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Old Posted Jan 17, 2013, 10:53 PM
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Geltmore wins vote to run new Downtown grocery store
Dan Mayfield
Albuquerque Business First

On Thursday, the Albuquerque Development Commission picked Geltmore LLC to run the new Downtown grocery store.

Last summer the city put out a contract proposal for a 1-acre site Downtown with the intent of opening a small grocery store. The request for proposal called for a mixed-use, 6,000-square-foot store on a vacant lot the city owns on Silver Avenue.

The city had five responders, two of which didn’t qualify, said Gabe Rivera, acting division manager of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency.

The staff recommended David Silverman of Geltmore LLC, representing UR 205 Silver LLC, which presented a four-story building of 60,000 square feet. The first floor would have a 6,000-square-foot grocery, and the rest would be one- and two- bedroom apartments.

The committee voted unanimously for Geltmore to take over the project.

Rivera said 30,000 people live within one mile of Downtown, and 40,000 people work in the area.

“We see all these people as potential customers to our grocery store,” Rivera said. “We realized there was a need. There was a need for 30 years.”

“The three bidders were always local vendors. That’s what’s always been a priority for the mayor,” the City of Albuquerque's deputy chief administration officer, Gilbert Montano, said.

The grocery store was a major part of the Downtown 2010 plan, which was drafted in 2000 by the city and the Downtown Action Team.

“They said if or when a grocer would come into the area, it would be a catalytic endeavor the city would undertake. That’s the model we’re taking,” Montano said.

The location is within 500 feet of a church or school, Montano said, making alcohol sales unlikely due to state laws.

The RFP process, Montano said, was designed to streamline the approvals for the store.

“It has to go through the same permitting processes, but what makes this a little unique is that it’s in an MRA, a Metropolitan Redevelopment Area, and it allows it to bypass the city council process,” Montano said. “It does save a significant amount of time.”

The city isn’t giving the land away, but it will work with a developer, Montano said.

Groups that presented had a variety of ideas.

A second group planned a seven-floor hotel, and grocery store with a pharmacy.

Rob Dickson, of Paradigm LLC, who responded to the RFP, said, "Our team really felt the biggest need was market rate housing. In looking at the trade area outlined by the staff, we felt the Lowe's provided a good choice in a Downtown grocery store."

His company's approach was a specialty market, with a cafe, called The Daily Market & Cafe, with 85 housing units renting for about $500 to $750 per month.
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