Local Greedy Developer Richard Gonzales is at it again. Gonzales is the developer who bought the “El Vado” hotel for a really nice price and tried to bulldoze it and put up townhouses on Central.

You may remember that the City and the Mayor prevented Gonzales's request to get permits from the city for his screw-the-rest-of-the-city-I-need-to-make-money plan.

Not getting the hint that his development is not what we want, he has now applied to simply bulldoze the property. He must be thinking that if he can’t get approval to do what will make him richer because there is a city landmark on his site, he should simply bulldoze the landmark. There would be no reason to oppose building town homes once the landmark is gone anyway, right?

The extra irony? The last time Richard Gonzales went in front of the City Council, he made a big point about how he didn't want to simply bulldoze the... (what he is proposing now).

Did it matter to Richard that the “El Vado” is probably the best of Albuquerque’s Route 66 motor hotels, one of the few remaining in 66 icons in the City? Nope.

Does Richard care if Albuquerque’s Route 66 turns into a soulless street of strip malls? Not if it will let him put a few extra bucks in his pocket.

Will tourists come from Europe to look at some out-of-place townhomes instead of the “El Vado.” Richard wants to be too busy counting his money to care

Some people suspect that the bulldozing idea is a game of chicken with the city -- trying to force the city to buy the El Vado for an inflated price -- around $3.25 million (compared to the 2/3rds to 1 million he reportedly bought it for.)

Forunately, with a little citizen outrage, it would be difficult for Gonzales to get what he needs. Ed Boles from the City of Albuquerque Says:
A permit would be required in order to Legal demolish a building.. This would require a sign off from several departments. These department would the Historical Preservation, Zoning, Building and Safety and Environmental Health. They would also have to provide a Hazardous Material report indicating that there is no Asbestos, Lead or any other possible hazardous material that would require special consideration when removing.

Bottom line is they still need to legally go through an extensive
process if they are looking at demolishing this property. We will monitor this location to try an insure that if they intend to demolition they obtain the proper permits.

Honestly, I want to know I live in Albuquerque, not Tuscon or Cleveland, or Gary Indiana when I drive up Central every day. The El Vado is one of the few things we have that can remind us of that.

I don’t want to be embarrassed when I drive my out of town guests down “The great all-American Rt. 66” and they see crammed-together townhouse where the cool stuff used to be.

The City council and the Mayer already did the right thing to block Gonzales once, I am counting on them to do the same thing in round 2.

P.S. Check out these postcards of of what we have largely already lost on Central at http://roadsidephotos.sabr.org/66/central.htm

Views: 48

Comment by Eckleburg and Grumblecake on November 22, 2007 at 9:35am
This post was copied over from the original Duke City Fix. Here are the comments that people left:

Ricky wrote:
A soulless street of strip mall would be a step up from what it is now. I think its great that people want to hold on to the past, but when that past is being over-run by vagrants, gang-bangers, hookers and druggies, I say bull doze it all.

Put up something like what uptowns got going on. Make some new history. Because the only people who care about what was 50 years are historians and homless guys peeing on the signs.

I wish this Richard fella all the luck.
11/16/06 15:43:50
John wrote:
The El Vado thing is still going on, huh?

God, why won't that guy give it a rest? That building is historic. If he can't make money off of it as a motel, how about turning it into something else? Turn the old motel office into a small retail space. Turn the rooms into apartments(not a very attractive place for housing, sure, but I've seen much worse locations in this city). There are so many ways to make money off that building if you need to. It just naturally draws the eyes with its white buildings and large sign.

Gonzales, dude, if you're having money troubles: just hang in there. Wait and see if the city will build the streetcar. With those streetcars going up and down the street and the very attractive El Vado hotel, you'll be sitting on a gold mine of possibilities.

By the way, nice postcards. It's hard to believe Albuquerque once looked so...rural.
11/16/06 15:51:06
Gwyneth Doland wrote:
Ricky, I am generally opposed to name-calling in the comments section, but you sir, you give me reason to reconsider that position.

I am not a historian, nor am I a homeless guy peeing on a sign. I'm just a girl who once drove through Albuquerque and spent a very memorable night at El Vado.

That was 13 years ago and I moved here a year later. Every time I drive past El Vado I'm reminded of that first trip to Albuquerque and it makes me smile.

Call me an idiot, but I think that's something worth fighting for.
11/16/06 15:53:08
Ozyman666@gmail.com wrote:
Those who want to "save" the El Vado need to collect their pennies, buy it and then do whatever they want with it.
Or, maybe the city should but it, since they seem hell-bent on not letting the legal owner do what he will with it.
11/16/06 15:57:55
Tim wrote:
Yea, I'm with Ricky on this one. There are plenty of motor courts that really attract very few of these international tourists of which are mentioned. Don't get me wrong, I think we should save a select few, but overall those hotels have very little use and lend little to areas surrounding them. Bring on higher density housing...and no, not like the ones they built on San Pasquall with thet massive setback from the street. Ick.
11/16/06 16:00:20
234r2aafdGA2w4t wrote:
How dare he want to with what he wants with property he legally bought.

