It’s a year of pluses and minuses for NAIOP New Mexico.

On the plus side, the commercial real estate development association’s 2021 NAIOP Annual Awards of Excellence was held indoors Dec. 10 after a year dominated by Zoom meetings sparked by the pandemic.

Top winners this year include Titan Development for the 2021 NAIOP Chairman Award, the City of Rio Rancho public/private partnership with Los Diamantes and Rio Rancho Public Schools for the 2021 Cleve Matthews Vision Award; and NAIOP New Mexico’s own Lynne Andersen and husband John Gallegos, who were named winners of the Chuck Gara Community Leader Award.

That’s where the minus comes in. Andersen and Gallegos — who have headed the organization for years — are retiring.

For top winners, these awards matter.

Rio Rancho partnership

The City of Rio Rancho’s public-private partnership revolves around the Los Diamantes master-planned community, the city and the Unser Gateway coalition.

Los Diamantes was master planned for 578 single-family residential units, a business park, multi-family housing and five acres for recreational parks and open space.

The plan also called for a new four-lane arterial road that extends Westside Boulevard from Unser Boulevard beyond the new Joe Harris Elementary, according to NAIOP NM.

Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull helps the grandchildren of the late Joe Harris Sr. work the giant scissors to cut the ribbon to officially celebrate Joe Harris Elementary School on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, in Rio Rancho. The school opened earlier this year to students and welcomed them back on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021.
(Gary Herron/Observer)

Rio Rancho Public Schools had purchased land for an elementary school at a different site but lacked the system-level infrastructure to support it.

“Moving swiftly against a tight schedule, Mayor Gregg Hull orchestrated instrumental meetings to strike a public-private partnership across the city, including Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sue Cleveland, and the private developer, Pierre Amestoy.

“After a rare joint session of the Rio Rancho Governing Body and the school board, the board voted to change plans and build their new Joe Harris elementary school in the Unser Gateway, adjacent to Los Diamantes,” NAIOP NM wrote in a release.
“The school was funded with a $30 million public bond. With unanimous city council support, Mayor Hull was able to secure $3 million in utility funding to offset public infrastructure improvements.”

Additional private partners contributed right-of-way for the construction and widening of the four-lane arterial, according to NAIOP NM.

Hull said in a statement that the city is “really excited about this amazing public/private partnership.”

“This is truly a testament to the great and important work that can be accomplished when public organizations like the Rio Rancho Public Schools district, the City of Rio Rancho and (Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority) collaborate with private developers to raise the level of quality on projects like this one,” he said.

The annual Awards of Excellence have grown through the years. The awards are done by a system of nominations and peer selection.

This year, 55 companies and projects were winners in categories including retail, office, mixed use and multifamily, community civic and public of more than 100,000 square feet, community civic and public of less than 17,000 square feet, education, hospitality, industrial/infrastructure and medical.

The committee included co-chairs Jim Strozier and Angela Valdez, Shirley Anderson, Darin Davis, Ryan Garcia, Doug Majewski, Kevin Patton, Karl Smith and Bruce Stidworthy.

Finalists for the awards included the City of Rio Rancho’s Campus Park and Broadmoor Senior Center, as well as Santa Ana Star Casino.

What is NAIOP NM?
NAIOP New Mexico is a commercial real estate development association with more than 300 members who come from all industries that touch on commercial real estate, including architects, contractors, engineers, developers and more. NAIOP NM is a local chapter of the national organization.

And, believe it or not, “NAIOP” isn’t an acronym — not anymore, anyway. The letters come from a past version of the organization’s name, which once was the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

The national branch is now simply known as the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

The Albuquerque Journal is NAIOP NM’s media partner for its Awards of Excellence program.