Albuquerque mayor unveils plan to revive downtown

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s a project with a $23.5 million price tag, all funded by the city lodgers tax.

“Those dollars will be continually flowing in as tourism continues to stay where it is, so these are new dollars because the economy is on the up-swing,” said Mayor Richard Berry.

There are four different parts to the plant. The most noteworthy is turning the east building of the convention center into a 10,000 seat arena.

“We can bring people from all over New Mexico, all over the region to Albuquerque for sports tourism,” said Berry.

At a cost of $5 million. That’s a sliver of what the city was looking at spending a decade ago for this arena.

City council will have to sign off on the idea. Councilor Isaac Benton, who represents downtown, is all for it. He thinks the location will give it an edge over other arenas like the Santa Ana Star Center

“Rio Rancho has an arena out there somewhere. This is going to be in the center of the metropolitan area. That’s what it’s all about,” said Benton.

Civic Plaza would also get a makeover with a new shade structures and a water fountain.

“Everybody likes a water feature, so do I, and so do our team members, so we’re going to look at about $2 million to upgrade the fountain feature in Civic Plaza,” said Berry.

The biggest cost is $15 million toward the new entertainment district at first and central, including a parking garage. The latest ideas are to revive downtown like so many other American cities have already done.

“Now, our competitors have vibrant downtown’s, we got to have one too,” said Berry.

The mayor hopes to have everything done two years from now.

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