Welcome To Rio Rancho Estates In Sandoval County, New Mexico
Located 15 miles north of Albuquerque and 50 miles southwest of Santa Fe, Rio Rancho sits high atop a mesa offering stunning views of the Sandia Mountains and Rio Grande! Rio Rancho is located in the heart of New Mexico, just north of Albuquerque. The Albuquerque International Airport, less than 40 minutes away, offers several major airline choices. At 5,290 feet, the high desert offers year round perfect weather with winter temperatures averaging 49 and summertime averaging 91. There are 330 sunny days a year with 8.2 inches of rainfall. It snows several times during the winter but usually melts the same day.
Guests are invited to visit nine Native American Communities where they can experience authentic celebrations passed down through many generations and enjoy the delicious foods and beautiful artwork. Take a drive west towards Grants for one of the most spectacular color shows you will find along an interstate! The rich desert rock colors are absolutely beautiful! Spend a few days in New Mexico and you'll discover why they call it "The Land of Enchantment".
Update May 2009: It was a beautiful time of year to visit Rio Rancho with lots of pretty spring flowers and warm sunny weather as we explored a few different units and poked our nose around to see if things are still growing there. We noticed quite a bit of growth happening still with new subdivisions, houses, streets, and businesses being built! The Rio Grande was pretty full and the Bosque along it was a plush green. As we drove around it was easy to see that this place is still moving along even during the economic downturn!
There continues to be a lot of construction around the Santa Ana Star Arena and new City Center. I got my first glimpse at V. Sue Cleveland High School, the 2nd high school in Rio Rancho which is set to open in fall of 2009 - home of the Storms! Other projects being built at the City Center area include Hewlett-Packard Customer Service Center (scheduled to open late 2009), University of New Mexico West campus (scheduled to open spring 2010), a community college, and the University of NM Sandoval Regional Medical Center (scheduled to open 2011). This facility is expected to have 75 private rooms with the capacity to expand to 120 beds and more than 400 workers are expected in the first year. Services will include emergency services, urgent care, surgical services and more!
The Albuquerque Journal named some of the projects the federal stimulus program will fund and on that list was money for the Paseo del Volcan Road project. The city has learned that it will receive $14 MILLION and will solicit bids for the construction of the extension of Pasel del Volcan from Iris Road to US 550. This will create new access to the city center. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how much this place continues to grow!
PHOTO UPDATE OCTOBER 2007 The Walmart at Unser and Southern!
Another new subdivision!
The new city hall that is now opened!
The backside of the new city hall.
Update Easter Weekend April 2007: We drove from Colorado south through Espanola, NM on to Albuquerque and arrived on Good Friday to find the courthouses in NM closed in observance of Good Friday. So with a bit of extra time we drove up north into Sandoval County and ventured through the Jemez Mountains. Oh what a beautiful journey this trip was!
As we came down into the top of New Mexico we were greeted by some beautiful elk. We see all kinds of animals as we travel but seldom do we get an opportunity to photograph these! In fact this might be the first ones! They were preparing to cross the county road and quickly raced away as we slowed down. These big animals can really move! We later saw more in the Jemez Mountains in northern Sandoval County!
As we drove down into Espanola I noticed quite a few teenagers walking along the side of the road. Then I noticed some older people walking, some in groups, some alone. As we drove along the interstate down into the Belen area we saw someone walking along the road carrying a large wooden cross on their back, people reading prayer books and others walking with rosary beads. I realized I was seeing a pilgrimage for my first time. WOW! I had no idea that pilgrimages were made in the United States on this holiday or any holiday for that matter! I have heard about people taking pilgrimages overseas to religious sights and to find out that the same traditions were observed in my own back yard warmed my heart. As we drove up into the Jemez Mountains I stopped to ask a few older ladies about their journey. They said they were "walking several miles as their pittance". They talked of a holy place near Espanola that many journey to, some walking a couple of days and others walking a couple of hours, whatever they could do. It brought a warm feeling to my heart and certainly lifted my spirits being away from my family on Easter Weekend. Below is a picture I took out the front window of a few people walking along the road. I didn't want to intrude upon anyones privacy so a quick snap out of my dirty truck window is my only photograph of this beautiful weekend!
What a beautiful drive it was through Jemez Mountains in the Santa Fe National Forest down through Jemez Springs with all of the spring colors! There was still a bit of snow on the ground and a few people were enjoying the parks, rivers and lakes! Who would think that this is New Mexico! Fabulous green, rich red mountains, places to explore, cool rock formations, a natural dam, fishing and boating for the outdoorsman, picnics and park facilities for families, and quiet and peaceful with not too many people! We even came across some elk hidden in the trees!
Elk hidden in the trees!
The town of Jemez Springs was gorgeous with its spring colors! Many locals venture here for recreation and relaxation. The town has shops, galleries, restaurants, hotels, hot springs, Native festivals and the Jemez State Monument where you can explore ruins from a 500 year old Indian Village and the former 17th century Catholic Church, San Jose de los Jemez - very majestic! I took a picture of a beautiful pink blossoming tree that turned out to be in front of the San Jose de los Jemez Church.
