Bernalillo County has issued a Request for Bids for the demolition of a massive four-story building in downtown Albuquerque that formerly served as a detention center.
The 150,000 square foot cement structure, located at 415 Roma Avenue, was officially closed in 2003 after inmates were transferred to a new holding facility on the west side of the city.
Since then there have been various proposals to upgrade the structure, while still keeping it as a detention facility, but an earlier report estimated that it would cost around $36 million to do that. Thoughts of repurposing the building to be used as office space also proved economically prohibitive.
The structure, which was built in 1976, was for a time additionally used as a federal prisoner detention facility, but, according to county officials, has been largely vacant since 2010.
Instead, the building, with its ominous, aging jail cells, has sometimes been used for scenes in such popular television programs as Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.
Last year, members of the Bernalillo County Commission, noting the ongoing $85,000 in annual expenses needed to maintain the building, approved an appropriation of $2.5 million to pay for the structure’s demolition and subsequent construction of a parking lot to be used by county employees in its place.
The RFB, which was issued by the county’s Procurement and Business Services Department, has a submission deadline of November 11.
By Garry Boulard
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