• New distillery and winery is planned near Villa Myriam, but details are sparse
  • Fast-growing carwash outfit Champion Xpress buys Rain Tunnel, will reopen in fall after renovation
  • How to get in touch with Albuquerque Community Safety, the city's newest first responder unit
New distillery or winery is planned for the core, but details are sparse
The operation would be located within a large brick building that includes Villa Myriam Coffee Roasters.
One of the most prominent property developers in Greater Downtown appears to be moving toward opening a distillery and winery at Commercial and Marquette in a building that is set to be dramatically more accessible to the Downtown core after the imminent completion of a street-level railroad crossing.

Ed Garcia, who owns much of the property in the area southwest of Lomas and Broadway - including the historic Southwestern Brewery and Ice Company building and the forthcoming Neon Park (DAN, 6/23/20) - has applied for a winegrower liquor license with on-premise consumption and package sales under the name Don Quixote Distillery and Winery. At a June 7 meeting, city hearing officer Steven Ch
ávez indicated he would approve the application "right away," but such licenses often require additional regulatory hurdles at other levels of government.

Neither Garcia nor his agent advocating for the application at the hearing, the Downtown area attorney Mark Rhodes, returned messages seeking comment on the details of the operation or when it might open. The application does, however, contain a diagram showing a distillery, a winery, and a tasting room, all between Commercial Street and the railroad tracks. The space is just under 7,000 square feet and does not include a patio, according to the application.

It is not Garcia's first foray into the hospitality business in that area. In early 2020, he told Route 66 New Mexico Magazine about plans to open Cantina Real, which was planned as a restaurant with an attached bar, according to corporate filings. Though the restaurant got close enough to opening to put up a prominent sign, it's not clear if it ever did or if its present closure is temporary or permanent.

Garcia's holdings include the former Skip Maisel's Indian Jewelry, the Rosenwald Building, and the First Plaza Galleria, but in the Greater Downtown development world, he is perhaps most famous for his role in recruiting NBCUniversal as a tenant to a warehouse he owns in Martineztown. He is also a prominent supporter of the city's Rail Trail initiative and participated in the formal groundbreaking of the new street-level railroad crossing at Marquette last year (DAN, 11/17/21).

Though still yet to open (officially at least), the crossing will dramatically shorten the length of time it takes for Downtown core office workers to walk to the already-popular Villa Myriam Coffee Roasters and any other across-the-tracks hospitality ventures.
Fast-growing carwash outfit Champion Xpress buys Rain Tunnel, will reopen in fall after renovation
The carwash is a construction site at the moment.
The long-standing carwash facility at Rio Grande and Central will soon reopen, but under a new name, new owners, and a slightly different method of actually washing its customer's vehicles.

Lubbock-based Champion Xpress recently acquired the former Rain Tunnel carwash, including three other locations around Albuquerque. Crews are now busy changing the look and feel of the place while adding new equipment and the capacity to use various new treatments on cars once it reopens in late September. 

We're doing a pretty significant renovation at that location," said Lindsey Joy, the Champion Xpress marketing director. "You're going to have a lot more things pouring down on your car."

Carwashes can be divided into three main categories, Joy said. Type one is the self-serve variety. Type two - the "detail" - moves a car through a wash and then deploys humans to do various chores like applying wax and vacuuming, and that's what Rain Tunnel was. Type three is the "express" wash, in which the customer stays in their vehicle and the equipment in the tunnel will drive them through - and more things happen to the car during the ride.
At between three and five minutes, "it's a lot faster process," Joy said.

Employees will do a hand dry at the end of the wash, but in a nod to the labor realities of 2022, the vacuuming will remain a self-serve option, a policy switch that Rain Tunnel had made before it closed.

Champion Xpress is growing rapidly and has locations in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico. It will soon open in Texas and Iowa. The family that owns the company has ties to southeast New Mexico.

When it reopens, the facility will offer two weeks of free washes as a promotion, Joy said.
How to get in touch with Albuquerque Community Safety, the city's newest first responder unit
Designed as a way to free up police from dealing with incidents that are primarily about mental illness or homelessness, Albuquerque Community Safety has been sending first-responder social workers and clinicians out on calls for nearly a year.

Though they work all over the city, there's no shortage of assignments for them in Greater Downtown. But how exactly can you get in touch? The process is a bit indirect, but here's how it works: 
  • Unless you're looking for the administrative office, residents don't really call ACS per se. But if you call 311 (for something like an encampment) or 911 (for something like a full-blown mental health crisis), those operators are supposed to refer calls that fit the job description to them, just like they would send some calls to the fire department instead of the police. 
  • But at the same time, if you think a particular job would be better suited to ACS than to APD, you are free and even encouraged to recommend that option to the operator, city spokeswoman Marcela Mendoza told DAN. Doing so might even speed up the process.
  • Calling the non-emergency police line 242-COPS does work but is not the quickest way to get a call referred to ACS, Mendoza said. Better to stick with 311 or 911 if possible.
  • The ACS hours are presently limited at 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is an expansion in the works but no set date for that to start, Menzoda said.
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. 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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