ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local restaurant chain is trying to breathe some new life into one of Albuquerque’s most recognizable buildings. The Jones Motor Company building has sat vacant for more than a year since Kellys Brew Pub closed down. Now, M’tucci’s Moderno Italian Restaurant is getting ready to renovate the iconic space.
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“This was the retail and dining mecca of this city and we’re going to be there again,” said Howie Kaibel, Minister of Culture and brand manager for M’tucci’s.
The building used to be a popular spot for cars driving along Route 66 in the 1940s and 1950s. According to online documents, the city’s Landmark Commission recently approved M’tucci’s request to renovate five of the old service bays in the long garage behind the building.
While it’s unclear where a marketplace would go, according to the city’s document, the garages may be used to make cheese, bread and pasta and have a walk-up window for customers. The commission’s decision says it will help bring activity and visitors to the area.
“We are working with the Landmark Commission to make sure, especially the exterior is going to look the way it looks today, it’s just going to be cleaned up,” said Kaibel. “What M’tucci’s intends to do is really just show its deepest appreciation for the city by renovating one of its most iconic buildings…in one of the best neighborhoods in the city.”
The Nob Hill location will be called M’tucci’s Bar Roma. In addition to a marketplace, there will be a restaurant that is Rome-inspired. The patio will also be transformed into a parklet full of greenery where people can sit outside.
Because it is a historic landmark, features like the old service gas pumps and the shape of the patio must be preserved. M’tucci’s said it is working with the Nob Hill Neighborhood Association to make sure they are on board with the plans. The company hopes to have everything open by January.