The Friday Roundup:
  • Hotel Blue owners say construction will resume soon
  • Internet gaming center coming to One Central
  • New signals at Walter light up
  • Groundswell of support for keeping fountain
  • Can you get the APD app to work?
  • ...and more
Welcome to our weekly collection of briefs, announcements, photos, letters, news from other outlets, and other odds and ends. Let's get right to it:
Hotel Blue owners: Construction will resume within weeks
That's the word from Jorgan von Stiening, the president of Palisociety, though he didn't have an exact date to share yet. As for why construction work, which had initially begun with a demolition phase early last year, stopped over the summer, he had this to say: "We decided to step up the improvements to the pool area and ground floor in light of a more optimistic outlook for the development of our corridor along Central Avenue ... at this point, we anticipate a late 2024/early 2025 opening."

Construction at the landmark Eighth-and-Central hotel has been delayed for a long time. The new hotel, to be branded Arrive, had originally been slated to open its doors in 2021.
Internet gaming center coming to One Central building, which itself is for sale
The center is called Enter Player Two, and it looks set to move into the space between Yummy's Mini Donuts and Ice Cream (DAN, 8/10/22) and La Zenita (DAN, 1/31/23).

The news comes as the One Central itself is put up for sale at an asking price of $29 million. The listing includes some other interesting tidbits: 
  • "The current apartment rents are well below similar A-Class rates, therefore scheduled increases are in place for 2023."
  • "The retail property is currently 44 percent occupied; however, negotiations are currently underway with an entertainment venue to lease the remaining 17,873 (square feet)."
  • Above it all, the 78 apartments are "fully leased."
No DAN on Monday for Presidents' Day
But we'll be back bright and early Tuesday morning.

Though KRQE reports the technology designed to turn the lights red if motorists are speeding as they approach the intersection is not yet operational, the new traffic lights on Walter and Lead/Coal are now hooked up to the grid and currently flashing red lights.

Arts board hears groundswell of support for keeping botanic garden fountain
Several dozen people have submitted comments in recent days and about 12 addressed the Albuquerque Arts Board on Wednesday in support of keeping the tiled fountain, which is located just west of the botanic garden's entrance.

"It's a beautiful piece of public art that we should preserve," Pat Bartels told the panel. 

"I believe in miracles and this piece can be saved," added Sylvia Ernestina Vergara. "It has a highly educational value and the process of how it was made is absolutely epic and important to our future."

The city's analysis, however, is that the fountain has reached a point of no return and needs to be removed. The structural integrity underneath the pond is compromised (having been invaded by roots from nearby trees), tile glazing is separating from the clay base, and protective coatings are disintegrating.

Restoration would be impossible, said Sherri Brueggemann, the city's public art urban enhancement division manager: "It would be 100 percent reconstruction."

On that point, the city and artist Shel Neymark, who put up the fountain in the early 1990s, actually agree. But Neymark took the city to task at Wednesday's meeting for not maintaining the fountain and said officials had not responded to his entreaties over the years about its condition.

Nevertheless, he offered to supervise a second version of the fountain, noting that he still has the original molds.

The Arts Board took no action on the matter Wednesday other than hearing people out and taking delivery of a formal report on the matter. The panel's job is to make a recommendation at some future meeting about what to do, but the final call is up to the city.
All aboard

Noticed at Tingley Beach: The new BioPark shuttle is up and running and on this run at least, everybody seemed to be having a good time. New signage warning bosque trail and Tingley Beach visitors about shuttle  intersections has also gone up recently.

City moves to buy track-adjacent parking lot from state
The Albuquerque Development Commission approved a resolution in support of the purchase - which is still in process - at its meeting yesterday. The city's Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency believes the property near Marquette and Commercial (map) could become a park or some other redevelopment project along the forthcoming Rail Trail.
Flamenco Works grand opening/fundraiser is tomorrow
There will be food, performances, activities, and a ribbon cutting beginning at 4 p.m. at the new 506 Central SW location. Details here.
36 Hours screens at Special Collections tomorrow
The 1964 war thriller is part of an annual book-to-film series the library puts on. Details here.
Coming attractions
Old Town's Tiny Grocer turns out to have a surprisingly extensive events calendar. The latest version includes knife-sharpening events, seminars about medicinal plants, and the grand opening of a new curry restaurant on Romero. 
Idea to cap short-term rentals could go further
The proposed cap on short-term rentals detailed in Tuesday's DAN seems like a reasonable way to make sure more housing units are available to permanent residents. Councilors might also consider expanding the general idea to another piece of legislation they are working on.

