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The land is in good hands.
Mesa del Sol is like a huge wedding cake. There are so many different ingredients and layers, it’s hard to get your arms around it. Very few companies in the world are able to build communities at this scale and with this level of expertise and artistry. Mesa del Sol is being created by two of them: Forest City Enterprises, Inc., and Covington Capital Corporation.
Forest City Enterprises has become known as one of the country’s premier real estate development firms. Forest City’s reputation for careful, sustainable community planning has grown with the outstanding success of projects such as University Park at MIT (Boston), Westfield San Francisco Centre, the 42nd Street Retail and Entertainment Complex (New York City), and Stapleton (Denver). And as a public, NYSE-traded company, Forest City has both the vision and the financial stability to make long-term investments in the communities where it works.
Covington Capital Corporation is an entrepreneurial real estate development and investment company that focuses on complex projects across the country. Covington specializes in projects involving public-sector participation and has an extensive track record of redeveloping distressed properties, renewing their usefulness and value.
Forest City and Covington Capital came together to form Forest City Covington NM, LLC, the developer of Mesa del Sol. It’s a partnership of experience, vision and financial strength.
An honest-to-goodness partnership.
Mesa del Sol is a unique collaboration between governmental, educational, non-profit and for-profit organizations. It’s a rare example of public and private interests working together to accomplish a shared goal: to fulfill the promise of this place and create long-term benefits for the whole region.
To be specific, Mesa del Sol is a partnership between Forest City Covington NM, LLC, the University of New Mexico (UNM) and the State of New Mexico through the State Land Office (SLO). The goal of the State Land Office is to increase value and income on behalf of New Mexico’s public schools. So in selecting Forest City Covington to develop Mesa del Sol, the SLO negotiated an agreement whereby the SLO will receive future income from Mesa del Sol in addition to the 100 percent of proceeds from the original land sale. This income will be in the form of both rent payments from Forest City Covington as well as a 14 percent share of the increased land value — value which is being created, risk free, by Forest City Covington’s efforts and investments.
UNM is also benefiting from its association with Mesa del Sol. As the community proceeds, UNM receives (again, risk-free) 15 percent of the development’s net profits. And with a $750,000 endowment from Forest City Covington, the UNM Foundation established the Mesa del Sol Endowed Professorship in Film and Media. This helped to launch UNM’s new Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media program, which is now up and running in Mesa del Sol’s Aperture Center.
Mesa del Sol began as a community of interests. And this is resulting in a very interesting community.
We know how to create community.
When it comes to designing and building walkable communities, you could say that we’ve been around the block. Forest City has created interesting, successful communities in places across the country. But the one that’s probably most relevant to Mesa del Sol is Stapleton in Denver.
We should clarify that a critical part of our approach is to let each community reflect the unique culture of the larger surrounding community. So Mesa del Sol will feel as different from Stapleton as Albuquerque feels different from Denver. But these two places will share certain big ideas. Like the idea of having a walkable mix of shops, offices, parks, restaurants and a wide range of homes. The idea of creating great neighborhood schools. The idea of preserving natural open space. And the idea of finding ways to reduce carbon emissions, conserve water and be kinder to the earth.
Stapleton began to take shape about 10 years ahead of Mesa del Sol. So how has it fared? Well, it’s one of Colorado’s best-selling new-home communities year after year. Homes in Stapleton have held their value extremely well, even through difficult economic times. It’s been honored with a long list of awards. And the whole place is alive with community events and people walking everywhere.