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Luna Lodge restoration cited for “overcoming obstacles”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Renovation of the historic but once derelict Luna Lodge by NewLife Homes landed a top national award for overcoming obstacles and providing a “highly tailored affordable housing solution for the surrounding neighborhood.”

That is what one judge wrote on the project honored at the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Historic Rehabilitation Awards Luncheon late last month in Detroit.

Luna Lodge at 9119 Central NE, a Route 66 hotel built in 1949, won first place in the “Historic Development that Overcame Significant Obstacles” category. The $4.8 million project converted the hotel into 30 apartments for low-income individuals, many of whom have disabilities.

NewLife Homes won a national award for its historic renovation of Luna Lodge at 9119 Central NE, shown here, into apartments for low-income renters. (Courtesy of Kirk Gittings)

NewLife Homes won a national award for its historic renovation of Luna Lodge at 9119 Central NE, shown here, into apartments for low-income renters. (Courtesy of Kirk Gittings)

Honorable mention in the same category went to the conversion of a historic hospital, comprising seven buildings in Jersey City, N.J., into 126 upscale apartments.

“We were surprised to be selected in a competitive field with such large-scale historic rehabs,” NewLife Executive Director John Bloomfield told the Journal.”The runner-up in our category was the restoration of the largest project constructed under FDR’s New Deal in the 1930s, the former New Jersey Medical Center.”

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He continued in an email, “Luna Lodge was only made possible with city workforce funding (leveraging $3.2m. of out-of-state private investment), collaboration with numerous city departments and state agencies, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears from too many stakeholders to mention.”

The “serious obstacles” NewLife overcame included a legal challenge over zoning that went all the way to the Court of Appeals, a mid-project change in ownership of the contractor and meeting requirements for top-level green certification with a historic renovation, the luncheon program said.

The Luna Lodge project also needed “to be financed without permanent debt so that the rental units would be available for those most in need,” according to the program.

Based in San Francisco, the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits is an 80-page monthly publication covering all types of tax credits and related programs. The journal is an offshoot of Novogradac & Co., a national certified public accounting and consulting firm.


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