Downtown Transformation Day: Leadership Albuquerque Class Hears From Developers, City Officials, and Experts on Homelessness, Crime, and Plans for Growth in Downtown Area

Leadership Albuquerque hears from Electric Playhouse CEO John Mark Collins during lunch at the Downtown venue as part of the cohort's 'Downtown Transformation Day'
Leadership Albuquerque hears from Electric Playhouse CEO John Mark Collins during lunch at the Downtown venue as part of the cohort’s ‘Downtown Transformation Day’

Last week, the Chamber’s 2018-2019 Leadership Albuquerque cohort heard from developers, business leaders, city officials, and non-profits as they traveled across Downtown Albuquerque as part of ‘Downtown Transformation Day’. Topics that were covered in the wide-ranging day included ongoing efforts to tackle the city’s homelessness problem, the creation of a new downtown public safety district, attracting business investment and promoting growth downtown, and development projects encouraging more people to live, work, and play in the heart of Albuquerque.

The day kicked off at the Chamber’s offices with a presentation from Norm Becker, President and CEO of New Mexico Mutual and Chair of the Chamber’s Downtown Transformation Bold Issue Group, who spoke about the Chamber’s policy initiatives addressing homelessness in the city. This includes support for a 24/7 homeless shelter providing centralized services, the model for which came from the Chamber’s benchmarking trip with Mayor Keller and other city officials to visit Haven for Hope in San Antonio, which reduced the number of unsheltered homeless on the streets in downtown San Antonio by 80% in two years. Becker also outlined plans for renewing the Rail Yards and developing game-changing attractions to draw more visitiors to the center of the city.

 New Mexico Mutual CEO Norm Becker addresses the Leadership Albuquerque class, outlining the CHamber's multi-pronged efforts in improving Downtown Albuquerque

New Mexico Mutual CEO Norm Becker addresses the Leadership Albuquerque class, outlining the CHamber’s multi-pronged efforts in improving Downtown Albuquerque

Scott Ackerson from Prospera Housing Community Services also addressed the issue of homelessness, focusing on ‘upstream interventions’ like supportive housing that can significantly reduce far more expensive interventions in emergency rooms, detox facilities, and the criminal justice system.

The Leadership Albuquerque group then visited the Albuquerque Police Department’s new substation in the Alvarado Transportation Station next to the Rail Yards, led by APD Lieutenant Ray Del Greco. Lt. Del Greco specifically highlighted the importance of community policing, which he described as “building relationships where business thrives and people who need help get it.”

The day continued at The Electric Playhouse with a presentation from CEO and Founder John-Mark Collins on bringing world-class entertainment options to Downtown Albuquerque, a key step in making it an attractive and vital place for people of ages to live and spend their leisure time.

The Leadership Albuquerque cohort then traveled to Glorieta Station, an 8-acre mixed-use downtown Albuquerque development that includes several brick building structures, including the historic Southwestern Brewery and Ice Company. There the class heard a panel discussion on Downtown Development, led by Edward T. Garcia, Executive Chairman of Garcia Automotive Group; David Silverman, Manager and CEO of Geltmore LLC; and Mike Loftin, CEO of Homewise.

The panel was followed by a presentation from City of Albuquerque Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael and Director of Planning David Campbell, who spoke about the city’s plan for driving smart, long-term development investments to Downtown Albuquerque, with an eye toward a comprehensive long-term vision for the city.

The day concluded with a visit to the Albuquerque Rail Yards, one of the key targets for development and revitalization for both the city and the state, which recently secured several million dollars in capital funding from the legislature to make improvements to the site.

Chamber advisor Scott Darnell leads a panel discussion on investing in developments to make Downtown Albuquerque an attractive place to live, work, and play
Chamber advisor Scott Darnell leads a panel discussion on investing in developments to make Downtown Albuquerque an attractive place to live, work, and play

Registration for the 2019-2020 cohort of Leadership Albuquerque is now open here! Questions can be directed to Marianne Billy, the Chamber’s Director of Leadership Development and Education Programs at mbilly@greaterabq.com.

Leadership Albuquerque is for professionals at all levels and from any industry. Each year’s roster is composed of 40 individuals who desire to become more knowledgeable about the city and state and be better equipped to for greater responsibility and more advanced leadership roles in their organizations and communities.

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