Seriously, though, while there are certain limits to that first sentance, Central Ave is not all about coffee shops and art galleries. Most of it is a smoking hell-hole. Take it from me, me, a life-time resident. The sooner the motor-lodges get torn down the better.
11/16/06 16:05:22
edith wrote:
I can't help but think of the El Vado as a special case. True, there are some fairly unaesthetic motor lodges left along Rt. 66 in Albuquerque...and they are of questionable historic importance. But the El Vado is historically and architecturally important to this city. To wipe it out would be a disservice, especially if it stands a chance of being successfully repurposed. It is one of the finest remaining examples from a key time period in Albuquerque's development. I'd be just as concerned if someone bought up the Kimo or the Press Club and decided to bulldoze it to make way for condos.
11/16/06 16:17:21
Howard wrote:
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot With a pink hotel,a boutique and a swinging'hot spot Don't always seem to go That you don't know what you got'til it's gone They paved paradise and put up a parking lot....Oooh,bop.bop,bop,Ooooh,bop,bop,bop,bop
11/16/06 16:22:14
Your Neighbor wrote:
I want to buy your neighbor's house and turn it into a rat-infested hellhole. If you don't like it, or the fact that it drives down other people's property value, go to hell!
11/16/06 16:23:11
jeff wrote:
it's on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

seems like if i were to purchase a property with that designation, i'd have a plan that, you know, addresses and accommodates that fact and that wouldn't involve demolition.

just me.

it'd take some work, but certainly he can finagle some grants/subsidies and work that end of the deal for a rehab or adaptive re-use rather than trying to minimize overall costs by a simple demo and re-build.

come on richard - get creative!
11/16/06 16:36:46
Ricky wrote:
Gwyneth, I wont' get offended if you name call. Memories are great. But thats all they are. The world of 56 chevy's and airstreams crossing through albuquerque and stopping off on Central for be-bop and finger pointing at the indians is long gone.

Now they all go to Santa Fe or the Marriot with hot tubs and cable.

Do you think the experience of staying at the El Vado today would be the same as it was? Belive me, you'd have a whole different set of memories and I doubt you'd want to look back on them and smile.

I dare you to go hang out in front of the El Vado one of these nights and see if the romance of your memories still exist.

On second thought, don't. I wouldn't want that on my conscience.
11/16/06 16:40:03
jeff wrote:
oh, ricky and ozyman... et al,

i'd suggest that the common cultural amnesia about place (evident in your desire to scrape and re-build) is really a fundamental part of the problem that creates the situation you find so distasteful along central now.
11/16/06 16:42:35
Tim wrote:
Let's not forget that the City Council just voted to allow the destruction of the Horn Oil Company building --the last gas/food/lodging motel on rt. 66 -- and all of the surrounding buildings (except Garcia's) to construct million dollar townhomes on more than 4 acres by the benign-sounding developer, Infill Solutions.

Pressure needs to be put on the city council to preserve these historic treasures.
11/16/06 16:49:47
John wrote:
I'd hate to say this, but the "problems" with the El Vado people are bringing up are kinda meaningless.

Homeless people? Hookers? Druggies? Smoking hell-hole? Could you explain to me why we need to demolish a historic building to take care of this? Who's to say these problems wouldn't just come over to a bunch of new townhouses built on the same site? Why exactly do we need to demolish the El Vado?

According to Wikipedia, the El Vado is on the National Register of Historic Places. What would it take to get it to a status where it won't be buldozed?
11/16/06 16:55:39
eckleburg wrote:
I'll add --
If we had to choose ONE motel to save, the El Vado might just be it -- it's that good.

I think Ricky has his causality backward -- tourist go to Santa Fe and the Marriot because we've let the things that are unique and a draw go.

I also don't think that the era of "56 chevy's and airstreams" (or any other era, for that matter) ever really goes away. There are new generations who want to re-explore what they can of the spirit of times past (and will pay considerably to do it) -- Go to the heights Community Center Dance hall and you see zoot suits and big bands. The present is an accumulation of the past, not a replacement of it.

I think a central argument of the nay-sayers is that the El Vado isn't economically viable. And in it's run-down, boarded up state it isn't. But I think there are plenty of ways that it could be made viable without bulldozing it.

My anger is that one person has bought something he knew was important to the community, and he wants to take it away from the community for his own personal profit.
11/16/06 17:09:32
maximus attentivus wrote:
I'm torn. I know that the new owner should have looked up the regulations on historic buildings before he bought (and I think he's frankly just throwing a public temper tantrum to get people to the negotiating table). Caveat emptor, guy.

STILL, I don't know why the city doesn't try to get a 50/50 solution that preserves some of the motel and make way for some economically productive use of some of the land. The nostalgia for a VERY bloody Route 66 has a lot to do with people creating a new way of living along America's artery. We should remember that our history was somebody else's tomorrow.

I hope these parties stop pissing around and do something cool with the land.
11/16/06 17:14:09
234r2aafdGA2w4t wrote:
John: Because the townhouses will go for $300K+ a piece. What do you think will happen?

I didn't know it was on the register, however.

If "the community" really wants it, then they can buy it from him. if it is soooo historic, then why did get sold in the first place, to someone like him?
11/16/06 17:17:30
sam wrote:
oh god, let's preserve every piece of %$#@ motel that some yuppie gangsta wanna be has had a memorable night in, why don't we? tear it down, its revolting.
11/16/06 17:21:36
Ele wrote:
I'm not so attached to the Vado Hotel, and it is on some very prime land. I don't miss the motels that have been knocked down along Central and Coal -- mostly they were in bad repair and full of crime.

