ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After more than a decade of work, and millions of dollars spent, the city is now trying to figure out what’s next for the Rail Yards, after they scrapped their original master plan.
“We all know how hard this site has been to be developed,” said City Councilor Isaac Benton, who also serves as the Chair of the Rail Yards Advisory Board. “I think we’re finally in a position where maybe something could happen,” Benton said about the decades-long project.
The redevelopment really started in 2019, after Mayor Tim Keller terminated a contract with Samitaur, a California-based developer, who wasn’t making progress on the project. Since then, it’s come a long way. The city installed utilities, resurfaced the parking lot, replaced the roof, and ripped out contaminated creosote blocks.
Currently, the city hosts the Rail Yards Market, every Sunday during the warm months. Other than that, there’s not a lot going on over there. So, what’s next for the historic property? That’s what the Advisory Board is trying to figure out. During a board meeting on June 1, they talked about how the site could be used. They agreed, that they should be flexible so they don’t limit opportunities.
“If we’re too restrictive it’s going to put more pressure on getting the site developed and we could be here for another ten years,” said one of the board members, during that meeting. They know one thing for sure, they want the property to remain a public place for Albuquerque residents to enjoy.
There’s a requirement for at least 30 permanently affordable housing units on the property, but the board has a few questions, like if they should allow for more, and where the housing would go. It may take some time to come up with a new master plan, but for now, they’re keeping an open mind.
“We each have a vision of what the site could be,” said Benton. “That applies to everybody who’s ever seen that site because it’s an inspirational place,” he said.
One of the other requirements is bringing one of the original locomotives back to the site. The board is trying to figure out if it could go by the original turntable, or if there’s another place to put it on display.