Situated on Route 66, at the intersection of Central and New York Streets in Albuquerque, New Mexico sits the vacant, historic El Vado Auto Court.
The chain link fence, peeling paint, and weed-choked courtyard, belie the fabulous years of brisk business that occurred here for some 70 years. The motel was built by a man named Daniel Murphy, an Irishman who had worked in New York City before making his way to New Mexico.
Murphy was working as a manager of the Franciscan Hotel in downtown Albuquerque when word came that Route 66 was to be realigned through Albuquerque. In anticipation of the realignment of Route 66 through Albuquerque, Daniel Murphy left his post at the Franciscan Hotel to open the El Vado in 1937.The Mother Road of America, as Route 66 is sometimes called, has many examples of shuttered motels along old US highways, victims of the interstate highway system. But in New Mexico’s largest city, the El Vado motel is set to see new life through a public-private partnership (P3) that Albuquerque’s leaders hope will not just revitalize a historic site but transform a part of their city in the process.
Public-sector sources, including Albuquerque’s Family Housing Development Corp., are contributing $3.4 million in funding, while the remainder of the $18 million being spent on the project will be covered by private investment, led by Portland, Oregon-based Palindrome Communities.
“We’re about to see great things happen on this site,” Chad Rennaker, the president of Palindrome Communities, said, noting that he had driven by the El Vado site for years and his vision for the site predates Albuquerque issuing its request for proposals in 2014.
The revitalized El Vado property will include a boutique motel, event center, community food pods, tap room, spa pool and amphitheatre.
Photo of El Vado Motel site in Albuquerque, New Mexico by Leonard J. DeFrancisci via Wikimedia Commons.