The Nob Hill Neighborhoods: Beyond Nob Hill

The Nob Hill Neighborhoods: Beyond Nob Hill
by Chris Lucas

The Nob Hill Neighborhoods: A unique & compact village set in the middle of an urban metropolis.

Beyond Nob Hill...
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Welcome to the Nob Hill Neighborhoods Website

Welcome to the Nob Hill Neighborhoods Website
by Chris Lucas

The Nob Hill Neighborhoods form a unique & compact village set in the middle of an urban metropolis. sitting on both sides of the Central Ave/Route 66 Corridor, the eight Nob Hill Neighborhoods & Business Districts contain (almost) everything a self-contained town needs to prosper. Groceries & dining, recreation & entertainment, health services, employment & housing.
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MetroABQ Newsletter -- July: Angel Fire Architecture & North Valley Walking Tour

MetroABQ Newsletter -- July: Angel Fire Architecture & North Valley Walking Tour
by Chris Lucas

Click on the image below to view the MetroABQ Newsletter -- July  Read More


MetroABQ Little Free Libraries

MetroABQ Little Free Libraries
by Chris Lucas

MetroABQ Little Free Libraries  Read More


Nob Hill Neighborhoods: Granada Heights Architecture

Nob Hill Neighborhoods: Granada Heights Architecture
by Chris Lucas

The Granada Heights SE Neighborhood

The homes in the Granada Heights Neighborhood began appearing after it was platted in 1925, just east & south of the commercial center of Nob Hill. Most of the compact, 12-block area sits on the eastern slope of the Nob Hill, allowing many residences sweet Sandia Mountain views as backdrop, & itinerant scenes of the San Mateo/Central Ave Bank Building high-rise to the east. The neighborhood starts at Carlisle Blvd & Silver Ave, & heads south to the southern edge of Nob Hill at Garfield Ave. From there it runs east only four blocks to Morningside Drive, then back up to Silver Ave, forming a perfect rectangle.

The lots that make up the original residential section of Granada Heights tend to be larger than other Nob Hill Neighborhoods. The homes are also generally pretty grand, like this modern Pueblo Revival, sitting up on the hill. Clearly the Spanish Pueblo Revival style is big in the few blocks, with a specimen here, & another with the requisite viga beams & rough columns, is also built with generous-sized rooms. Another great example of a more grand-built home is this modern Streamline Moderne, with rooftop railing.

A pretty fabulous Grande Dame Art Deco-era Streamline Moderne home sits on another (wooded) hill, overlooking the Metro to the east. Another, perhaps more famous Streamline Moderne home is the futuristic Kelvinator House, from 1938. Albuquerque Modernism has a great article on that World’s Fair home, which is still thriving in the Granada Heights neighborhood of Nob Hill.

As with all of the Nob Hill Neighborhoods, Granada Heights has numerous backyard casitas that were created over the decades, evolving from small, detached garages. Accessed by a side-yard driveway, these mostly flat-roofed apartments were originally 20’x12’ spaces for a single car. Many became one bedroom/one bath studios, often used by family members or rented to UNM students.

An integral part of the Nob Hill fabric, compact accessory dwelling units (ADUs) have been providing small incomes for property owners for decades. A passive income of $400-$1000 to rent a converted backyard garage can be a huge boost to the property owner. Because the garage footprint is already there, is not as difficult to turn it into an ADU, as opposed to pouring a foundation & creating a new casita from scratch.

Over the decades, the slow, measured infill with backyard casitas & garage conversion ADUs have allowed more folks to live in the area; neighborhoods are strengthened by these housing opportunities. That unhurried infill also provides housing to lower income residents. Nob Hill continues to be a desirable place to call home; including residents of all income levels is important to ensure the continued health of the neighborhood.

The Nob Hill Neighborhoods do not allow for the addition of any more accessory dwelling units, so garage conversions into small apartments has stopped. Many converted garages that were established rental units for almost 100 years were grandfathered in; many were not, & were zoned out of existence.

Luckily, comfortably evolving with the times, over the decades Granada Heights developed more dense residential housing—smartly, the closer to the Central Ave/Route 66 corridor & public transportation, the more dense the housing becomes. In 2005, the Aliso (Silver Street) Townhomes were built on an infill site overlooking Morningside Park. It consisted simply of two rows of contemporary condos, facing across a newly-planted courtyard. Years later, the tended-to landscapes have created amazing courtyard gardens.

A few years later Aliso Two was built, encouraging more folks to utilize Morningside Park next door. A Grower’s Market sprung up since then & home values in the area have also.

Granada Heights has both of the only parks in the Nob Hill Neighborhoods. Morningside Park is almost 1.4 acres & has mature 80+-year-old shade trees. A corner pocket park called Sasser Green sits across Lead Avenue from Morningside Park. Although small, it is a great buffer against the one-way Lead Ave street traffic, as you wander into that part of Granada Heights. There is a Little Free Library in the neighborhood, too.

As there are no alleys, properties are set back on the lots, leaving plenty of front yard space for greenscape plantings. Many of the front yards have become neighborhood showpieces, often with fabulously landscaped front yard gardens, some with nice additions of sculptures, others even designated as local wildlife habitat.

As you are walking, numerous greenspace parks & many smaller pocket parks exist just south of Granada Heights, in the Ridgecrest & Southeast Heights Neighborhoods.

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Nob Hill Neighborhoods: University Heights Architecture

Nob Hill Neighborhoods: University Heights Architecture
by Chris Lucas

The University Heights Neighborhood SE

The streets in front of the University of New Mexico (UNM) were named after prominent universities, starting with Yale Blvd to the west, & stretching a full mile east to the last university street, Amherst Drive. Only half of those streets remained with the University Neighborhoods; the other half pealed off into what would become one of the neighborhoods of Nob Hill.

Springing to (platted) life in 1916, the Nob Hill portion of the University Heights Addition starts east & south of the University of New Mexico. We’re lucky to have a great aerial photo of Nob Hill in 1935, borrowed from the NHNA. Knowing the area, it’s great to see Nob Hill in 1935 with tags.

Because the west half of University Heights was across from UNM, those lots developed first. Girard Blvd is the important dividing line between West & East University Heights, with the University on one side & Nob Hill on the other. Considered a more expensive, high-mesa suburb, the section of University Heights platted in Nob Hill east of the University at Girard Blvd tended to attract professors, university faculty & business-owners wanting to live within a few blocks of Central Ave/Route 66.

The horizontal line in the middle is the Central Ave/Route 66 Mother Road seems to become dirt or gravel at Washington St heading east. The grid-pattern development seen mostly in the bottom left of the photo is the western half of the University Heights subdivision. Just to the east, the development becomes more sparse. Flash forward to Nob Hill around 1950, & you see how most of the rest of the neighborhoods are filling in; by this time, University Heights was fully developed

From Central Ave & Girard Blvd, the neighborhood runs east along the Central Ave/Route 66 Corridor for seven blocks to Carlisle Blvd, to the Nob Hill Business Center. the architectural center of the Nob Hill Neighborhoods. The rectangular neighborhood continues south—& up the Nob Hill—four blocks to Garfield Ave.

Numerous interesting housing styles are found there, including classic Pueblo Revival styles, Mediterranean & Territorial styles. Mixed into this varied architectural mix, though, are some other wonderful & unique surprises along the way.

Sleek & modern in the 1930’s, the Streamline Moderne Art Deco style is prominent in the neighborhood. Streamline architecture emphasizes curving forms, long horizontal lines, & sometimes nautical elements; all those features are found in the neighborhood.

A bunch of simple & sleek Mid-Century Modern homes also reside in the neighborhood; almost enough to be called a cluster, on Wellesley Drive SE.

The neighborhood is a healthy mix of density, too: closer to Silver Avenue & the Central Ave/Route 66 corridor, mid-size apartment buildings &condo complexes have filled in available lots over the years, close to the public transportation systems along the corridor. Shops & offices also stretch south into the neighborhood from Central Ave.

Silver Avenue in Nob Hill is another important small commercial side-street hamlet. It sits a block off the busier Central Ave corridor, in a decidedly more relaxed area, with quaint local & trendy shops like soap, salons, massage clinics, coffee houses, a tea shop, & restaurants, etc. Along the seven blocks Silver Ave runs through the University Heights Neighborhood, it features mixed commercial & residential buildings.

Like the other Nob Hill Neighborhoods, University Heights has it’s share of whimsical homes that are always fun to pass by: there’s the Water Tank House from days of yore, &a recent outdoor& interior image. The Log Cabin House& a flamboyant Streamline Moderne condo complex with public elevated walkways. The neighborhood also figures highly in the unofficial front-yard-as-greenspace competition, as many of the homeowners have created fantastic natural sidewalk-viewed greenspaces, which makes walking down any street there quite a treat.

The alleys in the Nob Hill’s University Heights Neighborhood were originally used to bring coal & ice into the homes, & also allowed for electric lines to be strung up behind the homes. The MetroABQ is a patchwork of alleys: seemingly at random, some blocks have access alleys; the next blocks might not. Although not always maintained, in Nob Hill they have evolved into great shortcuts & quiet walkways, that allow alternate views of the character of the neighborhood.

In Nob Hill, alleys exist only in the west half of the neighborhood: they run behind houses from Girard to Carlisle Blvds, which includes the University Heights & Monte Vista Neighborhoods. Heading east away from University Heights after Carlisle Blvd, alleys stop.

The University Heights Neighborhood does front the Central Ave/Route 66 corridor, so it has it’s share of main-street activities outside it’s front door. Small local hops abound in the neighborhood. Hstoric buildings have survived & thrived in the neighborhood: like the Streamline Moderne-style Jones Motor Company& the Territorial/Streamline Moderne Nob Hill Business Center. Of course the neon at the entry to the Nob Hill Neighborhoods begins in University Heights.



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Nob Hill Neighborhoods Maps

Nob Hill Neighborhoods Maps
by Chris Lucas

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Nob Hill Neighborhood Maps

Nob Hill Neighborhood Maps
by Chris Lucas

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