We do still have quite a few Route 66 motels along Central including The Silver Moon Lodge which was spiffed up not too long ago. But they're hardly booked up.
11/16/06 17:21:59
eckleburg wrote:
I think the city has worked for some 50/50 deals -- the Horn Motor Co building up the street is a good example -- the front of the building will stay the same, and then their will be quality development in the back that revitalizes the area and accentuates its past.

I think he secretly wants to force the city to buy it from him -- for a $1-2 million markup (what he is currently asking for)

This is just another way for a greedy developer to buy up something important for cheap, and extort the city for lots of money so he won't bulldoze it -- sure it might make him a few bucks that could have gone to schools and police officers, but it makes him a greedy bastard in my book.
11/16/06 17:24:41
nachodaddy wrote:
personally, i'd rather see vagrants, gang-bangers, hookers and druggies any day over white republican yuppie golfers
11/16/06 17:28:40
Who Wants To Raise Their Hand First? wrote:
The last time El Vado was the subject of these boards I drove by to see what all the shouting was about. I wasn't impressed. Yes, "someone" should do "something" about it, and while they are at it, do "something" about the rest of Central, too. This was the crossroads of a million lives at one time but it sure looks like one big stretch of dump now. Remember Grand Central Station? Central needs a private trust or foundation to do the rehab, like Grand Central. Keep it private, keep the taxpayer out of it (already overworked and overtaxed) and who knows? Maybe someone who commented on this board could take responsibility for getting the thing going.
11/16/06 17:30:10
Mr. Viddy wrote:
From what I have read here and seen elsewhere, the people of Albuquerque could care less about the city and it's history. It always points to this or that area being overrun with vagrants or drugs and nobody wants to fix the problem, just complain. So does the fate of the El Vado really matter to anyone?
11/16/06 17:36:05
kelli wrote:
personally i like the tewa and the aztec if i had to choose just one (or two) to save. however, i wish i could buy into the whole he bought it, he should be able to do whatever he wants with it - but i just can't. nor do i agree that cities should be able to hold people hostage for land/properties that they've purchased. i just wish "market value" better took into account things like environmental and historical significance when it comes to property or anything else.
11/16/06 17:40:25
Ricky wrote:
Businessmen have every right to make a profit. Even off of someones elses history.

Like 234 said, if the El Vado is so important then get some private investors who care about such things, and raise the money, buy it off him, renovate it, turn it into a museum of old run down 66 motels or whatever.

But if all its gonna do is sit there and rot then let the man do something with it.
11/16/06 17:45:46
maximus attentivus wrote:
"Yuppie gangsta wannabe?" Gwyneth is a legend, and hardly a yuppie. The yuppie gangsta wannabes are the people that don't understand that when you buy something, it doesn't mean you can do anything you want with it. Just because you put down a few dollars doesn't give you the right to create a eyesore, especially since you should have known the rules BEFORE you plunked down seven hundred fitty thou. on a supposed dump.
11/16/06 17:49:37
Aficionado wrote:
Meh. Raze El Vato. But save the neon.
11/16/06 18:07:26
234r2aafdGA2w4t wrote:
No, I DON'T care about the stupid crackhouse or our "history". Or any old buildings that are in the way. If the rotunda wasn't capable of doing it's job, then tear it down. El Vado doesn't serve much purpose at all; just get rid of it. This desire to "maintain a link" to our history is absurd. It's just emotional non-sense and there is always no actual fact or reason behind it.
11/16/06 18:26:46
maximus attentivus wrote:

Well said, robot! Banish emotion and feelings and all things human. Rise machines! RISE!
11/16/06 18:33:56
Ricky wrote:
Max, if we held onto every damn thing that holds some kind of memory for us there would never be progress whatsoever. And being that you are a "pregressive", I'd think you'd get that.

The question is, where does it end? Do we just never build over anything? Let everything grow and rot and crumble?

No one is ever gonna do anything about it. El Vado will sit there and attract more and more vagrants, more and more druggies along with every other building on central.

Central is a crap hole. If you want Albuquerque to be a viable, growing city that has Central as it's main artery, then rebuild it.

Don't let it sit there and waste away so noone ever wants to step foot in it in fear for there life or just they're senses.

If no one is willing to step up and renovate this motel so that it actually resembles anything that is inviting to residents and vistors, then whats the freaking problem with letting someone put something up that will?

It's all talk to you guys. Blah, blah, blah, "it's historic". "it has memories".

Thats great. it also has crack whores and urine stains.

Put up or shut up. Which is what this guy Richard is apparratnly trying to do.
11/16/06 18:44:21
John wrote:
234r2aafdGA2w4t, $300,000+ a piece?!! Why would anyone with that kind of money buy a place on Central? Those would have to be some pretty darn fancy townhouses.

I'm telling you guys, housing and a motel are not the only uses for such a great building. You could use it for retail or something. It would make money and we wouldn't have to tear it down. It's a historic building, and it deserves to be preserved. There are some here who hate the building, but there's a lot here who love it.
11/16/06 18:52:33
234r2aafdGA2w4t wrote:
John: I was curious about housing in that area a while back and it seems as though approaching $300K is not unreasonable, especially near UNM, Nob Hill or north campus. And yes, they would be very fancy.
11/16/06 19:04:05
maximus attentivus wrote:

Go back and see what I actually wrote instead of your little sock puppet show.

