City reaching out to property owners at potential Albuquerque stadium sites

Though officials say they won’t move forward unless voters approve a $140-million bond issue, they are also reaching out to property owners at two potential Albuquerque stadium sites for a USL Championship facility.

Not officially, of course. But the city is certainly laying the groundwork to move quickly on a New Mexico United (USL Championship) stadium. Under the terms of a deal struck between New Mexico United and the city, the team will pay $10 million toward construction costs of a new Albuquerque stadium and $900,000 annually in rent and fees, per the terms of a “letter of intent to lease” released yesterday. The cost of a new downtown stadium estimated to cost between $65 million and $70 million, and $50 million of the $140-million bond issue will be spent on the stadium, which will be owned by Albuquerque. The city has put a bonding question on the November ballot; though it’s technically nonbinding, Mayor Tim Keller says the city will follow the dictates of the voters.

CAA Icon identified four potential locals for the new Albuquerque stadium, with two sites designated as preferred locations,  in the form of two downtown areas: the Coal/Broadway area and the Second Street/Iron area. The city controls some of the property at each site, but private interests control the majority of both sites. And it’s those private interests that have been contacted by the city, per the Albuquerque Journal.

Meanwhile, what would a proposal for stadium bonding be without some protests, and we’re seeing a group say that city participation on the financial front amounts to corporate welfare for millionaires who can afford to build their own damn stadiums, per the Journal:

“These people are capable of paying for a stadium out of their own damn pockets. They have no need to reach into the pockets of those people of Albuquerque,” Charles Knoblauch said, adding that current price estimates do not include such “hidden costs” as parking and increased traffic.

Other critics voiced fears that the project would hurt surrounding communities.

“I have learned to be wary of our political processes that too often ask a quick ‘yes’ from constituents with a promise to take community concerns into account later, only to discover once the ‘yes’ is given that there is no reason to continue working diligently with the community to address concerns,” said Jon Moore, pastor at First United Methodist Church.

One point raised by protesters worth further debate: the lack of any community benefits agreement to address the effects of the stadium on impacted communities.

Renderings courtesy New Mexico United.

RELATED STORIES: More financials announced for New Mexico United stadium; Bonding proposed for new Albuquerque USL stadium; Potential New Mexico United stadium sites finalizedCAAI pitched to research New Mexico United stadium siteTrevisani: New Mexico United stadium work continuesNew Mexico United Lands $4.1M in State Funding for Stadium ProjectState to Consider Funding for First Phase of New Mexico United StadiumPotential New Mexico United Stadium Pitched to CommitteeNew Mexico United Discusses Vision for New StadiumCommittee to Discuss Possible New Mexico United Stadium

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