Historic Albuquerque High Campus
In Fall 2003, a five-day public charrette at the former First Baptist Church gave birth to the East Downtown Master Plan–unanimously passed by the City Council in March 2005–and a new vision for “EDo.”
The Lofts at Albuquerque High was 70 rental lofts in 2 buildings in 2003. Today, it’s 234 total homes in 7 buildings including the BelVedere/Urban Courtyard Living block of 13 buildings. As a result, we are now the City’s highest density neighborhood with a vibrant and growing residential community.
The Artichoke Cafe was the only star in the restaurant constellation in 2003. Today, residents of The Lofts and EDo enjoy a five-minute walk to a variety of outstanding, diverse eateries: The Grove Café, The Standard Diner, Pizzeria Farina, Holy Cow, Gravy, Hartford Square, and A&B Lunchbox.
Local small businesses are flourishing, such as Route 66 Dry Cleaners, Two Time Couture, Bhava Yoga Studio, Waves Salon, The Fox & the Octopus, Chez D’Or Salon & Skin Spa, Rebel Workout, and Revelry Salon. Others are coming.
The 1927 Manual Arts Building at Historic Albuquerque High is renovated and open—two levels of 15 apartments above ground-level commercial. The formerly vacant 1926 Memorial Hospital is now Hotel Parq Central, a 74-room boutique hotel with rooftop bar. The Rail Runner train service to Santa Fe leaves daily from the Alvarado Transportation Center, just two blocks west of Broadway and Central. The City has applied for $80 million in Federal transportation funds to install a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system on Central Avenue from San Mateo to the Biopark. The City Council, led by former Councilor Roxanna Meyers and current Councilor Isaac Benton, hired “Walkable City” author Jeff Speck to create a Downtown Walkability Analysis and Recommendations in 2014.
UNM and others purchased the four block former First Baptist Church property for a project to be called “Innovate ABQ.” Construction may start in 2016. Led by the EDo Neighborhood Association and the Huning Highland Historic District Association, the attempt of Wells Fargo Bank and the Subway Corporation to bring a drive-through to the former Pop N Taco site in EDo was defeated. That site is currently under due diligence for a branch bank, restaurant, and micro-loft apartments.
Because of activity on Broadway and Central, millions of dollars have gone into the renovation and improvement of the single-family homes and small apartment buildings on the neighborhood streets of historic Huning Highlands.
We have great cause for celebration, but fulfilling the vision of the EDo Master Plan remains in the early stages. So, what needs to be done?
We would like to offer the following as goals to be achieved between now and 2020:
1. A “road diet” for Central Avenue from a 5 lane highway to a 3 lane retail & neighborhood street of busy, wide sidewalks, on-street parking, bicycle lanes, and slower moving traffic.
2. A road diet for Broadway Boulevard, as a multi-way boulevard separating 3 through lanes from 2 local lanes. 3. Implement all of Jeff Speck’s recommendations.
4. More residential buildings constructed along Broadway and Central—rental and sale.
5. An Urban Fresh Market, with a café, deli and full service grocery.
6. More retail services to join our current businesses.
7. An improved Highland Park.
8. Improvements to Lead and Coal Avenues west of the freeway to match the new street profiles east of the freeway.
Great cities have great Downtowns. Is Albuquerque destined for greatness?