Business Section

February 5th,  2000

Developer Proceeds on Old AHS Project

By Tania Soussan
Journal Staff Writer

vated central courtyard, a new public Bulldog Plaza at the northwest corner of Central and Arno NE and a new parking garage across the street.
Eventually, Dickson wants to see offices in the library building and some sort of high-technology firm in the large central portion of the gym.
"We'd really like to see the gym bring high-quality, high paying jobs to this area," he said, adding that apartments would go in the wings of the building.
Also, on the drawing board are a neighborhood grocery store at Central and Arno and a future hotel with community retail on the northern portion of the site.
"Our whole concept for this project is 'live, work, walk," Dickson said.
The fifth large historic building, manual arts, will developed by Chaves.
The city filed a condemnation suit to aquire the building last September but couldn't reach an agreement with the owners in court ordered mediation, Balizer said.
The city offered $300,000, even though an appraisal put the value at negative $400,000 because of the huge investment needed to rehabilitate it. Chaves and the Battaglia Trust asked for $1 million, Balizer said.
He said the city dropped the suit once Dickson sais he would go forward without the manual arts building.
Chaves said the main issue wasn't money.
"We're going to develop our own property. We don't want to sell," he said, adding that he and nine of his brothers and sisters went to the high school. "I love that building."
Chaves said he envisions a restaurant on

The renovation of the old Albuquerque High School campus is moving forward, but with a twist.
The Texas developer chosen for the project had hoped to revamp all seven historic buildings at Broadway and Central NE, but will have to make do with six instead.
That's because the city wasn't able to acquire the manual arts building, which is owned by Ricardo Chaves and the Battaglia Family Trust.
"I see sort of a mixed bag, but I think it's very positive that (the developer) has agreed to go forward," said Ken Balizer, manager of Albuquerque Development Services, which is overseeing the project for the city.
Developer Paradigm & Co. of Austin, Texas, had the option of pulling out of its deal with the city, but project coordinator Rob Dickson chose to go forward.
"We just decided that the time to get started was now," he said Wednesday.
Dickson has submitted plans for his project to the city Environment Planning Commission and the Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission. Those commissions are expected to hold a joint hearing on the project next month.
"The plans are great, and we're anxious to get them through the process and move forward," Balizer said.
Construction is expected to begin this fall, and people could be living there in time for the 75th anniversary celebration of Route 66 in summer 2001, Dickson said.
Plans for the first phase call for loft apartments in the old main and classrooms buildings, exterior renovation of the gym and library buildings, a reno

the first floor of the building, possible classrooms for private and community use on the second floor and apartments above.
When the city bought six buildings for $1.5 million from the trust in 1996, a court stipulated agreement set timelines for development. Once development begins on one building, the owner of the other building of buildings must begin development within 18 months.
"We're just sort of falling back on that agreement," Balizer said.
In addition to donating the buildings to the developer, the city will invest $3.9 million in the project and spend $6.9 million on such things as two parking garages and the renovation of Bulldog Plaza.