Albuquerque's first indoor shopping mall has been pretty much shuttered for years, its much-ballyhooed "new urban" reconstruction delayed time and time again. Now it seems like things are finally moving...new national chain restaurants have been enlisted, a 16-screen Regal cinema with IMAX has signed on the dotted line, and at least one local news outlet is promising a groundbreaking as early as next week.
Developer Gary Goodman's plans for Winrock originally included lots of mixed-use buildings with both housing and retail, new hotels, green spaces, and outdoor walking trails. More recent versions of the plan seem to feature more parking lots and shrinking outdoor public spaces, with the redevelopment effort as a whole edging closer and closer to a traditional mall. So far, all announced new tenants are the kind of big national chain that can be found in traditional malls across America. But Goodman still talks a good game, and he continues to promise lots of opportunities for local businesses, including an entire section devoted to local eateries. Goodman is also still suggesting his final vision is a multi-use playground incorporating lots of residential space, high-rise hotels, offices, and a genuine urban feel. Based on the gap between what was promised and what was delivered at neighboring ABQ Uptown, I guess I am skeptical. Goodman did a great job realizing an ambitious vision at Hotel Andaluz, so I guess I am still more optimistic than this guy. But I will believe it when I see it.
Winrock was for many years an important place for Albuquerque...what are your memories of what used to be, and what would you like to see a newly revitalized Winrock entail?
Back in January (I couldn't find a more current status), the City Council was to consider dissolving the ABQ Uptown TIDD
Thanks, Suzanne - hopefully the city council will stop subsidizing stupid retail TIDDs like "Target on Stilts" to the tune of 5 cents on every sales dollar and maybe just add bus stops to this area, so lower income people can actually work and shop at this Target and Trader Joes.
(Of course, maybe this Target is being held up until they get a favorable TIDD to pay for the under-Target Parking. Developers are sooo brazen....)
Honestly, the issues raised in this article are at the root of my current dilemma with all the proposed Uptown development. Even if it's far, far, wide of what was originally promised, is a Target on stilts better than the decades-old vacant lot that's there currently? Or is it worth waiting another decade until some better plan comes around? The dilemma is even more acute for Winrock...it would seem like anything beats the mouldering ghost mall we've got now, right?
It looks like ground-clearing and leveling started today at the Target site. No idea if that means it's happening, or if they're just prettying up the location...
My grandfather, Fortunatus Brooks Magruder, was from El Paso and worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1930s-40s. New Mexico was his territory and back then, the railroad had a lot of power here. In the days of steam engines, the railroad would bargain with small NM towns: you give us your water rights and we'll put the tracks through your town (i.e. - allow you to survive). Later, they weren't steam engines anymore, but the railroad still owned the water rights, so they held a good deal of the state hostage still. My grandfather held court, entertaining Clyde Tingley , Clinton P. Anderson and other politicos and personalities of the day in Albuquerque, Carrizozo, Santa Fe, et al. He had a dedicated car on the train where only the most important people rode, gambled, told lies, etc. I grew up on stories about those days and those zany characters.
My grandparents moved to San Franciso in the late 1940s with their son - my father - who transferred from Texas A&M to Stanford University. He met my mom there and that's where I was born.
In 1972, I graduated from high school and had had enough of California and my dysfunctional family, so - at the age of 17 - I took a bus to Albuquerque, checked into the HiWay House Motel on Central Avenue, and enrolled in UNM. I wanted to find my grandfather's stomping grounds. And I did! Central Ave. was all pawn shops, tuxedo rental places and square dancing stores. Yes: there were a number of square dance apparel shops in those days. The UNM Business School was named after Clinton P. Anderson. A hospital was named after Clyde Tingley's wife. Red and green chile. North 4th St. was my favorite; Westernware, feed stores, flea markets and old second hand stores.
After I was settled in my apartment on Tijeras NE, my grandfather called me to say he was coming out to visit. "Book me a room at the Alvarado," he said. I had to tell him it had been torn down a few years prior. He was horrified. "What is Albuquerque without the Alvarado? How can that be?!!"
I had reserved him a room at the nicest place I could find, at the White Winrock, next door to Winrock Mall. It was modern and fancy and Fortunatus made do. He showed me around the Albuquerque he remembered and lamented the passing of the Alvarado.
Okay, so not much about Winrock mall, but thanks for letting me reminisce.
i remember when the White Winrock was still the place to stay...rumor has it that it's first on the block for demolition when the new construction starts. Its decay over the years makes it an obvious place to start, but still...we must honor the end of an era somehow, even if it's not quite the final days of the Alvarado...
My mom and dad met each other at the coffee shop at HiWay House. They both worked in the area and met one day at lunch. We recently bought a house 1.5 blocks from there, and I couldn't wait to tell my mom (who now lives out of state)!
I remember sitting in that coffee shop listening to the cooks and I thought the local Spanish was really incomprehensible. Turned out they were speaking Greek.
That's too funny. Greek. Love it!
Now there's a Duke City Fix post...100+ years of the local Greek restaurant dynasties. Everything from Lindy's, Mannie's and the Town House to Yanni's, Bricklight Dive, and BRGR...
Note my picture, speaking of Greek!