ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It hasn’t worked out so well for the City of Albuquerque in the past when it has spent big money to snap up property on Central Avenue.
Now the city wants to buy a well-known bar on Central to turn the property into something a little more family-oriented.
The city has been trying to buy the property Caravan East Nightclub sits on for years. Its vision is to build a library, and hopes that will help revive that part of town.
William Frazier parks his food truck on Grove Street next to the Caravan East Nightclub often.
“Pretty regular and sell everything from all the BBQ favorites to street tacos,” said William Frazier, owner of Bill’s Street Food Wagon.
Soon, the landmark club will be closing its doors. Frazier, an Albuquerque Native, said he’s sad to see the end of an era.
“This place has been here since I was a little kid, so I know they’re going to miss it,” said Frazier.
The city said it’s been trying to purchase the Caravan East and its two lots for years. Now, the owner has agreed to move forward with a sale of the four-and-a-half acre property.
“Finally can say we are under contract, we have not closed yet,” said Gilbert Montaño, City of Albuquerque.
The current realtor and the city won’t reveal the pricetag, but KRQE News 13 knows the asking price two years ago was $2.9 million.
“It’s a really prime piece of property along Central,” said Montaño.
The city has plans to build a destination library there.
“People are going to use the internet or the computers or to read eBooks.” said Montaño.
And said it is excited to bring this needed resource to this part of Central Avenue.
“Going from a nightclub, bar, dance club to a more family-oriented library is certainly a strong shift the city hopes to see along Central Avenue,” said Montaño.
People KRQE News 13 spoke with said they also think a library will be a positive addition to a neighborhood trying to improve its reputation.
“I think it’ll be pretty nice for them to have internet access, and the library over here so the people don’t have to go downtown, and catch the bus all the way down there,” said Frazier.
Caravan will close its doors after Saturday night. It has been open for business since 1979.
The city said it hopes to close the deal within a month and then the Caravan East Nightclub building will get torn down.
Over the past decade or so the city has bought two Old Route 66 motels and a bar on Central with hopes of developers coming in and building restaurants, shops and apartments. Those deals have all fallen through to this point.