The historic Carlyle Motel along old Route 66 in west Oklahoma City has closed, and it seems it soon will make way for a used-car lot.
A reader alerted me by email this week the motel’s “driveway is now blocked, by a large truck that has a sign reading ‘Cash for Cars.'” The current situation has existed since early June. The reader said the motel still accepted overnight travelers as recently as May.
A phone call to the motel revealed its line was no longer in service.
Also, online property records at the Oklahoma County Assessor’s office show the property was sold May 27 for $680,000 to Lowest Price Auto Sales Inc. The property’s market value in 2016 was $396,000.
The Carlyle Motel at 3900 NW 39th St. was built in 1941, according to property records. The husband-and-wife team of That and Taraben Patel had owned the eight-building motel since 1993.
The motel was deeded to a Patel family trust in June 2015. That perhaps a signal the couple was wanting to get out of the lodging business.
Signs existed, however, the motel was on a long and deteriorating slide. Online reviews for the Carlyle Motel were bad. It seldom came up in discussions as an option for Route 66 travelers to lay their heads.
In a 2009 story, The Oklahoman newspaper published a story about Preservation Oklahoma and its list of threatened historic properties. It mentioned the Carlyle Motel was endangered due to it being “threatened by missed opportunity and abandonment.”
The last straw was when the motel’s owners in 2013 replaced its classic neon sign, seen above in 2007, with a backlit sign. At last report, the old sign had been cut up and sold as Route 66 souvenirs.
“We told the owners, as they were removing the historic neon sign nearly three years ago, that it was a big mistake to do so, as part of the romance of staying there for many people was the sign,” my tipster wrote.
Apparently he was right.
UPDATE 7/14/2016: The Oklahoman uncovered a bit more information:
Lowest Price Auto Sales owner Mohammad Momdnia said he may turn the property into a used car dealership, or sell it if a good offer comes along. He said he has no plans currently to tear down any of the buildings on the property. […]
By Monday, many of the motel’s wall air-conditioning units had been removed and several rooms were unsecured, some missing beds and other pieces of furniture.
The “Cash for Cars” truck still was parked in front of the motel this week.
(Image of the Carlyle Motel in 2015 via Oklahoma County Assessor; image of the Carlyle Motel sign in 2007 by H.L.I.T. via Flickr)