El Vado Motor Court
The El Vado Motor Court was built in 1937 to cater to visitors traveling through Albuquerque on Route 66. The motel, designed in the Spanish Revival style, housed 32 motel units with adjoining carports and a gas station. El Vado has been designated a City Landmark and is listed on the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places. El Vado is ideally located on Central Avenue between Old Town and the Rio Grande, and directly across from the City’s Botanical Gardens and Aquarium. Its location makes it the perfect place to serve as a hub for many of the City’s cultural assets in the area.
After the closure of the motel in 2005, the buildings began to deteriorate and stood in disrepair for years, with some suggesting the demolition of this historic property. Recognizing the iconic presence and potential of the property, the City of Albuquerque purchased El Vado in 2010 to save and preserve the property. The City, through its Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency (“MRA”), began searching for a private sector developer to partner with to revitalize and redevelop the property, while preserving the existing historic buildings on site. The MRA created a public-private partnership with Palindrome Communities in 2016 with the goal of redeveloping and bringing new life into the historic property and into an under-utilized part of Albuquerque.
Today, after years of work, a variety of approval processes, exceptional preservation efforts and exciting design elements, El Vado is full of life and activity - attracting patrons and guests from not only Albuquerque and New Mexico, but nationally and internationally. The old motel that had become dilapidated and blighted is now a focal point for the area bringing excitement and reinvestment. The redevelopment of El Vado successfully pays homage to Route 66 and the growth of Albuquerque - thus reactivating what was once a wildly popular hospitality destination. The character-defining exterior design features such as undulating parapets, garage portals and blue steel windows are carefully preserved while the interior spaces are elegantly transformed to accommodate contemporary uses.