On Monday, March 28, UNM, city county, and Innovate ABQ leaders announced that the development plan for phase I of Innovate ABQ, the core site for the innovation district taking shape in downtown Albuquerque, has been approved by the Innovate ABQ, Inc. Board of Directors and the UNM Board of Regents. Site developers—Signet Development, Goodman Realty and Development, and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini—will begin construction on the first building at the northwest corner of Broadway Blvd. and Central Ave within the next six weeks. The building will house STC.UNM, academic space for the UNM innovationAcademy, a Nusenda Credit Union branch, café and fitness center on the ground floor. Floors 2-6 will be apartments for UNM innovationAcademy, upper-level undergraduate and graduate students. A completion date for the building is planned for August 2017. To read more about the press conference announcement, held by UNM President Robert Frank, Mayor Richard Berry, Innovate ABQ, Inc. Board Chair Terry Laudick, and County Commissioner Lonnie Talbert, see Kevin Robinson-Avila’s March 28, 2016 article, “Innovate ABQ prepares to launch construction,” Karen Wentworth’s March 28, 2016 article, “UNM announces ‘Live, Work, Play’ building for Innovate ABQ,” from the UNM Newsroom, and Matthew Reisen’s April 1, 2016 article, “UNM unveils phase one of Innovate ABQ,” from the DailyLobo.com, reprinted below.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Developers will break ground this summer on a six-story building at the Innovate ABQ research and development site Downtown, providing new, high-tech facilities for University of New Mexico programs plus five floors of student housing.
It’s the first planned building for Innovate ABQ at Central Avenue and Broadway, where UNM is working with the city, the county and private partners to create a seven-acre research and development district in the heart of Albuquerque.
The 160,000-square-foot building will open by August 2017 and cost $35 million. It will be located on the northeast corner of the seven acres, which UNM acquired in 2014 for Innovate ABQ. UNM and others began planning the project in 2013.
UNM has no upfront cost as the three-member development team charged with managing the first phase of Innovate ABQ’s site planning and construction – Signet Development of Ohio, New Mexico’s Goodman Realty Group and Deker/Perich/Sabatini – will pay for the new building.
The 160,000-square-foot building will open by August 2017 and cost $35 million. It will be located on the northeast corner of the seven acres, which UNM acquired in 2014 for the Innovate ABQ project that UNM and others began planning in 2013.
UNM will lease the facility back from the developers for 30 years and take responsibility for renting out student housing and maintaining and operating the facility, said Lisa Kuuttila, UNM’s chief economic development officer and head of the Science and Technology Corp., the university’s technology transfer office.
The university will pay $1.8 million a year for the first five years. Payments will then climb to $2.175 million, followed by 1.75 percent annual increases thereafter. After 30 years, UNM will take ownership of the building.
The Innovate ABQ board approved the construction March 21, and the UNM Board of Regents signed off March 22, said UNM President Robert Frank during a public event at the site Monday afternoon to announce the project.
“This has been our vision from the start,” Frank said in a statement. “We’ve been working with our public and private partners to bring our students and researchers together with entrepreneurs and innovators in an inspired environment that can spur economic development and create jobs that benefit all of us.”
The STC, which is now housed at UNM’s Science and Technology Park at University and César Chávez, will move into about 10,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the new building when it opens, Kuuttila said. The university’s new Innovation Academy, which offers students direct experience and real-world skills in entrepreneurship, will be housed next door to STC on the first floor.
The ground floor also will include a cafe and a branch of the Nusenda Credit Union, a partner in the Innovate ABQ project. The Nusenda branch will be managed with kiosks connected electronically to live tellers, Kuuttila said.
“We’re thrilled that after three-plus years of work we’ve finally gotten to this point,” Kuuttila said in an interview Monday. “We believe this first building will jump-start other projects, especially with the city building out its newly planned entertainment district across the street. All that is part of the Innovation District.”
The STC and the Innovation Academy, which now has about 270 students enrolled, will share some common spaces in the new building, such as conference rooms and areas for events and seminars. The sharing of spaces is intended to facilitate interactions among students in the Academy and the students, staff and entrepreneurs connected to STC’s technology transfer activities.
“It’s great for our students to be connected with what the STC is doing to commercialize new technology,” said Innovation Academy director Robert DelCampo. “That allows for more collaboration and sharing of ideas and resources.”
The upper five floors of the building will be used for 155 two-bedroom, two-bath student apartments, where students in the Innovation Academy and other upper-level undergraduate and graduate students will live, work and play. The apartments will be limited to one person per bedroom, creating space for up to 310 students.
“This extraordinary opportunity is a catalyst for our city, higher education and Downtown,” Mayor Richard Berry said. “This project will help the revitalization of Downtown Albuquerque by bringing UNM’s Innovation Academy and student housing to the Innovate ABQ site.”
