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Albuquerque Rail Yards Redevelopment

Project Contacts

For Questions About the Master Development Plan:

Petra Morris
[email protected]
(505) 768-3161

For Questions About the Implementation of the Master Development Plan:

[email protected]
(505) 924-3356

Notice of Meeting

The Rail Yards Advisory Board (RYAB) will meet on Thursday, August 29, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. in the Council Committee Room on the 9th floor of City Hall. RYAB meetings are open to public attendance but do not include public comment.

View the meeting agenda.


This project focuses on the Rail Yards site in Barelas Neighborhood between the rail road tracks and 2nd street.

caption:Google Map of Rail Yards and surrounding area


The Master Plan project began in 2008 with the City Council's creation of the Rail Yards Advisory Board (RYAB) and the City's subsequent issuance of a Request for Proposal to redevelop the historic 27.3-acre site. Samitaur Constructs was selected by the RYAB and Council in 2011, and a series of meetings was initiated in mid-2012 to gather ideas and aspirations for redevelopment of the site from various stakeholders, including the Rail Yards Advisory Board, the Barelas and South Broadway Neighborhood Associations, the WHEELS Museum, the New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society and the general public. Preliminary concepts for the Master Plan were first presented at a public meeting in Barelas in late 2012 and several additional meetings to further consider these concepts followed. Information and ideas from these discussions were used to inform the Draft Rail Yards Master Development Plan, which was subsequently reviewed and adopted by the City Council and adopted on June 16, 2014. The Rail Yards Master Development Plan provides the policy framework and design standards (see the Barelas Sector Development Plan for zoning regulations) to guide redevelopment of the site and its structures.

Adopted Railyards Master Development Plan

City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Rail Yards Master Plan in June 2014. You may download the Rail Yards Master Development Plan below. Because of the large size of this file, it has been divided into four sections.

  • Section 1 (includes Executive Summary, Existing Conditions, Public Input Process, Zoning Compliance & Regulatory Framework, Goals & Policies, Development Regulations)
  • Section 2 (includes Design Guidelines, Landscape Guidelines, Transportation Information and Recommendations)
  • Section 3 (Concepts and Phasing Plan)
  • Section 4 (Appendix)

This is the final adopted version of the Plan. To view previous drafts, including the June 2014 Blue Line Draft prepared for the Council’s Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee, please scroll down to “Master Development Plan Documents.”


  • June 2019: Execution of the Voluntary Remediation Agreement
  • May 2019: CABQ commences site improvements on northern parcel
  • May 2019: BNSF vacates rail road easement through southern portion of property
  • April 2019: CABQ commences soil remediation on northern parcel
  • March 2019: State allocates $7.5 M for environmental remediation, planning, and site improvements at Rail Yards
  • February 2019: CABQ demolishes dangerous and non-historic structures on north end
  • January 2019: CABQ executes MOU with CNM to locate Film School of Excellence at Rail Yards
  • January 2019: CABQ submits voluntary remediation program application to the State
  • September 2018: The City of Albuquerque terminated the Master Development & Disposition Agreement with Samitaur Constructs.
  • July 2018:  The Albuquerque Development Commission voted that Samitaur Constructs had not exercised reasonable diligence in the last year.
  • July 2017:  The Albuquerque Development Commission voted that Samitaur Constructs had not exercised reasonable diligence in the last year.
  • June 2014:  Council approved the Albuquerque Rail Yards Master Development & Disposition Agreement with Samitaur Construct. EC-14-82.
  • June 2014: City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Rail Yards Master Development Plan
  • May 2014: Council’s Land Use, Planning and Zoning (LUPZ) Committee held its second hearing
  • 2/26/2014: Council’s Land Use, Planning and Zoning (LUPZ) Committee held its first hearing
  • 12/12/2013: Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) recommended approval to the City Council
  • Fall 2013: Submitted to the Rail Yards Advisory Board for review and recommendation
  • October 2012: Workshop Meetings
  • August 2012: Kick-off Meetings
  • June 2012: City entered into a Master Plan Agreement with Samitaur Constructs
  • 2010: City issued a Request for Proposals for a Master Developer of the Rail Yards
  • March 2008: Rail Yards Advisory Board was formed
  • 2007: City of Albuquerque purchased the Rail Yards site

Master Development Plan Documents

*unless noted otherwise, all materials, including images and words, that have been produced by the Master Developer, Samitaur Constructs, are property of Samitaur Constructs, and are intended as reference material for viewing only; this content cannot be printed, published, disseminated or used other than expressly intended without prior written permission from Samitaur Constructs.

