Redevelopment of historic Route 66 motor lodge almost done

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A nearly three-year effort to redevelop another old motel along Albuquerque’s stretch of historic Route 66 is almost complete.

The De Anza Motor Lodge’s iconic sign will once again shine as developers are hosting a lighting ceremony Sunday.

The property had fallen into disrepair before being purchased and rebuilt as an upscale apartment complex and corporate stay location. The Albuquerque Journal reports roughly half of the 40 units are occupied, and a three-level entertainment centre is expected to open later this month.

Developers are optimistic the property will bring visitors back to the overlooked eastern edge of Nob Hill.

The De Anza was built in 1939 by a team that included C.G. Wallace, who traded with Zuni Pueblo and amassed a trove of artifacts he incorporated into the then-new motel. As with many other lodges along the road, the De Anza fell into disrepair after Route 66 was decommissioned.

The developers invested around $9 million into the project. They retained two buildings on the property, including the former home of the Turquoise Cafe, which is being marketed as an office or restaurant with a second-story patio.

In the middle of the complex is an entertainment centre that contains space for a coffee shop. A basement area contains Zuni relics preserved from the previous iteration of the De Anza. As an homage to Wallace, who gave out fresh peaches to motor lodge guests, the campus will also include a new grove of peach trees that were donated by Zuni Pueblo members.

The Associated Press