City touts results in demolishing five substandard homes, businesses

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WATCH: Full City of Albuquerque news conference on demolitions of vacant properties

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque is highlighting renewed efforts to manage nuisance properties while promising to ramp up enforcement and demolition of problematic neighborhood buildings. Tuesday, the city announced its either demolished or is close to tearing down three homes and two commercial buildings that have been racked up more than 340 calls to police and firefighters over the last few years.

One of the demolished homes sat on the corner of Alvarado Place and Palomas Street northeast, near a pedestrian bridge over I-40. The city says the owner refused to step up and address problems at the vacant home including transient activity and drug use. At a news conference on the site of the former home, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said dealing with nuisance properties is a “top priority” for the city in its effort to address neighborhood safety.

“We now have a whole process that we go through and actively through a series of multiple warnings, multiple opportunities, even a city council hearing, before (demolition) takes places,” Keller said. “We go through that process, we don’t wait anymore, we go through that process and if you still can’t clean up your act by the end of that process, we will tear your property down.”

Alongside the Alvarado Place home, the city is targeting two other homes in the International District and a Barelas-area neighborhood. One home demolished on 8th Street near Bridge Boulevard has already been replaced with a new structure. A home on Kentucky Street near Louisiana and Zuni is now a vacant dirt lot.

The city is targeting two other commercial structures for demolition. The first at 113 Eubank Boulevard northeast used to a be a Subway restaurant north of Central on the west side of Eubank. The other commercial building sits on the corner of Quincy and Cutler, across the street from the entrance of the “Pavillion at San Mateo” shopping center.

The Albuquerque Planning Department’s Code Enforcement Division initiated the demolition of the five properties. Williams says each property goes through a public process, giving the property owner time and support for bringing their buildings up to code.

“The mayors been very clear that this, a problem like this not only effects the immediate neighborhood, but affects the entire community,” said Brennon Williams, director of the Albuquerque Planning Department. “Whether its crime, it’s drug needles, it’s trespassing, those sorts of things, we’re all of a part of that, and we’re all a part of that in the planning department, so we want to do our part.”

Collectively, the city says police were called at least 320 times to the five properties, while fire fighters responded at least 20 times. The Albuquerque Planning Department says there are nearly 300 nuisance properties it is tracking. Mayor Keller contends that before his administration took office, the city wasn’t doing much to hold property owners accountable.

“To put it in perspective, you know, just doing five properties this summer, is five times more than we did for like the past five years the city did before this administration came to office,” Keller said. “It might not sound like a lot but this is a huge increase from what we used to do before.”

The Alvarado Place home cost the city around $10,000 to board up over roughly two and a half years. The city spent nearly $30,000 to tear it down. The city says it will get that money back from payments by the property owner or when the land sells.

Albuquerque City Council also approved two properties for demolition last week. Two more demolition efforts will go up for a council vote in the coming weeks.

The five properties were located at:

  • 516 Kentucky St SE
  • 1308 8th St SW
  • 5404 Alvarado Pl NE
  • 113 Eubank Blvd NE
  • 2405 Quincy St NE

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