ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you’ve driven near Carlisle and I-40 recently, you’ve probably noticed the old water park is no longer there. Demolition of the building started about two weeks ago. “There’s a lot of opportunity for the land,” said the Vice President of Operations for Rhino Investments, who bought the property back in 2016.

So far, they’ve turned the old hotel there into apartments with 290 units, which they say are mostly occupied. As for the old water park, there are plans to turn the 2.3-acre site into a center with food, retail, and possibly a convenience store, calling it a prime location in the city.

“You have 209,000 cars a day between, on I-40 alone, and then another roughly 40,000 cars a day going on Carlisle. So, traffic is phenomenal,” said Anthony Johnson, President of Pegasus Retail, the brokerage for the property.

In an area with a history of problems with loitering and camping, the vacant building proved to be a target for squatters and vandals. But with successful businesses like Rudy’s BBQ nearby, and Whole Foods expanding just across the freeway, project leaders hope this new development continues the momentum.

“There’s just a ton of activity in the intersection so as this continues to gentrify, this will be a phenomenal corner,” said Johnson. Property owners also have plans to re-do the rest of the old hotel and turn it into retail space.

“We’re excited to see the next step here. We’re hopeful we’ll be able to see something that will really bring some good things to the community but also be the next stop for the community to be able to come and enjoy,” said Wall.

They hope to have the new retail center open for business within 18 months.