County eyes downtown lot for new housing site, faces hurdle

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a plot of land in downtown Albuquerque that’s been vacant for years. Bernalillo County wants to build a facility there to help people with serious mental illness, but there is one obstacle in the way. One of the things keeping them from finalizing the sale of the lot is an old blue building.

“It’s in a good location, there’s transportation, there’s services that are not far away,” said Bernalillo County’s Housing Director, Betty Valdez. Bernalillo County thinks this spot off Sixth Street and Coal is prime real estate for their next big project.

“We are developing a single site project that is going to house veterans and some other behavioral health program participants that are mentally ill that are homeless,” said Valdez. The County said the site would have a mixture of 45 single and double units. There would also be around the clock services onsite as well, which could include: case management, employment, therapy and behavioral health services. However, the vacant batter blue house is standing in their way.

“There is some discussion with the historic preservation society in the city at the moment on the building that is currently there,” said Valdez. According to the county’s property tax records, the empty lot and the space where the blue house sits are owned by the developers, GSL Properties Inc.

KRQE News 13 was told the property’s historic value is being looked at and they’re not sure what to do about the house. So until a decision is made, the county can’t move forward with its plans. “We understand there are some negotiations about moving that property and we’re waiting to see if that will take place if that is what they’re going to do but we’re not involved in that process,” said Valdez.

The county hopes to seal the deal soon so they can finally fill this empty spot. “We kept going back to this lot saying this fits the neighborhood, it fits what we need, we kept checking off all the boxes and we kept going back to this lot,” said Valdez.

KRQE News 13 reached out to GSL Properties but did not hear back. Albuquerque’s Landmarks Commission will discuss the property in their upcoming January 13 meeting.

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