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City Gives Update on Multi-Use Stadium Facility Bond Resolution

If approved by City Council, resolution would go to voters to decide in November.

July 27, 2021

Over the weekend, Mayor Tim Keller announced that a bond proposal for a multi-use stadium facility would be sent to City Council for consideration. If City Council passes the resolution, voters will get to decide on the project in November. This announcement marks the beginning of a public conversation and input process regarding the building of a stadium that would be home to key tenants like New Mexico United, among other events and community uses. The proposal requests $50 million in gross receipts tax bond dollars for the design and development of the facility, without raising taxes.

The City has received a feasibility study analyzing several potential sites in the metro and projecting the positive economic impact for Albuquerque. These are preliminary recommendations from the consultant and no determinations have been made by the City. The concept will move through extensive City Council and community input processes, which may include revisions, before any ground is broken in the metro.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will taxes increase to pay for the project?

No. The project can be paid for through a combination of issuing GRT Bonds based on the city’s current available bonding capacity, and through refinancing previous bonds.

The cost estimates in the study range from $65-75 million but the bond proposal is only for $50 million, where will the rest of the money come from?

The City is proposing $50 million, the consultant’s estimated minimum barebones cost for a professional sports stadium, through the bond process and will seek additional funding from the State, other local governments, and future tenants including the United. This will likely be a strong public-private partnership, similar to the financial arrangement made for Isotopes Stadium, to invest locally and create a transformative facility for the entire state.

Why doesn’t the team pay for it?

The New Mexico United is expected be the primary tenant in the facility responsible for making lease payments. This is the same structure used at Isotopes Park.

Why can’t they just keep playing in Isotopes Park?

While the USL allows teams to play in minor league baseball parks, this is not recommended as a permanent solution.  Both the Isotopes and United have expressed concerns about scheduling conflicts (their seasons take place the same time of year) and field turnover (mound removal, infield sodding, etc.) costs as major issues under the current arrangement. As the team with the highest attendance in the league in 2019, the New Mexico United is a valuable asset to our city and state, and a new stadium is an opportunity for large-scale revitalization at any site.

Does the City already have a site picked out?

No. The City received a study from independent consultants offering their analysis and recommendations of four best potential sites based on land availability, traffic and parking considerations, and likelihood of related positive economic impact to the city as a whole. The City has not made any determinations, and will not do so until proper Council and community input procedures are completed.

If the stadium gets built in or near the Railyards, will the existing structures there be demolished, will it affect the Railyards Market?

No, relevant Railyard buildings are historically protected and also not required to accommodate a stadium at the Railyards. The consultant proposed sites relevant to the broader Railyards project, including one site on the south side of the property that consists of a concrete structure and engine turn table. The other sites are to the north of the railyards and west of the railyards on the other side of the main rail line.

What’s next in the process, how can people engage, what is the timeline?

The City Council will take up proceedings to decide if the stadium should be placed on the November ballot. The process will include public hearings and debate over the next few weeks. Should Council vote to send the project to voters, it will go to the voters in the November election. Historically, similar large investments including the Gateway Center and Isotopes stadium, were placed on ballots through the same process. Should voters pass the measure, the City would then begin pursuing additional financing in preparation to purchase land. At that time, depending on land prices and availability, a location will be selected.

What if voters turn the project down? What if the potential locations identified in the study do not work?

If the bond is voted down, the Mayor has stated that his administration will not pursue the project, honoring the will of the voters. If the voters pass the bond, the administration will pursue the project and evaluate a range of sites with Council and community input. 

What if a proper location cannot be found?

There are many locations throughout the city that could be utilized for such a project, and we look forward to exploring public-private partnerships as well as other options to accommodate the will of the voters.