You see homes in a 360-angle — everywhere you can see and a hospital behind it — that’s a good place for a grocery store — Sidney Hopper, president of The United Family



It took about 15 years, but on Wednesday long-held plans came true when The Village at Rio Rancho groundbreaking took place.

A 65-acre multi-use project, the Village includes an upscale Albertsons Market Street as its anchor. It will also host medical offices with easy access to Presbyterian Rust Medical Center, retail stores, a hotel and potentially a couple boutique restaurants – the kind that Rio Rancho residents have been clamoring for.

They won’t be part of chains.

The project is at the corner of Westside and Unser boulevards, across from Presbyterian Rust.

Bob Feinberg, senior vice president and principal at Colliers International New Mexico, said the boutique restaurants that are interested in the site just contacted him last week. He declined to identify them.

However, he added, more announcements will be coming soon.

“We have a couple of things in escrow, but we can’t really announce who they are – a couple of national credit tenants, a couple of local tenants. We’re talking to some medical office developers and we are working with a hotel,” he said.

The restaurants, he added, are from out-of-state.

“Those are the type of pursuits we are drawing on,” he said.

Like so many others, for developer Robert Geringer, it’s been a long time coming.

“We started this project about 15-16 years ago, with the vision of bringing the Rust facility to a portion of this property and then expanding the retail, entertainment and community support services, on this balance of the 65 acres,” Geringer said. “We’ve got it cleared and are off to the races.”

Geringer added that the significant wait time had to do with finding the right tenant, which turned out to be the Albertson Market Street.

“We are very happy with our investment of time and money to bring The United Family and Albertsons to the site. We think they are the perfect support for what we want to do here. And that’s provide a destination for the community to come and spend time do some of the shopping and also some of the entertainment and other facilities that we anticipate on this site.”

New Mexico’s first Market Street was a renovated Albertsons store in Santa Fe, said Sidney Hopper, president of The United Family, which owns Albertsons.

“Since then we have been looking for the right space,” he said.

“You see homes in a 360-angle — everywhere you can see and a hospital behind it, that’s a good place for a grocery store,” he said.

Albertsons has 96 stores in Texas and New Mexico, and they felt the upscale store was the best fit for the area.

“It’s a little more upscale,” he said. “We do a lot of things around prepared foods that you are going to see.”

The site will include a fuel and convenience store where Albertsons’ shoppers can get a discount on gasoline. Also included, he said, will be a charcuterie, fine wines, concierge and catering services.

Rio Rancho Mayor Greggory Hull said he began to check in on the project in 2014, when he was first elected to office.

“I’ve always seen this as something that is needed in Rio Rancho,” he said. “One of the things we’ve always struggled with in Rio Rancho is what we call retail leakage — people spending their money in Albuquerque as opposed to spending it in Rio Rancho. This is going to go a long way to keeping residents in Rio Rancho shopping in Rio Rancho.”

It hasn’t just been developers and officials who have been waiting a long time.

“This is something that I can tell you that the citizens of Rio Rancho are very vocal about wanting,” said Rio Rancho City Councilor Dr. Karissa Culbreath.

“It will serve all residents who call the Unser Gateway area home now and in the future, as new homes come on line.”