ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After Walmart announced it would close the “underperforming” store at 301 San Mateo Blvd SE, near Highland High School, the City of Albuquerque revealed plans to try to acquire the property. The city now says it will start taking public input on a potential plan for the site, but it’s also admitting that it may not have enough money to buy the property.
New Mexico’s lawmakers gave the city $2 million to use for the project. In an update sent from the Office of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller Tuesday, the city says “the $2 million secured in the session is not enough to buy the property at market value.”
Jim Dountas, the senior vice president of CBRE (the real estate firm handling the sale), says there has been some interest from potential buyers. But Dountas declined to reveal too many details. He did say that they’re willing to entertain offers, including offers from the city.
With a ‘will they or won’t they’ deal potentially looming, local leaders are already planning on holding public input meetings to let residents have a say in what becomes of the 206,278 square foot building. The exact time and place of those meetings isn’t set yet.
“Generally, community development is decided by a handful of people. We have an opportunity to include a broader range of community here by including those who shopped there,” Enrique Cardiel said in a press release. Cardiel is the director of the Health Equity Council, a local coalition advocating for health equality.
The city says several local politicians are also continuing to work on the project. They include State Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-Abq.), State Representative Janelle Anyanonu (D-Abq.), Senate President Pro-Tempore Janelle Anyanonu (D-Abq.), City Councilor Pat Davis, and Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa.
“We’re working on redevelopment efforts in the International District that will help fill gaps in much needed resources and amenities,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said in a press release. “While the future of the Walmart property is undecided, we will work with the community no matter what to make investments that improve quality of life for residents.”