Altitude Is Springing into Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., July 29, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Texas-based Altitude Trampoline Parks will soon be bringing more fun and excitement to the Albuquerque community. Company officials are eager to announce that preparations for the newest cutting-edge facility have begun and will open its doors in Spring of 2019. Altitude Albuquerque will include party rooms, as well as ample in-park party areas for birthdays, corporate team outings, social groups, and sports teams, with the ability to accommodate groups of any size.

"Altitude sets the standard in trampoline family entertainment. We are the leader in customer service, cleanliness, safety, and in growth potential as we support all our franchise parks from every angle," said Curt Skallerup, Altitude- President/CEO.

Altitude Albuquerque will be the premier facility of the Altitude brands with very exciting new events and attractions. The indoor park will include a variety of classic activities such as Main Court, Dodgeball, Basketball, Kids Court and Foam Pit. As well as some of their new events like; Cardio Wall, Rock Wall, Log Roll, Zipline, Ropes Course, Performance Trampolines, Clip n’ Climb and a Super Trampoline!

"We are extremely excited to be partnering with Altitude to bring their impressive trampoline park concept to Albuquerque. The brand new, 2-story 35,000 ft trampoline park will provide a clean, affordable, family friendly atmosphere designed to be enjoyed by all ages," said Matt Carducci, Altitude Albuquerque.

Since its founding in 2012, the company has expanded to become a national brand as well as internationally to Argentina, Panama, the United Kingdom, Norway, Spain, and more to come. Altitude continues to pioneer the ultimate trampoline experience with a fun-filled environment unlike any other. The company expects to open its 100th park by 2018 and continue its geographic reach.

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SOURCE Altitude Trampoline Park

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Albuquerque, NM; Small Town with big-city vibe

Many Albuquerque visitors land at the city’s convenient Sunport airport, rent a car and promptly drive an hour north to Santa Fe, seeing Albuquerque only from the freeway. That’s a pity because Albuquerque is one of the most delightful small towns in America, full of regional character, delicious New Mexican regional cuisine and plenty of local color. It is a small and attractive city that welcomes visitors with an endless supply of attractions that are worthy of exploration.

It is quite practical to combine your Albuquerque trip with a visit to stylish Santa Fe because the convenient and economical RailRunner commuter-rail service makes it easy. Trains runs frequently between downtown Albuquerque to downtown Santa Fe daily.

Home to the world-famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta where hundreds of hot air balloons take to the skies for over a week each October, Albuquerque is close to the imposing Sandia Mountains and is surrounded by history and recreational opportunities from golf courses, hiking, biking and skiing. There are many microbreweries, wineries, a kitschy Old Town, good shopping for Native American and western items, lots of Native American culture and fascinating displays of the city’s western heritage in museums, shops and architecture.

Bisected by historic Route 66, New Mexico’s largest city has 310 days of sunshine annually and is a simply smart place to explore.

Albuquerque can be easily reached by highway, air, cruise ship or train.

• By car, Albuquerque is on I-25 and I-40.

• By air, the nearest airport is Albuquerque Sunport (ABQ). It is four miles from downtown.

• By train, Albuquerque is served by Amtrak and connected to Santa Fe and Belen via New Mexico Rail Runner. Seniors ride free on summer Wednesdays on the NMRR.

• Albuquerque is inland, with no cruise ship service.

• Stroll around historic Old Town

• National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center or one of our many world-class museums

• Checking out the zoo and aquarium at The ABQ BioPark

• See the Acoma Pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America

• Spend a day in Santa Fe, connected by RailRunner train and highway

• Explore Taos’ museums, galleries and pueblo (a 133-mile drive including the scenic Rio Grande valley)

• Journey to Los Alamos, center of the U.S. nuclear weapons development in the 1940s

Laid back with good shopping and many museums, Albuquerque is welcoming to the over 50 set.

Albuquerque has good accessible public transportation and no special mobility issues

When to go: year-round. Autumn has the best weather and numerous festivals. Winter is ski time in the nearby mountains, Spring is dry and windy. Summer is hot but still pleasant.

Where to stay: Old Town and downtown have scores of hotels at almost any price range. Resorts are nearby as well. Most national chains are well represented.

Jeffrey R. Orenstein and Virginia Orenstein

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Mixed-use boom in Albuquerque

One Central is a mixed-use, six-story steel and concrete structure featuring 68 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments Downtown. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mixed-use properties are becoming the go-to opportunity for many developers and investors in and around Downtown Albuquerque.

Many Albuquerque developers either have mixed-use projects that are opening soon, rising on construction sites or teeing up. They are so prevalent these days that NAIOP New Mexico, the commercial real estate development association, recently hosted a panel discussion featuring some of the more active players.

