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Albuquerque buying 5 acres on Fourth St.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The city of Albuquerque has struck a deal to purchase a five-acre piece of property along Fourth Street that it hopes to use for a mixture of residential and commercial ventures.

The property on the west side of Fourth Street is near Candelaria, expands to Seventh Street, and was once the site of the Brown Bros. construction company. It is near the future site of the University of New Mexico Hospitals health clinic that is currently under construction on Fourth Street.

Douglas Chaplin, director of the Department of Family and Community Services, said the city is working with Bernalillo County, with input from neighbors, to redevelop the property.

“We want a mixture of commercial, retail and residential uses,” he said. “We’ve been working on this for about a year. It’s been a construction yard in the past and now there are some offices there.”

He said the deal will close in the next 60 days. Deborah Nason, spokeswoman for the city’s Planning Department, said the city cannot release the exact cost of the property until the deal closes. City Councilor Isaac Benton, who represents that area, said the city put aside $1.1 million for the purchase and the county contributed $200,000. He said it will help in the redevelopment of Fourth Street corridor and be a nice addition to the area. The residential portion of the property, he said, will be toward the rear while the commercial development will be concentrated along Fourth Street. He said the housing will be geared toward senior citizens.

“This has been strongly supported by the neighborhood,” Benton said. “It’s (the property) kind of an eyesore.”

Joe Sabatini, secretary of the Near North Valley Neighborhood Association, said his group is supportive of the purchase and the city’s ideas about how to redevelop it. The association submitted a letter to the city in November in support of the project saying it could be a catalyst for the revitalization of Fourth Street.

“This part of Fourth Street needs a lot of help,” Sabatini said Wednesday. “The additional housing this project could provide will help local businesses to thrive.”

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