Date Process Related Documents
July 2014 Final Master Development Plan
June 2014 Blue-line Draft Plan: reflects changes made in response to issues raised during the LUPZ process and should generally be considered a final draft for Council approval
January 2014 Red-Line Draft Plan: incorporated the RYAB's recommended amendments and other changes made at EPC
  • Section 1 (includes Executive Summary, Existing Conditions, Public Input Process, Zoning Compliance & Regulatory Framework, Goals & Policies, Development Regulations)
  • Section 2 (includes Design Guidelines, Landscape Guidelines, Transportation Information and Recommendations)
  • Section 3 (Concepts and Phasing Plan)
  • Section 4 (Appendix)
  • Updated Site Plan for Subdivision (also available in Section 3, pages 139-140)
December 12, 2013 Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) Hearing
Fall 2013 Rail Yards Advisory Board Review

Recommended Amendments to Fall 2013 Draft Plan

Fall 2013 Draft Plan
  • Section 1 (includes Executive Summary, Existing Conditions, Public Input Process, Zoning Compliance & Regulatory Framework, Goals & Policies)
  • Section 2 (includes Master Plan, Landscape Master Plan)
  • Section 3 (includes Design Performance Standards, Infrastructure, Implementation & Phasing, Sources & Credits)
  • Section 4 (Appendix)
Dec. 1, 2012 Public Meeting Rail Yards Master Plan Dec. 1 Meeting Summary
Oct. 25, 2012 Public Meeting
August 2012 Community Kick-off Meetings

Supporting Documents

Document Description
Frequently Asked Questions Information about the Master Plan process and the concepts developed by Samitaur Constructs and the Planning Team
Barelas Sector Development Plan Sector Plan that establishes the zoning regulations for the Rail Yards site
Rail Yards Master Plan Community Meeting Summary A written summary of the October 25, 2012 meeting and public discussion
Map of Albuquerque Rail Yards Map that shows the boundaries of the site
F/S R-08-47 The legislation that formed the Rail Yards Advisory Board in March 2008.
Urban Land Institute panel report Report put together in February 2008 to help the City determine the potential best and highest uses for redeveloping this site
Rail Yard Questions
Series of questions the Urban Land Institute was asked to address
Voluntary Remediation Plan Information and Documents relating to the Rail Yard Voluntary Remediation Plan

Requirements and Guiding Principles of the Master Plan

The overarching goal of this Master Plan will be to find new, sustainable uses for the Rail Yards site that preserve its historic architecture and complement surrounding neighborhoods. Because of the funding sources the City used to purchase the site, the redevelopment of the Rail Yards must include a minimum of 30 units of Workforce Housing, as defined by City Ordinance, and a WHEELS Museum. Other uses will be determined through the Master Plan process. The following seven principles, which formed the basis of the Master Plan Agreement between the City and Samitaur, will guide the development of the Master Plan:

