Anasazi building in downtown Albuquerque now home to charter school

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It has sat empty for years, but someone is finally moving into the first floor of the Anasazi building in downtown Albuquerque.

There’s a lot happening in downtown Albuquerque, but that hasn’t been the case for the big building near 6th and Central for a long time.

“This has been sitting empty for many, many years,” explained Glenn Wright, Retail Broker with SVN, Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage.

For years, the scenic views and high-class urban vibe weren’t enough to fill the mixed-use facility’s condos or wide open commercial space.

Developer, Vincent Garcia started construction in 2007, but the bank he was using went under and he was busted taking money meant for the project.

The Anasazi was later on the verge of being condemned.

“It was starting to get broken into, graffiti, and became a real eyesore to our downtown revitalization efforts,” explained Gilbert Montaño, Mayor Richard J. Berry’s Chief of Staff.

When Arizona-based company PEM bought the building three years ago, it worked to turn things around.

That’s where Wright comes in. He took on the project on back in February to lease the commercial real-estate in the Anasazi. Wright leased the entire first floor in one deal.

“A lot of hard work and negotiations went into it to make sure it was the right fit and it really was,” Wright told KRQE News 13.

But residents won’t see new shops or a bar moving into the space. A start-up charter school will soon take up more than 7,500 square feet of the Anasazi. Siembra Leadership High School is moving into the first floor.

“It was really a lot about the opportunity, the Anasazi was the perfect size, perfect location,” explained Moises Padilla, Executive Director for Siembra Leadership High School.

The new school focuses on entrepreneurship. Planting in downtown’s ‘Innovation District,’ the director said, is a perfect fit.

“By the time our students graduate Siembra Leadership High School their senior year, they’ll have the opportunity to open up a business non-profit, or a social enterprise, and work directly with the entrepreneurship sector here in Albuquerque,” said Padilla.

City officials and residents are glad to see the space used for good.

The charter school has a four-year deal with Anasazi, and they’ll soon start construction inside on things like classrooms and offices. Their goal is to be moved in for school to start in August 2016.

Padilla said the charter school expects between 75-95 students for the first year starting this fall. The new space will fit around 350 students.

The free public charter school is now taking applications for enrollment. Space is limited.

For those interested in buying a condo at the Anasazi, there are still 32 out of 45 up for sale.

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