The recycled containers are the first of eight that will house several local businesses come early summer. Roy Solomon, the developer of Green Jeans Farmery development, said he is excited to bring something entirely new to Albuquerque.
A third of the one-and-a-half-acre piece of land will be dedicated to the businesses within the shipping containers, and the rest to a small portion of parking. That was partly why the lot stayed vacant for so long, he said: it’s such a small piece of land to work with. Part of the land needs to be accessible to the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority and the easements underground.
Despite the dearth of developable land, Solomon said the location should prove advantageous. The property is located right off of the bike path and is surrounded by several hotels, not to mention its easy access from the highway.
Bryan Pletta, owner and manager of Stone Age Climbing Gym, said he is excited to see the empty lot developed.
“It’s been this weird, funky dirt lot for a long time, and you kind of wonder if anybody is going to do anything with it,” he said. “It’s a really exciting project.”
Pletta said the variety of produce Green Jeans hopes to produce is great given the age group that the gym caters to. The core member age is 20 to 30 years old.
Joe Gallegos, director of sales at the Hampton Inn across from Green Jeans Farmery, said many of the guests went out throughout the crane party to check out the excitement. The hotel runs at about 80 percent occupancy for the year with a 126 rooms, he said.
“A lot of people come through this Cutler entrance,” he said. “This is a high-traffic area.”
With eight shipping containers — five on the ground and three on top — the site will host several big-name and local businesses, Solomon said. Santa Fe Brewery will be the primary anchor at the site, and will also be Albuquerque’s first Santa Fe tap room.
Other businesses including Bocadillos, Rockin’ Tacos, Phat Burger, Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria, Epiphany Espresso and eventually a bicycle shop, will also call the location home.
Solomon has a vision for adding other retail shops above — and even, maybe, a gym.
“The goal is to have a nice mix of retail along with the (other businesses),” he said.
Each of the businesses will benefit from the others, he said. Santa Fe Brewery will not serve food, but will allow customers to bring in outside foods. The shipping containers will all be connected by a large courtyard.
All but the Santa Fe Brewery Tap Room will act much like food trucks. The businesses will operate store front only with no inside dining, Solomon said.
Silas Sims, the Albuquerque sales representative for Santa Fe Brewery, said Santa Fe Brewery is the oldest brewery in the state but has lost some of its presence. Albuquerque consumes the most beer in the state.
Though Santa Fe Brewery has the largest selection of sour beers in the state, it is only available in Santa Fe; however, with the new location customers will be able to sample them as well as the small batch brews made every Saturday.
Upon seeing the containers placed, Sims said, “I love it. It’s been a long time coming.”
Gabriel Amador, owner of Amore pizzeria, said he drives by every day to check on the progress of the site, and with the first containers in place he has grown even more eager.
At the crane party, Amador served some of their fresh, homemade mozzarella.
Although it may seem premature to be opening a second location only 20 months into the business, he feels confident that the new location will cater to a broader audience, he said.
“The reason I am doing it is because of the location and the spot that’s available with Green Jeans,” Amador said. “It’s just the premise of the whole thing; it’s a really cool project, and I was really excited to be a part of it.”
He looks forward to working with other local businesses that are passion-driven.
Eric Garcia, co-owner of Epiphany Espresso, said he was pleased to see everything coming together.
At the stand they served mocha popsicles, a test run of what they hope to sell upon opening. Many of their products will come from local businesses.
“We think this is going to be a destination for Albuquerque. It’s going to compete with Uptown and Nob Hill, and it’s close to both,” Garcia said.
Eventually, the business wants to serve wine and be open at later hours, he said.
Brian Lock, owner of Santa Fe Brewery, said this is something he has been looking forward to for the last three years.
In his research he found that many of Albuquerque’s tap rooms have good relations with food trucks, both benefiting from the customers. He wanted something similar and was intrigued by Solomon’s idea for ‘kiosk’-like vendors next door.
Moriah Carty is the news editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MoriahCarty.