I actually make the points you are trying to make without being obtuse. I'm FOR development AND for moving on, but NOT for humoring idiots who drop a million dollars without actually knowing what they are buying.
11/16/06 19:26:14
maximus attentivus wrote:
Ricky, for the record, you do YOU know there are crack whores and urine stains there?
11/16/06 19:27:37
Bulldozer wrote:
If you'd rather see this slimey old motel sit in its current state then be torn down in favor of something nice, then you are nuts. If you want it preserved and renovated at all costs, then do it yourself. While we cry about dilapidated old crap like this old motel, central avenue- the supposed heart and soul of albuq- continues to look pretty damn sad.
11/16/06 19:30:58
234r2aafdGA2w4t wrote:
I think it might be reasonable that at the very least the idea of the city buying it back from him was a contingency plan. Either build something on it or the city will buy it back. Seems like a safe investment. He could always challenge it's position on the national historic record.

No one or nothing famous lived or occured there and adobe looking buildings are not distinctive for this region or unique to that time period and probably isn't going to teach us anything.

very clever on his part.
11/16/06 19:39:54
Ricky wrote:
Max, I know alot of things I'd rather not...
11/16/06 19:43:24
maximus attentivus wrote:
Fair enough.
11/16/06 19:44:53
Howard wrote:
I came from a town where old things were appreciated.You have a old town where no one gives a ship about.Old means Mexican.WE called our Old Town the French Quarter.Preservation is a way of life.Pritken county in Aspen uses some of ther regulations on land use from NOLA.Does anybody in this town realise that there areTAX CREDITS one can get to fix up old NATIONAL HISTORICAL BUILDINGS =$$$$$$$$$.
11/16/06 19:51:27
forget wrote:
Progress, ha. Or should I say "pregress," Ricky? How can all these new shoddy-built townhomes be worth 300K? Aren't all the other new infill buildings on Central empty? Businessmen's rights? Why do I read this cliched garbage after a 12 hour day watching kids die in the ICU? I can't wait to leave this town that devours itself and calls it "reason." Have fun with your forgetting, gentlemen.
11/16/06 20:34:22
Ron W. wrote:
My wife closely inspected the inside and outside of El Vado right before it was closed, and it was in good condition. No urine stains ... some minor maintenance issues that are common to old properties. But certainly salvagable.

And don't worry about the vagrants -- the whole property is fenced off.

The fact remains that Richard Gonzales is an idiot for buying the property and not knowing its historical significance.

Plus the city told him point-blank that the area is not suitable for townhouses.

Plus it has been shown repeatedly that Gonzales tells lies. He says he's going to bulldoze the motel, then whines in front of the City Council, saying: "I never said I would tear down the motel." He's told a lot more whoppers, believe me.

Gonzales doesn't deserve to own a fine old property like El Vado.

He deserves contempt.
11/16/06 20:43:07
jeff wrote:
ironic; it sounds like richard gonzales is a squatter - just one with money.
11/16/06 21:28:11
eckleburg wrote:
There is a common good, which benefits all citizens, to having an area of town that serves as its core -- someplace that is interesting, vibrantnt, and provides a sense of place.

It is key to all kinds of good things like: tourism boosts to our economy, increased civic pride and involvement, increased quality of life, and a way to feel a connection with our forebearers.

For Albuquerque, Central Avenue is the primary area. For Central, what will keep it special and provide these benefits is to keep those landmarks that are interestinng, unique, and place specific like the El Vado.

Otherwise, Rt. 66 regresses into any other street, and Albuquerque slides to becoming a collection of Home Depots, Walmarts and off-the-shelf housing rather than an actual city with a core.

I have lived in places where you could take a picture and then drive 10 miles and see essentially the exact same place, with everything copied and pasted from 10 miles before. Sure it meets you basic neneds, but trust me, you start to feel detached from where you are, and that detachment leads to all kinds of badness.
11/16/06 21:59:49
EEo Dweller wrote:
Why couldn't he have bought one of the crappy motels left in EDo, I would have loved to see one of them turned into townhomes.
11/16/06 21:59:52
eckleburg wrote:
I also challenge you to find a building in any major city that hasn't at some point been peed upon.

I bet you that most of the world's most cherished sites are all far more peed upon than most of the world's most uninteresting, non-descript buildings.
11/16/06 22:08:05
Phil wrote:
Ricky, 234: Just which El Vado Motel are you guys talking about? And which Central Avenue, for that matter? Surely not the ones in Albuquerque...

Or maybe I'm hearing you right, and you're actually suggesting that the street that's home to the BioPark, Tingley Beach, Old Town, Downtown, UNM, Nob Hill, Ta Lin, the Rapid Ride, and oh, just about 80-90% of the cultural attractions or successful, locally-owned restaurants, boutiques, and businesses in town is a "crap hole" stuffed with "crack whores"?

If you can manage to take a look at the ACTUAL Central Ave instead of the one occupying your 1970s urban-decay fantasies, you'll discover that the most run-down stretches are the ones WITHOUT many historic buildings to add character and charm. You do realize that Nob Hill was mostly built in the 40s, right?

To the extent that Albuquerque has a unique, distinctive design aesthetic, it's drawn DIRECTLY from the El Vado, Nob Hill and other Route 66 fixtures: lots of neon, southwestern-inflected art-deco stylings, etc. Ironically, the most pronounced example of this might be your beloved, neon-studded ABQ Uptown.

