The UNM Board of Regents authorized the acquisition of the old First Baptist Church property at Broadway and Central in a special meeting. Purchase of the property will give the economic development project an actual physical home.
This is an important step in the process, but several things still must be completed. There must be a final environmental agreement and an agreement completed on how to handle future development of the property. The STC.UNM Board of Directors must approve the purchase before it can become final.
“We look forward to this very significant step being made in this process to improve our community," UNM Board of Regents Vice President Conrad James said. "Innovate ABQ will also create new and exciting academic opportunities for our students.”
The purchase is a significant step for the project that UNM President Robert Frank has worked on for nearly two years.
“I look forward to working with our faculty, Mayor Berry, and our other partners as we take another step toward building the academic and entrepreneurial programs that will allow Innovate ABQ to serve our community," Frank said. "This is an incredible opportunity for the University of New Mexico.”
"We are excited that the UNM Board of Regents approved the purchase of the First Baptist Church site for Innovate ABQ," Albuquerque Mayor R.J. Berry added. "This will be a great benefit for downtown Albuquerque as well as a great foundation for economic development in our city."
Innovate ABQ is a cooperative project that includes financial contributions from the City of Albuquerque, UNM, the County of Bernalillo and New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union and STC.UNM.
“We’re excited to continue with this effort and congratulate Dr. Frank and his staff for completing their due diligence and receiving approval on the acquisition of Innovate ABQ," NMEFCU President and CEO Terry Laudick said. "We look forward to what the future of the project will bring to our community.”
The seven-acre property already has a number of buildings. The first steps of a master planning process for the property is already in progress. The Innovate ABQ district is envisioned as a place where UNM students will live and work on entrepreneurial projects and where small businesses can be incubated and launch into the community.