ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Developers behind the Winrock Town Center have landed a major new medical tenant they hope can help kick the mixed-use redevelopment project into high gear.
Goodman Realty Group says the Albuquerque-grown New Mexico Orthopedic medical practice has signed a lease to take up 68,000 square feet of space at the site, inside the former Montgomery Ward’s building.
Developers say crews are now in the process of remodeling the building, which will house around 250 employees from the medical group and up to around 700 patient visits a day, as the medical group plans to put its imaging services in the “lower-level” or basement of the building.
“People will start to see that Winrock is no longer an indoor mall,” said Darin Sand, the vice president of development for the Goodman Realty Group.
Developers have been chipping away at rebuilding Winrock for the last 12 years with the plan of making the former mall into a “mixed-use development,” with new retail, entertainment offerings, apartments and offices.
However, until now, Winrock has lacked much more than retail, entertainment and restaurants. New Mexico Orthopedics represents the first office-using tenant for the Winrock property. “(It) really opens this up for what we’ve always envisioned,” said Sand.
The work crews are doing at the old Montgomery Ward building can be best viewed from the Regal Cinemas movie theatre. Sand says the building will be completely transformed.
“The east side of the building here, envision the Orthopedic group taking the entire second floor, a main lobby with a very showcase entrance here with a canopy that the patients will drive under and drop off,” said Sand.
The medical practice currently houses most of its operations at the Presbyterian Hospital downtown. The group will take up all of the second floor, part of the first floor, and all of the lower-level of the Winrock site. “This should really kick (the Winrock redevelopment project) into high gear,” said Sand.
In the last year, retailers Sketchers and Men’s Warehouse; restaurants Crackin’ Crab, Burger 21 and Slapfish; and a gym, Chuze Fitness, have all opened at Winrock.
Having demolished much of the old mall, crews are now planning a roadway through the old mall site and a hotel to be built in the area soon.
Winrock developers hope that the addition of New Mexico Orthopedics as the first office user will attract the so-called “missing elements” of the sought live-work-play development.
“That’s going to make a huge difference to catalyze a lot a of other development,” said Sand. “We’re looking forward to bringing other medical groups and other medical users here on the site.”
Ultimately, Sand says it’s a sign that Winrock’s days as “just a mall” are history. “It’s not just a mall. I know that’s people’s perception and has been ever since the ’60s, but this is a new era with mixed-use development,” said Sand.
Winrock’s big designs also call for a park to be built in the middle of where the mall used to be. Developers say that’s still about 18 months away from getting started.