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City’s Metro Redevelopment Agency Takes Next Step on Rail Trail Sky Bridge to ABQ Convention Center

Project includes skybridge, plaza, potential hotel and residential space, and Rail Trail access
September 10, 2021

On Wednesday, the City’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency (MRA) took a step forward on its plan to build a Rail Trail Sky Bridge. City Council approved a development project that includes a pedestrian sky bridge to the Convention Center, a plaza along the proposed Rail Trail, and up to 140 residential units or hotel rooms on adjacent tracts of land. The MRA is partnering with Zydeco 66, LLC, on the project, which includes a City contribution of up to $1 million in GO Bond funding.

“This project is more than a bridge over the tracks—it connects two historically and economically divided parts of our city core, and paves the way for expanded downtown placemaking,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We’re going to continue to support strategic projects, and making investments that create jobs and revitalize the heart of Albuquerque.”

The proposed sky bridge will provide a safe connection to the Convention Center parking garage, and make the neighboring tracts of land available for development. In addition to the pedestrian sky bridge, the first phase of the project would include:

  • Construction of a publicly accessible plaza between the Springer Square and Verge buildings, with stairway and elevator access from the skybridge and gateway entrance points to the Rail Trail;
  • Construction of an elevator in the Convention Center parking structure adjacent to the skybridge, as well as an additional public elevator and stairway next to the plaza, connecting to the skybridge directly to the Rail Trail.

“Steady progress along the Rail Trail will result in vibrant, healthy downtown,” said MRA manager Karen Iverson. “We want to create convenient multi-modal connections across Downtown that provide residents and workers a safe and healthy amenity.”

Improvements to pedestrian connectivity and access along the Rail Trail create opportunities for future redevelopment, and benefit residents with access to employment and housing. In addition to constructing the trail, the City is working with surrounding property owners to activate the trail with the development of nodes and plazas along the route.

“Zydeco 66, in partnership with the City of Albuquerque, is proud to announce the coming a pedestrian bridge that will span the railroad tracks connecting the ABQ Convention Center parking to the East Downtown District (EDO). Located next to the Springer Square office complex, the new Skylink bridge will provide a better and more secure connectivity to the Convention Center parking structure supporting future development of housing and hospitality,” said Richard Yates, CEO of Zydeco 66. “The existing parking between the Springer and Verge building will become a pedestrian plaza, creating a needed neighborhood amenity that will be linked to the future Rail Trail. Zydeco 66 sees the bridge as the catalyst to spur future EDo development that will focus on the new downtown vision of walkability.”

Total Springer Square project cost is estimated to be around $6 million, and future phases—including the development of the existing land tracts into 140 residential or lodging units—is projected to account for more than $20 million in new development.