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Downtown Albuquerque: Perception versus realty

10 Myth busters for Downtown Albuquerque:
Perception versus realty of Albuquerque’s Central Business District



Myth: Downtown Albuquerque is dead.
Fact: Downtown Albuquerque is in the midst of a major multimillion-dollar revitalization. You will find bustling nightlife along Central Avenue (Route 66), including many nightclubs, theaters and restaurants. Additionally, the migration into and out of Downtown Albuquerque from 2019 -2022 was -0.6 businesses for every 1,000 city residents.


Myth: Downtown Albuquerque is unsafe.
Fact: The City of Albuquerque has placed significant emphasis on safety and the mental health of the homeless in Downtown Albuquerque. In a recent personal experience, I felt safer walking on the streets of Downtown than I did in Uptown. Did you know there is an APD substation on 4th Street between Gold and Central Avenue? Have you noticed how clean the streets and sidewalks are in Downtown Albuquerque?



Myth: There’s nowhere to eat downtown.
Fact: The newly developed 505 Food Hall located at the corner of 5th and Central contains 9 local venders offering everything from chicken, street tacos, burgers, fries, beer/wine and more. Additionally, Slate Street Café, Cocina Azul, Monroes’, Baca Boys Café, Asian Noodle Bar, Rumor Pizza and many other bars with tapas are located in downtown Albuquerque.



Myth: There’s nowhere to live downtown.
Fact: Currently there are 1,590 households in Downtown Albuquerque. Additionally, there is a $50 million public-private project slated for Downtown that will bring more than 200 housing units to the area. This project cleared Albuquerque City Council on March 7, 2023, approving an agreement that includes a timeline and performance benchmarks for the Downtowner, a mixed-use project at First Street and Silver Avenue that has been years in the works. The Downtowner, a multi-story development expected to span 131,700 square feet, is one of a handful of supported project by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency (MRA) which includes the Palladium Townhomes, the Villa Agave redevelopment project and the Imperial Inn.



Myth: All the high rise buildings in Downtown Albuquerque are vacant.
Fact: Downtown Albuquerque is currently experiencing an approximate 18% office vacancy rate. In comparison, overall the City of Albuquerque is experiencing an approximate 14% office vacancy rate.



Myth: There’s no entertainment in Downtown Albuquerque.
Fact: I recently attended a concert at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Parking was easy to find, streets and sidewalks were clean and I felt safe. Every day, I see advertisements for theater experiences, food trucks, movie nights, growers markets and other forms of family entertainment.



Myth: There’s no lodging in Downtown Albuquerque.
Fact: Downtown Albuquerque enjoys over a dozen hotel experiences from locally owned boutique hotels to national name branded chains. Downtown Albuquerque has something for everyone when it comes to overnight stays.



Myth: There’s no plan to make Downtown Albuquerque more vibrant.
Fact: The Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency (MRA) has created seven strategies as the most essential steps to creating a healthy, safe and vibrant downtown district plan. These seven strategies include making downtown safe, extending compassion to those in need, giving people something to do, building more housing, strategic investments, investing in sustainability and creating tools for redevelopment.



Myth: There’s no outdoor culture in Downtown Albuquerque.
Bust: A 7-mile loop will link Albuquerque’s vibrant downtown area to nearby neighborhoods, mass transportation options and the Rail Yards, creating a world-class urban amenity that will catalyze redevelopment. The Albuquerque Rail Tail will transform Downtown’s rail corridor into a safe, vibrant and artistic urban trail that creates opportunities for economic development, healthy recreation and cultural expression. The Trial will connect the diverse communities it travels through and build bridges across those that have been disconnected. The Rail Trail is the next expression of this essential trade route, embracing a resilient future for Downtown Albuquerque. Read more about this exciting plan here.



Myth: Downtown Albuquerque is not walkable.
Bust: According to Walk Score, Downtown Albuquerque has a Walk Score of 96, Transit Score of 54, Bike Score of 91. Comparatively, Phoenix has a Walk Score of 41, Transit Score of 36 and Bike Score of 56 while Denver has a Walk Score of 61, Transit Score of 45 and Bike Score of 72. Check out your favorite City’s walk score here.

Downtown Albuquerque has made great strides in its safety, vibrancy and livelihood in recent years and is a place to live, work and play. I invite you to visit Downtown Albuquerque and witness for yourself the change that has and is taking place. Additionally, I challenge you to revisit Downtown Albuquerque and join forces with the organizations, businesses and governments that continue to make a change in yours and mine Downtown Albuquerque!

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