ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A study is revealing what a new arena at the state fairgrounds could look like and where it could go.
Expo New Mexico General Manager Dan Mourning said Tingley Coliseum at the fairgrounds is too small and outdated to bring the big-name acts to Albuquerque. The thought here is that a more inviting arena that seats more people will draw more big-time events year-round.
“Obviously, we already have an arena here, but is that the best? That remains to be seen,” Mourning said. “All these big acts — they’re actually coming to Albuquerque — they’re just stopping at Love’s and grabbing a burrito and moving on through.”
A couple of years ago, the State Fair hired Populous, an internationally known arena designer, to study the idea of building a 15,000 seat arena at the fairgrounds.
The study shows three potential arena designs, showcasing desert colors and modern landscapes.
Additionally, there are five possible locations for it on the grounds, including options near Central, another off San Pedro, and another on the same spot as Tingley Coliseum.
Mourning, however, said this long-time idea is still in the early stages.
“They’ll be further studies, I’m sure, to see which is the best location,” he explained.
The cost of similar-sized arenas, like the one in Wichita, Kansas, can run a couple hundred million dollars, and that’s on the low end.
“I think the discussions need to be had about what exactly can be done, what are the different options,” Mourning stated.
Of course, this would be a state project but could benefit the city.
The mayor’s office said it will support whatever decision Expo New Mexico makes. Expo New Mexico paid Populous a little under $60,000 for the study.