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Enchanted Hills stores open

Rio Rancho’s latest retail infusion is underway.

Kirkland’s will open a store this week at the city’s northern edge, but it won’t be the newest kid on the block for long. A series of other debuts will follow in short order, including Bed Bath & Beyond, T.J. Maxx and Michaels.

They all arrive as part of Plaza @ Enchanted Hills, Rio Rancho’s first “power center” and a $30 million development that officials hope will keep more of residents’ discretionary dollars in the City of Vision.

Located along NM 528 just south of US 550, the project has brought together the likes of Bed Bath & Beyond and T.J. Maxx with several smaller retailers like Famous Footwear, Maurices, Rue21, PetSmart and Sally Beauty Supply. That makes it Rio Rancho’s first “power center,” according to Anthony Johnson of Pegasus Retail, whose company is handling leasing.

The shopping center has the potential to “dramatically change things” in the city, Mayor Gregg Hull told the Journal in an interview Monday, especially if locals choose the Rio Rancho locations of stores they would otherwise visit in Albuquerque.

In 2011 — its most recent research on the matter — Rio Rancho found that its residents spend more than $500 million annually on retail and services outside of the city. That translates to an estimated $15 million to $16 million the city missed out on in gross-receipts tax revenue, said Matt Geisel, the city’s business relations and economic development manager.

“This gives us the opportunity to reverse the flow a little bit,” Hull said. “Obviously it wouldn’t plug the leak, but it will slow it down.”

At full steam, Plaza @ Enchanted Hills developers’ estimate it will generate $56.3 million in sales every year and about $3.9 million in gross receipts taxes — of which Rio Rancho would get about 40 percent.

Hull suspects that some of it will come in from outside communities like Bernalillo, Placitas and even some other communities along the US 550 corridor.

Johnson said the project’s trade area could extend as far away as Cuba.

The new stores should all be open by the first half of September, said Matthew Lawrence, a manager with Dellaportas Development, the Chicago-based company behind the center and several other New Mexico projects. A center-wide grand opening celebration is tentatively set for Sept. 26.

But there is more still to come. This wave of stores accounts for 106,000 square feet of new retail, but another 75,000 square feet is planned.

Johnson said he has at least seven other potential tenants in various stages of negotiation and the next round of stores could open as early as next spring.

FROM JESSICA DYER | ABQ JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
ORIGINAL ARTICLE 

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