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Talk OK’d for buying ‘Alvarado’ building

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — County hopes to consolidate services into one building

Bernalillo County is getting serious about moving out of the Civic Plaza office it shares with city government.

The County Commission on Tuesday agreed unanimously to authorize negotiations to buy the old “Alvarado Square” building on Silver SE, which used to house PNM.

Commissioners directed County Manager Tom Zdunek to bring a potential purchase back to the commission in August for final consideration, along with an analysis of the costs.


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The goal would be to consolidate many of the county’s offices – now scattered across the Downtown core – into one location, making it more convenient for residents who need to do business with more than one county department.

Wayne Johnson and other commissioners said they want a thorough financial analysis of how the move would save money and which properties could be vacated and sold.

“This has to be real,” Johnson said of the analysis. “I want to see ‘for sale’ signs go up around the county and Downtown, where we are one of the largest landowners, if not the largest.”

The Public Service Co. of New Mexico left the Alvarado Square property last year. It spans Silver Avenue and is available for $11.1 million.

Many county offices are now housed in the 11-story Government Center on Civic Plaza, shared with the city of Albuquerque and Water Utility Authority. If the county leaves, it could offer its old space in the building to the city or water authority.

County employees also work out of several other Downtown buildings, including the old courthouse, just south of the Government Center; the assessor’s office at Fifth and Tijeras; and Union Square, near the railroad tracks and Central.