Friday, December 23, 2005

This City

Two things: Madison, WI is in the process of implementing or has implemented some of the most progressive zoning laws in the nation that will only allow for New Urbanistic development within its city limits. Will other cities catch on or will they continue to make the mistakes of the previous 50+ years?

Next, word has it that the city turned down nice new lighting for the new Juan Tabo bridge in the SE heights because they didn't want to deal with the maintenence. That is just disturbing. We turn down asthetics based on some lazy person's decision? Very disappointing. The least they could do is go with those generic, drab lights that someone has chosen for downtown. I suppose those take too much additional maintenance as well. Is there any real question as to why some visitors have a hard time seeing the beauty of our city? We treat our environment like it's unimportant to anyone. The ones we hurt the most is ourselves. Does anyone know who makes these decisions?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Richmond St. Studios, RailRunner, Mesa del Sol, and the Fairgrounds

I created this blog to express my thoughts about upcoming and existing developments around the Duke City but have drawn a blank since its inception. Many good developments have come about in the last two weeks as well. Infill Solutions is finally moving ahead with their Richmond Street Studios behind the Wells Fargo bank in Nob Hill, the state has purchased every mile of rail between Belen to the Colorado state line, Mesa del Sol is causing a stir and there is discussion on what to do with the State Fairgrounds.

Nob Hill now lays claim to 54 new urban dwellings. Not so bad for a neighborhood that had not seen residential development of which to speak of in a couple decades. Unfortunately, the average price of those units is upward of $250-300 thousand dollars. The strength of sales, however, prove the strength of that market. On a side note, ABQ High lofts website shows a total of 26 units which are already spoken for. If I remember correctly, that signals the beginning of construction to come shortly with 52 total units available. What Rob Dickson (the developer of ABQ High) has done for this city is tremendous. The project was listed as a top ten project in the Sierra Club's "Building Better: A Guide to America's Best New Development Projects."

I am unsure that people realize the impact that such projects as Rail Runner commuter rail and Mesa del Sol are going to have on the future of our city. To implement commuter rail into a city of our size is quite a tremendous and progressive feat in this country. And Mesa del Sol will most likely draw more attention even Denver's Stapleton airport redevelopment due to it's sheer size and it's terrific location near downtown and the airport. A study was recently released that claims that Sandia Labs landfill has very little chance of impacting the environment negatively. This comes at a perfect time when the city and state are building and planning roads into the area. Everyone will be looking to see how these projects develop as we have the opportunity to set the example for mid-size cities across the country.

News came out about discussions dealing with the future of the Fairgrounds. Over on the DukeCityFix, people are discussing what should be done. The overwhelming majority on that website think that they should keep the grounds where they are and upgrade the facilities. Now, I've been there many of times growing up including my junior prom and I can't think of any reason to keep any one of those buildings. I like the concept of the main streeet. I like the idea of having such a facility to bring everyone together for a grand 'ol yeehaw annually. But I can't help think that this location would serve a much better purpose being redeveloped and continuing what our city has set forth in developing great streets. The big walls and gate that guard the fairgrounds have a negative effect on the surrounding area by encouraging people to drive right by it. There is no incentive to slow down and get out of the car. I think the area would serve a much better purpose by being opened up and developing into a mixed-use area with offices, residential of all kinds, and in keeping with the community gathering space, purhaps a large regional park. The only reason to keep the fairgrounds in its current location is purely nostalgic. Hopefully our leaders and community make the right decision with this one.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Density, density, density

Recently announced projects either about to start construction or already under construction. These projects are all adding a significant amount to our urban living options throughout The District and beyond.

Silver Avenue Lofts phase I & II:

courtesy of

SG Properties newest product, 720 Roma Condominiums:

Rendering by Workshop Architects

Nob Hill's newest addition being developed by Maestas & Ward. This project is nice to see since the lot has been the only vacant lot in the city's hottest mixed-use neighborhood.

rendering courtesy of The Journal

In the Sawmill addition, this project is a terrific example of mixed-use and TRUE mixed-income. These are The Sawmill Lofts.

A nice reuse of an old building, this project is a true Loft project. Unfortunately, this project will replace a current artist exhibition space with relatively expensive live/work units. The Factory on 5th Lofts:

And the last project to make this post but none-the-less exciting to see come to fruition, UNM's School of Architecture building. Designed by Albuquerque's very own Antione Predock, it amazes me that we have one of the world's leading architects and yet we have so few examples of his work. This building will be a beautiful landmark that everyone will recognize. Lets hope the city and business community follow suite and get Predock on board for more high-profile projects.

rendering from

I have chosen to show these projects first because they are the few projects that have provided renderings to the public. Unfortunately, a company such as Dekker/Perich/Sabatini does not provide such renderings for even the largest of projects such as ABQ Uptown. It's hard to get excited for projects that no one can imagine before they are built. Anyhow, I'm excited for the city. This small sampling only represents approximately $60 million in development. The past five years has been tremendous, but the next five will prove to be even greater.