It was 1959 when the University of New Mexico and Winthrop Rockefeller announced plans to develop a 500,000 square foot mall called Winrock—the first and for many years the largest shopping mall in New Mexico. Retail giants of the era including Montgomery Wards, S.S. Kresge Five & Ten, J.C. Penney, Hallmark Cards and Safeway soon became standout tenants. A Fox Cinema came in the 1960s, as well as the White Winrock Motor Hotel. In the decades since and like many malls, Winrock has lost some of its luster as a shopping destination of choice. However, its place in the minds and memories of Albuquerque residents endured.
Recent Winrock mall redevelopment has brought new life and a new face. Goodman Realty Group bought the 84-acre mall in 2007 from Prudential Real Estate Developers and is shifting into high gear to renovate and redevelop its investment. Big-name tenants like Nordstrom Rack as well as Designer Shoe Warehouse have scheduled occupancy over the coming two years. Signs of construction and renewal are everywhere.
With a 40-year track record developing malls, Goodman visualizes more than a few cosmetic changes to a reconfigured, old-school shopping mall concept. They’re thinking more along the lines of a hub for the local community, emphasizing green construction and renewable technology. Plans call to capture rainfall for irrigation of ample gardens and fruit trees. Power for much of the retail activity will come from large solar photovoltaic arrays occupying the capacious rooftops of the facility.
Ultimately, Goodman anticipates Winrock Mall redevelopment will integrate a million square feet of retail space in addition to 86,000 for restaurants. The developer plans to add a 150-room hotel and several hundred residential units to the mix.
It’s a bold plan to reverse the trend of former shopping landmarks from the ’50s and ’60s becoming unfashionable and undesirable shopping destinations. Winrock has a lot going for it: Easy freeway access and a large land parcel under single ownership, eliminating the downsides of assembling multiple parcels from different owners.
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