ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – People who work, live or go to school near the former fraternity house on UNM’s campus say the abandoned building has become a hotspot for crime after two fires broke out earlier this month. Now the developer, who wishes to remain anonymous, says they’ve had enough. “I can only do so much as the property owner; we can only do so much,” said the property developer.
One of the fires took place three weeks ago, taking over the north side of the vacant building and it didn’t leave much of the back side of the home intact. Three days ago, Albuquerque Fire Rescue was dispatched yet again for another fire, this time to the south side of the property.
“It’s the second time that this property has been caught on fire. It’s a little bit frustrating and disappointing being an investor on the project,” added the developer.
Upset that the vandals keep targeting the building, the developer says he hopes the city can do more to help keep things like this from happening again. “I hope the city is already doing it. Probably they can pay close attention to that area, because students, hospital, students, the community, and the kids are there. We need to protect them to feel safe,” said the developer.
Despite the fires, the plans to create a 35-unit student housing complex are still on the table. “We are trying, a lot of us, to keep this as a top priority and get it demolished. We are more eager to make the neighborhood nicer than what it is now, I know it is an eyesore property in the city’s eyes and we want to change the perception for UNM too,” they said.
The developer says they expect to have what is left of the building demolished by the end of the year. As for breaking ground on the project, the developer says they are still waiting on permit approvals from the city.
AFR says the cause of both fires is still under investigation