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Old Posted Jan 15, 2013, 8:17 PM
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Downtown grocery store could be one step closer

Jan 15, 2013, 6:11am MST
Dan Mayfield
Albuquerque Business First

On Thursday, Downtown will take another step towards a new grocery store when the Albuquerque Development Commission will vote on an RFP the mayor released last summer.

In June, Mayor Richard Berry announced that he was releasing a city contract, or request for proposals, to redevelop a one-acre site on Silver Avenue between Second and Third streets. The city bought the land 13 years ago and remediated and rezoned it with the purpose of attracting a grocery store and pharmacy.

City spokeswoman Dayna Gardner said Monday the vote to accept the recommended bid will be Thursday. The bid must be voted on by the commission before the names of the bidders can be made public.

A Downtown grocery store is a big part of the redevelopment plan for the area, which has struggled in recent years. Retail and office vacancies have continued to rise in the Downtown core.

There were multiple bids, said Debbie Stover of the Downtown Action Team, on Monday, “They were scored and then the ADC decides if they will select or negotiate with bidders,” Stover said.

The store, according to the RFP released last summer, would be part of a public/private partnership. The city has been working for more than a decade to revitalize Downtown, and a big part of that has been public/private partnerships. The Downtown Theater block is an example of one of the city’s partnerships.

The city is seeking a 6,000-square-foot store, which is only about an eighth of the average size of a grocery store, according to the Food Marketing Institute.

Downtown has been called a “food desert,” because it isn’t served by a large grocery store. The area, though, is not completely underserved. The Lowe’s grocery store, at 12th Street and Lomas Boulevard, was recently remodeled and now features more produce and a full liquor section. The small County Club Market at 10th Street and Coal Avenue, and the 7-Eleven on the Fourth Street Mall, are both convenience stores with limited amounts of food.

Downtown has about 11,600 residents and nearly 30,000 people work in the area.

The city adopted the Downtown 2010 Plan, a redevelopment plan for the Downtown core, in 2000. The plan’s goals, which included retail services, were supposed to be complete in 2010.
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