scp-photo

City Launches Downtown Revitalization Projects

$2.7 million in stimulus intended to boost vibrancy by increasing housing options, activating storefronts

Sept. 24, 2021

The City of Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency is launching two downtown revitalization initiatives this fall to support economic recovery and boost activity in the city center. A request for proposals (RFP) is being issued for innovative housing developments to help fill a residential gap downtown, and grants are being made available to qualified small businesses that activate and occupy storefront space Downtown.

The City has $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to use toward grants of up to $30,000 each for small businesses that occupy vacant street-level property or that expand a current downtown storefront footprint by at least 50 percent. Additional funding may also be available for applicants that demonstrate their business will attract visitors to the Downtown area between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. at least four days per week. The Downtown area is generally defined as the area between Lomas, Coal, and Broadway avenues, and 11th Street.

“We are committed to revitalizing our city center in Albuquerque and these new investments in our businesses and housing options are an important boost to the projects already underway Downtown,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We are helping bring hundreds of new housing units online for families and residents across all income levels. For businesses looking to locate or expand downtown, we’re ready to invest in their success right now as they contribute to the vibrancy of the area.”

To be qualified for a grant, a business must employ fewer than 250 people; be located in the Downtown District; execute a lease (or lease amendment) after October 1, 2021, with a term of at least two years for an eligible downtown storefront; and meet other qualifications. Grant funds may be used for expenses that include rent and utilities; inventory; furniture, fixtures, and equipment; employee recruitment, training, and/or compensation; and other business expenses.

Applications will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis, and funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until dollars are expended. More details and an application can be found at cabq.gov/StorefrontGrants. For questions, email [email protected] or call 505-768-4585.

The City also has up to $2.2 million in ARPA grant funds available to provide “gap financing” to support a residential project that meets the goals and objectives of either the Downtown or Railroad Redevelopment Areas. Applicants are encouraged to propose innovative projects, such as those that repurpose existing buildings (like office or hotel space) or incorporate sustainable design elements. Priority will be given to projects that are naturally affordable to median income households. 

A pre-proposal conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. on October 6 via Zoom. Conference details can be found on the RFP, and the deadline for project submissions is December 10, 2021. Interested parties are encouraged to visit https://www.cabq.gov/mra/request-for-proposals for more details.

“These two projects are not standalone initiatives—they work in tandem as part of a comprehensive plan to revitalize downtown,” said MRA manager Karen Iverson. “The additional housing units will increase population density, resulting in an expanded customer base for downtown businesses, and those businesses will be positioned for greater success with the Storefront Activation Grants.”