ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Twelve years after the City of Albuquerque knocked down a seedy bar on east Central Avenue, the city is cleaning up the property for a second time.
The Albuquerque Mayor’s Office says the city has reacquired the ownership rights to the vacant lot that used to be home to the old “Blue Spruce Lounge,” at the corner of Central Ave. SE and Alcazar, near Louisiana.
KRQE News 13’s Special Assignment team first questioned Albuquerque city officials about the neglected lot in October 2015. Neighbors complained that the lot, which used to be the home of a blighted bar, had turned into a new eye-sore with overgrown trees and weeds, piles of trash and homeless camps.
City crews have now removed all of the leftover trash and overgrowth on the property, leaving a clear lot once more. It now marks the second time the city has cleaned up the problematic property in 12 years.
The property’s history goes back to 2004, when former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez helped demolish the “Blue Spruce Lounge” that used to sit on the lot. Before it closed, city and neighborhood officials deemed the bar a magnet for drugs and violence.
In October 2015, city officials blamed the lot’s overgrown appearance on a private developer, pointing to a 2007 development agreement the city signed with Limary Investments LLC. That company is run by the same people who run the nearby international grocery store called “Talin Market.”
While Limary Investments originally planned to build retail and loft space on the property, their building never came to fruition.
The Albuquerque Mayor’s Office says the city officially reacquired the old “Blue Spruce Lounge” property in May 2016, saying that Limary Investments failed to hold up its end of the development agreement for the property.
The city says in the next six months, the Albuquerque “Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency” will put the property out for another “request for proposals” (RFP) to ask for new ideas on how to redevelop the lot.
The city says it will ask for developers to submit ideas that have a “community-beneficial use.”