(For more retail coverage, click GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

TAOS, NM-Goodman Realty Group, with 60 acres banked for eight years, will break ground in the third quarter on the first phase to Taos Village, a $175-million to $200-million development that’s the first of its type in the top-draw arts and skiing mecca. At build-out, there will be one million sf of office, live-work, retail, entertainment and residential space.

Goodman COO James Dobbie tells GlobeSt.com that Taos Village will begin with 40,000 sf to 50,000 sf of live-work space, including 30 condos, and 12 townhomes. “We’re letting the residential fill in before we start work on the retail,” he says. “Our general idea is to develop a streetscape by putting buildings on both sides of the street.” The first space will deliver in late first quarter 2007.

Dobbie says it took 18 months of public hearings to get the master plan approved. Now, he says the team’s working on infrastructure plans to submit for town council’s final approval. The developer has mapped out Pueblo-style one- and two-story buildings, sticking to the 26-feet height restriction, and interior parking areas.

Dobbie says Goodman’s planning to develop Taos Village in five to nine stages over a 10- to 12-year period. When the work’s done, there will be roughly 250,000 sf of New Mexico-style retail, 500,000 sf of office space topped off with residential units and 60 townhomes and patio homes. “It’s zoned commercial with residential uses,” he explains, “which gives us the unique ability to have live-work space.” The design’s flexibility allows for first-floor office and second-floor living or two-story offices, targeting small users for 1,200 sf to 5,000 sf and one- and two-bedroom condo buyers.

It’s hard to pinpoint who will buy, but a fair share is expected to be upper-echelon corporate chiefs who regularly season in the town along with their families and select administrative staffs. “I expect a lot of Texans will be buying second homes and investment properties here,” Dobbie says.

Dobbie already has begun sizing up entertainment and performing arts operators to anchor the retail component. Taos Village’s design includes a one-acre civic plaza. The town council recently bought an old theater for conversion into performing arts use. “But, New Mexico has a high demand for cultural activities,” he stresses, citing the tourist stream from both coasts, Arizona and Texas reinforces the need for special events.

To kick off the project, Goodman donated two acres to a charter school, which just opened doors on two buildings. Plans are being made for a third structure at the doorstep to the developer’s Taos Village, which has 3,000 feet of frontage along Paseo de Canon, now ticketed for work to start in Q1 2007 to widen it from two lanes to four.

Taos Village is the long-time mixed-use developer’s largest project. Key to the plan is staying true to New Mexico tradition. “We are trying to develop something that’s unique to Taos,” Dobbie stresses, “and different from the standard lifestyle centers being developed, which are no longer unique experiences.”

The retail mix will be boutiques, regional and local. “We are not gearing the retail to national retailers,” Dobbie says. “We will make the retail particularly unique to Taos, a good representation of New Mexico. That’s why they come to Taos. They like Taos’ component, nature component and environmentally friendly development.”

Local officials have invested four years into making Taos a destination location. Galleries, museums and restaurants heavily weight the 700 businesses that the chamber says line the streets of their quaint village at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. In a town where the word “manana” typifies the laid-back local tone, new stats aren’t readily available, but the last population count hovered 30,000 and the tourist head count pushed 180,000 per year. As for the last time that there was any new ground-up retail, Dobbie says “1990 and that was a Wal-Mart and it’s a small one not even a supercenter.”

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