Los Alamos, New Mexico, long known as the location for the Manhattan Project in the 1940s and now home of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, has found itself today as land bound in a sea of parking lots with low scale development strangling the economic and urban vitality of the downtown business district.
At the request of various organizations with vested interests in the redevelopment of the downtown central business district, Michael Winstanley Architects Planners prepared a development master plan for the city. The goal of that project was to define a plan for growth without jeopardizing existing occupied buildings
and create a denser, vibrant downtown district to capitalize on the clear market demand for housing and retail supported by the population employed by the National Laboratory.
The final master plan outlined a framework diagram to develop 1.4 million square feet including 280,000 sf for retail, 420,000 sf for office and 700,000 sf for residential development. Most importantly, the master plan outlined a first phase development that would illustrate the ability to implement the complete plan in incremental development parcels by utilizing “sister sites” that accommodate structured parking facilities and thus creating new development sites.