Then, Then, Then, and Now

PNM Building from 5th and Silver in Downtown Albuquerque in 1980.

PNM Building in 2015. PNM had moved out and the building was for sale. The asking price was $6,250,000 for a total of 251,523 square feet — $24.85/SF was a great deal at the time.

The PNM Building in 2019. Bernalillo County purchased the building and was renovating it. The round-cornered building on the NE corner of 5th and Silver was demolished to build new chambers for the County Commission.

Demolishing the building on the NE corner of 5th and Silver.

The old PNM Building turned into the Bernalillo County Building in 2022.

53 thoughts on “Then, Then, Then, and Now

    • The replacement does fit better with its neighbor, but I liked the contrast of the round “edges” with the straight lines. Progress looks different especially with practical considerations. Nice historic photos.

      • I prefer the darker, cleaner, more modern edges of the chambers much better than the original. But the building is not very attractive of endearing.

    • I never liked any of that building. But it’s interesting to see how it’s played out one life and started a new life. Thanks, Mary Jo.

  1. I had a temporary job at PNM back in the mid-90’s. One very hot Friday afternoon I went to an upper floor to make some reproductions. I entered an elevator car to go back down to where my work station was located and the elevator got stuck between floors. No button worked except the emergency button. I finally go in touch with the elevator maintenance/repair man, who said he would be there in about an hour because he had gone home to Rio Rancho. So, I sat in the hot car and began to wait. After about 20 minutes, the elevator began to go down again and the door opened: someone had pushed the call button. I sort of staggered out, but it was not my floor and it was a secure area, off limits to me. I would NOT re-enter the cursed car, so I took the stairs. However, accessing different floors from the stairwell was impossible because the doors were locked from inside, even the lobby, for “security” reasons. I went to the basement, saw the fire door and thought “who cares?” and busted out, sounding the alarm. I got back to the street and had to argue with the security guard about returning to work because I did not have my badge, but finally I just went over to an elevator and rode back up to my floor. My supervisor did not believe the story about why I had been gone for an hour and a half. I have hated that building ever since.

    • No. We have done work for Bernalillo County, but we were not involved with this project. Thanks, Maj & Sher.

      • Indeed but it’s also stood a while and if they are not going to take these buildings down at least they’ve tidied it up. We’ve had buildings like this too.

      • Our city has nowt but controversy re these buildings. In the 60s in an effort to get rid of slum dwellings, they tore down part of the centre, and yes they got rid of slums but they also blythely got rid of medieval buildings that had survived part of one of the most attacked towns in Scotland, on order to construct this dreadful ‘mall’ all round this 15th century church tower. Well this effort was semi derelict by the 90s and they built another very modern indoors affair. The best bit was when the previous one had been flattened and you could see how wonderful that whole area would have looked with just the old tower and the old later built church buildings, grass, the old mercat unicorn, lately there’s been similar controversy about the building of hotels and offices near the V&A. So we all have these probs I guess.

      • Urban renewel was happening in your part of the world in the 60s, also? A lot of historic buildings were demolished in downtown Albuquerque in the late 60s and early 70s. The areas were only rebuilt recently. It the case of the train station, they tried to make it look like the really cool station/hotel they tore down. Hmmm maybe they shouldn’t have torn down the original.

      • Dundee was a heavily industrialised city at that time and let’s be clear there were rather a lot of ‘slums,’ As my dad said, ‘Those who mourned their passing never had to live in them.’ But let’s also be clear there was some corruption on the council at that time , for which some councillors were jailed. They had basically handed out demolition contracts to their own companies. The areas they demolished were all replaced soon as. Clearly a lucrative biz. But very few have stood the test of time. Partly that was down to people wanting more where shopping centres were in enclosed and nicely lit as opposed to dark places where the wind howled. But partly it was down to building eyesores. Funny re your station, There was a lovely gothic one here that also went under the bulldozer.

  2. Every building has a story. When I pass by a building that is being demolished, I envision all of the conversations that happened in those walls over the years. I love when buildings are revitalized.

    • Many buildings are used way beyond there useful life and what they were designed for. We see that a lot of that with school buildings. Often it makes more sense to demolish and build new. In this case renovation with partial demolition and new construction was the solution to the problem. Thanks, Rebecca.

  3. When the PNM Building was sold in 2015 for $6.25M, that was genuinely a bargain compared to current real estate prices. I like the cleaner, straight lines of its present appearance compared to the curved corner. Of the original design of the curved corner, it was probably architect trying to impress.

    ABQ going through its urban renewal process is a lot COS going through its urban renewal process. COS had its own Cotton Club, modeled after the original one in Harlem. That got torn down. Then, we had “pawn shop row,” multiple pawn shops next to each other. Didn’t like the price for an item you were pawning, you could go to each shop until you got the price you wanted. That got torn down too, replaced by a parking garage/central municipal (now called MetroMountain) bus station. They also tore down the El Paso County Jail, replaced by Centennial Hall, the county government and commission building. Right now, there is major gentrification of some of the original neighborhoods, replacing homes with overpriced apartment buildings.

    • Albuquerque had the massage parlor row that might have been like your pawn shop row. The city shut those down. There used to be a lot of adult theaters, and the city had a porn commission whose members went to the adult theaters to watch and rate the porns’ suitability. One time there was a headline about the group having to watch movies twice to better determine their ratings. Right! Thanks, David.

      • Probably true. That was years ago. I don’t know how popular adult theaters were. But they drew the City’s attention.

  4. LOL!
    Of course my fave part was the rounded building.
    Oh well, progress marches on.
    I’ve got a post something like that coming up.
    I’m supposed to take the after pics tomorrow.
    Thanks, Tim!

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