ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two of Albuquerque’s most iconic buildings on Central aren’t what they used to be. However, there are plans in the works that could breathe new life into the First National Bank tower and its sister building.

One of the only tenants left on the property, the state’s Department of Health said it’s looking to consolidate its office space at the First National Bank towers off Central and San Mateo. “Whatever happens in this neighborhood is starting already,” said Albuqueruqe City Councilor Pat Davis. “Those buildings, whatever somebody does with them will be a catalyst for bigger development.”

City Councilor Pat Davis represents the neighborhoods around the old First National Bank buildings. According to a real estate investment website by Ignite funding, the building’s California-based owner GGD Oakdale is working with the department to consolidate offices in the taller 17-story tower. If that happens, the property owner is apparently eyeing an overhaul of the smaller 10-story building along San Mateo, with the idea of redesigning it for around 150 apartments. 

Built in 1963, the taller building was designed to be the anchor for a new uptown Albuquerque. It was known for its upscale marble interiors. While the smaller building went up in the ’70s. Fast forward to 2021, only 30% of the property is leased, most of it by the state government.

“So this part of southeast is revitalizing and people are looking for ways to make old things like old office buildings and turn them into office buildings, live workspaces, cool artist condos, I think that’s what you’re going to see up and down this part of central and of course those iconic buildings could lead the way,” said Davis.      

In the last five years, Davis said about 300 new apartments and condos have been built in the greater-area around Central and San Mateo. It’s unclear when action might start on the project.

The state confirmed to KRQE News 13 Tuesday, it’s in the process of renegotiating five leases into one lease on the property. The owners of the First National Bank property are also converting the former Hotel Cascada Water Park property into apartments at Carlisle and I-40.