One piece of the city's Housing Forward initiative amends the Integrated Development Ordinance to allow for the construction of casitas (formally known as accessory dwelling units) and duplexes in residential areas now mostly limited to one single-family home per lot. The hope is that by creating many more smaller units the supply of rental properties will increase, hopefully lowering rents at the same time. While this may well happen, if the hoped-for large number of casitas and extra duplex units are built, many of them will most certainly be used for short-term rentals, whether formally permitted or not.

There are three things the city could do to head off the sort of problems this situation is likely to cause. First, it could create a much more robust code enforcement system that more efficiently finds and brings unpermitted units into compliance. Second, it could anticipate and prevent major problems - such as out-of-control parties - in addition to dealing with more minor issues like weeds or trash. Third, it could mandate that the casitas and duplex units built as part of the new plan be reserved only for long-term accommodation.

Sadly, short-term rentals will provide temporary housing only and will be unlikely to achieve the noble Housing Forward goal of creating “housing access for all.” Good enforcement and forward-thinking legislation can ensure we focus on what could actually achieve that goal.

—Barbara Garcia, Huning Castle

Submit your letter to the editor here.
Lend a hand
Noticed at Seventh and Tijeras: This sidewalk handprint outline is indeed about the size of  12-year-old's, though if the year sketched into the concrete nearby is any indication, the child is now about 34.
New football coach at Albuquerque High
KRQE reports he is a Roswell native.
The weekend that was
The Journal had this photo essay about Valentine Market at the Rail Yards and KRQE had this report. The station also sent a crew to Explora's X Studio grand opening.
Polystyrene recycling event tomorrow
Alert Reader Trudi wrote in about this North Valley event, noting that it is one of few such opportunities in Albuquerque to recycle the stuff.
Explora's Adult Night spotlights the science of wine
Details here.
Let it snow

For a while there it was looking as though the official snow measurement picnic table behind DAN's world headquarters building in Barelas wouldn't see any action this winter, but February came through in the clutch, delivering about a quarter inch Wednesday morning.

Can you get the APD app to work? 
The department sent out a press release on January 24 about a new-and-improved app, but it appears to not actually be available even as the old app has disappeared or, in one case we're aware of, stopped working altogether. APD didn't return messages seeking comment this week. Share your experiences here.
ACS aims to go 24/7 later this year
But that will depend on funding, spokesman Connor Woods said. Albuquerque Community Services, which was created in 2020, sends social workers and mental health first responders to select 911 and 311 calls. The current hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. "The best way to contact ACS is still 911 for emergencies and 311 for non-emergencies," Woods said. "For each, request a responder."
It pays to advertise

Noticed at Fourth and Summer: Subtlety in plastic cup form.

Volunteers sought for panel that aims to plan for new federal money
The city is recruiting for the Justice40 Oversight Coordinating Committee, which is a local response to a Biden administration initiative to channel at least 40 percent of selected federal spending categories to disadvantaged communities (most Greater Downtown census tracts are designated as such). The commission will meet at least monthly for two years and the deadline for nominations, which should be send to, is February 27 at 5 p.m.
Francis Renfroe, former priest at Immaculate Conception, dies at 90
Read a remembrance from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe here.
Fun with shadows

Noticed at the Albuquerque Museum sculpture garden: The afternoon sun was having a good time with Ed Vega's untitled stainless steel piece from 1985.

Suspect in Old Town road rage man slaughter case pleads no contest
The incident happened in 2021, KOB reports.
APD arrests suspect for 2020 Downtown core homicide
The department had this report about it.
Central was closed this week between Third and Fifth
The unusual daytime closure was to accomodate a crane working to install a HVAC unit, according to a city barricade report.
Places to go and people to see
Comedian Willie Barcena performs at the KiMo tomorrow. Courtesy photo
The following venues have shows this weekend or next week:
  • Box Performance Space: A Very Wes Sketch Show* (Sat) — Details
  • Chatter: Paris Then, February Cabaret (both Sun) — Details
  • Dry Heat Comedy Club: Chris Calogero* (Fri) — Details
  • El Rey Theater: Thy Art is Murder* (Sun) — Details 
  • Fusion Theatre: Belly dancing, mosaic making class (both Sun) — Details
  • KiMo Theatre: Comedian Willie Barcena (Sat) — Details
  • Launchpad: Multiple events — Details
  • National Hispanic Cultural Center: A ballet called "Dracula, a Love Story" (Fri, Sat) — Details
*Among other events
Downtown Albuquerque News covers Downtown, Old Town, and surrounding neighborhoods. We publish weekdays except for federal holidays. If someone forwarded DAN to you, please consider subscribing. Click here to subscribe, contact us, submit a letter to the editor, or learn more about what we do. If you ever run into technical trouble receiving DAN, click here.
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