Councilors crackdown on dilapidated commercial buildings

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two city councilors are moving ahead with a stronger plan to crack down on rundown and abandoned buildings in their districts. They’ve been doing a trial run on the program, and they think it’s helping clean up the city.

Abandoned building, like the old Golden Corral at Eubank and Central, can be found throughout the East Central area. But now, some of them are starting to take on new life.

“Good buildings with good bones are coming back on the market,” said City Councilor Pat Davis.

He said the tide is turning for businesses along East Central that have fallen in disrepair, and it’s all thanks to a 2-year-old law.

“This law is only on the books for our two districts to perpetuity, but now the conversation is, could other neighborhoods in Albuquerque benefit as well?” Davis said.

It’s called the “Dilapidated Commercial Buildings and Properties Ordinance.” It’s been taking aim at properties found all over East Central and other busy streets in Districts 6 and 9.

“More than 40 of our top problem properties have either been put back on the market and cleaned up or demolished, or they’re in court because the owner won’t follow our rules,” said Davis.

The law requires the property owners to pay a fee, fix up their buildings, or tear them down.

“At the end of the day, the point is these businesses either have to be available and welcoming for new businesses, or it’s time to move on, get rid of them and bring in something new,” he said.

Neighbors are appreciating the effort.

“Change is always good, change is always good especially in this area as you know this is called the international district,” said Khadijah Bottom.

Bottom is the Vice President of the District 6 Coalition. She says she’s definitely seen improvement since the law has been in effect.

“They have come through, either re-painted the buildings…but they’re not all back active, 100 percent, but they are better than they were,” Bottom said.

City Councilors Pat Davis and Don Harris are now proposing a few changes to the law, including a seven-day deadline to fix up broken doors and windows, and signage that’s falling apart. The revised law also calls for property owners to come up with a plan for their abandoned buildings within three months.

A city planning commission will analyze the bill later this week. If it passes that hurdle, the ordinance with the new changes would go before city council next month. At that point, council will discuss if it should go citywide.

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