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Old 01-19-2007, 11:13 AM
 
Location: ABQ (Paradise Hills), NM
750 posts, read 1,857,896 times
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Default Downtown Albuquerque

I realize that many strong and divergent opinions about the downtown area have been posted in this forum. But while I've seen it described as anything from hell-hole to quaint and eclectic, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say it is perfect just as it is.

With that in mind, I have a question for both longtime residents of Albuquerque, as well as newcomers to the area:

What would it take for you want to spend more time Downtown? Or to possibly want to live in the Downtown area?

I fall into the camp that says Downtown has plenty going for it, and is far from the crime-ridden pit that some describe it as (especially compared to 20-25 years ago). But that being said, the general activity level in the area takes a dramatic drop after 5-6pm, particularly on weeknights. The addition of an arena will help make Downtown more of a destination, but won't do much to increase the area's population base.

IMO, in order to bring more "life" to the area, you need more people living in the area. And for me, one of the most obvious things that is missing Downtown is a fully operational grocery store/supermarket. Particularly one that is in walking distance.

And with the apparent demise of the modern street cars, I wouldn't be opposed to the city subsidizing a "fare-free" bus zone Downtown/EDO, to facilitate people getting around the area without a car.

I look forward to seeing what other folks have to suggest!

Chap
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Old 01-19-2007, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
3,058 posts, read 7,767,653 times
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I actually believe a very high percentage of people live/reside in Downtown Albuquerque in comparison to many other downtowns in bigger cities. I once saw a stat (cannot locate it right now) that showed a much higher proportion of people lived in Albuquerque's downtown in comparison to Denver, Phoenix, El Paso, etc. Thus, I think we are on track with that.

I would like to see that Arena downtown, maybe more restaurants (with no seedy strip clubs or "dance" clubs), but other than that, I think Downtown ABQ is pretty well on the mark as it is. It is really a pretty nice Downtown for a city of our size, and it will just continue to grow in terms of retail, etc., as the city grows.
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Old 01-19-2007, 01:30 PM
LLD
 
Location: Fairfax County, VA
654 posts, read 2,060,108 times
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Here are a few of my ideas -- I'd love to see a real farmer's market type set up downtown with fresh everything from fruits and veggies to wine, cheese, baked goods etc -- they have these all over London in various places and it is wonderful! And it would bring people down there every Saturday or something.

Another thing -- the train needs to run on weekends and nights so people don't have to drive downtown for goodness sakes!!!!!!!

And finally, I'd like to see some REAL nightclubs, for 30's, 40's and 50's -- not just college kids. Older adults are the ones with the money. And we need some good restaurants too. You want people downtown, you need food and entertainment galore. They could build a big movie house with like 14 theaters and restaurants all around it so you only park once. The theaters and restaurants at Jefferson so real well.

I recently discovered Slate Street Cafe (on Slate Street between 5th and 6th) -- what a find!!! Fantastic wine tastings once a month for $15 plus that includes some appetizer the chef prepares to go with the specific wine chosen -- I've done the champagne tasting and the malbec tasting and next is syrah! The owner knows her stuff too and comes around to tell you about the wine etc. Very hip atmoshpere and ambiance too.
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Old 01-19-2007, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
699 posts, read 1,881,179 times
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LLD there is a 14 screen Century Theater downtown with Tucanos, Thai Crystal, and Sushi King in the same center. If you bring your movie stub, parking is free in the garage next door.

I work downtown so I feel I have a pretty good feel for the area. What it really needs is a better mix of entertainment/restaurants to get more people downtown after 5pm. I have some pictures my grandfather took of Central Ave. and it used to be a bustling strip full of shops, people, and entertainment. I have to agree with those who said a grocer is needed here. This should be the first priority especially with all the new housing projects planned or currently under construction. There are enough residents in and around Downtown/EDO to support a large grocery or specialty food store like Whole Foods.

The revitalization is taking longer than anticipated, but as EnjoyEP said, we are in much better shape than cities of similar size, and some even bigger metros. The arena will be a great addition and with the Westin Hotel planned, we should be able to get more tourists in the area which will drive development as well.
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Old 01-19-2007, 02:23 PM
LLD
 
Location: Fairfax County, VA
654 posts, read 2,060,108 times
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well see? I didn't even know about the theaters. LOL

But I agree with you about restaurants and entertainment.

And Whole Foods -- my goodness the west side has been BEGGING for Whole Foods and WE STILL DON'T HAVE ONE! Tons of money there -- in fact I think the West Side could support two Whole Foods -- I drive to Trader's Joe's and Whole Foods from far north Rio Rancho because I like both of those stores so much. Raley's and Smith's just don't compare at all.

If they had HEB's here like they have in Texas or Publix like they have in the Southeast states -- those are fantastic standard/medium priced grocery stores. Raley's is expensive and the quality does not measure up to what they charge -- same for Smith's in my mind.

I've lived lots of places and shopped lots of grocery stores and can say that overall Albuquerque has some high priced groceries compared to the cost of other things here -- the housing is a good market but the food is overpriced for quality you get.