Places like the El Vado are what give ABQ distinction and keep it from looking like just another Houston, Colorado Springs, Denver, Phoenix, Tucson, Boulder, Fresno, Modesto, etc., etc., etc. If you don't care about that, maybe you ought to look into moving to one of those places - I mean, it's all the same to you anyway.
11/16/06 22:12:30
Chuckie wrote:
You know, Chichen Itza is just a bunch of old buildings, too.
11/16/06 22:21:22
234r2aafdGA2w4t wrote:
I travel up and down East Central all the time. I have since when I moved here 18 years ago. Some parts have gotten nicer. Most of it has stayed the same. Just like the rest of Lomas, and Wyoming along with all the major cross roads South of Central.

It's not pretty.

Do you ever leave "your" part of Central and take a look at the rest of Albuquerque? It's already just another town, another unidentified metropolis.
11/16/06 22:23:06
A3OT wrote:
1) do a historic survey of the motor courts in Albuquerque. Determine which ones are unique (*exceptional* craftsmanship, iconic design, historical significance etc.)
2) come up with a way to link them together. An Albuquerque RT66 tour where a tourist would stay in one or two of them for a couple of nights driving around in vintage automobiles eating at authentic diners etc...
3) Pick 3-5 of the motels to fully rehabilitate. Involve the surrounding community in the rehabilitation. Teach classes on plastering or installing wood floors etc.
4) The rest of the motels should be left to be destroyed or redeveloped by priviate individuals.
5) The motels become symbols of community pride.

Without a plan that can be implemented and supported by the residents of Albuquerque the motels are destined to be destroyed. If I were a tourist I would be more interested in a combination of motels, vintage cars, and authentic eateries all taken together.
11/16/06 22:28:32
Claire wrote:
How about a compromise?

If all else fails, couldn't the office and the sign be preserved (and used for a clubhouse or office space or such) along with a room or two preserved and restored for a Rt 66 motor court museum or something? And then do something with the rest of the lot that echoes the feel of the architecture and time, but well done and more modern and useful? It would be an interesting project for local firms to come up with something truly special that honors and preserves the history. Because I don't see the rooms just converted to retail shops as doing any better than the ones in Old Town. And it can't just sit there forever as an empty shell with a fence around it.
And..... I like the old small scale adobe style with blue windows and cottonwoods, etc. Everything new has got corrugated metal and funky colors and angles that look very 2006, (looks like Berkeley, actually) but that don't look like oldtime New Mexico at all. Talk about losing your history.
11/16/06 22:38:22
John wrote:
Claire, you raise an interesting point. Frankly, I don't think retail is the best thing you could do with the El Vado, I was just throwing out ideas. Like I said, that building is a gold mine of possibilities.

234, you hit the nail on the head. That's East Central. The El Vado is not in East Central. The rest of Central feels much different than East Central. East Central is not pretty. Indeed, East Central does look like another unidentified metropolis.

So why exactly should we level the last few buildings that make the city feel unique, completely turning our city into an unidentified metropolis? You may be comfortable with everything-looks-exactly-the-same suburbia, but there are those of us who don't want that. We want to live in a city that looks and feels different from other cities. We want to live in Albuquerque, not Scottsdale.
11/16/06 23:00:20
Freekbuoy wrote:
Sorry guys, the debate is moot. Things on the National Register of Historic Places may be altered to suit progress, but the facade must remain intact. This revolves around the law of covenants. Thus, like any legal landowner, the covenants govern what the legal landowner may or may not do with the property. Covenants, such as historic registry, can not be overcome simply because the landowner doesn't like it. If that were the case, then every condo owner could simply refuse to pay their HOA dues, and the folks in master-planned communities could simply tell their neighborhood association officials to go to hell when the officials want to fine them for violating the neighborhood covenants (Towne Park, anyone?).
11/16/06 23:04:45
Claire wrote:
Freekbuoy: Is that the law in this state or the city? Because the National Historic Register says that if Federal money is used on a place, has to be preserved, but if no Federal money is involved, the owner can dispose of the property as they wish.
As far as I can find, NM State law allows a NHR Officer to be involved in planning for such sites, but it isn't clear what that means. It also says that state money cannot be used to destroy historical properties. (kinda bass-ackward from what you would think the purpose of the law would be.)

This is sounding like the sushi thread, but maybe you can find the law that protects this property from private development? I haven't located it yet.
11/17/06 00:24:46
Ron W. wrote:
To a certain extent, the city already has given El Vado some protection by declaring it a city landmark. But Gonzales basically wants the Landmarks Commission to reconsider, which is unlikely.

And, yes, a property on the National Register of Historic Places can be modified. However, it will lose its National Register status, and it no longer will be eligible for federal grants and other such assistance.
11/17/06 00:52:08
RON JONES wrote:
I was in there in June and loved the sign that the El Vado had so I got it tattooed on my left arm. If we don't save some of the past our kids wont know anything about it.
11/17/06 05:32:16
coco wrote:
What Jeff said:

"..the common cultural amnesia about place (evident in your desire to scrape and re-build) is really a fundamental part of the problem that creates the situation you find so distasteful along central now."

A couple of commenters are clearly just poking the bear with hateful shit about life and history.

AT03 has the best suggestion, somewhat in hindsight now though.

But the practical problem is in the distance between the bear pokers and those who would propose a solution. And, hugely, the reality of land use regulation today in the era of a growing Libertarian private property rights movement and controversy about eminent domain.

