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‘505 Central’ bringing new lofts, life to old Sears building

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An 80-year-old Downtown building that once housed Lovelace and Sears will soon be actual housing — plus offices, a coffee shop and restaurants.

Albuquerque architect Mark Baker has begun a mixed-use redevelopment of the property at the northwest corner of Fifth and Central. The project, dubbed “505 Central,” will include 34 loft apartments and commercial space for his architecture firm, a second location of his cafe, Humble Coffee Company, and other tenants that should include two restaurants.

Work has begun on the 58,000-square-foot project, Baker’s first Downtown development. It should open by July.

Baker declined to provide the cost of the development, which was designed by Baker A+D, financed by Washington Federal and will be built by Insight Construction.

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This rendering shows the apartment design for the new 505 Central project. (Courtesy of Baker AD)

“We’re excited to bring this beautiful building back to life and to contribute to the momentum that already exists in the revitalization of Downtown,” Baker said in a written statement.

Baker, whose firm is based on Lomas Boulevard near Washington, cited the city’s forthcoming Albuquerque Rapid Transit bus service as one of the reasons he decided to invest in Downtown. He bought the building last fall for $1.45 million.

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By then, it had been on the market for several years and had just one first-floor occupant, according to Brian Anderson of Roger Cox and Associates, the listing broker.

The 505 Central building dates to 1937, and John Gaw Meem was the architect of record. Lovelace was its original tenant. Sears bought it in the 1940s and added the third story, Baker said. It was later laid out for office use.

The overhaul will include loft apartments, ranging from 384 to 876 square feet with stainless steel appliances and what Baker described as a “bright, open modern design with exposed structure.” Rent will be between $650 and $1,400 a month and will include utilities.

In addition to his own firm and coffee shop, other tenants will include a co-working space and two restaurant spaces, which have not been leased yet. Baker said 505 Central also has an existing lease with UNM CityLab Studio. A new portal along Central Avenue will add outdoor dining space.

Michael Butler of Lockehouse Retail Group is leading the leasing effort.

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