ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Too much land, not enough use. The city is trying to figure out how to make more money off The Sunport and its 2,500 acres of property.
“The airport owns a lot of property and Albuquerque is growing again, so for new businesses, we have new space tech that’s coming into town and new businesses that are looking to relocate to Albuquerque,” said City Councilor Pat Davis.
Councilman Davis is sponsoring a resolution to adopt a new Sunport Master Plan to breathe more life into the sprawling airport. One idea is adding more hangars to draw more air cargo companies.
The plan also includes expanding a vacant business park along Gibson and Girard. Another location is atop the old landfill along Sunport Boulevard between Yale and University, which is a prime location for businesses near the airport.
Under the current rules, anything on Sunport property has to involve aviation. The new plan would change that, with the idea that hotels and restaurants can also build closer to the airport. Davis says there’s even hope for a grocery store.
“What you’ll see in this new plan is about the airport growing sort of on the edges, what people will see on Gibson or I-25 when they start to see more commercial business parks, but all of those are going to be generating revenue to support the airport so that taxpayers don’t have to subsidize it,” Councilman Davis said.
The Sunport has struggled to reach the passenger levels it saw before the recession a decade ago. Although, officials say passenger activity has gone up each of the last three years, jumping by nearly 9 percent last year alone.
The city will also look at what changes may be necessary for the terminal and runways over the next 20 years to handle Albuquerque’s growth.
The city has been meeting with neighborhood groups to address traffic and noise concerns. Some of those neighbors told the city it’s time to fix up Yale Boulevard, calling the gateway into Albuquerque an eyesore.