It’s an idea that’s a part of a larger development, but the possibility of a sports bar-themed restaurant involving former UNM football star Brian Urlacher moved a step closer to reality recently.
Last winter, the UNM Board of Regents approved Cleveland-based Fairmount Properties to lease and develop the 43-acre project on UNM’s south campus. The College Town development, a mixed-use retail site, would be located south of University Arena to Gibson Blvd., an area Lobo Development Corporation has been planning since 2007.
Urlacher, currently an analyst for Fox Sports 1, spent his entire 13-year career playing for the Chicago Bears where he earned a multitude of honors including the AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000 and the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. Prior to his professional career, he earned All-America accolades at UNM and is one of the school’s all-time decorated student-athletes.
When UNM named Fairmount as the developer, Urlacher’s name was one of the first mentioned as a possible draw for retail site. A Lovington, N.M. native, Urlacher was asked recently about the project when he was in town for the Air Force-UNM football game and the retirement of his No. 44 Lobo jersey.
“It should be a good fit," Urlacher said following the halftime ceremony retiring his jersey. "They're talking about it right now and we'll just see how it works out.”
“Naturally when he was approached and liked the idea, it seemed like a perfect partnership, a great opportunity for both parties,” Frank said. “Brian Urlacher is a New Mexico legend, who made great contributions as a high school and college athlete here, so we are excited that he might want to put in a sports bar or restaurant on our south campus.”
A specific site on the south campus hasn’t been identified yet, but three parcels, including 39 acres located north of Gibson Blvd. and two smaller parcels totaling four acres, with proposed space for two restaurants centered around UNM’s Lobo Village, are available for development.
The concept is in the early stages, Frank said, but is gathering momentum. Lobo Development Corp. recently hired local firms Bohannan Huston and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini to assist the design, while Fairmount is looking for companies interested in locating there.
“A sports bar/restaurant that carries the name of a Lobo legend like Urlacher would be a great draw for fans coming to any UNM event or going to an Isotopes game and for the people who live around that area,” Frank added. “The development of our south campus area is a great opportunity for us to help create a thriving community that will serve not only UNM and the neighborhood around us, but also bring change that will benefit the whole city.”
Ground is expected to break soon on the first retail sites with project completion anticipated in five years.