ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – People in Albuquerque could soon see some big changes coming to the Imperial Inn Motel on Central Avenue. The city council approved a redevelopment project for the site, which met the requirements of the East Downtown/Huning Highland/South Martineztown Metropolitan Renovation Plan for the area.

The goal is to turn what the city called a ‘blighted’ property into a hub of activity, activating the East Downtown, or Edo, area.”It’s not a great contributor to the neighborhood in its current situation,” City Councilor Isaac Benton said.

The project would renovate the Imperial Inn Motel to include 52 guest rooms and 16 residential suites. It would also add two, new buildings that would house food/beverage places, retailers, and an event center.

“This, we’re hoping will be something that will enliven the area, bring a lot more people to the area certainly and help support the businesses of the east downtown corridor,” Councilor Benton said. The developer and future owner of the site, Palindrome Communities, said it should acquire the property by the end of February 2021 and start construction in June 2021.

“Between now and June…we want to have our financing in place, we want to have our total renovation budget finalized and all of our contracting done and ready to start,” Chad Rennaker, President of Palindrome Communities, said. According to Rennaker, the renovation will cost just under $4 million. He said Palindrome Communities is investing about $2 million of its own money and using loans.

“The challenge is to convince people like our lenders that the world will go back to normal someday and people will come out and enjoy one another. And we want to have a venue that’s ready for that,” he said. The City of Albuquerque is giving the developer an additional ten-year, forgivable loan of $700,000 from the city’s Metropolitan Renovation Agency funds.

“The most exciting part of the development is that it’s going to become another very exciting destination for people in Albuquerque to come to,” Rennaker said. It will be a new destination Councilor Benton hopes is just the start in revamping East Downtown.

“It’s really nice to see it all kind of all coming together,” he said. “There are other underdeveloped properties in the area that hopefully, this will also help kick-off.” The Imperial Inn Motel renovation is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2022.

The City of Albuquerque is also in negotiations for a pedestrian bridge connecting the convention center parking garage to planned mix-used buildings. It is also working on an expansion of the Innovate ABQ development on Broadway and Central.