Officials want to build new arena on state fairgrounds

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Officials say they are finally wrapping up a study to potentially build an arena in one part of the Albuquerque metro.

“They’ll bring the Bruno Mars, the Lady Gaga, but you gotta get more than 11,000 seats that we have here at Tingley,” said Dan Mourning, General Manager of Expo NM.

EXPO New Mexico is now in the final stages of conducting a feasibility study on the construction of a new arena on the state fairgrounds.    

General Manager Dan Mourning says it’s something they’ve been working on for years as they look into various aspects of building an arena.

“Determine what size of arena. What could be coming into New Mexico? Is it a sports thing? It’s not just concerts. What other national shows are out there?” said Mourning.

Mourning says the push for a bigger arena comes after they noticed top tier acts “passing through” New Mexico and playing at cities that can accommodate large stage productions.

“They don’t want to be in something that is too small that they can’t get their staging in,” said Mourning.

He also says they’ve already seen artists having to scale down their performances, like Panic! At The Disco, who just recently performed at Tingley Coliseum.

“They have a floating piano. We weren’t able to do that because of the ceiling height. There’s no arena in the state that can do that. We were the best option that they had,” said Mourning.

Mourning says he’s already had conversations with large scale promoters like Live Nation, who say this is something they’re interested in.

The study is looking to address that, plus seat 15,000 people.

“State of the art type technology, the right ceiling, clear span, no poles,” said Mourning.

Mourning believes the state fairgrounds are the perfect location.

“We have 236 acres. We have a great property to work with. The parking is already there. I spent eight years building infrastructure, the power, water, and sewer,” said Mourning.

Mourning says Albuquerque needs to capitalize on its central location, sandwiched between cities like Denver, Pheonix, and Dallas.

“They need this market. Understand within a 100-mile radius with the fairgrounds over 967,000 people reside,” said Mourning.

He also says that means the benefits from the trickle-down effect that would come with an arena are endless.

“Bringing businesses and economics that they’ve not had before. It could be a face changing part of this part of Albuquerque and New Mexico. Everyone benefits from it,” said Mourning.

Tingley Coliseum has been around since 1957, and Mourning says they’ll wait until the new one is built before considering tearing it down.

Officials say the study will cost around $100,000 when all is said and done. It will be also be completed in a few months.

Mourning says it will then be presented to the city of Albuquerque, but says in the end, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will have the final say.

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