ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A historic Route 66 motel that had fallen into disrepair has a new life. The De Anza Motor Lodge on Central has been revamped and is now open for business.
The sign has been around since the ’50s but it has been two decades since it has been turned on. That’s changing this weekend.
One of the most iconic photos of Route 66 showcases the mother road in its prime. “All the neon that was on the street, it rivaled Las Vegas. For the brightness, the intensity, the motion, the animation was just a wonderful sight to behold,” says Johnny Plath, President, New Mexico Sign Association.
But through the years, many of those lights, have gone out. “This corner has been so dark for so long,” says De Anza Motor Lodge Property Manager David Peters.
The historic De Anza Motor Lodge sign at Central and Washington once glowed in the night. Peters says the neon sign hasn’t been lit up in 20 years, but that is about to change. “We’re officially going to be flipping the switch to turn on the sign,” Peters says.
In 2003, the city purchased the De Anza for close to $900,000 to save it. Developers finally took it over in 2016 with a $9 million plan.
Now, the renovated property has 25 apartments available for rent, another 15 condos for a boutique hotel, and finally a working sign. “It was also our responsibility when we bought the property from the City of Albuquerque, and we’re excited to be lighting it on Sunday,” Peters says.
It’s a light many are looking forward to seeing shine brightly once again. “We had so many signs in the past that are now gone, and so we savor each and everyone that we can possibly keep on the Route,” says Melissa Lea Beasley, President of the Route 66 Association.
The neon sign will be lit this Sunday. There will be a ceremony on the property at 5:30 p.m.
The new apartments go for a $1,000 to $1,900 a month. There are still plans to open a restaurant there as well.