A well-known Albuquerque church is on the market for a cool million. In recent years, it’s been better known as a magnet for homeless squatters and was the scene of a killing that landed the owner in prison.
Neighbors said the for sale sign is a symbol for change.
“I knew people who went to church here and a couple that got married here, so it’s been in the neighborhood for a long time,” said a local woman.
This woman lives by the old Trinity Methodist Church in Nob Hill and remembers the building in its prime. It’s a stark contrast from how it looks now: weathered and riddled with broken windows and boarded up doors. Now, the old church has a new addition to the property: a for sale sign.
“It’s just sad to see this happening to this building,” said the woman.
It’s now on the market for a shade under $1.1 million, and the listing boasts about its 22,000 square feet of ‘iconic character.’
Neighbors said they’re surprised to hear the high dollar price tag after the church recently battled problems with homeless people breaking in, even starting a fire that caused smoke damage to the building.
“I thought it would be ironic and beneficial to the community if the church were to turn into something like a resource center for the homeless,” said local Katie Neeley.
“I know that Chris probably wanted to remake it into something else,” said the local woman.
She’s referring to the property owner, Chris Pino, who also has faced problems of his own.
“My life is ruined because his life ended because of mine,” Pino told the court during his sentencing hearing.
In August, Pino was sentenced to more than three years for manslaughter after he hit and killed a homeless man with his Hummer after he accused him of breaking into the vacant church.
“Churches are sanctuaries,” said Neeley.
Neighbors said the for sale sign is a symbol for a fresh start for the church.
“Hopefully somebody will come along and fix it up, and do something with it and that it will benefit the whole community,” said the local woman.
Since Pino is behind bars and couldn’t maintain and secure property, the city boarded the old church up. It’s been on the market for a few months and real estate agents said they show it at least twice a week.