ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There is a push to build a shopping area in a booming part of Albuquerque where there really aren’t many places to shop or eat: the Southwest Mesa. However, opinions are mixed on the idea.
People on this side of town say there are a lot of neighborhoods, but not a lot of businesses. A developer is looking to put a marketplace here, and officials say this side of town is where the city is primed to keep growing.
The Southwest Mesa’s development has been a unique process. “We have a huge population on this side of town and unfortunately as it was developed lots of commercial spaces became residential and we lack some of the same commercial space and commercial businesses that many areas of the city have,” says Klarissa Pena, city councilor for District 3.
Pena says this created a situation where people have to travel too far to shop or eat. “People are just really, for lack of a better word, really chomping at the bit to have new businesses come to the area because of that long need for services close by,” Pena says.
Now, a developer is trying to build a ‘marketplace’ on the corner of Unser Boulevard and Sage Road. There are no details on what it would include, aside from a drive-thru restaurant. The Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) is recommending approval of this new marketplace.
People in the area tell News 13 they have mixed opinions. “I’m not real happy about it because it encourages an entity that I’m not real happy with; the type of people that will show up there and things that other places are having problems with as well. The homeless and the people that just don’t have nothing else to do,” says Tonja Roman, who lives nearby.
“I would think that would help the area because we are kind of far from all the other places and having one right there close would be nice,” says Nick Archuleta, whose daughter lives nearby.
“We have just a Walmart there on 98th and Sage, and we have Smith’s right there on Coors and Central. So it’s not that far, but maybe some people who don’t have the ability, don’t have a car just on bike or on foot, that would be nice to them,” Roman says.
News 13 reached out to the developer to find out what the timeline might be for this project, but we did not hear back. That two-mile stretch of Unser from Bridge to Dennis Chavez only has two businesses—a Walgreens and a drive-thru cafe.