March 7, 2022 –
Food entrepreneurs may soon have a new space to formulate innovative business ideas in Albuquerque’s Barelas neighborhood.
The Street Food Institute, a nonprofit based in Albuquerque that works to foster fresh food companies, and Homewise, a home-ownership organization with offices in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque, are pairing up for a new development in the area.
Located north of the Barelas Coffee House, the lot would be home to a new building. The Street Food Institute would take over the first floor of the development, according to executive director Tina Garcia-Shams. There it would host the incubator and kitchen space for food entrepreneurs.
The tentative address for the new building is 1411 4th St. SW at the intersection of 4th St. and Bell Ave.
SFI has two programs, one for Central New Mexico Community College and another for “anybody who has an interest in starting their own business,” Garcia-Sham said. Three kitchens would fill the SFI space, one of which would be for baking, she said.
“There’s a huge need for commissary kitchens in the Albuquerque area,” Garcia-Shams told Business First in an interview.
Commissary kitchens are commercial-grade facilities where people can prepare food products.
Garcia-Shams had not previously worked with Homewise. But around two years ago she was at a conference sharing that she was interested in finding commissary kitchen space and was connected with the organization, she said.
The hope is to break ground “late spring, early summer” and to have the building completed by summer 2023, Garcia-Shams said.
The second floor of the 10,000-square-foot building would have nine commercial spaces, according to Isaac Hammond-Paul, the community development manager at Homewise. According to Hammond-Paul, the SFI incubator will more than 100 jobs in a neighborhood, that is “chomping at the bit for more opportunities.”
On Feb. 17, preliminary plans for the development were given the go-ahead by Albuquerque’s Environmental Planning Commission, which approved a rezoning for the land where it would be located. Officials from the Rail Yards Market of Albuquerque and the Street Food Institute wrote letters in support of Homewise’s rezoning and development proposal, according to EPC filings.