In the wake, funereal, of the failed soccer stadium initiative, there’s much talk of still building the place, just not “there.”
Wherever “there” was gonna be.
And with talk/derision about gentrification, parking, parking, gentrification, and parking, there’s been a general post-election “hot take” that we just build the damn thing out in Sprawlworld. You know, like APS did with “NUSENDA Community Stadium,” which is to “Community” as Alpha Centauri is to “Solar System.”
In other words: Let’s just have everyone drive someplace far off, get out of the pick-up, attend the game, waft back to the pick-up in the luxuriously large parking lot, and carefully drive back from way the Hell, being careful given that we were just at a soccer game, if you know what I mean…
Somehow, that doesn’t seem ideal on about 24 different levels.
Instead, let’s build downtown in an area better suited to a stadium, transit, history, and the Mother Road. Namely:
Yes, for those squinting hard, we’re between 10th and 14th Street SW here, just south of Central Ave. at Washington Middle School and adjacent Park. BB proposes that APS sell the property to NM United/CABQ (but really Netflix), trade/buy land for a new middle school in Barelas/South Broadway/San Jose neighborhoods, and put, for naming rights sake, “Netflix Park” in this central, historically meaningfully crossing between Old Town and “New Town” Albuquerque.
BB further proposes that, to properly integrate existing local entities into the new stadium, we:
- Help the famed Doghouse Drive-In augment its existing location into a prime restaurant location inside the stadium.
- Transform the long, long, long-closed Cafe Oaxaca location into a combo parking/Downtown Farmer’s Market Annex
- Declare that this be the only added parking because, Goddammit, just don’t fucking drive to the soccer game. Just. Don’t.
- Assist folks who don’t understand such things that we’ll have A.R.T., other buses, Rail Runner, and the glorious fact that the stadium is in town and not on Alpha Centauri. Oh, and that they could walk or bike to the games, if only they didn’t choose to live on/near Alpha Centauri.
- Encourage owners/renters at the Park Plaza Condos at 14th and near Central (those strange tall buildings from the 60s at west end of Washington Middle School) to either sell their condos at great profit as luxury boxes OR that they simply offer folks the temporary chance to watch games from high up for sizable sums of money.
There are many other positives to this choice of location; I’m certain dear BB readers can chime in with those. As a personal aside, one big positive for me as someone who has just started teaching at Washington Middle School: Any chance to bulldoze the current Washington Middle School building and rebuild it closer to where students who attend WMS actually live would be marvelous.
It’s, unfortunately, the ugliest, most devoid of natural light building imaginable. Yet it sits amid some of the most central and lucrative land in all of ABQ. Razing it and putting the school where, say, the soccer stadium had been likely to go if the initiative had passed, would be great on at least 24 levels.
Not to mention it’s the best place for a new soccer stadium, with that Dog House Drive-In neon overlooking “The Curse” End.
It’ll be beautiful.