and, what about that Events Center?

It may be very, very important... or not, but are you tired of sounding off about city police enforcing immigration policy - and the related fallout? Well here is an opportunity to sound off to the Mayor about something else.

Currently, on the home page of the city web site www.cabq.gov You can click a link and leave Mayor Berry a comment about an oft-proposed "Events Center" in the Downtown area.

Below is are my comments to the Mayor in response to the posted question:

What are your thoughts about a Downtown Events Center?

I think many cities have overbuilt their "convention capacity" and it would be a shame to demolish established neighborhoods and buildings and spend billions to compete with a ship who's time has passed. With advances in technology and increasing costs of transportation massive conventions may soon be a thing of the past!

If we (ABQ) do develop an "events center" it should be a center for arts and science, I say agricultural science, at a re-build/re-developed Railyards complex. It should be integrative with low to moderate income owner-occupied housing; have large and small spaces for purchase, rent and/or lease to non-profit organizations as well as for-profit grocers, retail, and entertainment venues; and it should include some kind of urban agricultural demonstration project plot or greenhouse(working and selling the product) - for instance growing specialty veggies and herbs for Downtown restaurants - or experimenting with plants for medicinal purpose's working with UNM health sciences, or... possabilites are endless.

Albuquerque has always been "different." Let's keep being different, but in an economically sustainable way.


Now, What's your idea for the Mayor? Go to www.cabq.gov/mayor/downtown-events-center to submit YOUR comments to our Fair Mayor.

Have fun!

Views: 5

Tags: Barelas, Berry, Center, Convention, Downtown, Events, Mayor, Opportunity, Rail, Redevelopment, More…Yards

Comment by Hunter on May 21, 2010 at 8:24am
ABQDWELL said "What about less intoxicated drivers on the road?"

I'm sorry, but this is a deal killer for me. I've heard the same argument before, with Mayor Chavez's Tipsy Trolley scheme. The taxpayers are supposed to fund multi-million dollar public transit systems to provide alternative transportation for drunks? The perfect end to a wonderful arena experience, riding home on the RailRunner or Modern Streetcar with a bunch of drunks! How about no alcohol sales at the arena instead of enabling over consumption?
Comment by ABQDWELL on May 21, 2010 at 8:30am
Hunter, you are so right! So much better to take our chances on the road! Not sure anyone's pushing this as the central reason, just one of many ancillary benefits.
Comment by Muskrat Sam Donaldson on May 22, 2010 at 9:13am
UrbanABQ / ABQDWELL

In the last ten years, what has worked in downtown Albuquerque? The only things I see are bars and empty lofts, with the only new construction being low income housing. This is not a recipe for success.
Comment by ABQDWELL on May 23, 2010 at 9:32am
MSD: the movie theater, Tucanos, Gold Street Cafe, the downtown growers market, Art Crawl, Rapid Ride, Rail Runner, Marble Brewery, One Up, The Flying Star, Amy Biehl High School and the most recent New Mexico Business Weekly is reporting that the new Silver Lofts (on the site of the old Greyhound Bus Terminal) are 70 percent occupied.

You write: "the only new construction being low income housing." Elements Townhouses (just west of the Silver Lofts) is new construction. And BTW what is wrong with low-cost housing? Healthy cities have a mix of transportation options, income levels, entertainment options, retail options, and business options. I am curious what is your recipe for success and how you would make it happen?
Comment by Hunter on May 23, 2010 at 9:41am
If you go back and look at the original concept (Polyzoides) I think you will see abundant, affordable housing, not high end lofts. Had we stuck with that original idea I suspect the viability of a downtown supermarket would be much different today. The Theater Block was supposed to be a catalyst, not a down payment for an endless succession of taxpayer funded redevelopment. But the development community is unwilling to put their own money on the table, as witnessed by two different arena proposals (so far). We always want to malign the developers for making money, maybe they know something about downtown they're not telling us.
Comment by ABQDWELL on May 23, 2010 at 12:21pm
Hunter, I agree that the focus should probably have remained on lower cost units. Folks at that price point may be younger and may be more willing to pioneer urban living sans certain necessities (such as a grocery store). I disagree that the Theater Block was intended to be the primary catalyst for full urban renewal. I know of no city that's urban renewal was sparked by a movie theater and a few restaurants. I believe it was one initial important piece that helped pave the way for the housing units on the site of the old Greyhound Station and to the west, the restaurants on both Gold and Central and to a degree Rail Runner, and Rapid Ride. The Events Center will be another piece of the urban puzzle (Conservatively, lets say an Events Center has 40 events averaging 5,000 attendance, that puts 200,000 people downtown annually. The Scorpions and the T-Birds alone would account for 40 dates. Factor in more and bigger conventions and the cost of two pizzas a year looks pretty minimal). Plus it makes ABQ a better city. As Gary Goodman (developer of the Andaluz) has written, ABQ is in competition with numerous cities for tourism, conventions, entertainment, business, high tech workers, the so-called creative class and others. All of these groups/entities are looking for destinations that among other factors are investing in themselves. And I believe many of these folks are looking for areas with vibrant urban areas, not necessarily to live but to spend significant time and money. The future is not far flung suburbs and stadiums accessible only by car. A recent trip to Denver revealed that the city has consciously been investing in its core (stadiums, light rail, trails, parks, housing, museums) and private investment has followed. I never understand the strident opposition to projects like the Events Center and the Street Car, which make a city more livable and desirable, when hardly a peep is made when subdivision are pushed farther and father west taxing resources and infrastructure.
Comment by ABQDWELL on May 23, 2010 at 4:01pm
Here's an uplifting downtown success story
Comment by Hunter on May 23, 2010 at 6:59pm
You've likely seen this before, but here is a link to the "plan" circa 2000: http://www.mparchitects.com/projects-districts.html
Click on Albuquerque Alvarado District, then image 4. The theater block is there, but there doesn't appear to be any pricey Gold St lofts. Notice 300 units of housing and even a small park. If we had stuck to this plan, in my opinion, there would be more success stories.
Comment by urbanABQ on May 23, 2010 at 9:14pm
One element of the plan I really liked was that linear green space leading out of the bus station. I think that would have been a nice buffer for the residents living along the newly opened Silver and would have added a nice sense of arrival to the station. I think the company who is spearheading the project really gambled on an arena coming online earlier in the process. Thus, they started with high-end lofts. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for Sean Gilligan to change direction with his pricey townhomes (Elements). However, as currently planned it looks like there will still be over 250 new residential units in the area. Not bad at all.

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