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Local and State Leaders to Help Redevelop Walmart in the International District

State Capital Outlay and Senate Bill 251 Help Push the Project Forward

City and State officials announced they are working to secure resources to acquire the shuttering Walmart store property at 301 San Mateo SE. Their plan is to work with community members to repurpose the site to serve local residents. State Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and State Representative Janelle Anyanonu have led funding efforts, with each securing $1 million in capital outlay from their respective chambers for a total of $2 million. State Legislative leaders along with Mayor Tim Keller, City Council President Pat Davis and Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa are advocating for additional redevelopment options for the site near San Mateo and Central.


In early February, residents of Albuquerque’s International District reacted with concern to the announcement that their neighborhood Walmart was closing its doors permanently on March 10, 2023. With limited grocery options in the area, many use the store as their primary source for healthy food, fresh produce, and other goods in the area.


“We’re working hard to bring together community leaders, elected officials and Walmart to create a path forward for this property so that it can be a community asset and provide critical access to food and other essentials for the International District.” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Investing in a solution that can help fill the void is important and it’s key that it be a community-driven decision on what that ultimately looks like.”


An additional funding source could come from the passing of Senate Bill 251 (SB 251, Metro Development Act Changes), which would expand the City’s ability to use gross receipts taxes to invest in redevelopment for projects such as the Walmart site. The bill received a “Do Pass” recommendation last week from the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee (STBTC).


“Many of our communities, urban and rural, have areas that are in desperate need of a boost in economic development,” said Senator Carrie Hamblen, who sponsors SB 251. “The Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency (MRA) will help communities decide how to best support positive economic development that addresses their individual needs.”   


Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, whose District 16 includes the International District, sees community engagement as essential to the project. “Community voice will be key in making the redevelopment of this property a transformative project we all can be proud of,” said Senator Sedillo Lopez.


“While I am disappointed with Walmart's decision to close the only grocery store accessible to many residents, I am encouraged by the cooperation of the Governor, the Mayor, the Legislature, and community activists like my friend Enrique Cardiel, who are working together to turn this unfortunate decision into an opportunity to help make the International District shine,” said Representative Janelle Anyanonu. “I am confident that together we will achieve a positive outcome that restores access to food for so many of our neighbors and takes advantage of the location to improve access to other businesses and services."


“This is a creative solution to a very real problem,” said Senate President Pro-Tempore Mimi Stewart. “At the end of the day, the people of the International District need access to groceries and other vital resources. There is a way to help, and we should pursue it.”


“As infuriating and scary as it can be to think of the huge hole this could leave in our neighborhood, it also presents an opportunity,” said City Council President Pat Davis. “It allows us to reimagine how a huge site like can create a new anchor and catalyst for redevelopment. This could include housing options, affordable options to fight the food desert and incentivize redevelopment in a way that meets our health, housing and economic needs.”


“Southeast Albuquerque is the most dense and most diverse area in our entire state,” said Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, “It is important that we address this emergency and surround our community with resources and support and an give them an opportunity to determine what they need for their community to thrive.”