ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Work chugs along at the Innovate ABQ project on the northwest corner of Central and Broadway near Downtown Albuquerque. Tenants are starting to move into the seven-acre lot, including Central New Mexico Community College.
The idea is to create a complex for researchers and innovators, with everything from UNM student housing, to a cafe, bank and now CNM’s “FUSE Makerspace.”
The “FUSE Makerspace” will soon move into the former location of NoonDay, into a 13,000 square-foot building. The makerspace will house workshops, like 3-D printing, welding and electronic fabrication, available for students, entrepreneurs and even hobbyists to use.
“You’ll be able to come down on a membership basis work alongside scientists from AFRL, maybe from the labs, students from UNM, professors,” Mayor Richard J. Berry said.
The makerspace is just a fraction of all that’s excepted to eventually occupy the lot.
Nearing completion already is the Lobo Rainforest, which will primarily be UNM student housing. Robert DelCampo with the UNM Innovation Academy says the secondary spaces in the Lobo Rainforest are full, too.
“The tech transfer office for the university, STC.UNM, will be down here,” DelCampo said. “Air Force Research Lab, Nusenda’s going to have a presence as well, they’ll have a branch and there’s going to be a cafe that’s operated here.”
Next door, the old Baptist church complex will soon be gutted and redone. DelCampo says that will mainly be for more developed small and mid-size businesses.
The rest of the lot has yet to be locked down, but DelCampo says the plan is to get anchor tenants in. It’s a step-by-step process.
The end goal of the massive project is to help entrepreneurs thrive and stay in Albuquerque.
“We have an economy that’s built around government, which is a great blessing, we have the oil and gas industry in New Mexico…we need a more robust private sector,” the mayor said.
The lot where Innovate ABQ will go was purchased for more than $7 million. The total development, the mayor said, will likely come in at more than $100 million. The Lobo Rainforest alone comes with a price tag of $35 million.
The plan is eventually connect Innovate ABQ with the new “One Central” development underway at First Street and Central Avenue downtown.