Monday, April 24, 2006

A midrise?

Is anyone as excited as I am for last weeks announcements? First and foremost, the city is making a commitment to implimenting light-rail along Central Ave. from Old Town to Nob Hill with a spur to the airport. Now, I'm slightly disappointed that the planned system, that is most commonly known as a "streetcar," is a slightly less intense version of the RTD in Denver or TRAX in Salt Lake city. However, the slightly sleeker looking streetcar is probably more in context with the setting along Central Avenue.













This is more of what I had in mind for downtown:

It has been shown that the level of development due to civic investment is directly proportional to the amount invested. This type of system should be successful in attracting redevelopment along the route without the intesity that so many people are fearful of (for whatever reason). It really is a great compromise. I personally would much rather see the latter type system.

Next, Vincent Garcia announced his next development downtown, a 7-story mixed-use building called the Anasazi. This building is going to replace the dilapidated building on the southeast corner of 6th and Central with 45 condo's and more retail space. This is the largest project to happen downtown since the Gold Avenue Lofts, yet somehow, I've only seen it mentioned in the Journal. I guess the papers really only like to talk about the drunk kids and shootings downtown. That too bad because this is more indicative of the actual market in downtown. Two days after this project was announced, over 20 of these units has been spoken for. Not so bad for a violence infested, can't-be-as-great-as-Rio Rancho, unsprawled hell. (Was that over the top?)

Last but not least, someone in one of my previous posts posted information from the Emporis website that shows a 20-story building is being planned for the Noon Day Ministries site downtown across from the Old AHS Lofts. Now that is great news. From rumblings I've heard before, I'd bet Rob Dickson has something to do with this plan and I cannot wait for an announcement. It had been know that they were aiming for a midrise in that area, but 20-stories is a highrise in any city. I hope we see some renderings for this project.

13 comments:

Phil said...

Is the Anasazi site currently that boarded-up one-story place that used to be a lunch restaurant and weekend nightclub? I hope so...that building's an eyesore.

Phil said...

OH, also: the ABQ streetcar is going to be more-or-less patterned after the streetcar/light rail in Portland, OR, which is is shown in your picture. If you've never been to Portland, I can tell you that it's an efficient, effective, and low-impact design that blends into its urban surroundings much less intrusively than the bigger-footprint light rail you were imagining. Think of the "classic" urban streetcars you see in old photos, the Municipal Streetcar that runs down Market St. and the Embarcadero in San Francisco, and the streetcars currently in use in many European and Japanese cities: the Portland streetcar - and, hopefully, the future ABQ streetcar - is very similar.

Mr. Viddy said...

I just moved here from Portland and I am looking forward to the day that Albuquerque has a world-class transit system like Tri-Met.

Hopefully the people of Albuquerque will wake up and realize that a well-planned transit system benefits everyone.

Phil said...

Portland isn't perfect transitwise - I once spent 7 hours trying to get to Eugene when there was a wreck on the I-5 bridge across the Willamette - but ABQ could learn a LOT from its example. A streetcar is one big piece of the puzzle. Urban growth boundaries are another.

Philly said...

I would love the idea of an Growth Boundry implemented in ABQ.

It's seems to whelp with sprawl in Portland.

Bryan said...

Great news. I hope more of this kind of development happens in downtown ABQ.

Phil said...

It's weird: whenever anyone here in Arizona attempts to implement *some* kind of control on sprawl, the pro-development lobby trots out Portland, portraying it as some kind of crowded hellhole. Have any of them ever been there? Portland has an urban feel that leaves almost any other small-medium western city in the dust, and I never noticed that it lacked any of the amenities you can find in Phoenix or elsewhere. Maybe you can shine a little light, Mr. Viddy: what makes Portland so "bad"?

Tim said...

I have not been to Portland but I have heard and read arguments against the city and it's policies. The first argument is that an urban boundary sets up unnecessary increases in prices due to limited supply. Another argument is density. Some people just don't want it,which is why they chose some cities over the Chicago's, LAs, NY's, etc. Of course both of these arguments are true to some degree but it's not completely the case. In the end, however, those policies in place have led to the out-of-control sprawl north of the state line in Washington. Was it worth it? In my opinion..of course it was.

Bryan said...

That is the thing some of us urban mixed-use walkable neighborhood density lovers seem to forget... there are a lot of people out there that are still chasing our parent's american dream circa 1955; when happiness was a wife bringing you your slippers in a bungalow in the 'burbs.

Mr. Viddy said...

Phil asked me what makes Portland so bad. In general, Portland is not a bad city. It is well planned and the growth boundaries benefit everyone in the metro area. You do not see the unchecked sprawl such as we have in Albuquerque. Certainly there are people who do not agree with growth boundaries, green spaces and public transit because it cuts into their profits.

Personally, I see many similarities between Portland and Albuquerque and at the moment I see Albuquerque at about the same stage as Portland 10 years ago.

Believe me, we need to spend money developing a better transit system. In Portland, a vast majority of people take advantage of light rail even though they own cars.

Mario said...

Tim,

Today it was announced Urban Outfitters in opening in downtown Boise. Why is it that they have a smaller downtown yet have already proven they are able to bring great retail to their downtown market? I knew we were expecting one here, but Tamara Shoppe at ABQ Tribune mentioned the deal fell through. There are far more lofts, and housing in our city's core as well as Gap Inc. Corporate Shared Service Center (400 employees including myself) that should totally make us a candidate for this type of development. If we could mirror tiny little Boise, we would be able to complete the downtown 2010 plan as originally thought.

Tim said...

Hey Mario,

I think it's all about the market in the area. Boise is putting an urban outfitters in their Bodo development which is equivalent to our ABQ Uptown. From what I understand, Boise has only one "go-to" area, and their's happens to be downtown. Sadly, the people who like to shop in this town, according to market studies, prefer to keep their dollars in the NE heights area in our city. We need to fill these lofts up downtown to create a market that businesses will be confindent in, first.

Anonymous said...

This response is in regards to the entries about Urban Outfitters opening a store in Boise. I have visited Boise several times for business and it is not tiny--the downtown is not much smaller than our own here in ABQ. There is a lot of money there and the downtown area is pretty hip and sophisticated and full of great wine bars, coffee shops, and local restaurants. ABQ has come a long way the last few years, but I would have to say the Boise has us beat even though they don't have a light rail yet. The difference is pratically night and day between the vibe of the two cities.