Discussions over a potential New Mexico United stadium took place Thursday, yielding some ideas of how the project would take shape.
After a successful first year at Albuquerque’s Isotopes Park, United is ramping up its effort to build a new stadium in the coming years. The USL Championship club is seeking a public-private partnership on the project, which could cost $100 million and–in United’s vision–result in a destination that sees plenty of year-round activity beyond soccer matches.
The idea of a new stadium received further consideration Thursday, when it was pitched to the New Mexico Economic and Rural Development Committee. Thursday’s meeting serves as an early point in the discussions, with plenty of factors still to be considered, including the project’s site and how it would be funded. Some preliminary ideas on funding seem to be surfacing, however, with backers of the project expected to pursue $30 million in state money to go along with contributions from United ownership and other government sources. More from the Albuquerque Journal:
Thursday’s discussion was just the beginning of what’s expected to be a debate that continues into next year’s legislative session. Supporters are expected to seek about $30 million in capital outlay funding from the state, though there was little talk of finances Thursday.
The project’s total price tag could hit $100 million, with the participation of other government agencies.
Lawrence Rael, Albuquerque’s chief operating officer, said the financing of Isotopes Park could serve as a model of sorts for a new soccer stadium. The park is owned by the city, but the Triple-A baseball team pays rent – among other funding sources that helped pay for reconstruction of the park.
The arrangement has been so successful, Rael said, that the city should be able to pay off the debt two years earlier than expected, in 18 years, not 20.
While the club will return there next season, Isotopes Park is primarily a ballpark for Minor League Baseball’s Albuquerque Isotopes (Class AAA; International League), and has never been envisioned as a permanent home for New Mexico United. United’s inaugural season ended with the club topping the 36-team USL Championship in attendance, drawing a per-game average of 12,693 fans, according to our attendance figures.
Image courtesy New Mexico United.