property owned by the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) near I-25 and Montano.
“Our existing water treatment plant is back here,” said Morris, showing a map of where the new development will be located.
Thirty of the acres are still undeveloped, one of the largest patches of dirt remaining in the center of Albuquerque. Soon, it will be the Water Utility Authority’s new home.
“This is a fairly large plot of land,” said Morris. “But it needs to accommodate a lot of infrastructure.”
The Water Utility Authority said the $17-$20 million office complex will save them hundreds of thousands of dollars on rent. Right now, ABCWUA is housed in buildings around town.
“We’ll be consolidating several different satellite facilities that are spread around town and bringing them all here to one centralized location,” said Morris.
In recent years, the Water Utility Authority has been hiking up rates in order to repair and replace aging water and sewer lines; but WUA said those rate hikes are not paying for the new headquarters.
“That obviously will be coming out of our capital budget,” said Morris. “No rate increases will be required to accommodate this, this is part of the budget.”
In an effort to be environmentally friendly, car ports in the parking lots will be covered by solar panels.
“Construction proper will probably begin next spring,” said Morris.
A big chunk of the land is occupied by gravel pits. ABCWUA owns that property too, but leases it out to Vulcan. There are no plans to develop those gravel pits.