Berry is 8 months from leaving office and is still searching for another legacy construction project he can give to all his construction buddies and development friends in NAIOP and once again at the expense of city taxpayers.
Berry wants developers to erect a commercial “iconic and skyline-defining” building at least 360 feet high in downtown Albuquerque using city owned property that would be sold or leased and located at 3rd street and Marquette or 2nd street and Silver.
The mayor’s Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano goes as far as saying “The millions of dollars that this investment could create, spur and develop for our downtown and our city, the Class A office space, the multi-use live work play opportunities that these types of developments can provide also is a tangible benefit that we hope to see created.”
There is a slight problem. Albuquerque has a chronic commercial vacancy rate city wide of 22.8% based on information from CBRE, the largest real estate investment manager in the United States.
The downtown commercial office space vacancy rate is 35% according to local commercial real estate experts.
Montano’s comments reflect a disastrous “field of dreams” approach to commercial real estate development of “build it at they shall come”.
Rental of Class A office space is highly expensive with very few businesses existing in Albuquerque that can afford it.
Private companies who can afford Class A office space usually buy and build to suite and avoid renting office space.
Maybe there is a silver lining to this if the building materializes.
In a few months, the ART Bus project will be completed and Albuquerque will have a brand new empty bus line to carry ghost passengers to an empty “class A” commercial office building if it is built.
Berry needs to get his NAIOP buddies to build him a 360-foot-high “obelisk” like the Washington Monument instead in downtown Albuquerque that won’t jack up vacancy rates and we can name it “Berry’s Obelisk” or have a contest on what to call it.