The owners of the former Jewish Center are demolishing the building after it was deemed unsafe. However, before it was the Jewish Center, it was a Rio Rancho Estates building owned by AMREP.

To the people who knew it as the Rio Rancho Estates Office, the demolition comes as sad news.

“It is sad, but I realize that the fire damage was quite severe and I’m guessing necessitated the demolition. It’s probably the oldest original building in the city. Hurts my heart,” Janet Belotti said.

Last year Belotti asked that an old Rio Rancho Estates sign that was exposed by the fires be preserved and put on display.

She remembered getting lemonade there as a kid and participating in some events with neighbors.

A photo of Haynes Park and the AMREP building adjacent to it in it’s early years. (Courtesy Photo)

The building was badly damaged by fire and asbestos was present. Belotti says the house next to the building was also being seen by remediation teams.

“The house next to the office building has also had the remediation company there as well. The house has been stripped of even the stucco outside. Perhaps it will not be torn down. My family knew that first homeowner and the second purchaser. I’m hoping it will survive,” she said.

Even though the demolition is upsetting to some, Belotti knows it is necessary and looks forward to seeing what is done with the property in future.

“I’m hoping it not a restaurant that emits greasy fumes. I’d hate being in my beautiful backyard in summer and having unpleasant aroma from it there. I’m literally just over the fence from its backyard,” she added.

She suggests it be used for office space.

“Like for aquatics since the pool is across the street,” she said.

As the fate of the building has been decided, the next steps are to finish the demolition and determine what the lot can be used for next.