ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There is a push for new development on Albuquerque’s westside, including a $150-million hospital.
However, developers want a financial boost from the city to make it happen.
Albuquerque’s Northwest Mesa has grown by about 43,000 people since 2000, according to the Mid-Region Council of Governments, but the westside still lacks job opportunities and healthcare services.
“What if you have an emergency out here? You know, you have to drive 30 minutes to a frickin’ hospital,” said westside resident Kaci Bailey. “It would be really nice to have a hospital out here.”
City Councilor Ken Sanchez is behind a push to bring a 56-acre Presbyterian hospital to the westside.
Presbyterian owns a smaller plot of land in the area now, but as part of the deal, Western Albuquerque Land Holdings would exchange land with Presbyterian, giving them a larger space on 118th Street and I-40.
The developer would build shops and restaurants in that area, and Councilor Sanchez wants to make it a Tax Increment Development District, or TIDD, to help pay for public infrastructure.
“TIDDs can be controversial at times but basically 75 percent of the increment on property taxes and gross receipt taxes would go into developing the 118th Street and the improvements there to be able to have the off ramp and to enter into the hospital,” Councilor Sanchez said.
Some spoke out against the idea at a council meeting earlier this month.
“Tax increment financing essentially becomes a subsidy to private developers at the expense of city coffers,” one woman said.
Councilor Sanchez points to assurances built into the proposed agreement, stating that if the hospital isn’t built in at least 20 years, then the deal is off and city money is protected.
In the face of a lot of unanswered questions, one certainty is more debate to come on the topic in City Council.
Councilors voted 7 to 2 on Monday, March 6 to pass a resolution that declared the intent of City Council to consider a resolution to form the Lower Petroglyphs Tax Increment Development District.
Councilors Pat Davis and Diane Gibson voted against the resolution.
After declaring the council’s intent, council members will later vote on a resolution to actually create the development district when more debates are expected to be heard.