Several of the NAIOP speakers laid out a rosy vision of building mixed-use properties with hundreds of new rental apartments Downtown – living spaces offering vibrant designs and unique amenities, and primarily tailored to millennials and baby boomers. These future renters, they asserted with the highest of hopes, are eager to ditch their cars to “live, work and play” in walkable, transit-accessible neighborhoods, with merchants on the ground floor eager to sell them coffee, food and entertainment.

One mixed-use project, which will soon take shape along Central across from Presbyterian Hospital, is clearly on steroids when one considers its size, expense and future economic impact.

An aerial view of The Highlands shows some of the key development phases that are planned during a multi-year build-out. (Courtesy of Titan Development)

“Mixed-use projects are an expression of the (development) industry adapting to changes in the culture – especially the ways some of us now work, live and buy,” said Steve Maestas, a prominent leader in the town’s commercial real estate sector. His company, Maestas Development Group, is teaming on a privately funded $100 million project called The Highlands with Titan Development and Alliance Residential.

The first two of six planned phases will be The Broadstone Highlands, a 92-unit apartment building, and a Marriott Springhill Suites Hotel. Also the drawing board is a second Broadstone apartment community, with 228 units. In the conceptual stages are a food hall called Highlands Central Market, other retail tenants and a skybridge linking The Highlands development to Presbyterian.

Presbyterian, which sees 5,000 hospital employees, visitors and vendors each day, will be a big draw for the future apartment dwellers, retailers and food purveyors at the revitalized 12-acre site. “Our charge from Presbyterian (which is also a partner in the enterprise) is to create uses that will eliminate car trips to the (already congested) campus,” said Kurt Browning, Titan’s chief development officer.

“The whole idea is to create a future neighborhood on the order of Nob Hill and EDo,” east of Downtown, Browning said.

The partnership expects to break ground on the project this fall, and buildout is estimated to be completed in the next five years. Browning said 1,150 construction jobs and 425 permanent jobs will be created for the five-block development.


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“The whole corridor (along Central) is going to look so much different five to 10 years out,” Maestas said.

Joining forces with Titan and Alliance helps spread the financial risk, said Maestas, whose company separately owns and operates Las Estancias, a massive commercial development in the South Valley. He said food and beverage purveyors, much like his Las Estancias development, will be a strong focus at The Highlands.

“Food and beverages are that experiential component that a lot of retail operators are missing,” Maestas said. “Pre-recession, 8 percent of the retail footprint (in the U.S.) was food-oriented. It’s now 16 to 17 percent and could be as high 25 percent by the end of the decade.”

Help from public entities

Many of the recent and future mixed-use projects are centered on or near the Central and Lomas corridors, and several would probably not have gotten off the ground without some help from city, county and other public entities.

A public-private partnership jump-started the $19.3 million mixed-use Imperial Building at Second and Silver SW, which in 2015 brought Downtown a long-sought-after new grocery store, new eateries and apartments. Geltmore LLC and YES Housing developed Imperial with a boost from the city, which contributed $4.4 million (including the land) and low-income housing tax credits. The project also received county and federal incentives.

A view of the Albuquerque skyline from the One Central construction site. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

It was a similar story for One Central, which is coming to life at First and Central. The city kicked in $17 million – most of it coming from lodgers’ taxes – plus land valued at $1.4 million, accounting for just under $19 million of the $35 million mixed-use project. Bernalillo County also approved an industrial revenue bond package that includes property and gross receipts tax breaks.

The project, which broke ground in January 2017, was created in response to the city’s request for proposals for a Downtown “entertainment district” to include restaurant and retail or entertainment businesses.

So far, the six-story steel and concrete structure features 68 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, which are leasing for August move-ins, and a 420-space parking garage.

Mosher has long indicated the project would likely involve a bowling alley but has yet to find an operator. Presumably it will have enough sound proofing to not disturb the renters on the top three floors. Meanwhile, he’s in discussions with other potential commercial tenants including a coffee bar and bakery, a brewery and a deli.

Multiple projects

Some of the other notable projects around town include:

• El Vado Place, an $18 million project that includes nearly $3 million from the city of Albuquerque, is nearly completed after transforming a long-closed Route 66 motor lodge into a boutique motel, event center, amphitheater, the town’s second Ponderosa Brewing taproom and food pods. The project also includes the 42-unit El Vado Place apartments, with both market rate and Section 8-eligible rentals.

