Vintage 66 Route motel in Albuquerque to undergo $16M redevelopment

Industries Associated Press

A crumbling motel along Route 66 will get a $16 million upgrade as part of an ongoing plan to revitalize a section of the iconic highway as it winds through Albuquerque.

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Under the renovation proposal, the Pueblo-style El Vado Motel will be redeveloped into a boutique motel with an amphitheater and restaurants. It also will have dozens of apartment units.

"The El Vado Motel is a great opportunity to preserve a historic Route 66 gem while encouraging economic redevelopment near Old Town," Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said.

Other Route 66 projects in the city include the renovation of the Sundowner Motel, where Bill Gates and Paul Allen lived while launching Microsoft, and a request for proposals to improve the De Anza Motor Lodge, which features Tony Edaakie murals depicting a Native American ceremonial procession.

Also, city councilors approved measures last year to encourage businesses to add neon lights along Albuquerque's 15-mile stretch of the historic roadway.

The El Vado, built in 1937, sits on a stretch of cultural sites that extend up the Paseo del Bosque from the National Hispanic Cultural Center to Old Town and the museum district.

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The building was listed on the state Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

Palindrome Communities, a partnership of the Sawmill Community Land Trust and Portland, Oregon-based Pacificap, was selected for the restoration. Work is expected to begin in 2016.