How and when Bernalillo County will consolidate its Downtown Albuquerque office operations is still an open question, as is whether Downtown will remain in the equation.
Deputy County Manager Vince Murphy said Wednesday at an Economic Forum of Albuquerque breakfast at the Albuquerque Country Club that officials received 14 responses to a request for information (RFI) that Manager Tom Zdunek released recently. The RFI laid out the county’s minimum requirements — at least 265,000 square feet of space, 750 to 800 on-site parking spaces and access to public transit, to name a few.
“Some of the ideas are creative and unique,” Murphy said without going into detail. “Others proposed public-private partnerships. No decision has been made.” The RFI expired last month.
Zdunek and other county officials have been looking at a variety of options for the consolidation of county offices and other operations — many of which are scattered around Downtown and are in deteriorating buildings. Zdunek previously said the chances were slim that the county’s needs could be met under a scenario that would keep them Downtown. But others in the public and private sector have said they would like to keep the county and its 700 workers in the Downtown corridor.
“There is not a blatant attempt for the county to abandon Downtown,” Murphy said. “And consolidation isn’t just to bring county workers together, but to improve customer service.”
The county is one of the largest property owners in Downtown, with about 150 buildings in its portfolio. It is looking at options for repurposing many of them, including issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to demolish the former Downtown jail.
Murphy said the county is looking at other options, too. One is to convert a building into a boutique hotel, an idea he said came from the dean of the UNM School of Architecture and Planning. Another idea, he said, was finding space for the UNM College of Fine Arts, so it could have a permanent Downtown presence.
By: Damon Scott (Albuquerque Business First)
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