New Holiday Inn Being Built in Albuquerque

A four-story Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites is going up along 12th NE near Interstate 40, the third building in the long-range plan to redevelop the 47-acre old Indian School site.

Deepesh Kholwadwala of Sun Capital, the hotel developer, said work on the site has started and the 63,000-square-foot building should be completed by the end of the year.

A limited service hotel with complimentary breakfast, the Holiday Inn will have 108 regular guest rooms and suites, plus a meeting room capable of handling 75 people and an indoor pool.

"There will also be an executive board room on the fourth floor with large windows overlooking the Old Town area," Kholwadwala said. "It will have seating for 12 and multimedia access."

The hotel, which was designed by Tafazzul Hussain, will cost about $5.5 million to build. It will sit on about an acre next to the Bureau of Indian Affairs office complex, which has about 300,000 square feet in two buildings.

Sun Capital spent about eight months planning the project through the Indian Federal Development Corp., which has the development rights to the 47-acre tract. Both the land and development corporation are owned by New Mexico's 19 pueblos.

The site was once home to Albuquerque Indian School, which opened in 1881 and closed a hundred years later. The last buildings were torn down in the mid 1980s and the land remained vacant until the first of the two BIA buildings opened three years ago.

Studio Southwest Architects, which designed the BIA buildings, also worked with the development corporation and city officials to develop a master plan for the 47 acres.

Just less than a third of the site on its west side has been designated for retail development with the possibility of some offices for smaller users, said Bob Heiser of Studio Southwest.

A plaza is planned on the Indian School site opposite the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which opened in 1976 on the west side of 12th.

"The intent is that 12th Street will be the city streetscape with the buildings pulled up to the sidewalk, similar to Nob Hill," he said. "The parking will be internal."

A retail project on 12th, north of the Holiday Inn, is likely to be the development corporation's next step.

The eastern two-thirds has been designated for office development, most likely for the federal government. Because of its size, the area would be a suitable location for federal agencies requiring broad setbacks for security reasons, Heiser said.

The 47 acres will be developed in phases without a timeline for completion. And the architecture will not be a massive salute to the "pueblo style." "The pueblos didn't think that would be appropriate," Heiser said. "They want a very contemporary interpretation of their culture."

The west side of 12th Street is also seeing unrelated commercial development. A Walgreen Drug Store has opened at 2011 12th NW, while construction is getting under way of a 161,000-square-foot Lowe's Home Improvement Center at 2001 12th NW.