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Albuquerque OKs redevelopment plan centered around El Vado Motel December 3, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Motels, Preservation.
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The Albuquerque City Council on Monday approved a redevelopment plan centered around the long-closed El Vado Motel and Casa Grande restaurant, reported Albuquerque Business First.

The move called for the area of Central Avenue (aka Route 66) west of downtown to the Rio Grande declared as “blighted.” However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for what the city has in mind.

The designation will allow for incentives to induce more businesses to move to the area, and hopefully for redevelopment.

The MRA designation by the city removes certain city fees such as impact assessments, Benton said, and allows the city to work closely with developers.

The plan involves two catalyst projects, the redevelopment of the El Vado Motor Court and Casa Grande restaurant properties, and the redevelopment of a 2.1-acre parking lot along the north side of Central Avenue.

The MRA plan will allow the city to put out a request for proposals for a public/private partnership to redevelop the former hotel and restaurant properties, which are boarded up.

After years of inactivity, news about El Vado picked up this fall when the city announced it was considering the historic Route 66 property as an open-air food market or other reuses.

Irish immigrant Daniel Murphy opened El Vado Auto Court Motel on Route 66 in 1937. It’s cited as one of the best examples of pre-World War II motels in New Mexico. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

El Vado closed in 2005 after new owner Richard Gonzales said he wanted to raze it for luxury townhouses. The city seized the property a few years later after a long fight to preserve it.

Casa Grande restaurant, in the Old Town section of Albuquerque, has been closed since at least 2008. I’ve found little about the history of the restaurant, except it was opened by Greek immigrant Nick Argos, probably in the 1950s.

(Hat tip: David Willman; image of the closed El Vado Motel by Pam Morris via Flickr)

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