VIDEOS: De Anza Motor Lodge sign taken down for restoration

Workers on Wednesday took down the neon sign for the De Anza Motor Lodge in Albuquerque to be restored — one of many steps to rehabilitate the long-closed historic Route 66 property into a boutique motel.

Melissa Lea Beasley, president of the New Mexico Route 66 Association, wrote in that group’s Facebook page:

Today the historic De Anza Motor Lodge neon signs were dismantled and taken to a new part-time home for restoration. They will be erected again at the De Anza in the near future as construction of the new complex is nearing completion.

The signs are in very good hands with New Mexico Sign Association President, Johnny Plath, and his team at Southwest Outdoor Electric Inc. They are the ones who dismantled the signs today, will be handling the restoration, and later reinstalling them.

If their name sounds familiar, it should. These are the guys who were with Johnny Meier and the NM Rt66 NM Association with the neon restoration project a few years ago. They are pros!

Beasley said more details would be reported in the next issue of New Mexico Route 66 Magazine, which will be mailed later this month.

Beasley shot a series of three videos, showing the sign being taken apart:

The redevelopment deal by Construction Southwest, signed in summer 2016, is estimated to cost $8.1 million, The city gave the developer at $490,000 grant, but is leasing the land to it for $28,000 a year.

Three buildings were razed, but the other buildings — which include rare Zuni Pueblo murals — and the neon sign will be preserved. The De Anza property will contain a boutique hotel, office space and a restaurant.

The developer broke ground on the project in November, and the redevelopment was slated to take 18 months. That would place the finish date at summer 2019.

Zuni trader and Indian art collector Charles G. Wallace built De Anza Motor Lodge in 1939. The motel at 4301 Central NE is on the National Register of Historic Places. Ruins of the site were used in a scene in the acclaimed television drama “Breaking Bad” and as a shooting locale for a 2016 Tina Fey movie, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.”

(Screen-capture image from video of the De Anza Motor Lodge sign being taken down Wednesday)

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