ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – New buildings could start popping up in downtown Albuquerque as soon as the end of 2015 if everything with Innovate ABQ goes as planned.
For years, the City of Albuquerque has been trying to turn downtown into a hot spot. Right now, the area is filled with vacant buildings and few attractions, but that could soon change.
Innovate ABQ, a group which includes officials with the city, county, University of New Mexico and private investors, just released images of what downtown could look like in the next few years.
“People would definitely come around if it looked that way,” said Jason Anaya.
The area would be filled with new businesses, living spaces, restaurants and parking.
It’s all part of a project to try and connect UNM to downtown and make it a buzzing corridor.
“This is an attractor for businesses, for entrepreneurs, for individuals to Albuquerque from other parts of the country,” said UNM’s Chief Economic Development Officer Lisa Kuuttila.
The project is molded after the University of Florida in Gainsville. Its innovation square has everything from start-up companies to luxury apartments and hotels. The hope is to create a similar hub in Albuquerque to boost job creation, keep UNM graduates and attract businesses.
“A rain forest in the desert we are calling it where we all work together in a highly interconnected way which inspires more and more innovation and entrepreneurial activity,” said Kuuttila.
With more activity comes more opportunities.
“It would help the community. Seriously, there are a lot of people who need jobs,” said Anaya.
The project is expected to cost more than $150 million and would go through four phases in several years.
The first phase of construction could start as soon as December.