I would love to see more fresh ingredientis, natural stuff, organic stuff etc -- that is why I suggested the downtown farmer's market -- I've seen these things be so successful in several other cities. It is like a little fun trip to see what will be there, you get everything fresh, you interact with people, there is often a little entertainment and fun stuff for kids, and a bit of accessories being sold -- just a big eclectic mix of things. I think it would really attract people.
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Old 01-19-2007, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
699 posts, read 1,881,179 times
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I would love to see an HEB Central Market. As for Whole Foods and Trader Joes on the Westside, they'll be there shortly. Trader Joes is looking a location on Coors near St. Pius and the upscale Oxbox communities. And Whole Foods is looking at Coors and Montano in the soon to be Shops at Andalucia, or in the Cottonwood area.

Since this is about downtown though, I know Trader Joes is re-examining downtown for a possible location, that's where they were originally supposed to open. If that doesn't happen Nob Hill will probably be their next choice.
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Old 01-19-2007, 02:44 PM
LLD
 
Location: Fairfax County, VA
654 posts, read 2,060,108 times
Reputation: 176
I think a Whole Foods downtown with a large "prepared foods" section would be the ticket. I travel lots for business and in La Jolla I stay at a hotel that is around the corner from a Whole Foods and oh boy do we love it! We can go there and get lunch or dinner and walk back to the hotel.

Business people staying downtown in Albuquerque, could do the same. It would be a big hit with the hotels and the residents downtown I think. Trader Joe's doesn't have the prepared foods section like Whole Foods does.

As to those locations, you know more than I do. I shop both those places and have been asking and being told they are planned for 2007 but no one will say the locations.
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Old 01-19-2007, 10:57 PM
 
Location: ABQ (Paradise Hills), NM
750 posts, read 1,857,896 times
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Default ABQ Growers Markets

Quote:
Originally Posted by LLD View Post
Here are a few of my ideas -- I'd love to see a real farmer's market type set up downtown with fresh everything from fruits and veggies to wine, cheese, baked goods etc -- they have these all over London in various places and it is wonderful! And it would bring people down there every Saturday or something.
LLD, not sure if you will still be in town next summer, but you may want to check out the Downtown Growers Market, which are typically held on Saturdays at Robinson Park (8th & Central). Their website is http://www.abqgrowersmkts.org . I don't think it would compare with those across the pond, but they are probably in the vein that you are describing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LLD View Post
And finally, I'd like to see some REAL nightclubs, for 30's, 40's and 50's -- not just college kids. Older adults are the ones with the money. And we need some good restaurants too. You want people downtown, you need food and entertainment galore.
I believe you have a fairly valid point here. But again, I think the basic "livability" factors Downtown (i.e. grocery, laundry services, continuing crime prevention) need to be upgraded to encourage more of the right "type" of Downtown residents.

That is, relatively affluent professionals with a fair amount of discretionary income. The type of people that like to/are able to go out for dinner/dancing on a weeknight or two on a fairly regular basis. This is the sort of customer a proprietor can base a business on, as opposed to the feast or famine weekend/college crowd. I think that once you have a solid base like this established, clubs like the ones you described will have a better chance to flourish. I would actually like to see something like you describe set up at or near the new Westin, who could also draw upon a steady stream of out of town visitors.

Chap
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Old 01-20-2007, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
1,262 posts, read 1,779,366 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LLD View Post
And finally, I'd like to see some REAL nightclubs, for 30's, 40's and 50's -- not just college kids. Older adults are the ones with the money. And we need some good restaurants too.
What specifically is wrong with the nightclubs?

Are there at least some decent ones near Albuquerque?
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Old 01-20-2007, 06:01 PM
LLD
 
Location: Fairfax County, VA
654 posts, read 2,060,108 times
Reputation: 176
except for a few country music places, the current clubs are geared towards 18-25 year olds mainly -- music, style of the place etc.

Now I love hip hop but many of my contemporaries in their 40's don't...LOL

And I grew up with country music in Texas and I would just like some different music.

I'd also like to see some Latin supper clubs or something with salsa and Latin music. When I went to one in Chicago -- I'd say the age range was late 20's to 50's. It was upscale and fantastic. Dinner was served until about 10:00 with a live band then tables moved at ten and the salsa lessons for 30 minutes then dancing to live music until 2:00 or so. Great club, great atmosphere -- like going back in time to 1950-60's Cuba.

Pretty much the only club I go to once in a while in Albuquerque is Graham Central -- but it's mostly young people except in the country music section.

When I lived in Maryland there were a couple of clubs specifically geared towards 30's to 50's -- with lots of good older rock and roll and old school R&B.

When I lived in Austin, there were clubs that played all kinds of music and attracted an over 30's crowd. When I was in DC there were specific dances at places for 30's and up.

When I lived in Houston we had great honky tonks with nothing but juke boxes and dollar drinks for women -- juke box had lots of 50's, 60's, 70's music and also some popular fast songs from the 80's and 90's. It was great! Huge dance floor, cheap drinks and the age range was huge -- 25 to 60 I'd say.

I have a married friend whose husband travels and she loves dancing. When she lived in California -- they had clubs that taught and did lots of line dancing -- we had those in Houston too -- they were great fun and always packed!

Nothing in Albuquerque, like any of the things I've described. My girlfriend and I even joked about opening a club in Rio Rancho that would have a salsa night, an R&B night, a line dance night etc and cater to an older crowd.
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