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Talks to buy Alvarado Square reach impasse

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bernalillo County no longer negotiating purchase of the building

Copyright © 2013 Albuquerque Journal

Bernalillo County is no longer in active negotiations to buy the Alvarado Square office building in Downtown Albuquerque.

The County Commission authorized negotiations in June, but the county and building owners have been unable to reach an agreement.

“We’re not happy with the recent counter offers that have been given to us,” County Manager Tom Zdunek said Friday in an interview. Without a “reasonable offer from their side, we’re not going to move forward. At this point, we’re really not negotiating.”

The county still has interest in the building, he said, if appropriate terms can be worked out.

Zdunek wouldn’t say specifically where negotiations went wrong, but his comments hinted at concerns over parking.

“I made no secret that we won’t buy a building without parking,” he said. “That’s where I stand.”

Alvarado Square has been available for $45 a square foot. It has no dedicated parking of its own, though there are garages nearby.

The county has talked off and on over the years about acquiring its own building and moving out of the 11-story Government Center on Civic Plaza, where the county shares offices with the city of Albuquerque and the Water Utility Authority.

Alvarado Square became available last year when the Public Service Co. of New Mexico moved out. It spans across Silver Avenue and is available for $11.1 million.

The county’s goal for years has been to find a spot where it can consolidate more of its employees and services in one spot, making it easier for customers who need to do business with more than one county department.

Right now, county employees are scattered across several Downtown buildings, including the old courthouse, just south of the Government Center; the assessor’s office at Fifth and Tijeras; Union Square, near the railroad tracks and Central; and the Government Center itself.

Alvarado Square is owned by Minneapolis-based Hunter Keith Industries Inc.

It was built in 1978-79 for about $18 million, the equivalent of about $53 million today when adjusted for inflation.