For the first time in decades, developers are planning to build a brand-new hotel along Central Avenue complete with a skywalk linking to Presbyterian Hospital.
Before the project gets going, developers are also asking the city council and the mayor to approve another tax break.
Titan Development is asking the city to grant millions in metropolitan redevelopment bonds and a seven-year property tax abatement worth an estimated $3.2 million to build a new hotel near the corner of Central Avenue and Mulberry Street, just east of I-25.
Developers say the planned Marriott Springhill Suites hotel will be six stories tall with parking on the ground floor. The hotel would have about five floors and 118 rooms, a skywalk bridge to and from the Presbyterian Hospital, and a third floor dedicated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of New Mexico.
Developers outlined key details of the project to a few Albuquerque city councilors Monday during a meet of the Finance and Government Operations Committee.
“(The) skybridge will take you from the second-floor lobby of the hotel directly into Presbyterian hospital,” said Matt Lammers with Titan Development.
Councilors are now weighing a proposed incentive package for the project.
A first incentive would grant developers $26 million in metropolitan redevelopment bonds for the project. According to city staff, the developer would be the sole party at risk for paying back those bonds.
“The city is basically allowing the developer to use its bonding capacity, its authority to issue bonds, but the city never is on the hook for repayment of those bonds and no money ever is exchanged with the city directly,” said Stephanie Yara, director of city council services for the city of Albuquerque.
The second incentive would grant a seven-year period where the property owners wouldn’t have to pay property tax for the improvements made on the land the hotel sits on. That’s expected to save the developer about $3.2 million.
KRQE News 13 asked Mayor Tim Keller’s office Monday why the administration supports the project.
“Anything that is a catalytic project, that helps redevelop an area is important to the administration,” said Carmelina Hart, a spokeswoman for the city of Albuquerque’s Planning and Zoning department.
The Keller Administration says it’s OK with the proposed tax break, arguing the land is more valuable with a hotel compared to today’s empty dirt lot.
Today, the city says the property generates about $3,500 a year in value in property tax revenue. After the seven-year abatement period, the city estimates the property will generate an estimated $456,000 in property tax revenue.
“(It) will also bring in gross receipts tax and other forms of money that we will be making off of this property,” said Hart.
The deal comes as the city has also agreed to millions of dollars in tax breaks and other economic incentives for various building projects over the last few years.
City councilors overrode Mayor Keller’s veto to approve an incentive package for the TopGolf project in 2018. The city also signed off on incentives for the One Central building project at First Street and Central Avenue.
Downtown City Councilor Isaac Benton told KRQE News 13 he also thinks the hotel project is worthy of city support.
“This is in a key redevelopment corridor which is that part of Central Avenue,” said Benton. “It will help the area and the corridor to have the lodging option there.”
City council has yet to take a full vote on the proposed incentive package for the hotel. The vote is expected to come during a January 23 meeting.