UNM halts plans for 'College Town'

Posted at: 06/25/2014 5:57 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Jackrabbits living near the UNM Arena can relax – at least for a while. Albuquerque’s stuck-in-a-rut economy is forcing the university to put the brakes on plans for an ambitious restaurant and retail development plan for the area.

UNM’s partnership with Ohio-based developer Fairmount Properties has dissolved into the dust of the still-vacant land set aside for development near Lobo Village, where nearly 1,000 students live.  Much of their land is next door to the legendary Pit, where thousands howl for the Lobos. It seemed like a sweet deal, but businesses never warmed up to it. University developers told our news partners at Albuquerque Business First that nobody wants to pay enough rent to cover the costs of site development and construction.

On campus, students expressed disappointment.

“It would be cool for the community, especially after games,” said Criminology major Taylor Engleman. “I feel like that would be the time to go, so that’s too bad.”

“I personally think that would be neat down there,” said Music major Alex Harden. “Since I don’t live on campus it doesn’t really affect me as much, but I think that would be neat if we had something like that down there.”

Loboland developers say the dream isn’t dead – it’s only sleeping. UNM plans to develop some of the sites on its own. There’s been a lot of talk about a sports bar and grill that would involve Lobo legend and NFL superstar Brian Urlacher, and we’re told that idea is still alive and kicking.