ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New developments are popping up left and right along the Central corridor in Nob Hill. The latest is proposed for a vacant lot near Highland High School. Developers and officials are excited about the changes in the neighborhood, but some business owners nearby aren’t sold on them just yet.

Friday afternoon, the Albuquerque Development Commission voted to approve tax breaks for a project set to take place on the corner of Jefferson Street and Silver Avenue. The vacant lot is one step closer to being transformed into five two-story townhomes. This is the latest push to breathe new life into the Central corridor.

“If you haven’t been back to Central in a little while, come check out Nob Hill. We’ve got huge apartment buildings that are going up now, lots of folks moving into housing. Lots of new restaurants are coming back up and down the Central corridor. It doesn’t look like you think it did a couple of years ago,” says Pat Davis, city councilor for the area. From large developments offering more than a hundred new apartments along Central to a four-story complex on Silver, more and more housing options are popping up to feed a housing market developers say is heating up.

“I’ve been kind of jokingly calling it the Hunger Games when you’re renting one of these apartments I mean it just gets so much interest and everybody just has this air of almost like desperation because it’s just so hard to find decent places to live these days,” says Evan Davis, developer for the project on Jefferson and Silver.

The latest plan to pack more people into the urban core is what Davis is calling the Jefferson Townhomes project: five two-story buildings complete with a parking lot, mural, and solar readiness. It comes with a price tag of around $1.6 million. “This is my hood, this is the area I know, I know the rental market here and so this is where my heart is and I’ve been looking for property throughout this area and this one came up. And they don’t come up all the time so when they do it’s a big deal,” Davis says.

Councilor Davis says the focus for development has shifted now—from big sprawling developments on the outskirts of town, back to the heart. “It means that if you’ve got a vacant lot, you’re looking for where to do it. Central Avenue is currently the hot new place,” Davis says.

However, he admits this area still has a long way to go: “There’s still a lot to do. We dug a big hole during COVID and for years of disinvestment in Central. Like it or not about ART, the fact is those transit investments are encouraging people who don’t want to own a car to get back on the Central corridor and they’re starting to pay off.”

Local reaction remains mixed. “We’re just sad that it’s moving, turning into housing developments. That’s not what Central used to be…It’s just a shift in the neighborhood for a whole lot of people and I don’t see a whole lot of resources for them right here either so it’s kind of sad,” says Diane Johnson, manager of Ron Peterson Firearms.

“Hopefully it will clean up stuff around here; the apartments will help kind of bring more attention to like the streets and stuff around here,” says Paul Barboa, taxidermist with American Wild Life Taxidermy.

The developer of this project says he hopes to break ground sometime after the new year and expects the construction to take around a year.