WELCOME TO RIO RANCHO ESTATES:
This is a booming area and property values continue to climb! We often update the information below so be sure and check this out if you want to watch the growth of this area with us! We recently added new information about Rio West, the proposed city west of units 1-3, and included sales data from the Nov 2006 tax sale.
A FEW QUICK FACTS:
Albuquerque was named in May 2005 as the 5th best place in the USA for Business and Careers by Forbes Magazine.
Albuquerque was also named in June 2006 as the 3rd out of 50 Smart Places to Live in the USA by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine.
It has the 2nd lowest crime rate in the state and far below the national average.
In 1993 it established it's own school district and the state of the art high school was recognized by Time Magazine!
Anchored by chip maker Intel with over 5000 employees as well as Victoria Secret and Sprint, this master planned communities pro-business attitude and a high quality of life makes this New Mexico's fourth largest city. It is home to Rio Rancho is the fastest growing city in New Mexico. Home buyers can find a four-bedroom, 2,800 square foot house for $294,000. Housing is extremely affordable and there has been tremendous population growth in Rio Ranchos in the last 20 years. City officials project an increase in population to over 110,000 by 2010!
1980 - 9,985
1990 - 32,512
2003 - 58,000
2004 - 62,000
2005 - 70,000
2006/2007 - Estimated at 77,000
I wrote the above in 2005. I now read that the 2005 census estimates say it will reach 125,000 by 2010!
2003 - My First Visits
These next six pictures are from one of my first trips to Rio Rancho. The view from unit 13 sure looks a lot different in 2007 than it did around 2003!
A view from Unit 13:
A busy street corner on Southern Boulevard and a view of The Sandia Mountains:
2005 NEW EVENTS CENTER AND CITY CENTER BREAK GROUND:
We had a chance to visit the booming Rio Rancho in February of 2005. We drove through many of the undeveloped units to the east of the city to check out the growth. We saw quite a bit of development as well as some of the locals out enjoying their sunny winter day! Some of the desert plants were beginning to bloom which was spectacular! If you look closely in one of the photos below you can see someone hiding in the brush.
On June 14, 2005, the city broke ground on the new Events Center and City Center. This is a $45,000,000 master planned downtown and city center that will be home to sporting events, trade shows, and family shows.
The beautiful Sandia Mountains which sit to the east of Rio Rancho and the growth seen in the distance from one of the undeveloped units to the west.
The snowcapped peaks of the Jemez Mountains to the north and Sandia Mountains to the east made for beautiful backdrops!
2006 INFORMATION ABOUT THE NEW CITY OF RIO WEST AND TAX SALE PRICES:
I had a chance to visit Rio Rancho and attended the Sandoval County tax sale in November 2006. While there in Rio Rancho, I had a chance to drive through the different units and the next 12 pictures below were taken as I drove through the area seeing how much it had grown. I got my first glimpse at the Santa Ana Star Center. Home of the New Mexico Scorpions, this events center is a major component of the new master planned downtown. You can see more buildings being erected next to it in the pictures. They had their grand opening in the fall of 2006. There was a lot of new construction from the east to the west along Northern and Southern, a lot of road work around the new arena and Unser Blved, I saw growth in the units 7, 8, 9 and 12 as well. Here is a sampling of prices at the tax sale: Unit 4 $8000, Unit 5 $10000, $7000, $8000, Unit 6 $7000, $8000 and $9000, Unit 8 $9500, and Unit 23 $11000, $14,000, $13000. And that's for a tax sale deed!
We have been reading quite a bit about Rio West, the new proposed city in the Rio Puerco Basin. This basin lies to the west of units 1, 2 and 3 as seen in the section map link above. We drove to the west edge of unit two to get a peak at the Rio Puerco Basin and took the picture of the beautiful sunset below. There is a steep drop to the gorgeous valley below. A master plan was approved by the Sandoval County Commissioners in October 2006 that covers eighteen square miles of the basin and will be home to some 70,000 people. The plan is to extend Northern and Southern Boulevard out of Rio Rancho to Rio West. There are plans for a 157 acre resort and a 1080 acre new airport and industrial business. This was a vote of confidence to the developer Recorp Partners Inc. who must bring each development back to the county commission for approval so we will keep updating this as we research further information.
The Santa Ana Star Center that had recently opened when we visited in 11/2006 and the new building beside it partially built!
Street after street of new construction and the sunset from the west of unit 2 - what fabulous sunsets they have here! Spanish explorers named the mountains Sandia because they likened the color the mountainside turns at sunset to that of a watermelon (Sandia is Spanish for watermelon). On almost any given evening you can see what they meant!
Beautiful new homes in unit 12!
2007 NEW CITY HALL BEING BUILT:
We made a quick visit in February 2007 and saw quite a bit of progress on the new city hall being built beside the Santa Ana Star Center. We saw quite a bit of road construction in the area of Unser in November, 2006 and we certainly noticed an increase of traffic this time. We viewed a parcel in unit 7 and I sure could see a lot of neighborhoods cropping up in the not too far distance. The Sandia Mountains were beautifully snowcapped and the sunset provided a beautiful glow over the horizon as well as the Sandias!