ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Was it progress, or just politics? A month ago, then-Mayor Berry, shovel in hand, announced the groundbreaking for the De Anza Motel makeover. Now, a month later, no ground has been broken.
So was the mayor’s ceremony more about his image, than the actual project? One thing’s for sure, there’s no work going on out there.
The De Anza Lodge — a highly anticipated project to bring a hotel, apartments, shopping and restaurants to the historic motel near Nob Hill hasn’t made any progress since that official groundbreaking ceremony a month ago.
“They said they would be working on it a long time ago but nothing. So I don’t know what’s going on, but I would like to see it restored,” said a Nob Hill resident.
Holding ceremonies for projects that aren’t yet finished seemed to be a trend for former Mayor Berry in his last weeks in office.
There was the baseball complex, the penguin exhibit at the zoo, and removing the orange barrels for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit work on Central, but the ground breaking for the De Anza Lodge was different. It still hasn’t started.
University of New Mexico political science professor Gabe Sanchez weighed in on the news conference blitz last month. He said, “I think Mayor Berry wants to make sure he gets credit or recognition for all these activities that he’ll argue he started ‘n might not finish on his watch, but definitely were initiated by him.”
KRQE News 13 wanted to find out why the ground breaking was held when the project wasn’t ready to begin. The developers wouldn’t comment on whether it was a publicity stunt or not.
Instead, Joanie Griffin, spokesperson for the De Anza, said, “Well it was held then because we had just closed on the financing so it was a celebration of, it’s really happening and moving forward.”
Griffin said that the developers just finished the permitting process and that demolition on parts of the motel will start in two weeks.
The city bought the motel for $900,000 back in 2003 and sold it to the developer for half that this year. The $8 million makeover is expected to take a year to complete.