Redevelopment of the former DeAnza Motor Lodge is underway. The mixed-use project will blend a hotel with apartments, restaurants, retailers and office space. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

• The $8 million DeAnza Motor Lodge which will get new life in about a year as a mixed-use project. The city previously owned the land and the derelict structures. A development group called Anthea at Nob Hill LLC, which includes Albuquerque-based companies TLC Plumbing and Utility and HB Construction, bought DeAnza in late 2017 for an undisclosed price from the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency. The development along Central will include a boutique hotel, an extended stay hotel, upscale apartments, full-service restaurants, retail and office spaces.

• The $4.5 million Zocalo Lofts mixed-used project, which is being built in the 500 block of Fourth Street in the Barelas neighborhood. The 14,000-square-foot residential component is composed of 21 market-rate studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Another 10,000 square feet will be devoted to retail space.

• Elevate @ 3rd and Lomas is envisioned as an infill mixed-use project with ground-floor retail space, upper-floor office space and 170 apartments, according to Scott Throckmorton of Argus Investment Realty. Cost estimates and other details are pending from Argus, which, with several equity partners, is also behind the Bank of the West Center redevelopment nearby.

With sights set on an ambitious makeover of what is currently used as a surface parking lot, Elevate @ 3rd & Lomas will include ground-floor retail, new office space on the second floor and over 170 residential units on the third through seventh floors. (Courtesy of Argus Investment Realty)

• Glorietta Station is a planned redevelopment of an 8-acre site, including a five-story building, at Lomas and Broadway. Proposed by the Garcia family, which owns several auto dealerships, the mixed-use development would include a restaurant, marketplace, gallery and workspace, along with a distillery. No cost estimates have been disclosed.

• Silver Avenue Flats, a $24 million, five-story project with 132 high-end apartments and commercial/retail space. The development timeline suggests a summer 2019 completion date. Development principals are CBRE Albuquerque executives Tom Jenkins and Erik Olson. They’re seeking city assistance to defray development costs and fees and abatement of gross receipts taxes for construction costs.

The El Vado project, previously a derelict Route 66-era motel, imagines a mixed-use project that draws locals and tourists to its eating, drinking and lodging venues. The public-private collaboration also offers lodging and shores up the area’s local rental needs. Madeline Lopez and her husband Abel Lopez enjoy a couple of tall cool ones on a recent hot summer evening.

With all these ambitious-sounding developments hitting the market over the course of several years, one might wonder if there are enough future rental and commercial tenants – and a strong enough economy – to sustain them all. Asked if he’s worried about any of them canceling each other out, developer Jerry Mosher was not the least concerned.

“I think we’re are going to be like McDonald’s and Wendy’s,” he said. “I think we’ll feed off each other.”

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300+ Four Corners homes on pre-evacuation due to mudslide potential

Hundreds of homes in the Four Corners region of the state are on pre-evacuation notice as the weekend begins due to the potential for mudslides in areas where the 416 Fire destroyed vegetation.

More than 300 homes are on notice on county roads 203 and 205. A community meeting will be held Saturday evening at Miller Middle School in Durango to discuss the blaze and threats of flooding.

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Commercial drones taking off

Engineers Gideon Graffe, left, and Sam Berman attach wings to the Silent Falcon at the company’s 5,000-square-foot facility in Southeast Albuquerque. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Starting this summer, solar-powered drones from New Mexico will soar above raging wildland blazes to offer a critical eye in the sky to firefighters battling flames below.

Silent Falcon flight operations director Trevor Briggs shows how the drone’s infrared camera attaches to the aircraft’s belly. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

The drones, made by Albuquerque-based Silent Falcon UAS Technologies, are part of a fleet of unmanned aerial systems being deployed for the first time this year under a new U.S. Department of Interior contract for air support companies to dispatch commercial drones as needed to wildfires in all 50 U.S. states. One of those companies, Montana-based Bridger Aerospace, subcontracted Silent Falcon to deploy its solar-powered drones whenever the feds call for assistance.

Until now, government agencies permitted only small, helicopter-like drones, or hovercraft, to fly near fires. The Silent Falcon, however, is a winged plane built to fly long distances for hours on end, providing detailed, real-time imaging of everything in a broad swath of area below. It’s equipped with infrared cameras and other sensors that allow it to operate in adverse conditions, enabling it to see through smoke from wildfires and identify hot spots.

Company CEO John Brown with the fully-assembled Silent Falcon. Brown launched Silent Falcon UAS Technologies in 2010 in Albuquerque. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Federal authorization to use such unmanned systems marks a new milestone in the emerging commercial drone industry, said Silent Falcon CEO John Brown. Although the government still maintains tight restrictions on operations in civilian airspace, it’s slowly opening the skies to more exploratory uses while the Federal Aviation Administration works on the rules and regulations needed to safely allow drones to fly unencumbered over urban and rural areas.

