Sunday, November 23, 2008

MLS in the 505

Photo courtesy of Flickr user: swilsonmc

The governor has changed his tune and gone back to Expo NM with plans for an equestrian facility. Great. Now what about the remaining 200+ acres of highly unused land? As I have posted previously, I do not believe it to be in our best interest to continue with the fair as it currently exists. Between the Downs relocating to Moriarty and Tingley Colisseum becoming irrelevant, nearly half of Expo NM land will remain unused.

From above, it is glaringly apparent that a majority of the unused space lies along Central Ave. and Luisianna Blvd. Would this area not be best used by complimenting the city's efforts to strengthen the international district and redevelop Central Ave.? In addition, this could create a district of transit-oriented development that would likely compliment a rail line to connect downtown and uptown. I'm talking dense, walkable development with offices, residential and even some industrial space. This could reasonably be done while still maintaining the existence of the fairgrounds, if so desired. The lost parking spaces could be replaced with above and below-grade, multi-level garages.

Additionally, the main point of this post is to address the need (ok, want) for Major League Soccer. Imagine a regional park with soccer and baseball fields as well as an MLS stadium. This could be New Mexico's only chance to obtain a major league sport and soccer happy Albuquerquean's are likely to support such a team. I stumbled upon an article that lists the Duke City as a potential candidate for an expansion team. Granted, the article discusses expansion of a USL-1 franchise but I bet an argument could be made for an MLS team. And while the governor is attempting to solicit ideas for Expo New Mexico, now would be the perfect time to move ahead with efforts to secure a team. The article states, "A short list of markets from which we believe a USL-1 franchise could be successful with the proper ownership and venue include, but are not limited to (in no specific order): Omaha (NE), Tulsa (OK), San Antonio (TX), Tampa (FL), Phoenix (AZ), Boise (ID), Oklahoma City (OK), Albuquerque (NM), Memphis (TN), and Birmingham (AL) We are currently in advanced discussions with interested parties in several of these markets."

The stadium would be a sizeable catalyst for redevelopment to the area as it would attract approximately 15,000 fans (league average) to the stadium for 15-20 events, annually.

We have so, so, so much potential if we could just realize it. Where are the leaders, such as Mayor Tingley, with the vision?


Mario said...

Great post yet again!

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