• Keller proposes $1.4 million for KiMo roof and a place to put AM's 'big and weird-shaped' collection
  • Ahead of major 6th and Coal development, plans to move an old house are ditched in favor of demolition
  • Tackling a tricky intersection at the southern end of Rio Grande
Keller proposes $1.4 million for AM's 'big and weird-shaped' collection
A new roof for the KiMo Theater is also on the wish list.
The collection includes old medical equipment, pottery, signs, antique household items, building facades, a horse-drawn carriage, and everything in between.

Each object is a part of the city's history, and might also one day be put on exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum. But for the moment, it is all stored in a roughly 20,000-square foot building that we've been asked - for security reasons - to identify as being located somewhere in the Near North Valley.

That offsite storage, Mayor Tim Keller believes, is in need of at least $875,000 worth of upgrades, particularly when it comes to climate control, the fire suppression system, shelving, and the security setup. He's proposed the spending as part of the city's annual capital spending program.

"If your mission is to keep things safe for many generations," Cultural Services Department Director Shelle Sanchez told DAN, "you've got to be constantly investing."

It's not yet clear if the money - which still needs City Council signoff - would go toward renovating the existing building or finding some other space elsewhere in town, Sanchez said.

The spending proposal also includes $500,000 for a new roof (or more precisely, a series of roofs at different heights) on the KiMo Theater, parts of which have leaked, required patching, or shown other symptoms of age.

"There are sections of this roof that need serious attention," Sanchez said. "Often we think historic buildings are frozen in time, but they're not."
Ahead of major 6th and Coal development, plans to move an old house are ditched in favor of demolition
The two-story house is the only structure on the larger lot, which is slated to host a 45-unit apartment complex for people in precarious housing situations.
As of November, the plan for the two-story Victorian house at 6th and Coal was to move it somewhere else, making way for a 45-unit apartment complex Bernalillo County wants to build for people dealing with mental illness, homelessness, or a generally tenuous housing situation.

Demolishing the structure was supposed to be the backup plan, but things have changed. 

"The structure will not likely survive a move," said Jennifer Facio Maddox, an architect at Dekker Perich Sabatini who is working with the county and the current owner, DBG Properties, on the project. And if it did, Facio Maddox added, the cost to relocated the building, which has brick walls, would likely top $200,000.

"Finding a structural moving company in New Mexico who has the capability of moving this type of building has been unsuccessful," she said. "The request to dismantle architecturally significant elements of the building and rebuild on another site was proposed by a local contractor and that was also denied."

But so far, the demolition process has not gone the county's way. The Landmarks Commission denied the request in January, overruling an opinion from Leslie Naji, the city's historic preservation planner, in the process.

That ruling will be appealed to the City Council, Facio Maddox said, a move that will likely involve a review by a special hearing officer.

The house was originally constructed in 1915 and was likely used by boarders, given that there are sinks in all four bedrooms. Interior photos are here and here.
Tackling a tricky intersection at the southern end of Rio Grande
The dog-legged passage between Rio Grande to the North and Chacoma to the south has proved awkward.
Design work on an overhaul of the Rio Grande/Alhambra/Chacoma intersection in the West Park neighborhood has ruled out the installation of a full roundabout but may well include a small traffic circle as part of a four-way stop, plus a speed bump on Alhambra east of the junction, City Councilor Isaac Benton told DAN.

Cost estimates for the project are not yet available, but Benton is working to secure some funding through the state legislature and recently circulated a letter asking constituents to lobby their representatives about it.

Broadly speaking, the goal of the project is to more closely align Chacoma and Rio Grande, the two streets used for (roughly) north-south travel. Currently, they both empty out at Alhambra 100 feet away from each other, which sometimes creates confusion. Turning the north-south part of the intersection into a more direct shot would likely involve taking over a triangular patch of bare ground on Alhambra's south side (known as a "pork chop island"), as well as some surrounding bits of private land.

Between Alhambra and Central, meanwhile, crews have lately been working to upgrade sidewalks, curbs, and gutters as part of the Rio Grande Complete Streets Concept Plan, Benton said.
Downtown Albuquerque News covers greater Downtown, which we generally define as the area created by I-40, the Rio Grande, and the railroad tracks. We publish weekdays except for federal holidays. If someone forwarded DAN to you, please consider subscribing. To subscribe, contact us, submit a letter to the editor, or learn more about what we do, click here. If you ever run into technical trouble receiving DAN, click here.
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