Milliennials were once again the main topic of conversation at an Urban Land Institute-New Mexico meeting this week.
Albuquerque Economic Development Director Gary Oppedahl said Albuquerque is already attractive to the key demographic, and can do even more.
He said the city and private sector can provide a supportive environment for young entrepreneurs and give them access to economic mobility.
ULI-NM member Bob Feinberg challenged Oppedahl’s assertion that Albuquerque is attracting and keeping its millennials. “[It’s] because we’re not cool. We’ve got plenty of bars and we’ve probably set the Guinness World Record for how many breweries can open in a year,” Feinberg, a senior vice president and principal at Colliers International said. “What do we have to do to draw cool restaurants, cool places, and cool businesses here, that are in Austin or in Silicon Valley or in Denver?”
Oppedahl said the notion that Albuquerque is hemorrhaging millennials is a myth.
“We’ve actually had a gain of 3 percent of millenials over the last 10 years,” Oppedahl said. “It’s doing walkable, bikeable cities with good transit because that’s what millenials want.”
One of the future projects that the city thinks will appeal to millennials is Downtown’s impending Entertainment District, on the northeast corner of First Street and Central Avenue. The project is across the railroad tracks from Innovate ABQ and would include 78 market rate apartments.
Some question whether Downtown can support more market rate living units when some developments have had a hard time filling up.
“We’ve got 600 people who are going to be involved with the Innovate ABQ who are going to need places to live,” said Oppedahl. “It’s a whole symbiotic system. You can’t do just one thing. We’re trying to build it all together.”
By: Blake Driver (Albuquerque Business First)
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