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Two acres of the north end of the University Stadium parking lot. This area could be the future site of a proposed sports restaurant.

Two acres of the north end of the University Stadium parking lot. This area could be the future site of a proposed sports restaurant.

District to target scores of Lobo fans

The Lobo Development Corporation is facilitating the project, which would cover approximately two acres and sit adjacent to University Stadium, The Pit and Isotopes Park.

The development of such districts is becoming commonplace in college towns across the country, said Tom Neale, director of real estate operations at UNM.

“This is one of those initiatives that colleges are getting into,” Neale said. “What we’re trying to do is stitch the University and community together.”

The goal, he said, is to create a lively setting in the heart of Albuquerque’s sports district to cater to the 1.6 million people who visit every year.

“We’re looking at things like live music and sports restaurants, a vibrant atmosphere,” Neale said. “We don’t want something that is run-of-the-mill, but something that is uniquely New Mexican.”

LDC recently released a Request for Proposal to restaurant and retail owners and developers in Albuquerque asking for potential development plans. The document states that LDC is looking for “local-affiliated restaurants, nightspots and entertainment venues,” and that local businesses will receive priority attention.

The land is currently a section of a parking lot that is used during sporting events. According to the document, parking for future businesses will be free unless there is a game or event going on at any of the three stadiums, in which case parking will be managed by event staff.

The document states that developers would profit from the complex, as well as “share in the long-term prosperity of the development.”

Proposals are due by Dec. 1, after which Neale said the ideas will be examined.

“We currently have a broad vision, so we will digest the proposals and take it from there,” Neale said.

John Traub, vice president and general manager of the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Triple-A affiliate for the Colorado Rockies, said the development would benefit the roughly 600,000 baseball fans that attend Isotopes games each season.

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“It would be great for this area of town,” Traub said. “Any time you can have economic growth it’s a positive.”

Neale said that they are considering the opinions and desires of UNM students as well. One student said a sports and entertainment district would be welcome.

“I would like to see restaurants and businesses that cater to a younger crowd,” said Christian Naranjo, a junior journalism and mass communications major. “I think the area could definitely benefit from a more lively environment, especially around the most notable stadiums in the state.”

The list of options for lively venues that air sports in the area is small. Restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings and Kelly’s Brew Pub are popular, but they are a mile or more away from LDC’s proposed site.

The site is just west of University Stadium, and across the street from Isotopes Park and The Pit. LDC’s Request for Proposal states that the area is identified by UNM as “land appropriate for ground leasing for commercial development.”

David Lynch is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @RealDavidLynch.


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