Makes the well-meaning seem very idealistic.
11/17/06 06:07:18
coco wrote:
Oh, and Claire is right about NHR desgination, Freekbouy.
11/17/06 06:13:48
maximus attentivus wrote:
coco, the low-grade property rights war is being led by a very rich New York real estate baron. He's financed a raft of very damaging ballot iniatives under the guise of "libertarianism." Oregon's courts are now jammed because of these so-called "property rights." Every time the government builds ANYTHING, property owners now take the government to court claiming it has damaged property values and looking for recompense. Lawsuit city. Nice.
11/17/06 06:46:12
maximus attentivus wrote:
The most crackhead-infested and peed-upon buidings in downtown? Churches.

Tear 'em down boys!
11/17/06 06:49:15
D. Cloud wrote:
Coming from the Southeastern United States, we've traveled Route 66 specifically because of the "historic" older buildings that were part of an era that, sadly so many people in the name of "progress" want to do away with. It was a part of our nation, recovering from war, and a dream of "cowboys and indians" that we only saw in the Saturday morning movies that Route 66 shows us. We knew we were in the "old west" mainly
due to the "adobe and Indian/Mexican" architecture in the buildings and landscapes.

So much of the Eastern/Southeastern parts of the US are being torn down and replaced with cookie cutter buildings that are so generic, all in the name of progress and profit. What a thrill to see places you had heard of or read about from generations in the past or in the movies. Places in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada - that glorious "red rock country" part of our nation. You knew you were out west because of the buildings and their beautiful shapes and colors.

Unfortunately, today it's a tear down the old, build it new society. We are a "throwaway" nation and if we as adults now, don't teach our children the importance of "reuse" or "revitalize", one day those that are complaining today about old/crusty/rusty, and no longer new/useful will be in fear of being "disposed" of themselves. We won't be brand new and as useful as in the past. While I believe a person should do with their property as they want....surely this gentleman knew when he purchased the El Vado that it had an historical value. Also, who would want to live in a $300K apartment in this, according to Mr. Gonzalez, "seedy neighborhood". Seems to me he's wasting his time and money in this part of Alburquerque and needs to move on uptown!

We certainly wouldn't have any desire to drive across the country to see the same thing we see here everyday. That's the magic of your wonderful part of this country. I think people are looking for the little things in life that are different from the "cookie cutter" norm and your beautiful architecture in New Mexico is one worth preserving. We have lost so much of our historical buildings because of monetary gains and not wanting to take the time to "refurbish". Sure it's easier to tear down with a wrecking ball, but if history weren't such an important thing in our lives, we wouldn't be remembering the Pilgrims, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, etc. and look at all the history teachers who would be out of jobs because we as a people think history is not worth remembering.

Our nation has so much history that we can look back on and what a shame to only be able to read about it and not see it first hand. We will survive because we remember and respect those that have gone on before us. I just hope there are enough people in your city that will fight for the El Vado and those historical sites like it that are surely to follow the same fate. Shame, shame Mr. Gonzalez.
11/17/06 08:40:49
eckleburg wrote:
I agree with A3OT suggestion to survey all of the old buildings and decide which are worth saving and which are better replaced. Then having civic/nonprofit orgs facilitate the restoring and potentially re-purposing some of the buildings.

If I had a little more time, perhaps I could lead something like that. That's the trick. Anybody else not know what to do with their free time? Anybody else have any free time to begin with?
11/17/06 09:01:38
EFP wrote:
Care to qualify that, Maximus?

Talk about a troll.
11/17/06 09:09:43
maryhadalittlelamb wrote:
Did you guys see that this post is getting national attention from Ron W. at Route 66 News: http://rwarn17588.wordpress...

Ron notes that local activism is the most important and influential thing that the El Vado could hope for.
11/17/06 09:22:37
Claire wrote:
If the government builds something (incinerator, for example) and it DOES lower property values, then recompense may certainly be due. If the court decides recompense is not due, the tide will subside.

However, the ballot initiatives you mention were, I think, for recompense for zoning regulations that limit use of your own land. Not for how your neighbors land use may affect your property values. I'm not sure that's a great idea, and I don't think those passed in very many states, anyway. And that's a totally separate issue from eminent domain.....

The activists that want to control the fate of the El Vado are going to either have to buy it first, or take it thru eminent domain, or get a law passed to disallow use, (What law that might be, I have not a good idea) in which case, I think Gonzales has a case for recompense.

Max, I'm going to take your house and make it a bed-and-breakfast. That will certainly increase tax revenues for the city. And NM hasn't passed a law yet saying I may not take it. And the supreme court agrees with me, by the way. I can have it, can't I? And that just made me think of something. Another developer could take the El Vado thru eminent domain, if he could show that he will increase tax revenues for the city. The question is, would he have to increase them only above what the El Vado produced as a working motel, or just as an empty shell paying property tax, or actually above what Gonzales's condo's would theoretically produce?
The supremes opened a big can of worms with Kelo, that's for sure.
11/17/06 10:30:27
eckleburg wrote:
I think Richard Gonzales knew what he was buying before he bought it -- the fact that it is historically significant was painted in bright red letters on the side of the building when he bought it -- what more hint could you need?

I think he took a bet that he could override the community's interest to make a quick buck -- a bet that he is losing.