  • Job Generation. The Project Area was once an economic pillar for the community and must become one again. The Master Plan should accommodate uses which provide the opportunity for the generation of quality, living- and high-wage jobs and programs which will link those jobs with community residents.
  • Housing. Housing availability is an important element of the Master Plan. The Master Plan will provide for the targeted housing (minimum 30 units of Workforce Housing). The Master Plan should also endeavor to provide additional affordable and market rate housing if deemed feasible. The Master Plan should consider and coordinate the housing component with the City’s ongoing efforts to rehabilitate existing housing. The Workforce Housing should seek to preserve the neighborhood heritage and interface with employment and service opportunities.
  • Community. The Master Plan for the Project Area will reflect efforts to be sensitive to and interface with the surrounding neighborhoods, including Barelas, South Broadway and San Jose. Uses in the Master Plan will reflect efforts to complement and support adopted plans for and commercial areas within the surrounding neighborhoods. The Master Plan will reflect efforts to support current and planned economic activity in the Downtown area and, where physically and economically possible, reinforce the City’s transit goals and objectives and integrate with and complement existing and proposed features and attractions in the area (e.g., the Albuquerque Zoo and BioPark, Tingley Beach, Rio Grande State Park, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the South Broadway Cultural Center, Old Town and its museums, Downtown Albuquerque and its amenities, the Alvarado Transportation Center, the Historic 4th Street Corridor, etc.).
  • Architecture and Historic Preservation. The Master Plan must both preserve and capitalize on the historic value of the architectural and engineering resources at the site. The City and Samitaur share the belief that the site has local, national, and international cultural and historic significance.
  • Art and Culture. The Master Plan will include opportunities for both art and culture, including, but not limited to the WHEELS Museum. Access to public open spaces within the Project Area will be provided.
  • Economic Development. The Master Plan will be designed to achieve economic and business success for the Project Area.
  • Economic Viability. These Guiding Principles are subject to the overarching need for the Master Plan to create a Project Area that is an economically viable endeavor individually and collectively for the City, Samitaur, WHEELS Museum, Workforce Housing, tenant/users, the public and surrounding communities without creating a need for indefinite direct and/or indirect City or Samitaur funding.

Download a map of the Albuquerque Rail Yards.


This site and its significant historic structures, located in the historic Barelas neighborhood and between the rail road tracks and 2nd Street, reflect an important part of Albuquerque's economic and industrial past. The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad established locomotive repair shops and offices at the site in the 1880s and these were modernized and expanded by the Santa Fe Railway from 1912 onwards. The Santa Fe Railway was one of Albuquerque's biggest employers and played a significant role in the development of the city. The shops were in full operation until the 1950s, with the switch from steam engines to diesel engines. After the switch from steam to diesel, the rail yards continued to be used for some repairs and storage.

Information for this section came from Chris Wilson, J.B. Jackson Professor of Cultural Landscape Studies and Director of the Historic Preservation and Regionalism Program, both at the School of Architecture and Planning, University of New Mexico.

Following the City's purchase of the Rail Yards in 2007, the City of Albuquerque, along with the Wheels Museum and the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning, invited the Urban Land Institute to conduct an Advisory Services Panel to help the City determine the potential best and highest uses for redeveloping the site. The ULI panel visited for five days, from February 24-29, 2008. The panel, composed of nine experienced individuals involved in planning, architecture and real estate development, was given four non-negotiable parameters:

  • The major buildings and the smaller historically significant buildings must be rehabilitated;
  • The Wheels Museum will locate its operations in one or more of the historic buildings;
  • Redevelopment must have a mixed-income housing component that includes workforce housing;
  • Redevelopment must benefit the adjacent neighborhoods.

With these parameters in mind the ULI panel was asked to address a series of questions. Read more: Rail Yard Questions

The ULI panel produced a series of recommendations focused on four areas: market potential, planning and design, development strategies, and implementation.

  • Market Potential- Various uses are possible on the site but the site's master developer will need to find an anchor user, whether it is conventional retail, commercial, or industrial.
  • Planning and Design- No single use or user is likely for the site; therefore, a phased development program is appropriate.
  • Development Strategies- The city should select the master developer and the property should be rendered as appealing as possible by eliminating the hurdles to successful development.
  • Implementation- Pre-development strategies should include appropriate marketing of the site and the creation of an advisory board to oversee the development process.

The ULI panel report concluded that several steps should be followed prior to the redevelopment of the Rail Yards. One of these steps was to create an advisory board whose responsibilities would include hiring the writer of the RFP, selecting finalists for the RFP and selecting the master developer.

