Albuquerque's first indoor shopping mall has been pretty much shuttered for years, its much-ballyhooed "new urban" reconstruction delayed time and time again. Now it seems like things are finally moving...new national chain restaurants have been enlisted, a 16-screen Regal cinema with IMAX has signed on the dotted line, and at least one local news outlet is promising a groundbreaking as early as next week.
Developer Gary Goodman's plans for Winrock originally included lots of mixed-use buildings with both housing and retail, new hotels, green spaces, and outdoor walking trails. More recent versions of the plan seem to feature more parking lots and shrinking outdoor public spaces, with the redevelopment effort as a whole edging closer and closer to a traditional mall. So far, all announced new tenants are the kind of big national chain that can be found in traditional malls across America. But Goodman still talks a good game, and he continues to promise lots of opportunities for local businesses, including an entire section devoted to local eateries. Goodman is also still suggesting his final vision is a multi-use playground incorporating lots of residential space, high-rise hotels, offices, and a genuine urban feel. Based on the gap between what was promised and what was delivered at neighboring ABQ Uptown, I guess I am skeptical. Goodman did a great job realizing an ambitious vision at Hotel Andaluz, so I guess I am still more optimistic than this guy. But I will believe it when I see it.
Winrock was for many years an important place for Albuquerque...what are your memories of what used to be, and what would you like to see a newly revitalized Winrock entail?
Yeah, Phil, back then Lindy's, Mannie's, TownHouse and Quarters were all here and the Greek continguent was pretty important in Albuquerque.
Interesting the new places with different Greek owners, too. Bricklight Dive and BRGR is the same owner though, right?
Yeah - son of someone connected to Mannie's, I think? There's also the Daskalos-owned restaurants like Nick & Jimmy's...all told it's quite a legacy as far as NM dining is concerned.
I stayed at the White Winrock several times before it closed. I enjoyed it a lot. I have fond memories of hanging out in the sun at the pool while watching summer thunderstorms drift by.
The Greek family that used to own it sold it a few years ago and now run Zorba's, at Juan Tabo and Montgomery. Very similar chow. I've heard they sold Olympia to a former employee, who I believe is Palestinian.
Apparently a Nellos owns JohnDhi's BBQ in the North Valley, too?
It kinda seems to me that Mr. Goodman is becoming a bit like a verb. Like, "oh dang. . .Goodmaned again. . .sure thought they were goin' to start". Oh well, I'm sure he is doing the best that he can, and of course we all hope that he can eventually 'get 'er done'.
I'm certain that recent times have been uncertain for development, as they have certainly been tough on many fronts across the Nation. But what I struggle to understand, is that the White Winrock Motel has been rubble for many many years now. And, whomever finally develops Winrock will eventually have to clean up the mess, before they can go forward. So, why does the city dither? Does it not have some responsibility to remediate it now, in the interest of our city's pride and our neighborhood's well being?
Look, I'm just some lay guy. . . a Joe. But, it seems to me that whatever charges the city encounters in remediating White Winrock now could reasonably be passed on to any eventual deveioper, as he/she would have had to suffer them eventually anyway.
At the very least, doesn't the city have some authority to keep those that are junking their mattresses and old couches in the old Monkey Ward auto garage area, from imposing their inter-city blight upon our community? Dang!
Drove by the other day...yellow zoning-hearing notices for some kind of amendment to the Winrock master plan are up at each entrance. Methinks something's happening soon. And I've heard the White Winrock will be one of the first buildings to come down.
It's finally starting...groundbreaking May 11th.
The national trend has been to convert traditional malls to outdoor malls like ABQ Uptown, but ABQ Uptown has not been a huge success here, and it may be because of our climate more than our appetite for upscale retail. The beauty of a mall like Coronado or Cottonwood is that you escape the cold in winter and the heat in summer. At ABQ Uptown, you're outside -- no matter what the weather is. I just hope Winrock doesn't become one of those giant parking lots with un-attached megastores where you have to walk through traffic to get from one shop to another unless you get back in your car and drive.
I think a more park-like outdoor mall could work. Uptown, despite its attempt at a downtown sort of feeling, is really not very pedestrian friendly. The cars are parked everywhere, the random music is piped in. It's not the kind of place I would want to shop and then stay and hang out at. There's hardly any greenery of note. Something more along the lines of Fashion Island in the LA area would be more interesting. Not so many cars stuffed into every nook and cranny.
Yeah, they should really get rid of the parking between the stores, turn that space into a pedestrian-friendly strip with tables and benches - ie, places to hang and meet with friends, and get rid of the outdoor music altogether (blech!). To be honest, since Borders went under, I only go to Trader Joe's, which really isn't part of the mall.
I was reading that the outdoor mall trend was a way for the mall owner to escape the enormous heating/cooling bill for the large interior space, which the owner had to include as part of the rent. Now the individual store gets the utility tab, which decreases the rent - at the expense of a common meeting area. Coronado Mall and Nob Hill are much better places to meet friends and people watch...