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Garcia family makes offer on BernCo buildings Downtown

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A prominent local car dealer and major Albuquerque property owner is looking to bolster its Downtown Albuquerque holdings with another $4.3 million in acquisitions.

County buildings for sale. (Cathryn Cunningham/Journal)

G3 Investors, a limited liability company headed by Ed Garcia of the Garcia Automotive Group, wants to purchase a trio of buildings that Bernalillo County is trying to unload as part of its upcoming office consolidation.

The county will vacate a series of properties upon completion of its new headquarters at Alvarado Square (415 Silver SW), a $53 million building and renovation project expected to wrap by the end of 2020.

Staff is seeking County Commission approval to sell three of those properties to G3 Investors, and a vote is expected early next month. The deals would also require approval by the State Board of Finance.

Should the sales go through, G3 has agreed to lease the properties back to the county so workers could remain in place until the new headquarters is ready.

The three buildings are:

— 501 Tijeras NW, a 27,222-square-foot building on 1.25 acres currently occupied by the County Assessor’s Office. The former bank originally built in 1976 is selling for $1.91 million. The county would pay an estimated $389,606 in 2020 in rent, maintenance, utilities, property tax and insurance to remain in the building as a leasee until its new headquarters are complete, according to a county financial analysis.

— 111 Union Square, a 37,350-square-foot building now used by multiple county departments. Originally constructed in 1933 and renovated in 1988, the building sits on 1.74 acres near Central Avenue and the railroad tracks. G3 has agreed to pay $1.77 million, and the county would spend $151,000 on rent in 2020 to stay in place, plus maintenance, property taxes and insurance.

— 415 Tijeras NW, a 152,805-square-foot building on approximately 1.3 acres. Currently home to multiple county departments, the building, which dates to 1926, was once the county courthouse and jail. The sale price is $640,000 and G3 would lease it back to the county for $1 per year, plus maintenance, utilities, property taxes and insurance — costs the county estimates will run $372,865 through 2020.

Garcia’s family has made several Downtown investments in the last several years, with purchases in that span that include Copper Square (at Copper and 5th Street) and the former Southwestern Brewery and Ice Co. headquarters, a multistory brick building near Lomas and Broadway.

He said Tuesday he planned to keep the buildings and repurpose them but did not immediately provide details.

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