Developer plans shipping container food hall for Rio Rancho
By Pilar Martinez / Journal Staff Writer Published: Wednesday, June 29th, 2022 at 10:05PMUpdated: Thursday, June 30th, 2022 at 12:05AM
RIO RANCHO – The developer behind Tin Can Alley and Green Jeans Farmery is planning to bring the food hall concept west to Rio Rancho with the opening of Margarita Hill in mid-2023.
Located near Unser and Westside close to Presbyterian Rust Medical Center, the roughly 14,000-square-foot Margarita Hill will, following the permitting process by the city of Rio Rancho, house eight tenants offering a variety of different foods, according to developer Roy Solomon.
Solomon said construction is expected to begin later this year and take roughly six months to complete.
Like Green Jeans Farmery and Tin Can Alley, opened in 2015 and 2020 respectively, Margarita Hill will focus solely on local vendors.
"Green Jeans and Tin Can Alley are based on being an advocate for local business, so everything we do is local, so all eight tenants will be local," Solomon said, calling the tenants the "heartbeat" of the building.
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Though contracts are still pending, Sadie's, a local New Mexican food restaurant, is a possible anchor tenant, Solomon said.
Solomon said the rest of the tenants will be announced following the development's final approval by the city.
The project's site was approved by Rio Rancho, but the development still needs several permits before construction begins, Hull said.
Several vendors, like Santa Fe Brewing Co., Pho Kup, Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria and SA BBQ, have locations at both Tin Can Alley and Green Jeans, though it is currently unknown if any of those brands will make the move west to Margarita Hill.
Like his other developments, Margarita Hill will utilize Solomon's now-distinctive shipping containers in the design.
While the shipping containers are now synonymous with Solomon's food hall developments, when Green Jeans opened in 2015 it was the first project in Albuquerque to make use of the containers, according to previous Journal reporting.
Once completed, Margarita Hill will feature about 3,000 to 4,000 square feet of common area space including indoor and dog-friendly outdoor seating with greenery, Solomon said.
He said there will be "a lot of open space, lots of patios and very community-oriented just like Tin Can Alley."
The announcement comes as builders across the state struggle with inflation.
While Solomon didn't provide an estimate for how much the development will cost him, he said it's likely that Margarita Hill will cost more than his previous shipping container developments.
"It's probably going to cost more because of the environment as it is," he said. "We don't want to skimp on the cool look of the building."
Though the site where Margarita Hill will eventually sit is currently a dirt lot located behind a handful of quick-service restaurants like Taco Cabana and Rise + Roast, renderings of the development depict a glass and metal structure decorated with sprawling colorful murals similar to the Northeast Heights’ Tin Can Alley.
Once opened, Margarita Hill will join a smattering of new businesses, medical offices and housing developments along the Unser Gateway, which Rio Rancho Mayor Greggory Hull said is an emerging market for the city.
"This development really recognizes the fact that Rio Rancho is becoming its … own stand-alone economy and retailers are beginning to recognize the value of Rio Rancho because our population is now over 100,000 people," he said.
Solomon said he chose Rio Rancho as the location for his third food hall following continued requests from his customers.
"It's a great opportunity to become part of this community," he said.
Since community is central to the food hall's concept, Solomon said he is interested in hearing feedback from those in Rio Rancho.
Those interested in sending feedback regarding the project can email [email protected].
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