Rail Yards Advisory Board

The Rail Yards Advisory Board was formed in March 2008 through Bill no. F/SR-08-47 and amended by R-13-272. The composition of the Rail Yards Advisory Board is intended to reflect the diverse interests and stakeholders associated with the site. The following is a list of the Board members and who they represent.

Board Members

Organization Member
Mayor or Mayor's designee Lawrence Rael, Chief Operating Officer
District 2 City Councilor Isaac Benton, City Councilor
Governor's Representative Alex Romero
Senate District 12 Jerry Ortiz y Piño, State Senator
Senate District 14 Michael Padilla, State Senator
House District 11 Javier Martinez, State Representative
House District 14 Miguel Garcia, State Representative
District 2 County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada, Commissioner
Wheels Museum Leba Freed, President
Barelas Neighborhood Dorothy Chavez, Primary neighborhood representative
Barelas Neighborhood Elena Gonzales, Alternate neighborhood representative
South Broadway Neighborhood Eddie Garcia, Primary neighborhood representative
South Broadway Neighborhood Alex Trujillo, Alternate neighborhood representative
ULI-NM District Council Jay Rembe, CEO and Founder, Rembe Design

Advisory Board Agendas, Minutes & Meeting Notes

Dates Agendas Minutes/Meeting Notes
Monday, April 20, 2009 4-20-09 RYAB Agenda 4-20-09 RYABMMinutes
Thursday, May 14, 2009 Tour of the Rail Yards 5-14-09 RYAB Agenda  
Thursday, July 23, 2009 7-23-09 RYAB Agenda 7-23-09 RYAB Minutes
Teusday, Sept. 15, 2009 9-15-09 RYAB Agenda 9-15-09 RYAB Minutes
Moday, Nov. 9, 2009 11-9-09 RYAB Agenda
11-9-09 RYAB Minutes
Dec. 14, 2009 12-14-09 RYAB Agenda 12-14-09 RYAB Minutes
Jan. 11, 2010 Facilitated Meeting 1-11-10 RYAB Agenda 1-11-10 RYAB Facilitated Meeting Notes
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 This meeting has been cancelled    
Monday, March 8, 2010 Facilitated Meeting 3-8-10 RYAB Agenda 3-8-10 RYAB Facilitated Meeting Notes
Monday, April 12, 2010 Facilitated Meeting 4-12-10 RYAB Agenda 4-12-10 RYAB Facilitated Meeting Notes
Monday, May 10, 2010 Facilitated Meeting 5-10-10 RYAB Agenda 5-10-10 RYAB Facilitated Meeting Notes
Sept. 21, 2010 Selection Committee Meeting #1 9-21-10 RYAB Agenda 9-21-10 RYAB Selection Committee Mtg #1 Minutes
Oct. 19, 2010 Selection Committee Meeting #2 10-19-10 RYAB Agenda 10-19-10 RYAB Selection Committee Mtg #2 Minutes
Dec. 14, 2010 Selection Committee Meeting #23 12-14-10 RYAB Agenda 12-14-10 RYAB Selection Commitee Mtg #3 Minutes
May 4, 2011 5-4-11 RYAB Agenda  
June 20, 2011 6-20-11 RYAB Agenda  
Nov. 14, 2011 11-14-11 RYAB Agenda 11-14-11 RYAB Minutes
March 14, 2012 3-14-12 RYAB Agenda 3-14-12 RYAB Minutes
Oct. 8, 2012 10-8-12 RYAB Agenda 10-8-12 RYAB Minutes
Dec. 10, 2012 12-10-12 RYAB Agenda  
Jan. 9, 2013 1-9-13 RYAB Agenda

1-19-13 RYAB Minutes

May 9, 2013   Minutes
September 26, 2013 Agenda Minutes
October 29, 2013 Agenda Minutes
November 21, 2013 Agenda Minutes
March 6, 2014 Agenda Minutes
January 6, 2015 Agenda Minutes
November 10, 2016 Agenda Minutes
July 19, 2017 Agenda Minutes
April 4, 2018 Agenda Minutes
July 12, 2018 Agenda Minutes
September 25, 2018 Agenda Minutes (DRAFT)
August 29, 2019 Agenda Minutes