ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A property at the center of controversy over a push to make it a city-sanctioned homeless camp will now be the site of a completely different project.

Neighbors are breathing a sigh of relief after plans for a “safe outdoor space” near the Big-I were scrapped. However, the organization that originally wanted the location said Friday’s announcement throws a wrench in their plans.

“We were going to basically re-apply to that particular site, but now that the city and the state are close to making some kind of deal, we’re looking elsewhere,” said Brad Day, a volunteer with Dawn Legacy Pointe.

The area at 1250 Menaul Northeast, just off I-25, belongs to the City of Albuquerque. In the summer of 2022, the city approved a “safe outdoor space” on the property to be operated by the nonprofit Dawn Legacy Pointe. After major pushback and a formal appeal from neighbors, the organization withdrew its application. They planned to regroup and try again.

Now, the state is exchanging one of its properties and taking over the Menaul location. According to state Senator Michael Padilla, the state will use it as a public safety facility for operations and law enforcement training. It will consolidate five existing facilities across central New Mexico.

“We have a serious crime problem here in New Mexico. This is going to place our state law enforcement in the right location. It’s going to help them get in any direction much quicker than they are today. It’ll help from an economy-of-scale standpoint. It’ll also help from a training standpoint. It has enough property to do everything that they’re wanting to do there,” said Padilla.

In exchange for the 12-acre property, the state is trading its 3-to-4-acre property at 401 Commercial Street in Downtown Albuquerque. Padilla said it’s a fair trade with both properties valued at more than $4 million.

The neighborhood association near the Menaul site fought the homeless camp from the start, and they said they were pleased when the application was withdrawn. They intend to discuss the new plan at their next meeting.

We reached out to the city about the plans for their property in the land swap. They said they will have answers during a press conference Saturday.