Innovate ABQ is currently in the middle of the first phase of a four-phase development. The Lobo Rainforest and CNM’s Fuse Maker Space opened in 2017 as part of this initial phase.
The first floor of the Rainforest building houses the technology transfer offices for the University of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories and Air Force Research Lab as well as the UNM Innovation Academy, The Cecchi VentureLab, The Press Café, and a virtual branch of the Nusenda Credit Union. The second through sixth floors contain 155, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments which are leased to upper-level undergraduate and graduate students involved in STEM or Innovation Academy programs at UNM. The fifth and sixth floors have been wholly leased to the Navajo Nation for their STEM students enrolled at UNM to provide a culturally sensitive environment for their studies.
The FUSE Makerspace
The FUSE Makerspace is a 13,400 square foot community center with tools that allow members to design, prototype, and create manufactured works. The Makerspace provides a collection of industrial tools, fabrication laboratory tools, and manufacturing equipment for use in woodworking, metal fabrication, welding, rapid prototyping, 3-D printing, screen printing, jewelry making, and software. FUSE is also home to Build with Robots and ABQID, a community funded accelerator program.
In partnership with Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), the Fuse Makerspace provides its members access to affordable, high-quality classes as well as mentoring from other makers and community members.
Planning is currently underway for the renovation of the existing historic, First Baptist Church Building for offices, reconfigurable lab space and community and event space that will serve the needs of the innovation community. The Tower and Sanctuary buildings are proposed as office and incubator space for organizations that serve the needs start-up and early growth companies with a special emphasis on inclusive programs for minority and low-income innovators. Adjacent to the Sanctuary is the old Educational Wing which is being reimagined as The Crucible, a multi-use complex of offices and wet and dry lab space that will act as a makerspace for researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs in the biotech, materials sciences, and optics and photonics industries.
The development of the 7-acre site will continue to adhere to our philosophy of Intentional Infrastructure. Buildings, community spaces, green space, pedestrian walkways, public art and even retail space will be designed to reduce transaction latency, increase the frequency of interactions between like-minded individuals, remain culturally sensitive and be mission driven.
Each building will have a clearly-defined mission, such as cyber-security or the Creative Economy, and an identified set of stacked interventions that are tied to that mission. These interventions will be programs that support the development of talent, capital, innovation, collaboration and inclusion within the mission-defined innovation ecosystem.