ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – You may have noticed that the Winrock Mall is getting a major facelift, but in the mix of all of it, the developers have built something massive that looks like it’s taking over the site.
It’s not flashy, but it’s very hard to miss. An enormous mountain of dirt has sprung up in the middle of Uptown on the Winrock site.
The mound has left some people wondering where it’s all going and how long it will be there.
“I’m not sure what’s going on,” said a woman taking the I-40 Louisiana exit on Monday, noticing the large dirt pile.
For most people passing by, the site of the Winrock in Uptown is not what they’re used to seeing.
“You know I just figured it was part of the construction,” said one man to KRQE News 13 on Monday while looking at all of the dirt.
It’s obvious to almost anyone who’s driving I-40 past Uptown; The Winrock Mall is now in the shadow of a massive dirt pile. In some places, the dirt pile almost looks like it could be a brand new freeway off ramp.
Timelapse video from crews building the Winrock shows how quickly it’s grown over the last two months. What started at the same level as the parking lot, the dirt pile has now grown enormous. At its peak, the pile is estimated to be about 30 feet tall.
While it had some people asking questions Monday, the dirt pile was a clue to others that Winrock is building a large parking garage. According to the city of Albuquerque, the parking garage will have about 1000 spaces in it.
In the meantime, construction crews are saving every single bit of the dirt. Some of it is tall enough to come close to the top of a few parking lot lamp posts.
“It’s a good thing for Albuquerque and good thing for the area,” said Gilbert Montaño with the city of Albuquerque.
Mayor R.J. Berry’s Chief of Staff, Montaño says the city has been expecting the dirt pile for a long time. Developers have told the city that all the dirt will be reused near the garage and other places.
“Basically level off some of the elevations for other pad sites specifically across the street from the target shopping center and some of the southeast corner area,” said Montaño.
So far, the city says it hasn’t gotten any complaints about the dirt, or heard any concerns about the dirt blowing away.
“Most of the feedback we’re getting is awesome, I’m glad something is happening, it’s cool to see cranes moving,” said Montaño.
Developers didn’t return KRQE News 13’s call on Monday, but the city says they’ve been told the parking garage will be finished at the end of July. By then, Montaño says the city is expecting to see the dirt pile start to shrink.
Some of the Winrock’s new stores are expected to open in 2016, including a Designer Shoe Warehouse and a Nordstrom’s Rack. The Winrock’s developers estimate that the entire project including a hotel, plaza, new stores, and an apartment complex will be finished in 2018.