Multiple Albuquerque big box stores close doors, relocate

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque has an increasing amount of square footage to fill.

After a Walmart in southeast Albuquerque closed one of its stores in March, multiple other big box stores have done the same, or relocated, like the TJ Maxx on Montgomery and Louisiana.

“Things change. Times are changing,” said Mark Roerick, co-owner of The Yeller Sub. “Something as big as TJ Maxx, I’m very surprised it happened.”

Roerick opened The Yeller Sub in 1984, and just claimed the title of longest-running tenant in the shopping center. He counted on some of TJ Maxx’s foot traffic for years. 

“A lot of the men who went shopping with their wives would come here and get sandwiches and eat ice cream while their wives were shopping and their families would come here because they didn’t want to shop,” said Roerick.

He and his wife Rosie wouldn’t be surprised if crime played a role in the decision.

“They were a victim of crime almost daily. We would see people run past our windows full of purses, full of suitcases, clothes, and there’s nothing they can do about it. They would just roll out with the shopping carts with them,” said Rosie Roerick. 

The property owner says the chain didn’t give a concrete reason for moving a few blocks west to a center on Montgomery at San Mateo, but they already have plans to separate the large building to make room for multiple new tenants.

Other long-time tenants in other centers are closing up shop too, like Buy Buy Baby and Bed Bath and Beyond.

“I used to love Buy Buy Baby, I used to get a lot of things for my kids,” said one shopper.

It’s also unclear what will replace the Whole Foods on Carlisle once the chain moves into a new location across the street. But experts say it’s all part of the business cycle.

“Typically as the business cycle changes, it impacts retailers that might have had challenges that lingered on for a period of time and the bright spot is that typically there are several businesses looking to either expand or upgrade,” explained Jim Dountas, senior vice president of Capital Markets for CBRE. 

He said Albuquerque’s commercial real estate markets are slightly down since 2021, but the vacancy rate is historically low, and seeing multiple businesses close at the same time is not out of the ordinary.

“It is part of the business cycle, you’re going to see occupancy fluctuate when the business cycle changes, and this is no different than what you would see nationally,” said Dountas.