ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Now that Bernalillo County has moved out of the building it shared with the city on Civic Plaza, the City of Albuquerque is paying millions to buy out the county’s old space and spruce it all up. The city is paying $11 million for the purchase and upgrades. The city said it has been planning for this since it learned the county was moving out.
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“It was an agreement we had with the county and each of us had first options to buy from the other if one of us moved out. So, we weren’t forced into this. I think it was just the perfect marriage and it just worked out pretty well,” said Pat Montoya, Director of Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development.
The city is paying $5.5 million to purchase the rest of the building and another $5.5 million for the upgrades. The renovations include cosmetic changes like new carpets and paint as well as new lighting on the exterior of the building that can change color based on the occasion.
The county left two floors of the eleven-floor building empty. City staff will adjust where they work in the building and the city’s legal department will consolidate onto one floor. The Parks and Recreation Department will move into the building. The Senior Affairs Department will also move in. It currently operates out of the Barelas Senior Center.
“That will be one of the first departments moved into this building…So what that does is frees up the space for senior programs that should be delivered from that site,” said Montoya. The city anticipates a total of about 80 employees to move into the building within the year.
“It just makes it so much easier for the public. It makes it easier for the people who work in the building to consolidate and be in one location,” said Montoya.
Other city staff will move into where the Parks and Recreation Department was. As of now, Montoya said there is no plan to sell other city-owned buildings. The Water Authority also moved out of its location on the bottom floor of the government building. The city’s new department, the Albuquerque Community Safety Department, will temporarily be housed in that vacant space.
The city and county also split the additional $950,000 bill for the renovation of the plaza eatery on the bottom floor of the building. The upgrades include a new kitchen, digital menu boards, and dining tables and chairs. The city is currently accepting bids for vendors who would like to set up shop in the space. To view the request for a bid, visit cabq.bonfirehub.com/portal/?tab=openOpportunities.
The city is also looking into improving public access to the building and security measures. The reports on how to best do that are expected to be completed in November.