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Groups Hope to Garner Support for Preserving Property on Central

By Sean Olson
Journal Staff Writer
    The historic Horn Oil Company and Lodge may lose one of its buildings to a development project, but several groups are trying to keep the complex whole.
    The Downtown Neighborhoods Association, the New Mexico Route 66 Association and several other preservation groups will hold a public meeting at 11:30 a.m. today to generate public support for the endangered Plaza Mexico Lindo, a motel on the back side of the property, said Steve Morrow, Downtown Neighborhoods Association zoning chairman.
    The meeting will feature a presentation of the Horn Oil Company and Lodge's history by Route 66 travel writer Johnnie Meier.
    Infill Solutions, the developer, presented a plan to the Environmental Planning Commission that would demolish the motel and renovate the front two lodge buildings, said Tom Gifford, an architect and partner. The plan was accepted by the EPC in March.
    The City Council has agreed to hear an appeal of the EPC decision in early August.
    The buildings at the gas, food and lodging complex went up in 1946 at 1720 Central SW. The complex has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1998.
    Gifford said keeping the front two buildings on the property is the key to preserving the historic value of the Horn complex.
    "The buildings that we are keeping, that's what Route 66 is all about," he said.
    Morrow said his organization backed the development plans earlier but changed its position after learning that demolition could take the property off the historic register.
    A letter from the state Historic Preservation Office confirms that could be the case.
    Morrow said the historical significance of the property is amplified by a mix of architecture, with Moderne buildings in the front and a Pueblo revival-style building in the back. Moderne is a style that was popular in this country from 1925 to 1980.
    "Take the motel out and all you have left is a Moderne gas station, and there's hundreds of those," he said.
    The development would include 17 new Spanish-Colonial-style homes behind the property and about 4,000 square feet of commercial development on the south side of Central, Gifford said.