ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A commercial landowner says it was a costly mistake for the city of Albuquerque, and now, taxpayers are paying for it. We’ve heard from businesses along Central over the years complain about losing business because of the ART project.
For years, business owners and drivers have been complaining about the ART project, especially when it came to access to the businesses along Central. “They cut off all left in, left out access to West Central Plaza along Central,” says Dan Gershon.
Gershon is the attorney for a business owner in the shopping center at Central and Atrisco. Gershon says when the ART project was still under construction, his client lost a lot of business, and it never got better.
Today, the ART bus lane and stop, sits in the middle of Central, still cutting off direct access to his client’s business. “We never asked for the project to be stopped. We just asked for access along Central,” he says.
Gershon says his client asked the city to move the intersection in front of their business a few years west of Atrisco, so that it could benefit the businesses in the West Central Plaza. “The city just wouldn’t,” he says.
After the city condemned the area, Gershon took the city to court and fought to have the city pay his client for all the lost business. On Thursday, a jury ruled in favor of Gershon’s client. “The jury awarded $712,000,” he says.
Gershon says the city’s lack of compassion for the business owners not only cost them more than half a million dollars, but it’s punishing the taxpayers.
“I think they didn’t want to spend the money to move, re-do the entrance, and instead they got a more expensive judgment. They could’ve fixed this by listening to the owner,” Gershon says.
We reached out to the city to ask if they plan on appealing the jury’s decision. A spokesperson says the city is reviewing its options from this lawsuit that came from the Berry administration’s decisions regarding ART.
Gershon says the city has only paid $69,000 so far and he hasn’t seen any indication that the city plans on making payments. There is also a 6% interest tacked on that continues to add up.