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Infrastructure work on NMSU’s Aggie Uptown slated to be finished in January

Infrastructure work on the 36-acre Aggie Uptown development project on land owned by New Mexico State University is now underway and should be finished in January.


A land rendering.
A rendering of Aggie Uptown. Infrastructure work on the 36-acre project began in August 2019 and should be finished by January 2020. (Courtesy)

The area of development encompasses a parcel of vacant land north of the NMSU Golf Course that borders a stretch of East University Avenue from Las Alturas Drive to Terrace Drive. It sits within a 2,300-acre area east of Interstate 25 known as NMSU’s East Campus.

The development of the East Campus area is part of the university’s 10-year master plan. The plan outlines a three-phase approach that uses public-private partnerships to develop facilities throughout the land. Proposed facilities include a mixed-use commercial center, medical campus and life-plan retirement community. Aggie Uptown represents the first phase of the plan.

NMSU will generate a stream of reoccurring revenue by leasing sections of the land to businesses, similar to the university’s arrangement with the developers who built the Courtyard by Marriott on NMSU property. Businesses that lease land in Aggie Uptown or other areas within NMSU’s East Campus will be responsible for constructing facilities.

But before that happens, Aggie Development Inc., the nonprofit that manages NMSU’s water and real estate assets, is making infrastructure improvements to the land, which previously housed the NMSU Golf Course’s old club house and old driving range, as well as the former Las Cruces headquarters for New Mexico State Police.

Through a bidding process, Aggie Development contracted a Las Cruces-based company, Renegade Construction, to complete the infrastructure work, which began in August. The work involves installing utilities to phase one of Aggie Uptown, including water, sewer, natural gas, fiber and electrical lines, said Scott Eschenbrenner, president and CEO of Aggie Development.

“We’ll have utilities along the whole length of the property,” Eschenbrenner said.

The infrastructure work also will include a reconfiguration of the three-way intersection at South Telshor Boulevard and East University Avenue. Crews will extend Telshor Boulevard into the Aggie Uptown property and convert the intersection to allow for four-way traffic.

“It’s the last major intersection in Las Cruces on Interstate 10 or Interstate 25 that hasn’t been developed,” he said. “We feel there’s tremendous potential for development with this project.”

Once fully developed, the first phase of Aggie Uptown could alone generate in excess of $500,000 in annual ground-rent revenue for NMSU, according to estimates from Eschenbrenner.

“That’s just with phase one,” he said. “Obviously, it can go up quite a bit with more developed land. Aggie Uptown can become a significant financial contributor to the university.”

The infrastructure work will cost $1.85 million, Eschenbrenner said, and NMSU will pay for the improvements with funds from a sale of university-owned land off East Wisconsin Avenue, now home to a recently built apartment complex.

The work has required temporary road closures on Memorial Court and Citizens Place, and starting next month, motorists will experience additional traffic interruptions as East University Avenue near South Telshor Boulevard is reduced to two lanes, one in each direction.

“In January, all lanes on East University Avenue should reopen as the infrastructure work wraps up. From there, we will start the process of leasing out land to business,” he said, adding that NMSU will not be selling any of the land.

Eschenbrenner expects the first businesses at Aggie Uptown to open within 12 to 18 months of leasing land. Aggie Development is currently in talks with several interested businesses, he said.

There will be no immediate impact to the NMSU Golf Course during the current phase of development, and the facility will continue to operate as normal, said Jason White, director of the golf course.

However, depending on the demand for land in Aggie Uptown, the 57-year-old facility may undergo upgrades and renovations to accommodate subsequent phases of development.

“If the demand exists, we’re going to start planning for the future,” Eschenbrenner said. “If it means we have to take out four holes at the golf course, we’re going to start planning how we address that in the future. But we will make it look and play like the existing golf course.”

But, White added, “As the timing unfolds, throughout any of the process, there will be minimal impact on daily play at the golf course.”

White cautioned that any changes to the golf course are likely still years away, and he pledged to host public forums to inform the community about projects that may impact the facility.

“We have a common goal, and that’s to improve and enhance our current facility,” he said. “Through all of this, we have an opportunity to make the golf course better.”

For more information about Aggie Uptown, contact Eschenbrenner at 575-646-2356.