Route 66 News

UPDATED: El Vado Motel saved

A lot has happened since this story first emerged from Albuquerque on Wednesday. But it now seems certain that El Vado Motel has been rescued from the wrecking ball after nearly 2 1/2 years of uncertainty.

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, under the headline “El Vado Saved,” touted this news release Wednesday night on the city’s Web site:

Today Mayor Chavez announced that the El Vado Motel has been saved from demolition and the City of Albuquerque has been granted access to the property to begin the preservation of the historic hotel that has been noted by many Route 66 historians as a treasure. “For anybody that understands the history of Route 66, this is one of the great facilities, great structures architecturally in the history of Route 66,” said Mayor Marty Chavez.

The City as well as dispatching inspectors to secure the property (fenced and boarded up) since recent vandalism had occurred, advanced a sum of $680,000 by the City of Albuquerque to the District Court Registry for the City’s purchase of the property. Both parties, the City and the property owner, will provide appraisals for the El Vado Motel.

“Today we work to protect our future by preserving our past,” stated Mayor Chavez.

Also, KOAT-TV reports that El Vado Motel “has been condemned and the city has take(n) control.” The Albuquerque Journal also reported briefly Wednesday that the city “took control” of the historic Route 66 motel.

This was a day that some of us thought would never come. When Richard L. Gonzales announced in October 2005 that he’d purchased El Vado and intended to demolish it for luxury townhouses, it looked quite grim. But a tenacious combination of Route 66ers, local preservationists and city officials kept that from happening.

I’ll have more reaction about this later. But for now, it’s a great day for Route 66.

UPDATE: Here’s a local report from KRQE-TV:

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Here is the story in the original configuration:

KOB-TV reports that the City of Albuquerque has been given permission by a judge to gain access to El Vado Motel and stanch its deterioration.

Owner Richard L. Gonzales wanted to raze the historic Route 66 motel and build luxury townhouses.

Wednesday’s court ruling means that city crews can enter the property and begin securing it to prevent any further weather damage.

“For anybody that understands the history of Route 66, this is one of the great facilities, great structures architecturally in the history of Route 66,” said Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez.

The city and Gonzales have been attempting to negotiate a price for the city to purchase the property. If they can’t come to terms, a judge will determine it’s fair market value.

Unless something happens fast in settlement talks, it sounds like the city will take over possession of the property fairly quickly via condemnation and save it from the wrecking ball.

(Photo courtesy of Ace Jackalope.)

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