Mixed-Use Project Slated for Former Plant Site in Albuquerque

May 17--ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A local commercial real estate developer is planning to turn the 502,000-square-foot former Philips Semiconductor plant into a mixed-use project, possibly similar to the !25 development just south on Interstate 25.

Titan Industrial Development is in the final stages of purchasing the building and its 60-acre site at 9201 Pan American NE from Netherlands-based Philips, which closed the chip-making operation in 2003.

A sign was posted in front of the plant Tuesday (5/16) advertising, "Opportunities Available for Office -- Retail -- Restaurants -- Hotels."

"We're trying to get a jump on the marketing," said Titan CEO Ben Spencer. "We want to make it the finest mixed-use development in New Mexico."

Titan expects to close on the purchase in the next two weeks or so for an undisclosed price, he said. The asking price was $15"million.

The plant building -- large enough to represent almost 1.5 percent of all industrial property in the metro area -- is expected to be recycled into a mix of uses. What that mix will be and the timeline for redevelopment are not determined, Spencer said.

"We're going to take our time doing a land plan," he said. "We're not under any financial pressure to do something in the short term that's not in the long-term interest."

The redevelopment will likely be similar to the transformation of the nearly 300,000-square-foot former Digital Equipment Corp. plant into the !25 mixed-use project at the northwest corner of Interstate 25 and Jefferson NE.

Spencer and Kevin Reid, well-known in the development community, are the local partners in Titan. Spencer owns Argus Development Co., which does residential and retail projects. Reid owns Reid & Associates Inc., which does primarily office and industrial projects.

The Philips plant is the last large piece of available property with prime freeway frontage in the North I-25 corridor, said Jim Chynoweth, managing director of CB Richard Ellis. CB Richard Ellis brokers Trevor Hatchell and Mike Schiffer represented Titan in the purchase.

"There was no possibility of getting another semiconductor plant in there because the technology and layout was outdated for the industry," he said. "It was obsolete as a chip-making plant."

But the building is equipped with heavy-duty utilities, including power, heating and air conditioning, that will recycle well into a mixed-use redevelopment, Chynoweth said.

Philips announced its plan to close the plant in the fall 2002, citing a decline in demand for the chips it produced. In the end 600 people lost their jobs, but the Albuquerque operation had been gradually downsizing for years.

Albuquerque has yet another empty industrial property, the Siemens Stromberg-Carlson telecommunications plant at Interstate 40 and Eubank NE. The 200,000-square-foot building has had a "For Sale" sign for years.