ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city broke ground on a project to revamp an east downtown motel, plagued with crime and other problems in recent years. The plans for the Imperial Inn on Central, just west of I-25, include 52 guest rooms and 16 residential suites, along with space for a dozen businesses including retail and restaurants.

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“Projects like these revitalize Albuquerque’s icons and honor our place as the capital of Route 66. Our downtown core has grown over the past years, and the new Imperial Inn will be a great landmark,” said Mayor Tim Keller in a news release from the city. “With each step, we’re moving the downtown core and EDo from a place with potential, to a safe and inviting hub of activity that is a first-choice destination for businesses, residents, tourists, and investors.”

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Imperial Inn rendering | Image courtesy City of Albuquerque

The $7.6 million project including $700,000 in metro redevelopment funds meant to bring new life to flighted properties along Central. The developer, Palindrome Communities, was also behind the El Vado redevelopment, revitalizing another mid-century motor lodge on Route 66. “You can’t just renovate the motel. Anybody can do that. You’ve got the rethink it, reimagine the whole project. So like we did with El Vado, we’re going to recreate the Imperial Inn to this destination, entertainment center for tourists, for locals” said Chad Rennaker, president of Palindrome Communities.

The project is expected to be completed by next summer.