City weighs options for its ‘open space’ land

(Click here to view the story on KRQE 13)

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Albuquerque is looking to buy more land around the city by selling land it owns in Farmington and Las Cruces.

The city asked a local broker for guidance on how to sell the land and how to spend $10 million in bond money.

The city asked Sage Land Solutions for guidance in 2015 to analyze and report how to handle these properties to get the most bang for its buck. The group estimates the remainder of Albuquerque’s Elena Gallegos Exchange Lands acquired in the ’80s — about 5,000 acres — are valued between $13.3 million and $23 million.

“With limited dollars in the city of Albuquerque, you know, we always have to proceed with caution and obviously we want to look at other funding sources,” said District 3 City Councilor Klarissa Pena.

That extra source of revenue for the city could come from 23 of Albuquerque’s open space properties just examined for market value.

These open spaces like the Bosque are undeveloped and open to the public.

“[The study] does identify some properties that might have higher value that might be good for trading or that would be advantageous to someone who would purchase it from us,” said City Council President Isaac Benton.

While the group said many areas have potential for zoning and planning, others — like an industrial 40-acre stretch in Farmington — would be worth more if sold or leased as an oil and gas storage yard.

The conversation leaves councilors hopeful for future acquisitions of open spaces around Albuquerque.

“Especially in the southwest area of the city where we don’t have that much open space,” Pena said.

Pena is interested in the Crestview Bluff area.

“It’s some of the most spectacular views in the city of Albuquerque and it’s very historic,” she said. “It’s where the original settlers from the historic land-grant settled.”

Councilors did not make any decisions regarding these properties at Wednesday’s study session.