Part of being a developer is risking your capital on your projects -- bet wrong, and you lose your money. I don't think he deserves anything from the city.
11/17/06 10:36:13
Freekbuoy wrote:
I think you may be right about NRHP designation. Like the state protections, it requires state or federal action to kick in (i.e. expenditures). However, the law of covenants is part of the common law. Like the law of contract or tort, such law is governed not necessarily by statute but by centuries of case law on the subject (starting in the 15th or 16 century in England, I believe, with regards to covenants). So, if a prior owner puts a covenant that the property can't be used for, say, a gas station, then that covenant may be deemed to run with the land through all successive assignees and heirs. And a historic designation is often just such a covenant.
Additionally, municipalities may limit the type of building and/or business activity through zoning laws. Historic districts, such as the 8th street/Forrester corridor and Old Town, have strict zoning laws that, in effect, act like facade covenants. In other words, you have to talk to zoning if you want to change the facade of the property (especially the facade facing the street).
This, however, does not necessarily dictate the use of the inside space of the property. Organizations such as Main Street have been rehabbing downtowns nationwide, keeping the outside facade in its protected state while remodeling the inside space to accomodate the needs of the property owners and their customers.
11/17/06 10:50:29
maximus attentivus wrote:
Claire, about state compensation for lower property values is a pandora's box. I don't see these same people rushing to litigate compensation TO the state if something RAISES property values.

Kelo doesn't mean what you say it does. The "slippery slope" you sketch hasn't happened and wouldn't happen because seizing land makes for bad politics. Kelo is the red herring for a massive increase in corporate power and a decrease of state enforcement power. No wonder New York real estate moguls use Kelo as a straw man to clog up the courts (ultimately RAISING taxes).
11/17/06 11:12:35
kelli wrote:
phil -- thank you for putting a perspective on central avenue. it really isn't the dump some would make it out to be.
11/17/06 12:20:48
sam wrote:
yes it is, look at it!
11/17/06 15:06:03
Ricky wrote:
FYI: The most famous peed upon historic building... The Alamo. Just thought I'd share.

And look, I'm not against saving the damn thing, but if your gonna save it just do something with it so its not such a depressing, eye-sore.

And if it was so important to so many people then why the hell hasn't anybody put together a fund to save it?

If your not gonna do anything about it except whine, then why not let this guy do what he wants..?
11/17/06 15:34:02
eckleburg wrote:
I would love to put together a fund and even contrbute to it to get the building (and other parts of Central) saved.

If weren't for my own pesky mortgage and responcibilities. If only I could become rich and retire now!
I think a few people mentioned how non-profits were set up in other cities do do just this type of work for historic areas. Does anybody have any examples?
11/17/06 16:01:20
eckleburg wrote:
Last week I walked down Central from the railroad traks to the river -- there is a lot of crap, but there is a lot of cool stuff just waiting to come back.

Not a single bum bothered me (although I passed a few at one of the small parks around 1oth street)

I did not pee on any buildings along the way, however.
11/17/06 16:03:43
Frida wrote:
next time your out on a walkabout, try peeing on the wall at Jack's Liquors on Central.....the place has to have the best urine ambience of any hole on old Route 66, I highly recommend it.
11/17/06 17:47:28
Comment by Eckleburg and Grumblecake on November 22, 2007 at 9:35am
And here are some more comments!

mothra wrote:
If you all want to see an example of how horrible things can look when old buildings are torn down in favor of new "progressive" architecture, just go to Brussels. They ripped down many, many Art Deco houses to make room for dreadful 1970's office and apartment buildings. Now only a very small portion of that city has any charm whatsoever. Compare to Brugge, which was preserved almost by default--no one wanted to live there once the river silted up and business dried up. So the buildings were abandoned and there was no reason to tear them down. Toward the end of the 19th century people started coming there to see this "untouched" beautiful medieval town and poof! the city flourished on the tourist trade.
Something to think about...
11/20/06 12:36:18
huh? wrote:
To compare the el vado motel to medieval castles and such in europe is a little silly. Also, in the year 2006 nobody will be building 1970s style office buildings on Central. Apples to apples please!
11/20/06 13:45:07
Rocky wrote:
I think Mothra is comparing apples to apples in discussing Brussels v. ABQ, and IMHO, converting Art Deco houses (not medieval castles) to 70’s modernism is actually not as serious as converting a Spanish Pueblo Revival auto court to much of today’s “progressive” loft/ townhouse architecture. However, for those that find “no historical merit” in a site that is all about historical merit and a sense of place, it doesn’t seem to matter what the analogy. Here’s one for you: this example of government regulation is ‘the tip of the iceberg’ – i.e. 90% of property has accepted land use regulations as beneficial and relatively benign. This is an extraordinary site, and it is deserving of EXTRAordinary regulations.
11/20/06 14:59:03
bulldozer wrote:
No its not.
11/25/06 16:01:50
Tim wrote:
The people that sustained historic Route 66 and its associated parcels are long gone. The only way to revitalize is to provide goods and services that today's people want. Cities don't have memories, only people do; and if owners are willing to sacrifice nostalgia for some economic gain (and they have every legal right to do so) then we ought all to shut up about it. Let him build his God-awful townhomes. With building costs skyrocketing and the luxury-home market tanking, maybe they'll be the dismal economic failure he deserves to endure.
11/28/06 11:37:56
Rocky wrote:
Unless the state legislature gets ‘lobbied’ to introduce so-called regulatory takings legislation (which were resoundingly defeated everywhere but AZ), then there is NOT a legal right to just tear down an historic structure, and people who care about the public good should not shut up about it. Oh, and sam, a.k.a. Who Wants To..., a.k.a. JD, a.k.a. huh?, a.k.a. bulldozer with a little b, Garcia’s Kitchen called, and your spam is overdone.
11/28/06 14:57:42
WebJunkey wrote:
12/04/06 16:38:11
Steve wrote:
I live next to the place and I can tell you it is a dump. It is falling apart. It is infested with drug paraphernalia and other evidence of crime. Gonzales built a very nice neighborhood on nearby Mountain Rd, and I only wish he would do the same with this property.

And another thing, those of you who don't live nearby should mind your own business. You don't have to live next to this dump. Go fight battles in your own neighborhoods.

A3OT wrote:
Here is an example of public regard for historic preservation taken from "Albuquerque Remembered" by Howard Bryan

The revival of the Old Town Plaza district as a center of historic interest and tourism attraction began in the 1940s following decades of decay and neglect.
A 1937 federal relief program to "beautify" the plaza ... Critics immediately complained .. that the entire project was at odds with the New Mexico architectural style. Spearheading a drive to remove the so-called monstrosity was the newly organized Old Albuquerque Historical Society, headed by Richard Bennett as president. Other members included Irene Fisher, Mrs. Nelda Swell, and Carmen Espinosa.
The Bernalillo County Commission declied to appropriate funds to demolish the project, but agreed that it could be removed on a volunteer basis. The Springer Transfer Company vulunteered to remove the wall and bandstand, and the rocks were sold to contractor Edward Balcomb, "It took the WPA three months to build the rock wall and bandstand at a cost of about $50,000," Irene Fisher recalled later, "and we managed to have it torn down in three days at no cost."
The historical society financed construction of a new bandstand, or gazebo, in the center of the plaza, by selling "Old Town loafing permits." Albuquerque resident Albert G. Simms donated money to purchase cast iron benches in Chihuahua, Mexico, which were placed on the plaza, and pioneer families purchased lampposts for the plaza.
Old Town property owners and newcomers alike began restoring and renovation buildings around the plaza and converting them to tourist oriented shops.

I know that this is on a different scale, but it is an example.
11/17/06 22:40:48
Mr. Viddy wrote:
Whomever is against saving older architecture or other items from a city's past is a damn ignorant fool. I am fearful for the fate of Albuquerque with people who would rather see progress defined by big box retailers and cookie cutter housing developments.

And I am not alone, plenty of cities I have lived in have come to regret the fact that in the past they allowed certain pieces of architecture to be razed for "progress".

Wake up people. Take steps now to preserve history or lose it forever. And if you don't agree with me, move.
11/19/06 15:33:39
JD wrote:
Ha, that's rich... being told to move by someone who has lived here, what 6 months?

The choice is not between preserving a motel that many of us see no historical merit in and putting up big boxes and subdivisions. In fact, many of us who oppose historical fanaticism are in favor of smart dense development that is in line with how things used to be built and designed. Personally I find it outrageous that on a city policy level, we wring our hands over this wreck of an old motel while we allow unchecked sprawl take over the dessert. Tear down old motels (not all of them, but many) and build actual dwellings for people to live in the heart of town!

I suggest you demonstrate your own committment to this community by hanging with us for a little while longer before telling people to move.
11/19/06 19:41:18
12/04/06 17:06:56
Rocky wrote:
Route 66 is part of a national preservation movement, not just a neighborhood issue. The place does NOT have to be a dump, and I only wish Richard Gonzales (any relation, Steve?) would take care of this property like he’s supposed to. So Steven, you renting from Manny? If so, you don’t HAVE to live next to El Vado, either.
12/06/06 15:30:25
Tom wrote:
I'm a Californian who has visited your city many times and every time I stayed at El Vado. Yes, it has been some years, at least ten, since I was there. It saddens me greatly to know that place might not exist. Tom
12/07/06 15:08:37
Tom wrote:
Save the El Vado! Once it's gone, you can't bring it back! Didn't you folks learn when you tore down that beautiful train station??
12/07/06 15:09:56
Phil wrote:
Tom - they tore down the Alvarado Hotel in 1970, but the "beautiful train station" itself *burned* down in the 90s sometime.
12/14/06 14:33:53
John Brook wrote:
As an English visitor to New Mexico twice already, and planning a longer trip this April along more of Route 66 in New Mexico and Arizona I would be appalled to think that yet more of your history was to be bulldozed for the profit of an individual who clearly has no appreciation of what El Vado and Route 66 mean both to Americans and to the wider world. I hope you can save El Vado from such greedy and selfish people! John
01/27/07 13:53:37
Twinville wrote:
We lived in the Beach Apts, beside El Vado for several years. We really liked that a piece of history was right there. My parents even came for a visit and stayed in the El Vado (that was 14 years ago) and it was memorable for them, too. Apparently mismanaged by some East Indian folks, they had half-ass maintenance and cleaning, and didn't have any security.

My parents nicknamed the motel "The El Vado", but they did have a memorable weekend staying in their piece of history. hehehe
Really though, just like those who are fascinated with Route 66 history, they thought it was a unique experience to stay there. They'd be saddened to see it torn down.
They'd be much happier knowing that the hotel was refurbished and polished as a tourist draw, especially on such prime real estate, near Old Town and The Bio Park.
Just imagine what a place of pride it could be for Albuquerque if the El Vado is re-created as something truly special the way it always should have been?!

Don't give up on the El Vado! Give her a second chance at telling the story to thousands more, the story of Route 66.
02/11/07 00:28:55


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