Ghost of the Blue Spruce
Can the razing of an Albuquerque landmark lead to the redevelopment of a neighborhood?
The Blue Spruce Lounge was an Albuquerque landmark, its name synonymous with fun.
If that description doesn’t arouse your sense of nostalgia, then may I suggest: The Blue Spruce Lounge was an Albuquerque cesspool, its name synonymous with pedestrian fatalities.
The latter description is probably more on point. According to City Councilor Martin Heinrich, the area immediately surrounding the notorious watering hole once held the dubious honor of having one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in the nation.
“[The Blue Spruce] was one of the reasons that led to this,” he says. “That was happening way too regularly.”
The Blue Spruce has since been shut down, the building razed. The .9 acre property, located at 7200 Louisiana SE, currently sits vacant. The property has been acquired by Limary Investments LLC, owners of the Talin Market just down the street. They swapped the parcel with the city for two lots on Alcazar SE. The company intends to build what Heinrich calls a “New Orleans-style” development, with spaces for shops, restaurants and lofts upstairs. The City Council approved the redevelopment plans last Monday.
Limary Investment LLC could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Joanne Landry, president of the Neighborhood Association of Trumbull Village and Southeast Albuquerque, welcomes the new development.
“It’s going to be positive not only for the neighborhood, but for the entire city,” she says, “because Talin is going to be bringing into the community international restaurants, gift shops and their own type of lofts. It’s a celebration of different cultures.”
Heinrich says it will be a positive asset to what was once a “real thorn in the side of surrounding neighborhoods," adding that the corner of Louisiana and Central will be an anchor for redevelopment of the area.
Heinrich and Landry both say things have been looking up for Trumbull and surrounding neighborhoods.
“It’s a real good time for Trumbull,” Landry says. “We used to be called the 'War Zone.' That slogan is gone now. We get real offended when the media uses it, because it is not there anymore.”
Heinrich echos that sentiment. “It’s really improving at an impressive rate,” he says. “Crime is down. More new homes are being built back in the Trumbull neighborhood. Both have very active watches and activities around the schools and public institutions. There is a lot going on that is very positive.”
Heinrich says the Limary family is well-respected in the area, having deep-running roots. Landry agrees, saying Talin and the Limary family are doing good things for the community, and the new building will be a win-win situation for Albuquerque.
“It is a good time for Talin coming in,” she says. “It’s just complementing what’s happening in Trumbull.”