Sports Entertainment District View looking SE
A view of the proposed Sports Entertainment District looking southeast.

The University of New Mexico Board of Regents today approved a long-term ground lease for the development of an impressive sports entertainment district featuring a sports bar and grill bearing the name of Lobo Football legend Brian Urlacher.

Lobo Development Corporation, on behalf of the Regents entered into a multi-year agreement with 54 Development, LLC, for the initial phase of a mixed-use project on UNM’s South Campus. It will provide year-round entertainment venues for the local community, students, athletics patrons, as well as the faculty, staff and employees that work at the nearby science and technology park, STC.UNM.

The project consists of 25,000 square feet of commercial and retail space on one-acre at the southeast corner of University Boulevard and Avenida Cesar Chavez. The sports bar is a collaboration with Urlacher, a former UNM Lobo football player, New Mexico All-American athlete, Chicago Bears linebacker and future NFL Hall of Famer.

"I'm thrilled to be part of this new, game-changing project with the University of New Mexico," Urlacher said. "The development team shares my vision of bringing the hottest entertainment district back to my home state of New Mexico."

54 Development is a partnership between local businessmen Paul Silverman, Steven B. Chavez and Kyle Bodhaine. The developers, along with the architect, Dale Dekker of Dekker, Perich & Sabitini, recently traveled to review similar venues in Lincoln, NE, Kansas City, Mo. and St. Louis, Mo. What they learned helped inform the design of the proposed project, which has grown to include a 10,000 sq. ft. pavilion with giant video screens for outdoor performances and community events.

In addition to the sports grill that will anchor the north section of the lower level, plans call for a variety of smaller restaurants along with a sports retail store. The upper level will feature a local, craft beer tap room and a nightclub with windows and outdoor seating providing views of the mountains, the stadium and overlooking the courtyard below.

The developers believe the courtyard will be a gathering area for a variety of events. “It could host wine festivals, small concerts, holiday shows, charity events, renaissance fairs or family movie nights,” Bodhaine said. “The agreement with UNM will allow us to spill out some of these events, such as auto shows or farmers’ markets, into the surrounding parking lot.”

Lobo Development Director Tom Neale says the idea is to bring activity and traffic to South Campus even when there is not a major sporting event. “One of the beauties of this agreement is that we are taking advantage of this surface lot that sits idle right now unless there is a game or event going on.” Neale said. “These developers are focusing on the types of events that can activate this part of campus to create excitement and bring in crowds year round.”

The agreement calls for a due diligence period of 240 days to finalize the construction documents, secure financing and prepare the site for development. Construction could start next summer with completion of this first phase by the following year.

Media contact information: Dianne Anderson, UNM director of Media Relations, (505) 277-1807 or danderson@unm.edu or Season Elliott, vice president of Communications and Development, SC3 International, (505) 414-2099 or season@sc3intl.com