City Councilors Isaac Benton and Debbie O’Malley plan to introduce legislation to ask voters whether the City should move forward with building the proposed Event Center Complex. The Complex is slated to include a 550-room headquarters hotel, a 10-11,000 seat Events Center, retail and residential development, and a tie-in to the Convention Center and Rail Runner station at the Alvarado Transportation Center.
It is estimated that financing for this approximately $400 million publicly-owned Complex will require an increase of 1/8 of a cent in city gross receipts tax – or an addition of roughly 12 cents to every $100 purchase made in the City.
Earlier this year, Councilors Benton sponsored legislation funding a due diligence review of the project’s cost, financing, and effects on the City and region. After an initial review of the feasibility reports and studies, Councilors Benton and O’Malley believe that the project will boost the local economy by allowing Albuquerque to compete with other Cities for attractions such as large conventions, concerts, and regional sporting events, create jobs, and represents an important investment in Albuquerque’s future.
“There are multiple reasons why this project will benefit all of Albuquerque and New Mexico,” said Councilor Benton. “Because of the Rail Runner and transit connections, the Complex will have excellent regional access and increase opportunities for tourism and redevelopment. This project will provide a much-needed economic boost to the city as a whole.”
“Like it or not,” said Councilor O’Malley, “we are in the convention tourism business; I believe that it makes fiscal sense to reinvest in and upgrade our Convention Center in order to remain competitive with cities our size. This complex is much more than a sports center, and will provide much needed exhibit space for conventions.”
However, both Councilors also recognize the challenges in launching a project of this size given the current economic climate.
“This project represents a significant new investment in our City by Albuquerque’s taxpayers, and that’s why it’s important to ask the voters whether this investment is right,” said Councilor O’Malley. Both Councilors Benton and O’Malley feel it is also important for the City to work with the State to secure financial commitments in support of the Complex.