First things first: Gary Goodman isn’t just building a shopping mall.
Yes, the major earth-moving underway now at Winrock Town Center will yield the state’s first Nordstrom Rack and DSW, other still-unannounced retailers and a two-level underground parking garage. When fully developed, Winrock will comprise an estimated 1.5 million square feet of retail – nearly three times what it had when the original Winrock opened to great fanfare more than 50 years ago.
But Goodman – whose Goodman Realty Group is behind Winrock’s current renaissance – never set out to build a run-of-the-mill shopping center. He has a vision for a mixed-use development unlike anything the city has seen. As evidence, consider the fact that he has a farmer on the payroll.
That’s right. A farmer.
“We just harvested about 3,000 garlic bulbs,” Goodman said proudly of the plants used as part of a new landscaping strategy at the 83-acre Uptown property.
While the 16-screen Regal Cinemas multiplex might stand as one of the flashiest additions to date in Winrock’s ongoing redevelopment, it’s the peach, apple, and other fruit and nut trees surrounding the theater that truly speak to Goodman’s larger goals for the project. More than 200 such trees already have been planted around the cinema and the new Dave & Buster’s. Their fruit will ultimately stock Winrock’s planned on-site farm store – just one component of what Goodman calls a “uniquely 21st century” development.
Designs call for a live-work-play-shop community built with millennials in mind. Goodman, a veteran developer, envisions the new Winrock having the same kind of game-changing effect on Albuquerque that the original Winrock had when it opened in 1961.
“We really wanted to be a 21st century version of what that was to the 20th century,” Goodman said.
Goodman Realty Group bought Winrock in 2007 with plans for a massive, mixed-use redevelopment. The project saw little visible movement during the ensuing recession. However, signs of new life started cropping up in 2012 with the arrival of two new eateries, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse and Genghis Grill. They were followed by the new movie theater in 2013 and Dave & Buster’s last fall.
But some of the most visible progress began earlier this year when crews demolished part of the existing mall structure. Jaynes Corp. began work on a $120 million construction phase that will bring the new parking garage and 200,000 square feet of retail space along the southern side of the property. The new stores – Nordstrom Rack, DSW and Ulta among them – should open by fall of 2016. Goodman said the Winrock leasing effort, led by Pegasus Retail’s Anthony Johnson, should generate some other big announcements soon.
A massive construction project has commenced at the southwestern edge of Winrock Town Center that will create a two-level underground parking garage and retail space for stores such as Nordstrom Rack, DSW and Ulta. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
But retail is just one part of the Winrock equation.
The current outline for the village-like development includes an estimated 1,000 residential units. Construction on the first group – which will be part of the same southern edge block as the new retail, a 60,000-square-foot gym, and other health and wellness offices – could begin later this year, Goodman said.
Much of the housing will surround a centralized, two-acre park, although plans call for about 250 units on the empty site at the far northeast corner of the property.
Winrock also has a 150-room hotel in the works. Goodman said his company will work with a partner to operate the hotel.
“It’s going to be like a sister hotel to the Andaluz,” said Goodman, referring to the historic Hilton in Downtown Albuquerque that Goodman relaunched in 2009 as Hotel Andaluz after a $30 million renovation.
Winrock could also accommodate a couple of office towers.
“It’s going to be something very different for the city,” Goodman said.
Gilbert Montaño, chief of staff to Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, said the development will have a major impact on the city, citing the expected gross receipts tax expansion, job opportunities and the hundreds of millions of dollars in investment it will take to get it going.
“This is truly one of the most catalytic projects that Albuquerque has ever seen,” Montaño said.
The specific plans for Winrock reflect a cultural shift toward denser, more walkable communities, Montaño said. Younger workers especially value the opportunity to easily get from their office to a restaurant to a park to walk their dogs, he said.
That idea isn’t exactly new. Such live-work-play developments already are popular around the country, and Goodman said it’s vital to Albuquerque’s future that the city have something similar to offer young people who might want to make Duke City their home.
“People will be considering their move here and saying, ‘OK this is something I understand. This is something I’m used to seeing in Dallas or Denver or wherever I’ve come from,’” he said.
It’s a familiar concept, but Goodman expects Winrock to stand out even from similar projects because of its focus on water, energy and natural resource management. In addition to growing food on site, Winrock will incorporate some solar power, use a biodigester to turn agricultural and restaurant waste products into fertilizer and energy, and take various water conservation measures. Winrock already has a small water treatment system that takes the movie theater’s sink water and purifies it for irrigating the surrounding trees. Goodman’s ultimate goal is for Winrock to use all water three times before it leaves the property – first for hygiene and cooking, second (after purification) for water features and toilets, and lastly for irrigation.
Goodman also wants to create an on-site transportation network that will keep residents and visitors alike from needing their cars to move around. That will mean trolley service across the property and perhaps into neighboring developments, a bike-share system and a “receiving room” in the underground parking garage. After making a purchase at any store, shoppers can have their bags sent to the receiving room for pickup once they’re finally ready to call it a day.
“What it does is discourage people from continually getting into their car and driving,” he said.
All of that, Goodman hopes, will appeal to a workforce that Albuquerque wants – even needs – to attract.
“This is what the millennials are looking for,” he said. “When you put together the combination of the tenants, the principles of the property, the things we’re doing with water, energy, transportation and agriculture, (it) makes it a unique place to live.”
The project could be fully complete in the next three years, Goodman said.
By: Jessica Dyer (Albuquerque Journal)
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First things first: Gary Goodman isn’t just building a shopping mall.