City takes reins in restoring Railyards
September 17, 2018 06:01 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Albuquerque Railyards have always been an iconic spot in the city.
However, for the past decade, many of the buildings have sat untouched and in hazardous conditions.
City officials says taxpayers have been footing the bill to revive the Railyards over the past decade. An out-of-state contract to preserve and restore the historic buildings sat idle with no forward momentum.
Mayor Tim Keller said Sunday afternoon he plans to change that, with work potentially beginning as soon as next month.
“The Railyards is now Albuquerque’s again," Keller said.
On Sunday, he ended a six-year agreement with the out-of-state contractor. The city says work wasn’t progressing quick enough.
“This city has owned this facility for almost 10 years," said David Campbell, planning director for the city. "We have made very little progress in making it into the kind of community space it could be.”
So, an $8 million project is in the works to transform the buildings.
“We are going to ask our state Legislature for help and our new governor for help," Keller said. "We are going to go block by block in this property and work on every building one building one at a time.”
Keller said they plan to start with the 'Flu Shop' building, adjacent to the Railyard Market.
But first, major cleanup needs to happen. Safety issues are a big concern, and it's not only the broken glass, bricks and damaged roof, but dealing with health hazards.
“There are some areas where we have lead in the soil, some areas where we have petroleum-based products in the soil and we also have some asbestos in the construction materials," Campbell said. "Which used to be done routinely, but now we need to take it out.”
Then, more work on the building, including landscaping and security. It's all in line with the master plan designs from a few years ago.
It's estimated the building won't be open to the public until winter of 2019.
“We will be lucky if we get that done in a year's time, but we have to take it one step at a time making it safe for the general public," Campbell said.
The city says the building will be used for Railyard Market overflow and public events on the weekends. During the day, it will be transformed into a workspace.
The property owner has also changed; SMG will be taking wedding rentals and other events.
Updated: September 17, 2018 06:01 AM
Created: September 16, 2018 09:51 PM
Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved