Luna Lodge is back to its Route 66 glory, which was no small task.
The motor lodge, originally built in 1949, was deemed substandard by city officials in 2008. Officials said they found syringes, fecal matter and raw sewage flowing into a lot next door. Tenants were given two weeks to find new housing before the lodge was boarded up.
NewLife Homes, an Albuquerque non-profit, recently stepped in.
“We just felt this had a good fit. It was in a good location that needed revitalization,” said John Bloomfield, the executive director of NewLife Homes. “Some projects look challenging, but they can be done.”
Luna Lodge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998; because of this, NewLife Homes had to preserve its historic integrity while bringing the building up to code. Asbestos and lead paint had to be removed before the real work could start, turning the 28- unit motor lodge into 14 apartments, with new units built behind the motor court.
The collaborative construction project cost about three million dollars, and was funded largely by grants.
Bloomfield said all of the low-income apartments filled up quickly, which the people NewLife Homes are most looking to help.
“What’s critical is that we are creating permanent supportive communities where people look out for each other, and are also invested in the broader community,” Bloomfield said.
The official ribbon-cutting for Luna Lodge is scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Bloomfield said the next project for NewLife Homes is renovating and converting the Sundowner Motel into a 71-unit apartment complex and mixed-use facility for low-income residents. Tenants should be in the Sundowner by August, according to Bloomfield.
Kayla Ayres – krqe.com