ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A high-profile piece of the city’s plan to bring downtown back to life is dead in the water. The developer behind the project, which included a sky bridge over the tracks, has pulled out.
The Rail Trail Project is going to look different than originally planned. A key piece, the $6 million Springer Square Skylink Bridge, was going to give people an easy way to cross the tracks by the convention center. The city, which promised to pitch in $1 million, said current market conditions and rising construction costs have undermined the project.
The news is disappointing to downtown business owners. Alex Espinosa owns Novel Point Coffee. “It’s a misplanning. It definitely happens but I think it’s truly tragic to see something so big and grand get shut down like that. I think it really brings people’s hopes up and then really comes down to a big crash,” he said.
The project also called for the developer to spend upwards of $20 million more for up to 140 apartments or hotel rooms on the neighboring parking lot along with space for shops and restaurants. Now, the city’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency is working with developer Zydeco 66 to explore other options to add needed housing downtown.
Espinosa shared, “We’re still seeing some struggles. We definitely haven’t seen Albuquerque downtown come to life as we wanted it to; as we expected it to. We’re really hoping for a better future.”
Just a few blocks away, across the tracks in the heart of downtown, we’re still waiting to see if another big project the city backs will get off the ground. It’s a seven-story building called ‘Elevate’ which developers pitched to the city almost five years ago and got the green light for millions in tax breaks.
That project also included a makeover of the Bank of the West Center. News 13 called the developer to see if this is ever going to happen but has not heard back.