Business Section

November 1st, 1999

Downtown Needs Housing
Gary Stewart Chorre

THE DOWNTOWN of my youth was a wonderful place.  We bought shoes at Paris Shoes, school clothes at J.C. Penney and enjoyed movies at the Sunshine, State and Kimo theaters.
Since then, the demographics of Albuquerque have changed, irreversibly.   The never-ending revitalization of the city core is an admirable attempt to reverse this trend.
A movie theater and lively bars will draw a number of nighttime revelers, with or without city participation.
The problem is, to revitalize Downtown so a variety of businesses and social amenities can prosper requires a population base.  Except for the occasional night out on the town, the people in the suburbs will stay in the suburbs.
Any successful plan would need to build large numbers of affordable living spaces for the working people, artists and intellectuals who would enjoy living and working Downtown.  Three hundred housing units are not near enough.
As with all prior revitalization plans, because the emphasis is on business rather than housing, the current manifestation is doomed to failure.
You have the cart before the horse.