Mesa del Sol

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Mesa del Sol
Subdivision of Albuquerque
Aerial view of the Isleta Amphitheater, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Aerial view of the Isleta Amphitheater, Albuquerque, New Mexico
CountryUnited States
CityAlbuquerque, New Mexico
 • CouncilorIsaac Benton

Coordinates: 34°59′N 106°38′W / 34.99°N 106.63°W / 34.99; -106.63 Mesa del Sol (Spanish for "table of the sun") is an uncompleted 16,000-acre (65 km2) mixed-use master planned community in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[1]


Mesa Del Sol is located approximately 6 mi (10 km) southeast of downtown Albuquerque. It is bounded by the Albuquerque International Sunport along the northwestern edge, Kirtland Air Force Base on the north and east sides, the Isleta Reservation to the south, and Interstate 25 to the west.

Master plan[edit]

Mesa del Sol's master plan called for development over a 40-year span that would cover 9,000 acres of the 12,900-acre site. The remaining 3,200 acres was proposed for parks and open space. The project expected to house 100,000 people, with a downtown area, 37,500 homes, 18,000,000 sq ft (1,700,000 m2) of office space, 4,400 acres (18 km2) for residential and supporting retail, 800 acres (3.2 km2) for schools including university branches.[2] The master plan also includes two new interchanges providing access to Interstate 25 that would be financed as part of the development.


Mesa del Sol was approved as part of a public-private partnership strategy with the New Mexico, Albuquerque and University of New Mexico. It has been in planning stages since the 1980s. In 2002, after an open bid process, the New Mexico State Land Office selected Forest City Enterprises as the developer of Mesa del Sol. The project broke ground in 2005 with University Boulevard extended to the community. Forest City Enterprises and Covington Capital Partners were the initial developers.[3][4]

On March 17, 2011, Forest City announced that on March 28 it would break ground on the first phase of its residential development. Forest City plans to build 250 homes and models in the first phase, including infrastructure, and has selected four home builders including Rachel Matthew Homes, RayLee Homes, Paul Allen Homes and Pulte Homes.[5] Builders estimate by early 2012, homes will be available for residents. The homes will range from 1,200 to 2,700 square feet (110 to 250 m2) in size and will cost between $100,000 and $300,000.[6]

In September 2015, a state audit showed a default judgement against approximately 2,700 acres of the undeveloped community and the land was placed in receivership.[7]

In December 2017, with approximately 250 homes having been built, the Mesa Del Sol owners appealed to Albuquerque's Environment Planning Commission for changes to the master plan that might encourage more home building.[8]

Aperture Center[edit]

Architect and New Mexico native Antoine Predock designed the Aperture Center building which opened in late 2008 as the centerpiece of Mesa del Sol. It is a LEED-certified environmentally friendly building clad in a glass curtain wall inspired by the shape of bone cells. The $11 million town center building has retail shops and restaurants on the ground floor and offices above.[9][10]

In 2016, the Aperture Center was purchased from Mesa Town Center Building 1 LLC by SC3 International which would relocate its headquarters to the building.[11] At that time, the other tenants were the offices of Mesa Del Sol and the University of New Mexico's New Energy and Industrial Technology and Development Organization (NEDO).[11] In 2018, Guzman Construction Solutions signed a lease for 17,000 square feet of space.[12]

In popular culture[edit]

The television show Breaking Bad (filmed in Albuquerque) utilized Mesa del Sol for most of the show's desert shoots and many notable scenes. Albuquerque Studios, located in the Mesa del Sol development, served as headquarters for the Breaking Bad film crew, as well as for the films The Avengers, The Lone Ranger, and The Book of Eli. The coordinates at which Breaking Bad character Walter White buries his money in the season 5 episode "Buried" — 34°59′12″N 106°36′31″W / 34.98667°N 106.60861°W / 34.98667; -106.60861 — actually points to Albuquerque Studios in Mesa del Sol.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chamberlain, Lisa (September 26, 2007). "Planned City Rises Within a City". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26, 2007.
  2. ^ Metcalf, Richard (March 1, 2008). "Mesa del Sol Reshapes Region". Retrieved Mar 1, 2008.
  3. ^ Domrzalksi, Dennis (May 8, 2002). "Mesa del Sol developer chosen". New Mexico Business Weekly. Retrieved May 8, 2002.
  4. ^ Ginsberg, Steve (June 12, 2009). "Forest City eyes 2010 Mesa del Sol housing start". New Mexico Business Weekly. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
  5. ^ Domrzalksi, Dennis (March 17, 2011). "Mesa del Sol gets ready to build houses". New Mexico Business Weekly. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  6. ^ Master planned development to have homes by 2012 Archived 2011-08-30 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Salazar, Martin (16 July 2017). "State Auditor: Mesa del Sol community is 'adrift'". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  8. ^ Lucero, Marissa (29 December 2017). "Owners fight for changes to spur development in Mesa del Sol". News 13. KRQE. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  9. ^ Illia, Tony (May 2008). "Mesa Del Sol Town Center: Ceramic Frit Does Double Duty". Architectural Record.
  10. ^ "Aperture Center". Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Guzman-Berrera, Stephanie (26 February 2016). "Mesa Del Sol's Aperture Center sold to group with local ties". Albuquerque Business First. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  12. ^ Sinovic, Steve (5 February 2018). "Mesa del Sol's Aperture Center snares big tenant". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  13. ^ Gomez, Adrian. "'Breaking Bad' coordinates lead to... , Albuquerque Journal (August 21, 2013).
  14. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C. "ABQ Studios, a facility with eight sound stages, production offices and a back lot in Albuquerque’s Mesa Del Sol," Deadline (October 8, 2018).

External links[edit]