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Photography by NAI Maestas & Ward

The $353 million First Financial Credit Union, headquartered in Albuquerque, N. M., hopes to find a buyer that can take a multimillion dollar mistake off its balance sheet.

That mistake takes shape as a five-story, almost 66,000-square-foot commercial and office development located at 500 Copper Avenue in Albuquerque. An historic building, the structure began life in 1931 as the copper-hued El Fidel Hotel before being converted into an office building and, finally, into a commercial condominium. The structure boasts a five-story interior atrium, a location close to Albuquerque’s downtown business district and access to one of the largest parking areas in the center of town. It has also claimed about $7 million of the credit union’s money (so far) and has helped lead to controversy among the credit union’s executive team over how the credit union has been run.

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