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2017 NAIOP Awards Recognizes Lobo Rainforest Building and Innovate ABQ

The New Mexico chapter of NAIOP, the national commercial real estate development association, held its annual Awards of Excellence event on December 1.  The awards recognize innovation and leadership in real estate development and building design.

Of the 60 building entries submitted for NAIOP’s Eagle Award, the Lobo Rainforest Building won in the multifamily category.  Eleven other new and renovated buildings also received Eagle Awards in other categories. Many of the buildings incorporated green features for improved energy efficiency.

Mayor Berry received the Chairman’s Award for his leadership in developing the city’s ART project, an electric bus rapid-transit system nearly completed along Central Avenue between Coors and Louisiana boulevards.  Mayor Berry, former UNM President Bob Frank, and Nusenda CEO and STC board member Terry Laudick also received the Cleve Matthews Vision Award for their work in establishing Innovate ABQ, the public/private partnership to develop an innovation district in Albuquerque.  The Lobo Rainforest Building represents the first phase of a multiphase construction plan for the core seven-acre site at Broadway Boulevard and Central Avenue.

To find out more, see Steve Sinovic’s December 4, 2017 article, “Awarding excellence,” from the Albuquerque Journal Business Outlook, reprinted below.

Awarding excellence: ART, Berry top NAIOP awards

By Steve Sinovic / Journal Staff Writer
Monday, December 4th, 2017 at 12:02am

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mayor Richard Berry and the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project were singled out for NAIOP’s Chairman’s Award in the commercial real-estate group’s annual Awards of Excellence.

Berry’s leadership in moving the controversial project forward and ART’s impact on the cityscape, economy and future development were spotlighted in the 21st annual program hosted by the New Mexico chapter of NAIOP, the commercial real-estate development association. The chapter also bestowed Eagle awards to recipients in 10 different categories as well as special accolades.

Described in the awards as “one of the most transformative infrastructure projects” by the city of Albuquerque, the $119 million bus rapid transit project, primarily funded by the federal government, runs down the middle of Central Avenue between Louisiana and Coors boulevards. The project was hailed by NAIOP as a game changer.

“The intent was to increase the utility of Central for everyone – buses, cars, pedestrians and bicyclists,” said NAIOP’s award presentation. “But ART is not only a business. It’s an investment in the very fabric of Central Avenue and Albuquerque.”

The project drew its share of controversy, with vocal opposition from some merchants and residents along the route concerned about the construction disruption, effects on parking and inconvenience for motorists.

Lynne Andersen, president of NAIOP New Mexico, said “You can’t ever diminish the angst” experienced by small-business owners along Central. She said the city reached out on many levels to mitigate the impact and inconvenience of the project – during and after construction. “The story is now that ART makes (Central) a better place for everybody, both residents and visitors,” she added, referring to the nine miles of improved roadway, and installation of lighting and fiber optics that will benefit existing and new businesses along the route.

Now nearing completion, the project also had a homegrown benefit for NAIOP members in Albuquerque.

ART brought business to the local office of HDR Inc., the engineering lead on the project. Dekker/Perich/Sabatini supplied all architectural and landscape services. Graphics and branding are by Studio Hill. The prime contractor was Bradbury Stamm Construction, and out of all the subcontractors on the project, only one was not local.

But it would be remiss not to talk about the star of the show – the bus fleet itself. “These buses are unlike any ever seen before in Albuquerque,” the award presentation said. They are all-electric, battery driven, through electric motors built into the driving wheels. So unlike diesel buses, they produce no heat, soot or sound.

Also on Friday, Berry, former UNM President Bob Frank, and Terry Laudick, CEO and president of Nusenda Credit Union, shared NAIOP’s Cleve Matthews Vision Award for promoting a public/private partnership focused on innovation.

“For the first time, academia, city government and the private sector came together to establish an entity to diversify our economy, support entrepreneurship and create the foundation for an Innovation District,” the award presentation said.

These efforts are centered in the newly opened Innovate ABQ Lobo Rainforest Building.

“The facility is the first step in an ongoing, strengthening bond between the three original entities, and a growing cohort of others who have a vision of an Albuquerque innovation ecosystem,” the award presentation said.

The Chuck Gara Community Leader Award was given to Brian Burnett of Bohannan Huston Inc., who was saluted for his extensive community involvement. The award presentation spotlighted his leadership in NAIOP and professional engineering groups. He also currently serves as vice chairman of the Presbyterian Healthcare Services board of directors. Another contribution was Burnett’s establishing the NAIOP Business Water Task Force “to ensure that the business community had a voice in the state’s often adversarial decisions about water,” according to the award presentation.

Cynthia Schultz, the outgoing NAIOP chairwoman, said many of the 60 entries submitted for consideration for this year’s awards are incorporating green elements in some capacity, even if they aren’t going for LEED certification. “The new builds, the renovations, are more energy-efficient. That makes good sense from a cost-savings standpoint” over time, she said.

Schultz, president of Bradbury Stamm, said she also noticed in the nomination documents that “nearly every one of them mentioned some window or natural light feature. “A phrase that I kept seeing was ‘floor-to-ceiling to glass walls,’ particularly in the office category.”

Of the 60 entries, 49 of the projects were finalists. The finalists that did not receive an Eagle Award received awards of merit.

Chairman’s Award
Jointly awarded to the Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project and Mayor Richard Berry. ART is the newest public transportation system along nine miles of Central Avenue. Seen as a catalyst for future urban redevelopment, more than 1,000 individual improvements have been made along the corridor, including a dedicated lane for electric-powered buses, new curb ramps, wider sidewalks, new landscaping and pedestrian crossings, and 100 new bicycle racks. All of it will be lit with more than 770 LED pedestrian and traffic-lane street lights. Berry’s strong advocacy of the project was also seen as pivotal to its implementation.
Owner: City of Albuquerque
General contractor: Bradbury Stamm Construction
Architect: Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Engineer: HDR Inc.

Vision Award
A trio of individuals are recipients of the the 2017 Cleve Matthews Vision Award. Bob Frank, former UNM president, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and Nusenda CEO and President Terry Laudick are honored for contributing to a public/private partnership focused on innovation. A centerpiece of their efforts is the newly opened Innovate ABQ Lobo Rainforest Building.