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BernCo set to buy Downtown office building

Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal

Bernalillo County officials have announced plans to purchase the Alvarado Square office building in Downtown Albuquerque for $2.7 million – a dramatically lower price than the 2013 market price of $11 million.

The purchase agreement, which was signed Jan. 17, will need to be approved by the County Commission before April 17 to complete the transaction. The county has already paid $75,000 in earnest money.

The purchase will be financed with money the county has in savings. Those funds will then be replenished through the issuance of gross receipts tax bonds, as well as through the sale of some of the more than 150 buildings the county has in its inventory.

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County Manager Julie Morgas Baca said consolidating county offices would provide significant savings to the county by reducing costs associated with the building inventory, which currently houses about 1,100 administrative employees.

“We’ll spend less on utilities, maintenance, insurance,” Baca said. “It adds up to a lot.”

Baca described the condition of Alvarado Square as “very structurally sound” and said the county was still in the process of evaluating how much would need to be spent on renovations.

The county has long considered a move from City Hall, and the 287,000-square-foot Alvarado Square – which spans Silver Avenue and was once occupied by Public Service Co. of New Mexico – was frequently on the short list of potential locations.

The county first debated purchasing the building in 2013, when it was on the market for $11 million. In 2015, the price fell to $6 million, but the county appeared to abandon the idea in favor of purchasing First Plaza Galeria on Copper Avenue. Those negotiations stalled.

Baca said the building’s new purchase price was something the county “just couldn’t pass up.”

“It’s an opportunity that presented itself,” she said.

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