ABQ Embraces Live-Work-Play at Lobo Rainforest Building

A $35 million, 160,000-square-foot mixed-use building replaced the old First Baptist Church site and will house students, Innovate ABQ tenants and UNM’s Innovation Academy.

The University of New Mexico (UNM) opened the $35 million Lobo Rainforest at the Innovate ABQ site at Broadway Boulevard and Central Avenue. The urban living and learning environment is the result of a partnership between the University of New Mexico, Innovate ABQ, the City of Albuquerque, Nusenda Credit Union and Bernalillo County.

The six-story, 160,000-square-foot mixed-use project is located at 101 Broadway Blvd. NE. in Suite 1100, steps from the ABQ Rapid Ride, the Rail Runner and the new ART system. The live-work-play concept property began development last July and is designed to drive innovation, education and economic development in New Mexico. It will house students, Innovate ABQ tenants and UNM’s Innovation Academy (IA). Construction is managed by Signet Development of Ohio, New Mexico’s Goodman Realty Group—from which the university will lease the facility for 30 years before assuming ownership—and Dekker/Perish/Sabatini. The building represents the first phase of a four-phase development plan.

 “We are excited for this catalyzing event. The Lobo Rainforest marks the first of many exciting developments on Innovate ABQ’s seven-acre site. Phase by phase we are making progress in our vision to create a vibrant and inclusive innovation district at Albuquerque’s core focused on supporting diverse entrepreneurs, from high-tech to main street and micro-enterprise,” Terry Laudick, chair of the Innovate ABQ board of directors & president of Nusenda Credit Union, said in a prepared statement.

Broad spectrum of tenants

The ground floor of the building will house STC.UNM, the University’s technology transfer and economic development arm, IA, a Nusenda Credit Union branch, the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) Technology Engagement Office, Sandia National Laboratories, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group and several startup companies accommodated in STC’s business incubator, the Cecchi Venture Lab.

Floors two through six are the living spaces for students and feature two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment-style units. Amenities include a fitness center, café, washers and dryers and a designated parking area.

“We describe our Lobo Rainforest as human innovation ecosystem in which creativity, business acumen, scientific discovery, investment capital, and other elements come together in a fertile environment that nurture budding ideas so they grow into thriving, sustainable enterprises,” added Interim UNM President Chaouki Abdallah.

Video courtesy of UNM