ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The mayor of Albuquerque wants a developer to construct what would be the tallest building in Albuquerque, but the people who would be living in its shadow are making their case against it.
The city is offering up two pieces of property: one at Third Street and Marquette, the other at an empty lot at Second Street and Silver, directly across from the Amtrak station.
“People want to live in that urban environment and we don’t currently have that as much as people would like,” Mayor Richard Berry said.
“Every major metropolitan city needs a vibrant downtown. Albuquerque is way behind the curve on that,” Ron Casias said.
That’s the one thing Mayor Berry and Casias can agree on.
Earlier this year, the city announced it was asking developers to come up with plans for a high rise in downtown Albuquerque. The city wants the new building to rise at least 360 feet and surpass what is now the U.S. Eagle building, which currently sits at 350 feet.
“It seems every 25 years we build the new tallest building and here we are 25 years later, so maybe it’s time,” Mayor Berry said. “It will have to be a deal that makes sense for the community.”
Recently, Casias, President of the Silver Platinum Downtown Neighborhood Association, sent a letter to the mayor with his concerns.
The letter said in part, “The land is not suitable for this type of development,” and that, “the proposed high rise would block the sun” from the rooftop garden at the new Imperial building, located just west of the empty lot.
Casias said he’s in favor of developing the area, he just wants more say in what goes up.
“We definitely need this lot developed. What our concerns are is how is it going to be developed? Do we have a say in what the lighting is going to be like and that it doesn’t ruin the night sky,” he said.
Although there are no plans on paper as of now, Mayor Berry said community members will get their input.
The mayor’s office said it should be seeing plans by June and picking a developer in the fall.
Thursday, the city’s Environmental Planning Commission changed the zoning in the area from a housing focus to an arts and entertainment focus. That means the development at Second Street and Silver can have commercial space on the bottom and housing on top.