Under the lease plan, UNM will not have to invest any money in the new building. “UNM will have a lease for the entire building,” Kuuttila said. “We don’t have to finance it, but we will manage it.”
The lease arrangement differs from UNM’s other off-campus student housing project at Lobo Village on César Chávez near Interstate 25. The private developer American Campus Communities built and opened that facility in 2011. It fully manages it, taking the risk for filling the apartments.
“This is different in that the university is working in partnership with developers on development and construction costs,” said UNM director of real estate Tom Neal. “In this case, UNM will be responsible for all operations and maintenance.”
But UNM expects little difficulty in filling the apartments, Kuuttila said.
“We know how to do that – we run a lot of student housing now – and the university feels quite comfortable with it,” Kuuttila said. “We feel it’s a good deal for UNM. It allows us to move forward with our vision for the Innovate ABQ site in a cost-efficient manner, which is especially important during this difficult budget time.”
Meanwhile, the Innovate ABQ developers and partners have decided to retain most of the First Baptist Church buildings that remain on the property, although they will tear down one section of those facilities. The rest will be remodeled into offices and other facilities, but there is no decision yet on when that work will begin.
UNM unveils phase one of Innovate ABQ
By Matthew Reisen Published 11 hours ago | Updated 15 hours ago
UNM has announced Phase I of Innovate ABQ: a “Live, Work, Play” space for students.
The UNM Board of Regents approved an agreement to build a nearly 159,000 square foot, six-story building on the Innovate ABQ property site on the northwest corner of Broadway Boulevard and Central Avenue.
“It’s going to create extraordinary opportunities for all kinds of UNM students,” University President Bob Frank said.
That includes students from a variety of backgrounds, including art and business, he said, giving them a chance to take their core areas of studies and apply them to the real world.
The ground floor of the new building will house office space for STC.UNM, academic space for Innovation Academy, a Nusenda Credit Union branch, café and fitness center.
The five upper floors will hold 155 two-bedroom living units that will be marketed to Innovation Academy students in addition to upper level undergraduate and graduate students.
“The kind of vibe we wanted to develop were these ‘live, work, play’ communities to have all of these elements,” said STC.UNM CEO and Chief Economic Development Officer Lisa Kuuttila.
STC.UNM works to create new innovative and technological opportunities for the local University area.
Kuuttila said the building has been a part of the development plan for Innovate ABQ from the beginning, after a study was conducted in 2013 to help envision ideas for the property usage.
From the survey results, importance was placed on student housing, incubation space and the Innovation Academy, she said.
“It’s been really an incredibly process to get to this point, working with all the different partners,” she said. “I’m so excited to actually see this coming to fruition now so it will be more real to our community and I think it provides tremendous opportunities for our students.”
Kuuttila said this first building also provides a way for STC.UNM to activate the long-developing Innovate ABQ property.
“It’s what I call the nucleus of the site,” she said. “Having activity on the site is really the best way to start things.”
Another benefit to the new building is that STC.UNM will be partnered with the Innovation Academy on the first floor, she said.
The Innovation Academy, assists students of any subject to add business and entrepreneurial skills to their credentials.
“Being co-located down there, we’re just going to have all kinds of opportunities for joint programming, events together and working with the students that are living there,” Kuuttila said. “I think it’s going to be really literally a huge jump in the amount of activity that emerges in the commercial sector by virtue of this.”
The project will also increase the density of the neighborhood just east of downtown, which has been a longtime goal of Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry, according to UNM Newsroom press release.
“This extraordinary opportunity is a catalyst for our city, higher education and downtown,” Berry is quoted as saying in the press release. “This project will help the revitalization of downtown Albuquerque by bringing UNM’s Innovation Academy and student housing to the Innovate ABQ site.”
The development group for the project, consisting of a partnership between Signet Development, Goodman Realty and Development, and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, will serve as landlord while UNM’s Board of Regents will be listed as the tenant in a 30-year lease on the building, according to the press release.
Frank said the plan is to start construction on the building in the next six weeks.
”It’s fantastic. We’ve come a long way in a pretty short time. From just a bare idea about three years ago to having the resources to put a building up and ready to go,” he said. “We’ve done well. It’s hard to get an idea as big as this together in that amount of time.”
The next step for Innovate ABQ will likely be to develop an incubation space, Frank said, which means people who have ideas they want to grow can have space where they can grow those businesses whether they are a scientist, artist or other type of entrepreneur.
“They need some place where they can bring their idea to fruition, we need to have that type of space and that’s the next step we’re going to take,” he said.
Matthew Reisen is the news editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyLobo.