Together with its design and trade partners, HB Construction completed the new headquarters and constituent services destination for New Mexico’s largest county. In total, the BernCo @ Alvarado Square project included 286,000 sq ft of renovation to the existing 8-story tower at 415 Silver and new construction of the adjacent 12,000 sq ft Commission Chambers Building. This massive undertaking revitalized South Downtown, remade Albuquerque’s skyline, broke new ground for project delivery innovation, and will help advance the quality of life services provided to over 670,000 constituents.
By consolidating nearly all of its departments and services, the County brings visiting constituents and over 800 employees to the Downtown community. The Commissioner Chambers addition, which replaced the old annex, helps frame a new urban streetscape along Silver Avenue and defines a new welcoming entrance to the building. The tower exterior received several updates, including new paint and a refinish of the entrance-facing cooling towers. These upgrades, as well as the complementary angular facade of the Chambers, create harmony between buildings and reinforce the continuity of the campus.
Inside, careful space organization and custom signage and wayfinding create welcoming, easy-to-navigate spaces for constituents while maintaining privacy and security for staff. Custom graphics and artwork help transform the building into an authentic representation of the County it serves, while thoughtful architectural decisions simultaneously modernize the building and celebrate its unique features. The chambers, several public conference rooms, a future café, and the rooftop patio provide opportunities for visitors to engage at a deeper level within the building. Staff amenities such as a clinic, gym, outdoor balconies, well-appointed break rooms, and more contribute to a high-quality workplace that prizes employee wellness. Shelled space gives the County flexibility for future expansion or leasing opportunities. This project is on track to earn LEED Silver and at least 1 star through Fitwel®, an organization that focuses on occupant health and wellbeing.
Bernalillo County elected to use Design-Build for this complex project. By integrating design and construction into a single contract, the County ensured a collaborative approach to a host of project challenges:
The decision to transform an existing property, rather than developing a new one, provided massive financial benefits to the County and taxpayers. Project costs came in at approximately $175 per square foot, which includes not only demolition and construction costs, but also design costs, furniture, and equipment. Compare this cost with an estimated $325 per square foot for new construction, and the savings start to add up. Other benefits for the County include: