After nearly 10 months of planning and construction, the historic Downtown building 505 Central is open.
According to Mark Baker, owner of the 58,000-square-foot building, the property received its certificate of occupancy on Aug. 1 and is filling up. Baker has already filled 21 of 34 apartment and said that 10 of those residents have already moved in.
“The response has been unbelievable,” Baker said. “It’s an amazing building in a high-profile area.”
The apartments, which range from 384 to 876-square-feet, come with stainless steel appliances and make up the top two floors of the three-story building at Fifth and Central. Rent is between $650 and $1,400 and utilities are included. Baker said most of the occupants are young professionals.
Cole Cottrell, a 23-year-old UNM graduate who works in interior design, said he moved into his roughly 425-square-foot apartment the first day it was available. Cottrell commutes out of Downtown for work every day but said, “I don’t mind the commute. I like the amenities, the coffee shop in the lobby, and it has a real sense of community to it.”
Cottrell is an Albuquerque native and said moving to the space is more than just a place for him to live. “It seems like the framework for a really nice community down here. I love this city and want to see it grow. I want to see some of the stigma (surrounding Downtown) come off.”
The ground level of the building is for commercial space. Baker’s coffee shop, Humble Coffee Company, is “nearly ready to open,” said Baker. He will also have the offices for his architecture and development company, Baker A+D, as a tenant.
Baker told the Journal he is in the final stages of negotiations for a restaurant and that two tech startup companies are bidding for the corner suite. Several local taprooms have expressed interest but wanted to wait until the apartments opened before moving forward, he said. UNM CityLab Studio is also a tenant.
Baker said he is somewhat surprised by the high volume of interest in the commercial areas of the building considering he hasn’t done any advertising and has been focused mostly on renting the apartments. There are still spaces available, but they are filling fast, he said.
The 505 Central building was built in the 1930s for Lovelace and purchased by Sear’s in the 1940s. Sear’s added the third story. Since then it has had several owners.
Baker finalized his purchase from Roger Cox and Associates last November for $1.45 million. “I fell in love with the building as an architect,” Baker said. “And I felt a change of wind coming in Downtown and wanted to invest in the area, long term.”
Baker told the Journal in February that the bus rapid transit system is one motivating factor for wanting to develop in Downtown. This is his first Downtown project.