University Lodge in Albuquerque plans big transformation

The historic University Lodge in Albuquerque eventually will be transformed into a boutique hotel, including retail spaces and a rooftop brewery and restaurant.

According to a story in Albuquerque Business First, the University Lodge at 3711 Central Ave. (aka Route 66) will be rebranded as a “chic” and “retro” Avenue Motel, Sharamin Dharas told the newspaper.

The transformation of the motel will begin sometime in 2019. A slide show of artist’s renderings of the makeover are here.

Dharas’ parents, Salim and Rosemin Dharas, bought the motel during the 1990s. It was built as a TraveLodge in 1960.

The Preserve Route 66 tour by the National Trust for Historic Preservation visited the motel last month. An Instagram post from the tour about the Dharases origins hinted that big things might be coming:

Salim (left) met Rosemin (right) in Tanzania after a life of traveling. Salim previously held many roles and occupations — he was a politician in Tanzania, a freedom fighter at the Mozambique border, and a box boy. And together, in 1984, Salim and Rosemin traveled to Canada. There they took a Greyhound Bus for three straight days. When they emerged into Albuquerque and saw the mountains all around them, they said, “This is the place.” In 1986, Sharamin (center) was born in Albuquerque, just off of #Route66. When they got to the U.S. Salim and Rosemin worked long hours at Dunkin Donuts to earn enough money to buy their own motel. Now, they own three properties, and, with the bright mind of their daughter, they have big dreams to help turn the University Lodge into a place young people are excited to visit. “I want people to eat here, play here, stay here,” said Sharamin. As for her father, he loves where he’s landed. “I’ve been all around the world,” said Salim. “But when I got here in America, I said, ‘This is it.’”

Sharamin likely was inspired by the historic El Vado Motel‘s recent transformation into a boutique motel with a microbrewery taproom and several restaurants and shops.

(Image of the University Lodge in Albuquerque via Facebook)

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