Historic ABQ building hit with graffiti

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – One of Albuquerque’s oldest and tallest buildings has been hit with graffiti. Vandals climbed more than six floors and sprayed graffiti all over an iconic office building and this isn’t their first mark.

The graffiti can be clearly seen on the top of the Sunshine Building, lining the entire west and north sides of it. Now property managers are trying to figure out how they’ll clean it without damaging the historic site.

As KRQE News 13 pointed out the graffiti to people walking along Central Avenue on Monday, many were surprised and angry.

“I mean how do they even get up there to do that?!” asked one woman after seeing the graffiti. “”It is so disrespectful and awful.”

“People who get caught doing that should be shot!” exclaimed another man who’s been in Albuquerque for decades. “It’s stupid to do that.”

“It is very sad,” said another man who says he walks downtown Albuquerque’s streets daily.

The 90-year old Sunshine Building at 2nd and Central is part of the National Register of Historic Places, being home to one of the city’s oldest theatres. Now, nearly the entire top of the building is covered with spray paint, more than six floors up off the street.

“I feel like these people don’t have respect for the history of downtown,” said Adrian Garcia, operations manager for the Downtown Action Team.

Garcia helps organize and manage the cleaning teams that wipe away tons of graffiti. In January 2015 alone, the team cleaned more than 630 pieces of graffiti off of various buildings, streets and fixtures all throughout downtown. But the latest tag is too high up for Downtown Action Team to deal with.

“To see something like that it… it just hurts, it bothers us,” said Garcia.

The vandalism is very visible, with the messages in clear view all the way at the edge of downtown by the round-about at 8th and Central.

The tags on the Sunshine Building likely aren’t the first from the vandals either. In October 2013, News 13 first reported similar tags being left on a pedestrian bridge near I-40 and Coors Boulevard.

The Sunshine Building’s tags will be up to the property managers to clean.

“It’s hard to understand why people would want to do something like this, you know?” said Dave Vincioni in an interview with News 13 Monday. Vincioni is the Sunshine Building’s manager.

Vincioni says he’s not quite sure how the cleaning will be accomplished either. The property managers are not only worried about the building’s height, but also the building’s age. They say they don’t want to damage the building any further by cleaning it.

“We have these buildings that we’re trying to maintain and preserve, show off our heritage and this does a lot of damage to that,” said Vincioni.

Vincioni said he’s filed a report on the vandalism with Albuquerque Police and the agency is now looking into the connection with the vandalism on the I-40 pedestrian bridge. Police are now said to be reviewing surveillance video to see if anyone was captured on camera.

Property managers also say this isn’t the first time that the Sunshine Building has been tagged. More than a decade ago, the building was hit in a similar, but smaller manner.

According to the City of Albuquerque, the Sunshine Building, located at 120 Central SW, was built in 1924 by Henry C. Trost. The Sunshine Building was one of Albuquerque’s first “skyscrapers” and its first great cinematic palace, with an elaborate 920-seat theater. Its “main street” appearance, with stores and theater entrance at the street and a solid commercial building above, reflects an era when local developers were anxious to make Albuquerque and all-American town, the equal of any on either coast or in the Midwest.

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