Abandoned downtown building to be converted into apartments

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — City leaders announced new plans to revitalize downtown Albuquerque earlier this week.

City officials and private developers are focusing on getting more people to live there. To do that, more housing needs to be brought into the area.

One developer is transforming an abandoned ’50s convent building into market-rate apartments in the heart of downtown.

“We call it adaptive reuse. It’s where you take a commercial building or other an otherwise unused building and convert it into apartments,” architect and developer Mark Barker said.

As crews work to make those apartments ready, neighborhood safety is a concern – even Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller has drawn attention to a parking lot across the street.

“The two parking lots on the end of downtown are the primary locations of crimes,” Keller said in a press conference earlier this month.

So, how will this new apartment ensure the safety of its future residents?

“I think in the next few months, opportunities that the city has taken to really try to drive criminal activity down and also make it more pleasant on Friday and Saturday nights,” said Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency Director Terry Brunner.

While crime downtown is an issue the city is working to address, developers say fixing up abandoned buildings could be one way to deter criminals.

“This kind of growth is going to be great for downtown because it makes the downtown more well-rounded, which also puts eyes on the street, which increases safety and fosters community,” Barker said.

There’s an overall housing shortage in Albuquerque. Developers and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency say different types of people are moving downtown, despite the crime.