Winrock Center

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Winrock Town Center
Winrock shopping center.jpg
Main Entrance
Location Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Opening date March 2, 1961
Developer Winthrop Rockefeller and The University of New Mexico
Owner Winrock Partners, LLC
No. of stores and services 42 (1961)
No. of anchor tenants 3 (1961)
Total retail floor area 500,000 leasable square feet (1961) / 931,000 leasable square feet (2001)
No. of floors 2
Website n/a

Winrock Shopping Center is a shopping mall located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. The center is anchored by two Dillard's, Sports Authority, and formerly a Bed Bath and Beyond. Currently the mall is being redeveloped as Winrock Town Center, which will be an open-air, mixed-use complex.

History[edit]

In 1961, Winrock Shopping center was completed as a joint venture between soon-to-be Arkansas governor Winthrop Rockefeller and the University of New Mexico on a sandy lot at the edge of I-40. The development included a covered shopping center (the first for Albuquerque and New Mexico) with Safeway, J.C. Penney, Fedway and Montgomery Ward. A freestanding movie theater and attached motor hotel opened in 1963.

The mall was built as an outdoor shopping hub with acres of parking on all sides and a screened canopy roof above the main stretch of the mall. This design protected shoppers from the dry summer heat as well as the cold high-desert winters. The 82-acre site was bounded by the busy I-40 freeway to the south, with off-ramps to Louisiana Boulevard to the west.

In 1971, Winrock Center was featured in the American International Pictures release Bunny O'Hare, which starred Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine. In the film, the two ride a motorcycle through the mall while escaping from a bank robbery.

Shortly after Winrock’s opening, competition moved in a few blocks away. Coronado Center was dedicated in March 1965. Dillard's established their first store at Winrock in late 1971, when they rebranded the existing Fedway location. Soon after, a new store was built as a replacement. Bealls was added in 1985.[1] This space later became Oshman's and is now Sports Authority. In the early 1990s, a second Dillard's was added to the mall. The first location became a Women's Store, with the new building housing a Men's and Children's Store.

Beginning in the late 1990s, the mall began a steep decline and vacancy rates began to climb. By 2005, tenants' leases were not renewed in anticipation of redevelopment of the property.[2] By the turn of the century, the mall was clearly dead and decaying rapidly. The only remaining stores were the two Dillard’s, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and a Sports Authority, each of which owned their respective spaces.

The mostly abandoned shopping center was used as a set for the filming of the 2009 American comedy film Observe and Report[3] and the 2013 American Mystery film/Thriller Odd Thomas[4]

Redevelopment[edit]

2002–2011[edit]

In July 2002, New Jersey based PruWinrock LLC, the firm that owned the property, announced new development and proposed “an open-air large-format community center.” This failed incarnation would have included high-end retail, a movie theater, and apartment condos. The new center would have included 450,000 square feet (42,000 m2) of retail space. Groundbreaking for phase I was to begin in 2003 and be completed two years later. PruWinrock's approval was denied by the planning commission for additional on and off-ramps to neighboring I-40 on the grounds that they had not completed a required traffic study.

Over the following years there were numerous false starts. Increasing construction and material costs were cited as a major factor in the delays. In 2007, PruWinrock sold the property to Albuquerque-based Goodman Realty Group for an undisclosed amount. Progress on the redevelopment project was slow. The new developers held community meetings to showcase the new plans in an effort to garner their approval and ask for their support.[2] The current presented masterplan includes 1,500,000 square feet (140,000 m2) of new office, retail, restaurant, residential units, and a hotel.[5] Also included are a 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) movie theater (including IMAX), a grocery store, parks, plazas, and over 6000 parking spaces.

2012–Present[edit]

In February 2012, Goodman Realty Group announced that it had signed long-term leases with three major restaurants – Genghis Grill, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, and Dave and Busters – to begin construction in the spring.[6] BJ's and Genghis Grill both opened in 2012, while Dave and Buster's is now projected to open November 3, 2014,[7] along with a Joe's Crab Shack.[8] Demolition of the Winrock Center mall began in May 2012.

The first phase of the project, a Regal 16-screen IMAX and RPX Theatre, had its grand opening on November 15, 2013.[9]

The future Winrock Town Center may also include "ABQ Active", featuring a state-of-the-art sports training center, rock climbing, indoor scuba diving, zip lining and indoor sky diving. This will all be dependent upon the economy and success of the new Winrock project.[10][11]

As of 2015, the Bed Bath & Beyond store has been closed. Plans are to relocate Sports Authority into it, while relocating the two Dillard's to a larger, singular store. Nordstrom Rack and DSW Shoe Warehouse are also slated.[12][13]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 35°5′57″N 106°33′50″W / 35.09917°N 106.56389°W / 35.09917; -106.56389