That, in turn, is encouraging industry to test a huge range of commercial uses, from aerial inspection of remote infrastructure and industrial operations to mapping and surveying of real estate and construction sites.

“We’ve seen a sea change in the market, starting last year and picking up even more this year,” Brown said. “Companies and government agencies are seeing broad commercial applications for unmanned aerial systems, and it’s creating huge demand for services.”

George Bye of Bye Aerospace Inc. in Colorado, which helped launch Silent Falcon in 2010, said a “cultural change” in attitude is driving commercial markets forward.

“A few years ago, drones were a pioneering concept that elicited interest with skepticism, but that’s entirely gone away,” Bye said. “The use of robotic planes is now fully accepted. It’s phenomenal how fast it’s changed.”

A critical turning point came in August 2016, when the FAA approved the first-ever rules and regulations for limited use of civilian drones in domestic skies. Under the FAA’s “Part 107” restrictions, licensed operators can now fly small aircraft of under 55 pounds up to 400 feet in the air, although only during daytime. Ground controllers must keep all craft within their line of sight and avoid flying over people.

Payload engineer Daniel Bowen attaches a propeller to the Silent Falcon, which the company is preparing to ship to Nevada for wildfire-related operations.

That cracked the door open for the first time for hobbyists, commercial operators and government agencies to begin flying drones, generating a flood of activity. To date, about 120,000 “pilots” have received drone operating licenses under Part 107. And over 1 million unmanned systems are now registered with the FAA – more than all manned aircraft registered nationwide.

“Overnight it created a very sizable service industry for vertical flights to inspect small areas and infrastructure with multi-rotor drones,” Brown said. “Unmanned systems are now an ubiquitous part of all surveying and mapping operations of everything from power lines and pipelines to oil and gas operations, construction sites and real estate.”

The Teal Group, a Virginia-based aerospace and defense analysis firm, estimates the civilian and military drone markets reached $3 billion in the U.S. last year and will grow to $8.7 billion by 2026. Worldwide, market value hit $7 billion and will grow to $22 billion by 2026, said Teal Group Director of Corporate Analysis Philip Finnegan.

“The market is just beginning,” Finnegan said. “It’s still a nascent industry.”

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International in Washington, D.C. estimates more than 100,000 domestic UAS-related jobs will emerge in the next few years.

“We sifted through information provided in all Part 107 operator applications, and found four dozen types of UAS businesses,” said AUVSI spokesman Tom McMahon. “Apart from more than 100,000 pilots licensed, there’s all the support personnel and commercial services needed for operations.”

The Silent Falcon’s flight and location appear on a ground control center screen.

In New Mexico, at least a dozen companies have emerged from participants in DroneU, an Albuquerque-based school that offers in-person and online courses about drones while preparing pilots for Part 107 license exams. Commercial activities include aerial photography, real estate videography, and land reclamation and mining-remediation surveys, said DroneU founder and Chief Technology Officer Paul Aitken.

“We train about 1,100 pilots a month on average nationwide,” Aitken said. “About 75 percent of them are people focused on business who want to turn their passion into a profit.”

Many companies and government agencies are also training their own personnel to incorporate drones into operations.

“All the federal agencies, like Fish and Wildlife and the Army Corps of Engineers, are actively researching how they can use drones to get their jobs done,” said University of New Mexico geography and environmental studies professor Chris Lippitt.

Lippitt is a co-founder of Albuquerque-based IBEX Aegis, which developed a software platform to turn drone imagery into high-tech reports that magnify and illuminate intricate details. The company, which launched last year, employs five now and expects to grow to 10 or 12 by next year, said co-founder and CEO Jesse Sprague.

“Our UAS partners collect imagery that we upload to our software,” Sprague said. “They need that to leverage the data provided. We mine the data for imagery and maps.”

Another Albuquerque company, Robotic Skies, has established an international network of repair and service centers where drones fly in like manned aircraft, said President and CEO Brad Hayden. The company received a first round of venture seed funding last year from the Kickstart Seed Fund in Utah and Sun Mountain Capital in Santa Fe.

“We have a global network of 150 independently-owned and operated service stations in 35 countries,” Hayden said.

Operators use this ground control center to fly the Silent Falcon and control all its imaging, sensing and air maneuvers. The flight plan and photos taken by the drone in flight appear on the screens.

For Silent Falcon, wildfire work is just the tip of the iceberg. Later this summer, it will begin aerial inspections of some 2,600 wells for an oil company.

“We’re excited about where things are going,” Brown said. “Industry use of drones is only just beginning, and we’re setting ourselves up to be at the forefront as it emerges.”

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