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Proposed $27 Million Convention Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico
set for Annexation Vote by City Council

Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 3, 2009--LAS CRUCES -- The annexation of a little more than 10 acres of New Mexico State University land that is expected to become the site of the city's first convention and events center will be considered by the Las Cruces City Council when it meets at 1 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

Also to be considered with the proposed annexation are a master plan and initial zoning for the property.

The NMSU parcel is on west University Avenue, near south Valley Drive. The city and NMSU entered into a ground lease agreement in December 2006 after the council identified the property as its preferred location for the facility, to be called the Las Cruces Center.

The NMSU board of regents timed its annexation application to coincide with the city's plans to break ground on the $27 million facility, which is expected to happen in June. The annexation is sought so that gross receipts taxes generated from the convention and events center would benefit the city.

If the annexation hadn't been sought, gross receipts taxes generated by the center would have gone to the state of New Mexico since NMSU is the state's land grant institution.

Another reason for seeking the annexation is that water, wastewater and gas services for the center site will come from the city.

If approved the annexation will also likely be a benchmark NMSU will use for another future annexation it will seek for land it owns adjacent to the 10 acres. NMSU has plans to eventually build a hotel on 7.8 acres that is at the southeast corner of University Avenue and Union Avenue.

A provision of the lease agreement stipulates that if the hotel is constructed, NMSU will also seek annexation for that property as well. However, a definitive time line for building and opening a hotel hasn't been determined.

A zoning of University Avenue Corridor 6 has been proposed. If approved by the council, the zoning would create a new area to the University Avenue Corridor plan, which regulates architectural designs and appropriate land uses along University Avenue.

Currently, there are only five areas of the University Avenue Corridor plan, and an approved annexation would require the city to add another section of University Avenue to the plan.

If you go:

Las Cruces City Council meeting

When: 1 p.m. Monday

Where: Council Chambers at City Hall, 200 N. Church St.

Information: (575) 541-2076

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To see more of the Las Cruces Sun-News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.lcsun-news.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.

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