Albuquerque City Council has approved a lease agreement with New Mexico United for a new stadium for the USL Championship soccer team.
The decision paves the way for the next phase in construction of a stadium, which would be located at the Balloon Fiesta Park site. The council voted in favour of approval of the lease by seven votes to two.
Construction of the stadium would be privately funded by the club. The council’s decision comes after the city’s Environmental Planning Commission last week approved a land-use agreement for the project.
Peter Trevisani, owner and president of New Mexico United, said: “We are excited that the council has approved a lease that allows New Mexico United to move forward with the construction of a privately funded stadium that will be for all New Mexicans. We still have a lot of work to do, and are honoured to represent our incredible state. Somos Unidos.”
United was founded in June 2018 and currently plays at Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park, a minor league baseball stadium. The club is looking to build a new stadium with a capacity of around 10,000.
Back in November 2021, local residents comprehensively rejected the proposed use of public funding for a new stadium project (pictured). It came after the City of Albuquerque and United had previously agreed terms on a long-term lease and development deal for a new venue.
The stadium had been expected to cost between $65m (£52m/€59.7m) and $70m, and the lease and development agreement was initially due to go into action if voters approved a stadium bond in a municipal election. The bond was set at $50m, but a $10m commitment had been made by the club to help build the stadium, with an additional $8m coming from state appropriations.
United had also guaranteed another $22m in rent payments over a 25-year period. The initial project was met with criticism by locals, especially due to the cost to taxpayers, and the stadium bond was reportedly on the wrong end of 65% of votes cast when backers of the project admitted defeat.
At the time, United maintained that it would continue efforts to develop a multi-purpose stadium in Albuquerque and the club has welcomed this week’s decision by the council.
The Albuquerque Journal has reported that United will be required to contribute at least $30m to the project under the latest plans.