ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque is following through with construction on the Rail Yards redevelopment site to make room for new parking and a planned plaza.
Crews are now working with laying hundreds of square feet of new asphalt on the northside of the property. The city says the paving project should wrap in the coming days and will add around 200 new parking spaces on the property, along with parking lot lighting.
The city was able to move forward with the project as a result of the soil remediation work that’s taken place on the north side of the property over the last year. In the process of that work, crews removed an old retention pond.
“Because of the work we did in removing the soil, all the northside is now clean enough to build housing on it, which means it’s as clean as it’s going to get and as clean as we need it to be to really begin, again, to use it,” said Lawrence Rael, chief operations officer for the city of Albuquerque.
While housing is suggested as part of the city’s master plan, to be clear, the city has no plans at this point to build any new commercial or housing structures on the site.
“In order for any development to occur, we’ve got to clean the site up and so that’s part of what we’ve been doing,” said Rael.
While it’s a first step, the city hopes the new parking lot, which is made of recycled city road project millings, will help drivers get to the Rail Yards Market.
“You see a lot of folks parking all over the neighborhood,” said Rael, hoping that the parking lot alleviates that issue.
On closer look, you may also notice a few things missing on the northside of the Rail Yards property. The city recently demolished two buildings on the site.
“We’re addressing some of the old structures that were there, that were old and really created, quite frankly, a hazard,” said Rael.
The city has torn down the north washroom building and the sheet metal house, which sat to the west of the blacksmith shop. The blacksmith shop is the building used for the Rail Yards Market.
Rael says the buildings were structurally unsound.
“The foundations we’re broken, we just couldn’t save the buildings,” said Rael.
With the newly opened space, the city aims to transform the area into a public plaza, which they’re aiming to complete in the next year.
“Create a public space so that we can have public activities outside, so that as the market grows, it can expand out into the plaza,” said Rael.
The two buildings the city tore down were both built before 1920. The city marked the buildings for demolition in 2014 when they published the Rail Yards Master Plan.