City seeks developers for Central project

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The city is looking to spruce up a slice of historic Central by reaching out to developers, leaving the door open for ideas.

Albuquerque scooped up the El Vado Motel four years ago. Since then, it has just sat there along two other buildings. Now, the city wants to change that.

“I think there’s a lot of interest in this property,” Metropolitan Redevelopment Manger Rebecca Velarde said. “It really is a historic and cultural gem.”

Built in 1937, the El Vado, near Central and Tingley, has seen better days. The city bought the property for $1.4 million in 2010 and has since made some repairs.The old Casa Grande restaurant along with an old barber shop sit just to the east.

Last month in an On Special Assignment piece, KRQE News 13 told viewers how the city has been paying millions to buy and keep up old buildings like the El Vado.

The goal is to now give the area a new look. The city is seeking proposals from developers to get the job done.

The Casa Grande and the barber shop will be demolished. The El Vado will stay, as it’s a city landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

As part of the site overhaul, the El Vado doesn’t have to be redeveloped, but the city hopes it will be.

“We are not necessarily tied to any kind of specific idea,” Velarde said. “It truly is open and we really want to see what’s best for the community and the market in the area.”

There is one requirement, though. Due to some of the property being bought with federal funds, a housing unit with more than half being affordable living must go up.

Proposals are due July 3. The Albuquerque Development Commission is then expected to pick a developer in August.

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