ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque City Council is considering giving a historic part of the North Valley a special designation in a bid to encourage more development.
The area in question is a corridor between the railroad tracks and 4th Street, spanning from just north of downtown Albuquerque to Los Ranchos. The proposal is to make that area a Metropolitan Redevelopment Area, or MRA.
Plenty of cars currently use 2nd Street and 4th Street, but the vacant lots, empty storefronts and barbed wire mean many drive through rather than to the area. A city analysis found than in 2007 there were 715 businesses within that section of the North Valley. As of 2013, that number had dropped to 599.
A city analysis cited crumbling infrastructure and poorly designed sidewalks as other significant issues in the area.
“A large part of those geographical boundaries have needed some extra attention,” said Gilbert Montano, Mayor Richard Berry’s chief of staff.
An MRA is a tool aimed at bringing this area that extra attention.
“A better incentive can be provided to those willing to invest in those communities and in those areas,” Montano said. “It could be in some instances tax breaks, it could be bonds, it could be grants.”
This would be far from the first part of Albuquerque to receive the designation. Large sections of Central as well as Downtown Albuquerque area are classified as MRA’s currently. The designation helped spur redevelopment at the old Albuquerque High and the upcoming grocery store in Downtown.
But Montano says the designation alone doesn’t solve the problems overnight or by itself.
“The city will just establish the boundary but at the end of the day it’s still going to take the market, the free market to decide to invest in the area,” Montano said. This is one of the iconic areas of Albuquerque that we want to make sure we’re preserving and we’re embracing and now, in this case, incentivizing.”
A city council committee is set to take up the issue of establishing the North Corridor MRA at a meeting Wednesday night. The full council would still need to approve it.