ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A protest was held Wednesday in an effort to stop developer Palindrome from making a zoning change that would allow a mixed-use development in Albuquerque’s historic Barelas neighborhood.
Demonstrators with the People’s Housing Project expressed their disapproval for the proposed changes.
“The community is not fooled by this backhanded offer. How sad is it that when affordable housing is proposed to this community, it comes with profit-making motives by developers, investors, and landlords,” said Anna Lee DeSaulnier, People’s Housing Project demonstrator.
Before Palindrome acquired the property in 2008, the lot sat empty directly across the Albuquerque Rail Yards. While the developer denied KRQE’s request for an interview, in an emailed statement, a Palindrome spokesperson said a mixed-use project would include a maximum of three stories to include affordable housing, retail spaces for small, locally owned businesses, and what many neighbors said they are in opposition of, a local beer and wine taproom.
“Keeping this residential would keep all the work that our elders did in the past on getting alcohol out of the community and respecting that because Barelas is a diamond in the rough, and we kind of want to keep that integrity,” said Onastine Jaramillo, a Barelas resident.
Others in the neighborhood welcome the idea, saying the empty lot could use a little TLC.
“By doing projects like this, not only will it revitalize this empty parking lot where all sorts of stuff happens, it will house people,” said Luke Davis, a Barelas neighborhood resident.
Some neighbors are also concerned the developers will only be providing affordable houses for 15 years. Palindrome said it could be a minimum of 30 years, but the plans are still being worked out. A Planning and Zoning meeting is set for the project next Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at the Plaza Del Sol building.