ABQ DOWNTOWN SET TO SCORE: Feasibility Study Points to Downtown for a Multi-Use Soccer Stadium

On Friday, Mayor Tim Keller announced a plan to fund and build a multi-use soccer stadium in Albuquerque.

New Mexico United, the Duke City’s professional soccer team, has been hosting home matches at the Albuquerque Isotopes’ baseball stadium for much of their three-year history. A feasibility study commissioned last October recently reported that a permanent home for the soccer team – which sees upwards of 10,000 fans each match – would be a wise investment for the City and its continued economic development. The study also offered insights into siting, proposing four sites around Albuquerque. Three of the four of the potential sites are in the Downtown area, as are both “preferred” sites: Coal and Broadway, and Second and Iron.

In addition to acting as the official home for New Mexico United, the multipurpose arena would also act as a venue for other large events like concerts – and a catalyst for additional economic development in the Downtown area of the city.

Chamber leaders are in full support of the multipurpose arena project, and agree the best home for it is in Albuquerque’s Downtown area. “This is an opportunity to breathe new life into Downtown Albuquerque – an opportunity that we must not miss,” said Del Esparza in a recent press release; Esparza is CEO of a downtown advertising agency and chair of the Chamber’s work on downtown transformation. “The City’s report sees Downtown as the stadium’s prime location, and New Mexico United would also like to play in a Downtown arena. Let’s get this done and help the downtown area become the vibrant heart of our city that we need it to be.”

Next up: funding. The project may cost the City as much as $70 million, before land acquisition costs. The New Mexico Legislature has already earmarked $9 million for the project over the last two state legislative sessions; this November, pending City Council approval, voters will be asked to approve a $50 million bond to pay for the stadium without a tax increase.

The City’s Citizen Perception Survey, conducted in January 2021, shows strong support for the stadium project, with 63% in favor of locating a multipurpose arena in Albuquerque and 23% opposed (see graphic below).

The feasibility study’s authors will present their findings to the City Council at its next meeting on August 2; it’s anticipated that the Council will take up the issue and hear testimony at the following meeting on August 16.

Find the full feasibility study here.

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