Makes Sense

The old Kress building that has been available for lease for at least 30 years got all its beautiful curved glass windows broken in last summer’s riots and was boarded up until recently. The boards were taken down, new glass installed, some of the artwork that was painted on the boards put in the windows, and the City of Albuquerque post a substandard unsafe to occupy sign on the door. Makes a lot of sense.

The new glass looks great.

The unsafe interior of the ground floor. Bruce and I think that space would make a great place for ballroom dance.

62 thoughts on “Makes Sense

  1. Guess I’m confused. How can anybody get into the “Unsafe” building? Is it really “unsafe” due to structural or other code issues? Or are the city officials just jerks? That curved glass does look great….

    • Probably a combination of all of it. The building has been unoccupied for at least 30 years, probably much longer. It was built in 1925 and put on the historic register in 1984. Apparently renovations were supposed to start in 2020, but I’m sure COVID put a stop to that. Maybe the glass is a start of the renovations that will make it safe to occupy. Thanks, Maj and Sher.

      • I found an article in US News from last March that said the care taker of the property is planning on making it into a multidisciplinary art space. I think the shutdown put the brakes on her plans last year. Maybe she will be able to do something this year. It is a cool building, and since it’s on the National Register of Historic places it can’t be torn down. But it could be left to fall down, I suppose.

    • Thanks, Lavinia. Kress closed in 1980. I don’t think there has been a real occupant in the building since then. I thought they should have made it into the downtown grocery store. I would have been perfect with those display windows and all that room on the ground floor.

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a myriad of code issues with the space. Also, the approval process for renovation for a structure on the historic register is rather complicated. The renovation plan needs to be detailed. St. Mary’s Cathedral in COS is on the register also, and they needed to submit a detailed renovation plan before they were allowed to proceed. Getting the curved glass seems like a good first step in a renovation, but is probably the easiest part. We had a Kress Building here, but I don’t know if it was renovated or replaced. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was replaced. COS is notorious for tearing down structures that have historical import. They tore down the first Catholic Church in COS for a park that is hardly used except by homeless people. COS ordered the church destroyed though it belonged to the Catholic Church and its application for the historic register was pending.

    • Albuquerque lost a lot of historic buildings under the Urban Renewal initiatives in the 60s and 70s. Historic buildings can be nightmares with all the issues that can be associated with them. Thanks, David.

      • In COS, it was the Lowell School, the first large school building in the region that was a true renewal nightmare. Beautiful brick work, but the interior was a shambles. It was everything, from a drug den to an occult hangout. It got placed on the historic register in spite of COS wanting to tear down the school. Lowell had a lot of failed initiatives and project plans – most were pipe dreams really. Late 90s, a private developer bought Lowell School, and submitted a renovation plans to the historic register, which were approved. The building was gutted and converted into commercial office space. It’s the only commercial office building that enjoys 95% occupancy. In the area surrounding Lowell, luxury condos. Apparently COS has enough people who can afford the condos.

  3. Oh wow those curved windows look awesome and to think perhaps that building could be turned into a ballroom now that is so so cool. I never knew you could have curved windows. Incredible!! xo

      • Hi Marina. We are moving out of downtown. Once we are completely moved out, I have no intention on going back downtown, so I may never know how that building ends up.

      • Downtown is rundown and pretty much abandoned. After the riots last summer most of the buildings along Central Avenue and many around our office one street south of Central had most of their windows broken. There are still many buildings that are boarded up, and there are a lot of vacant buildings because many businesses closed or moved out of downtown. Downtown has become a dangerous place to be. Most of our staff don’t feel safe, and downtown is not a pleasant place to be. The current city government is making little or no effort to improve the situation. We have been in downtown for 44 years. It’s time to move on.

      • Me, my animals and the owls are staying put as we live in paradise. Downtown is far from paradise both literally and figuratively.

  4. It’d be perfect as a multidisciplinary art space, including dance. One of the features of your wonderful photo is reflection. The buildings and busy street reflected in that new glass add movement ad vibrancy to an already neat composition.

    • Thanks, Mary Jo. I’ve used the curved glass in the Kress Building for a lot of photos with reflections of the years. The reflections are a neat aspect of the glass in various buildings in downtown Albuquerque.

  5. I wish downtown areas could just be fixed with a magic wand. The town centre near where I grew up is very run down, quite sad, building after building have just been knocked down, the town planners in the 1970s were ahead of time with the centre being pedestrianised and undercover but people didn’t like to go there and that was before covid closed down the shops, the only surviving shops now are the supermarkets really and they are soulless ugly box buildings.

    • Hi Charlotte. Downtown Albuquerque has been down for many, many year. The urban renewal of the 1960s and 1970s only managed to tear down a lot of buildings many really nice, historic buildings. The malls with plenty of free parking drew people away from downtown, and it’s never really recovered.

  6. It is kinda crazy to put the windows back on an unsafe building. However, it is very unique.
    Looks like a good size space. Could it be made safe?

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