Nonprofit hopes to renovate large downtown problem property

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A rundown home in an east downtown neighborhood has bothered residents for years. Some neighbors said the problem property has attracted vagrants and caused all kinds of problems. Now, a local nonprofit has plans to bring it back to life.


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Homewise purchases problem properties across Albuquerque ad then restores them for people to live in. The nonprofit is trying to do that to one house in a historic area.

Ben Sturge said his home used to be boarded up and covered in graffiti before he bought it and renovated it about 10 years ago. “We did a full restoration two weeks from demolition by the city for neglect,” Sturge said.

Sturge said he hopes that’s what Homewise does with another house just a few doors down. The nonprofit recently bought the abandoned property on High Street in the Huning Highland Historic District. “The neighborhood has some very beautiful old houses, and some very dilapidated houses,” Sturge said. “That always took the prize for the worst.”

The 7,000 sq. ft. home has been vacant for more than a decade. “That kind of property is a lead weight for everyone else,” Sturge said. “It drags everything down.”

Homewise said they plan to renovate it and turn it into multi-family housing, preferably between six and eight condos. Homewise said it would range from one bedroom to possibly three-bedroom units. However, some neighbors who did not want to talk on camera said they are concerned about where these new residents would park. “We are taking all of that into consideration in the design phase,” Homewise construction manager Carl Davis said.

Davis said in the current real estate market, affordable housing is hard to come by. Their initial goal would be to keep prices below $200,000. “A lot of folks who may have access to homeownership two years ago are getting priced out really fast,” Davis said. “The reason we are looking at this condominium approach is to keep the price point low.”

The property is just off Central between restaurants and historic homes. Sturge thinks the renovation will push the area forward. “A lot of younger families are here now, and nobody wants to see a house rotting into the ground,” Sturge said.

The city’s environmental planning commission is scheduled to hear Homewise’s request for a zoning change for this property at the city’s meeting on Thursday. Homewise said if all goes as planned, they expect the units to be renovated and ready for sale in about 18 months.

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