Old Route 66 motel getting makeover

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A classic motor lodge in Nob Hill still looks like it did way back in the original Route 66 era. Now, the owners of the University Lodge are ready to make some improvements. “It was an icon on the Route 66 way back when it was built. It had some bad years in the ’80s and ’90s,” said City Councilor Pat Davis.

The University Lodge on Central, east of Carlisle has been around since the ’50s. “Like all of Nob Hill, this property has had it’s ups and downs over the years,” Davis said.

The owner Sharmin Dharas, who grew up in the motel, says there’s been a bad reputation linked to the property, because of their neighbors across the street. “It’s unfortunate that we are literally their neighbors, so people just automatically assume that it’s the University Lodge too,” said Dharas.

Dharas says when the city forced 7-11 to stop selling mini bottles of liquor, some of the issues subsided. She says now is the perfect time to make improvements. Dharas has been talking about the renovations for years. “We were going to take the pool and build retail stores on the bottom, and like a brewery setting for the top,” said Dharas.

Those plans have changed a little, she says they’ll be keeping the pool. “We’ll use the pool as a community pool and have a swim club,” said Dharas.

Each of the rooms will be getting a makeover too, making them more modern. They’ve already started those changes. “Within the rooms, we’re looking at providing expression of pops of New Mexico, pops of Route 66 culture,” said Dharas.

City councilor Pat Davis says this is the first major step in revitalizing a part of Nob Hill that has long been neglected. “This is a catalyst for us bringing back these old properties in a vintage way that has tourists and locals alike for somewhere to go,” said Davis.

Dharas says she plans on asking the city for help with funding. She says they’re hopeful that the renovations will be complete by April 2022.

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