A state office’s rejections of tax-credit loan applications may slow Allan Affeldt’s bid to renovate the historic but long-closed Hotel Castaneda in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
According to a story in the Albuquerque Journal, the New Mexico Finance Authority nixed several applications for a loan that’s meant to aid real-estate development in troubled areas.
“It’s extremely frustrating, so I am going to have to go outside New Mexico to raise the tax credits for this iconic New Mexico project,” said Affeldt, a native Californian known for his impressive restoration of another classic Harvey House hotel, La Posada, located off Interstate 40, old Route 66 and the Amtrak railroad tracks in Winslow, Ariz.
Las Vegas Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron is also frustrated, saying she “can’t imagine the state has a project that’s more worthy” and, if so, she wants to know what it is. […]
“After doing all this work, they gave us less credits on the (subsequent) applications, and they have never explained how we could possibly do all this work and get all this support, and a project that was worth investing in before isn’t worth investing in anymore,” Affeldt said.
At stake was as much as $7.5 million. Apparently the sticking point was it packaged funding for the nearby Plaza Hotel, which Affeldt also purchased, and the Castaneda. Affeldt insisted on the package deal to make the project more financially viable. The Plaza Hotel, once in the throes of bankruptcy, still is operating and bringing in revenue for Affeldt.
But an official for the state finance authority told the newspaper most of the funds would have been used to restructure debt for the Plaza Hotel and not renovating Castaneda, blunting the economic benefits.
Despite Affeldt’s disappointment, he said he’s plowing ahead with renovating Hotel Castaneda and has committed $2 million to the project already. Affeldt also qualified for a tax credit that will net him $400,000.
Affeldt didn’t give the newspaper a timeline of when Hotel Castaneda will reopen.
Affeldt also in recent years was involved with partly restoring El Garces, another Harvey House along old Route 66 in Needles, California. He wanted to buy El Garces and open an hotel and restaurant there, but Affeldt dropped that plan when the Federal Transit Administration ruled its ownership must stay with the city.
Hotel Castaneda was built as a Harvey House in 1898 and was one of the earliest to be built in Mission Revival style.
Las Vegas technically sits a few miles from Route 66 but has become a common side trip for travelers exploring the 1926-1937 alignment of the old road to Santa Fe.
(Image of La Castaneda in Las Vegas, New Mexico, by Perry Nelson via Flickr)