ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – So far, the city says people have invested $300 million in building permits because of Albuquerque Rapid Transit.
Mayor Berry cites 13 projects announced since ART went into development. Hotel Chaco is one of them, and so is the Imperial Building, a Convention Center revamp, the Highlands by Presbyterian and One Central.
“The fact that we’re 20-percent done with the project and we’ve had $300 million worth of projects navigate towards that. At least, it tells me, the experts know what they’re talking about,” said Mayor Richard Berry.
Mayor Berry says he goes with what the experts tell him. That is, Albuquerque Rapid Transit will generate $2 billion in real estate investments over the next 10 years.
“I think when you talk to people and they tell you they made their decision, in part, because the transit line is coming in. That’s what we thought it would do,” said Berry.
He says that’s one of the reasons why he gave ART the go-ahead.
“It’s always been about smart, public investors that drive private sector investments,” said Berry.
“What I’ve noticed is Nob Hill was doing well and we were getting a lot of business and a lot of businesses coming in way before the project ever started,” said Tamara Mahboub.
She and her husband Gary own Nob Hill Furniture.
KRQE News 13 showed them the list of projects the Mayor credits with ART’s arrival.
“The Carlisle Condominiums? That actually was starting before,” Tamara said.
The couple doesn’t buy it. While the couple says developers may be investing in the corridor, they don’t see the benefits.
“I don’t see businesses opening here. I see businesses closing,” said Tamara.
“And we’re one of them. We’re going out of business. We’ve been here 25 years. We would have maybe liked to stay open but the ART project put the nail in the coffin for us,” said Gary.
“To have to close, it just breaks my heart,” said Tamara. “It just does.”
While Mayor Berry says ART is a big factor, he admits it’s not the only factor for attracting new developments. He says a change in zoning a couple years back also encourages growth.
“There’s never just a simple solution. It takes all of these investments. It takes all of these planning changes,” said Mayor Berry.