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Development group explains logic behind ART 'study' as questions arise

Kasia Gregorczyk
September 11, 2017 10:43 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Albuquerque Rapid Transit project may be nearing completion, but it’s been controversial from the start. There are still plenty of questions surrounding it and its benefits, including whether city officials tried to gain support by citing a study that never actually took place.

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A handout provided by the City of Albuquerque in 2015 reads ART could bring in about $900 million in potential new development, as well as 5,000 new jobs.

That information cites a study by NAIOP, a commercial real estate development association with a chapter in New Mexico.

Those same promising figures are referenced again in an ART fact sheet.

So when the city and NAIOP started making headlines for allegedly never even conducting a study, KOB found a way to sit through the same presentation on ART’s potential that was given years ago at a NAIOP luncheon.

The presentation stated that its purpose was to look at Albuquerque’s innovation corridor – stretching from Nob Hill to Old Town and beyond – in an effort to find ways to spur economic development.

In order to get projections for the area’s potential a number of industry professionals examined vacant land along Central Avenue.

“We applied good planning principals, well-known metrics relative to space per square foot of employee, average unit sizes that could be built by the private and public sector, and the number of retail jobs that could be created,” said architect Dale Dekker.

Dekker said all of that information is what led to those promising figures of $900 million and 5,000 new jobs.

“We applied our best professional judgement and opinion as to the developmental potential for this whole corridor,” he said.

But it was never an official study as referenced several times by city officials.

“I believe it got coined as the NAIOP study because it was presented at a NAIOP meeting, three years and eight months ago,” said NAIOP President Lynne Anderson.

Anderson was at that luncheon years ago, and says she stands by the statistics presented – even if it wasn’t the type of study that people might picture.

“I think when people think of ‘study,’ they think of a three-hole binder that has all sorts of pages in it. Not necessarily a really well-done presentation in terms of a PowerPoint with all of the background (information) with how it was studied,” she said, “(and) not necessarily a lot of stats, but based on solid stats.”

City officials told KOB they stand behind Dekker’s explanation. A full statement and explanation by Dekker on the study can be seen here.

Credits

Kasia Gregorczyk

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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