City rolls out plans for high rises and urban look to Central corridor

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque has big plans for the Central Avenue corridor. From high rise buildings to a booming economy, a new website with renderings for each district shows what the city hopes for the area.

“We project over time there will be a significant increase in commercial development, high rise,” said Gilbert Montano, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.

Montano said the city’s plans for a much more urban feel to Albuquerque’s signature street is all tied into the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project. The new plans are referred to as Central: Good to Great.

He said the idea came from, “Other research through other cities, market-driven analysis that has spurred some of the development both now, and we hope in the future.”

In the plans, where the Taco Bell now sits at Girard and Central, it’s gone, replaced with bigger buildings all around the intersection, including the University of New Mexico campus where dorm parking lots now sit.

Tall buildings also line Central on Yale across from a new grand entrance to the university. In downtown, there are high rises in lots now occupied by one-story buildings and parking lots.

“This is gentrification,” said Joseph Millard, a manager at Astro Zombies in Nob Hill.

Not everyone is a fan of the city’s ambitions.

“They’re just trying to satisfy some idea of what they need to do to make Albuquerque seem like it’s Chicago,” said Millard.

Still, the images do excite some people.

“Really I’m all for the development of the downtown area,” said Steve Vatoseow, the owner of Lindy’s Diner.

He said we’re a long way from places like Denver and Austin, but he’s hopeful.

“If we can emulate what they do, and possibly bring it here, I mean it would be great,” he said.

The Mayor’s Chief of Staff said at the end of the day, these are just plans in a document. Right now, a lot of Central isn’t even zoned for buildings more than two to three stories high. Neighborhood meetings are being held throughout the Central corridor to get ideas and opinions.

KRQE News 13 reached out to UNM, as they are included heavily in the plans,  Amy Coburn, the University Architect and Director of UNM Planning, Design, & Construction (PDC) sent the following statement:

“The UNM community is proud to be a partnering neighbor with City of Albuquerque’s ART project, as well as the “Central, good to great” initiative. The University is a happy beneficiary of streetscape enhancements along the University’s frontage and anticipates revived local serving business activity from these infrastructure improvements.”

You can find all the designs for Central: Good to Great, here.

Photos: Central Avenue Corridor Plans

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