Updated: 06/16/2014 5:19 PM |
Created: 06/16/2014 5:17 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Bernalillo County administrators are threatening to move county offices out of downtown. That threat has retail and restaurant owners in that area worried sick.
Seven hundred county employees are at stake if the county sticks to its plan to move to some other part of town. Seven hundred people who won't work, shop, bank or eat lunch here.
Azul Burrito Company opened at 4th and Central just 90 days ago. In a city economy that hasn't heard yet that the recession is over, that was risky enough. The ownership team is still hopeful but not delusional. "Something like the county moving out of the Downtown area is going to significantly reduce the amount of people down here," Glenn Baker said. "There's not many stores left. The restaurants are a tough business; the bars are doing all right."
The county is ready to split from its government center headquarters and smaller officers flung all over downtown. The idea: Relocate, consolidate. More efficiency, more parking, happier taxpayers .
Albuquerque's mayor is willing to work with the county. "We know we've got issues within the City Hall building where we've got the city and the county always looking and struggling for space," Mayor Richard Berry said. "We know that they've got a need there so we'll extend a hand and tell them we're willing to work with them as we have in the past to keep them downtown. We'd love to see them stay there."
Downtown already has an office space vacancy rate of about 28 percent - one of the worst in the nation. Where will the county move? There's no telling yet, but look for some new developments this summer.