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Posted 11 May 17 By: No comments yet

Construction moves forward on El Vado, Casa Grande sites

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Construction is moving forward on the long-awaited restoration of the El Vado Motel as well as redevelopment of the former Casa Grande site.

Crews have been active for several months on both work sites, reports Rick Davis, an Albuquerque residential and commercial builder and executive director of Family Housing Development Corp., a local affordable housing developer.

Public sector sources, including Albuquerque’s Family Housing Development Corp., are contributing $3.4 million to fund construction, while the remainder of the $18 million to be spent on the projects — which includes land acquisition — will be covered by private investment led by Portland, Ore.-based Palindrome Communities.

“All the subcontractors are local,” said Davis of the businesses doing concrete work, dry walling and insulation, framing, and electrical work. “On any given day, there are probably about 50 people working down here.

The site is at the 2500 block of Central Avenue SW.

The Casa Grande portion, which will eventually have a new name, will comprise two new buildings totaling 45,000 square feet, said Davis. A significant portion will offer affordable housing under federal guidelines. He said a property management firm will handle the market rate and affordable rentals.

The development will support a population that’s already downtown working every day — restaurant workers, store clerks and bank tellers, Davis said.

The ground floors will be devoted to commercial tenants, said Davis, with NAI Maestas & Ward marketing the ground floor spaces to retailers. “I think we’ll see a lot of interest from boutique clothing operators,  jewelry store owners, art dealers,” said Davis.

Completion is targeted for fall.

Next door, restoration work is occurring on the exteriors of the El Vado, which was built in the classic adobe Revival style. For years, the building sat empty: an eyesore with peeling paint, its courtyard weed-choked and the perimeter enclosed by a chain-link fence.

The revitalized El Vado property, one of the few remaining classic Route 66 motels, will include a boutique motel, event center, community food pods, tap room, spa pool and amphitheater. Palindrome developer Chad Rennaker could not be reached for comment on an opening date, but Davis said crews are working “hand in glove” with construction scheduling. “There’s a  lot of synergy between the two projects,” he said. “In fact, we’re actually going to rebrand Casa Grand and are leaning to the name El Vado Place.”

Oh, and they’re keeping the lights on.

For the first time in years, the 80-year-old El Vado Motel sign is greeting motorists on Central. This neon sign was restored for $13,000 with the city contributing $6,500 and the balance paid for with a matching grant from National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. The sign is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

By:  Steve Sinovic, Staff Writer - Albuquerque Journal

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