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ALBUQUERQUE-As part of a 2005 agreement with the University of New Mexico, Forest City Covington NM LLC has taken down its first major land block for the proposed 9,000-acre, mixed-use Mesa del Sol.

Joint venture partners Forest City Enterprises Inc. and local firm, Covington NM LLC, have closed on 3,000 acres, positioned south of the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport and east of Interstate 25. The final price isn’t available, but sources believe the JV is paying between $2,800 and $3,200 per acre to the university. Mesa del Sol’s development partnership includes the state and the university. The Cleveland-based Forest City holds an option to buy the 6,000-acre balance from the New Mexico Land Office.

The closing comes as the delvelopment JV nears completion on Mesa del Sol’s first building, an 88,000-sf research, development and manufacturing build-to-suit. The flagship tenant is Advent Solar Inc., which signed a long-term lease for the $25-million project.

Mesa del Sol, with University Boulevard as a grounding point, is one of the nation’s largest master-planned, urban infill developments now on the drawing boards. The 25-year, build-out plan carries an estimated $6-billion tab.

Mesa del Sol is laid out for an estimated 18 million sf of mixed-use space and 38,000 single-family homes. Roughly 3,400 acres have been dedicated to open space and parks plus another 800 acres, give or take, have been earmarked for schools and university uses. Based on development projections, Mesa del Sol, at completion, is expected to increase the 500,000 population by 80,000 residents and add thousands of jobs.

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