The Alvarado Hotel

For well over a half century a traveler’s first impression of the American Southwest was through one of the many Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad stations and the associated hotel and restaurant operated by the Fred Harvey organization.

Here the eastern or midwestern traveler was drawn into the romantic world of the Spanish conquistador and equally unfamiliar world of the Pueblo and Navajo Indians.

Consultant offers 3 Rail Yards redevelopment scenarios

By Jessica Dyer / Journal Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Leland Consulting Group’s most recent draft report to the city of Albuquerque says the ideal Rail Yards redevelopment strategy will include a mix of uses.

It provides three different development scenarios of varying levels of density, but notes that redevelopment will occur over many years, making it impossible to predict the exact mix that would work.

All scenarios call for “adaptive reuse” of buildings on the property’s north side, which the report calls the Rail Yards’ “front door.” Proposed uses include Central New Mexico Community College’s film center, the existing Rail Yards Market, and new retail, restaurant and commercial tenants.

Chicago artist Theaster Gates recently kickstarted an effort to redevelop one of those northern buildings – the fire station – by pledging $11,000 of his own money and helping raise another $14,000.

“It could be a calling card to the rest of the complex,” he said during a late-June presentation in Albuquerque.

Leland recommends 10,000 to 20,000 square feet of retail space in the Rail Yards over the next decade, and a focus on food and beverage tenants, vendors related to film or rail travel, existing area businesses looking to expand or “small, local vendors that build on the Rail Yards’ unique, historic and gritty character.”

Leland suggests using large existing buildings near the Rail Yards’ center – the Boiler Shop and the Machine Shop, which alone has nearly 4 acres of enclosed floor space – for things that would require less renovation, such as concerts, festivals and other special events; film productions; or sports, like soccer or pickleball.

But two of its scenarios suggest eventually constructing buildings within those buildings to create 110,000 to 200,000 square feet of employment space. Leland also says that is more space than likely needed over the next decade.

“There are numerous benefits to this approach,” the report says of keeping the large spaces intact. “It retains large ‘atrium’ areas for public visitation, events, etc. It manages the capital and operating costs, and energy required for space conditioning.”

The report’s various scenarios also include 65 to 160 mixed-income housing units near the Rail Yards’ southern end.

But Albuquerque officials cautioned last week that Leland’s draft report is “still very preliminary.”

“Gathering input from the Rail Yards Advisory Board and the public is part of the scope of the contractor’s work,” Albuquerque’s Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael said in a statement. “The recommendations will not be finalized without public input. However, even this preliminary information is important for the City to have as we consider the development of the Rail Yards.”

Film center could be ‘game changer’ for Rail Yards

By Jessica Dyer / Journal Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 9th, 2019 at 12:05am

A consultant hired to study the financial feasibility of redeveloping the Albuquerque Rail Yards called a planned community college film center a “game changer” – one that could “define the economic purpose of the site” in lieu of waiting for another potentially hard-to-find anchor.

Portland-based Leland Consulting Group called Central New Mexico Community College’s proposed Film Production Center of Excellence “an exciting and potentially transformative use” at the Rail Yards. The firm’s recent draft report to the city said officials should “do everything in their power” to ensure it comes to fruition.

Then & Now – The Albuquerque Depot

The Albuquerque depot that lead to the development of what Albuquerque is today is all due to the village of the original depot location and AT&SF could not agree on a land price. Back when the AT&SF inquired the village of Bernalillo about land the village was wanting $425.00 per acre, where as the railroad was accustomed to only paying about $2.00 per acre. So the AT&SF moved on from Bernalillo and went 10 miles to the south to build what is known today as the Albuquerque Depot in the heart of Albuquerque, NM.

Courtesy of TrainBoyz

Castañeda: Act II

Written by Maria Basileo
ROUTE Magazine

Steam rises in the distance as the Santa Fe railway train barrels into Las Vegas, New Mexico, and into the railway station. Passengers become onlookers as the train makes its stop near to the massive horseshoe-shaped building with the romantic sounding title “Castañeda Hotel” written on the front.

It was 1899, when the future president, Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, flooded Las Vegas for their first reunion. La Castañeda Hotel was only a year old, but would remain renowned for the next 120 years. More >

Environmental clean up at Rail Yards sheds light into historic past

By: Madeline Schmitt

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The long-anticipated transformation of the iconic Albuquerque Rail Yards is starting, but not before assuring the 100-year-old locomotive hub is safe for the public.
“Every time I walk out here, I can hear the old sounds,” Bart Faris said. “I can hear the people working and so forth. It really is kind of cool.”

Faris met up with KRQE News 13 on Friday at the Rail Yards. He’s a full-time environmental health manager for the City of Albuquerque and a part-time history buff. More >

The Wheels Museum fuels history in downtown Albuquerque

The Wheels Museum had an amazing opportunity when two brand new cars were donated to their museum. Sara Rose, your Guide to Living Local, and Samantha were there for an exclusive preview of the cars being dropped off, along with a history lesson on the vehicles.

Never heard of the Wheels Museum? “Wheels” is an acronym which stands for “We Have Everything Everyone Loves Spinning” and the museum is about the progress of society through moving. It’s an organization in the Albuquerque Rail Yards dedicated to collecting, preserving and creating educational exhibits about the history of transportation in Albuquerque and New Mexico with emphasis on the impact on the development of the area. Their collections embrace the history of the railroads, the impact of the rail yards on Albuquerque, as well as automobiles, horse and wagon, and other modes of transportation.

It’s located at 1100 Second Street SW, on the site of the historic Santa Fe Railroad Shops in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is now open for small groups, events, tours, and presentations.

Want to learn some fun facts about our moving society? Take our The History of Wheels Trivia Quiz!

Let’s Buy a Train

Let’s Buy a Train
Andrew Zaleski Mar 25, 2019

If you dream of roaming the U.S. in a your own personal train car, you still can. But Amtrak cuts have railcar owners wondering if their days are numbered.

When Bob Lowe wants to take a cross-country trip, the first stop for him is 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, where his own private railroad awaits. Sort of.
Lowe owns a pair of railroad cars, artifacts of the pre-Amtrak era, when the country’s passenger-rail network was a glorious patchwork of private operators. One is a Salisbury Beach sleeper car, so named after the shore in Massachusetts, that was originally put into commission by the Boston and Maine Railroad in 1954 and holds 26 people. The other: an old Colonial Crafts, just one of a series of Colonial railcars that entered service on the Pennsylvania Railroad out of Chicago in 1949. It’s got three bedrooms, a drawing room, a buffet kitchen, and a large lounge. So when Lowe wants to take a train from, say, Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., he doesn’t buy tickets for a seat in one of Amtrak’s coach cars. Instead, he asks Amtrak for a tow, essentially hitching a ride in his own cars with family and friends, usually 25 people at a time between both cars.


About the Author
Andrew Zaleski
DC-based freelance writer Andrew Zaleski has written for Wired, Washington Post Magazine, Popular Science, Outside, Men’s Health, and many other publications.