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"Big Box" Regulations

In recent years a number of Large Retail Facilities, commonly termed "Big Boxes," have been developed in Albuquerque.

These operations offer benefits to the community such as a wide variety of goods and service at lower prices.  These structures also have sometimes created problems related to traffic congestion, architectural scale, compatibility with the adjoining neighborhoods, light, and noise.

Large Retail Facility Ordinance


The Large Retail Facility Ordinance Bill No. C/S2 O-06-53 was passed (7:2) at the August 20, 2007 City Council meeting. The Ordinance applies to retail suites 75,000 sf. and greater (stand alone or within a structure), and addresses appropriate locations, roadway and transit capacity, street access, and appropriate design. The Ordinance does not prohibit big boxes.

The draft regulations are intended to implement several City policies related to:

  • compatibility with surrounding neighborhoods
  • creation of a high quality and attractive "built environment"
  • prevention of neighborhood cut-through traffic
  • pedestrian orientation and connectivity
  • use of transit

Development Phases of Large Retail Facilities

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Phase One

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Final Phase

The Ordinance provides for a transition over time from a more vehicle-oriented “big box” type retail development with large surface parking fields to finer-scaled, pedestrian oriented, mixed-use development, replacing surface parking with some parking structures, and producing a village center that is integrated into the surrounding neighborhoods.

This desired transition reflects development trends and is intended to create a better, more marketable, and higher use development.  The regulations will implement the goals of the Albuquerque / Bernalillo County Comprehensive Plan and the Planned Growth Strategy.

Large Retail Discussion

A video discussion by Councilors Benton and O'Malley about the Large Retail Ordinance is available for viewing. The video includes pictures of how the best features of Albuquerque's urban commercial landscape will come together through this ordinance.