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Plans for Rail Trail Sky Bridge to ABQ Convention Center Moving Forward

Metro Redevelopment project includes public plaza, potential hotel or residential space
March 05, 2021

The City’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency is partnering with Zydeco 66, LLC, to develop a catalytic project that includes a 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. Plans for the project, to which the City plans to contribute up to $1 million in GO Bond funding, will be presented for approval at the Albuquerque Development Commission (ADC) meeting on March 11.

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 boosted construction during the height of the pandemic to keep the bottom falling out of the economy. Now we’re investing to create jobs, restore the momentum we had before COVID, and revitalize the heart of Albuquerque for current and future residents.”

The proposed sky bridge will provide a safe connection between the Convention Center parking garage, allowing for a transfer of parking spaces, and making 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 public plaza between the Springer Square and Verge buildings, which would replace existing surface parking;
  • Construction of an elevator in the Convention Center parking structure, as well as two elevators and a stairway connecting the sky bridge to the plaza;
  • An easement for the Rail Trail where the right-of-way is insufficient.

“The Rail Trail is one of our core projects for 2021 and beyond,” said MRA manager, Karen Iverson. “The strategic transformation of these areas results in vibrant, healthy neighborhoods that create new opportunities for residents, business owners and investors alike.”

Improvements to pedestrian connectivity and access along the Rail Trail, as well as investments in smart parking technology, open up 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. 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 $25 million in new development.

The City’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency (MRA), whose mission is to revitalize downtown and the Central Avenue Corridor by leading collaborative public-private partnerships that result in equitable catalytic change, will administer the public funding. The Springer Square sky bridge at the Albuquerque Convention Center is one of ten major redevelopment projects the MRA has in the pipeline for 2021, moving into post-pandemic recovery.