ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been a problem intersection for years, Coors and Central are known for attracting transients, and undesirable activity. Now, community members are worried another vacant building at that corner, will make it worse.
The newly vacant building used to be a dental office, but Perfect Teeth closed its doors and boarded up the windows a couple of months ago, now it’s become another place for the homeless to set up camp. The empty building joins Albertsons Market and the Verizon call center just west of Coors.
Jerry Gallegos with the Southwest Alliance of Neighborhoods says these abandoned buildings give the homeless another place to loiter. “They stay outside and they kind of live there,” said Gallegos.
A homeless camp was set up right outside the front door of the old Albertsons Market. The camp had mattresses, piles of garbage, and empty liquor bottles. This scene isn’t unusual to Gallegos, “There have been a couple of incidents where they’re probably cold at night, and they start a couple of fires near the vacant Albertsons,” he said.
Only a couple of feet away from that newly vacant dental office, a group of homeless people set up with all of their belongings. “There’s a lot of pandering and people asking for money at the intersections,” said Gallegos.
Vacant buildings are becoming more common across the city, not just at this intersection. Last month, commercial real estate agents in Albuquerque are expecting a drop in the commercial market, because of the pandemic. “There are tenants out there realizing they don’t need an office,” said Scott Whitefield, the President, of Colliers International in Albuquerque.
Despite Whitefield’s prediction, Albuquerque City Councilor Klarissa Pena says developers are interested in the abandoned buildings in her district. “I’m hopeful and excited about that, I think they’ll be filled pretty shortly,” said Pena.
KRQE News 13 reached out to Perfect Teeth Albuquerque to find out why they decided to leave this location, but did not get a response. The office has been closed for at least three months. Pena says they have a crisis team go out to the site almost daily to move the homeless camps along, and try to connect them with resources.