Route 66 News

Developers tour El Vado Motel

The city of Albuquerque finally is pushing hard to have developers do something with the historic but long-closed El Vado Motel.

KRQE-TV in Albuquerque filed this report about developers touring the property this week:

A few weeks ago, the city released a request for proposals from developers. The deadline for submission is July 3.

The hope is someone will redevelop it into a boutique-type motel, with the rest for housing. The city will pick a developer by August, with construction targeted to begin in 2015. NewLife Homes, which has converted several historic Route 66 motels in Albuquerque into housing, reported is interested in the property.

Irish immigrant Daniel Murphy opened El Vado Auto Court Motel on Route 66 in 1937. It’s cited as one of New Mexico’s best examples of pre-World War II motels. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

El Vado closed in 2005 when new owner Richard Gonzales wanted to raze it for luxury townhouses. The city seized the property a few years later after a long fight to save it. Worldwide outcry from the Route 66 community was instrumental in saving the structure.

The near-loss that was El Vado convinced me eminent domain ought to be used to seize threatened protect properties that are on the National Register of Historic Places. Eminent domain often is cussed and discussed in many circles, but I suspect opposition to its use in such a context would be considerably blunted.

(Image of El Vado Motel by Pam Morris via Flickr)


4 thoughts on “Developers tour El Vado Motel

  1. Shannon

    No doubt if the El Vado would be reopened and brought back to its former glory it would be consistently packed with Route 66 travelers.

    1. Ron Warnick Post author

      If done right, yes. If it’s just another vintage motel, however, it’s future is much cloudier. There are, simply, far too many budget motels in Albuquerque and too few Route 66 travelers.

      1. Johnnie Meier

        The potential for the success of the El Vado is underestimated. It has a prime location, across from the Albuquerque BioPark and within easy walking distance of Albuquerque Old Town.


    I have a tattoo of the El Vado on my left arm.
    If it was to come back as a motel I would stay there for sure.

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