Boutique hotel, ‘condotel’ proposed for De Anza

A computer-generated view of the front of a reburbished De Anza as conceptualized by Anthea Nob Hill LLC. (Courtesy Anthea Nob Hill LLC)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A three- to four-star boutique hotel and a high-end “condotel,” or hybrid condo/motel, are among proposals to restore the historic but boarded-up De Anza Motor Lodge at 4301 Central NE in east Nob Hill to an updated version of its former glory as a Route 66 motel.

Both proposals would retain the basic footprint, building height and character of the existing structures and include related restaurant and other uses. Both reflect the finding in a 2003 study by commercial real estate consultant Todd Clarke that a residential or lodging use was the best way to redevelop the De Anza.

While the city of Albuquerque, owner of the property, is keeping the De Anza proposals secret at this stage in the bidding process, the Journal obtained copies of two proposals out of a reported five that were submitted.

The “condotel” concept, which includes some classic motel rooms, is advanced by an investment group headed by TLC Plumbing founder Dale Armstrong and Bill Smith of Construct Southwest.

The boutique hotel is advanced by an investment group headed by former health insurance executive Jerry Landgraf.

‘Hip, fun sociable’

“As a major east Nob Hill commercial property owner along Central Avenue, I am very interested in seeing the De Anza redeveloped,” Landgraf said in an email to the Journal. “(I) believe that using the whole property for hospitality is both its highest and best use and most compatible with the neighborhood’s wishes.”

In addition to Landgraf, Trip Rothschild and Eric von Starck, both of Santa Fe, are the other members of his redevelopment group called De Anza Co. LLC. Von Starck’s company, Panetière Hospitality, would operate the resurrected De Anza as an independent hotel.

Their proposal describes the hotel as “a hip, fun, sociable lodging option with a restaurant, rooftop bar, meeting and event facilities.” It would also have a 2,000-square-foot museum incorporating the Zuni murals, a Zuni/Route 66-themed gift shop and a swimming pool for guests.

Two alternative proposals are outlined. The “preferred” plan would attempt to renovate the existing property with 65 rooms — the original had 86 — and limited modifications. The wild card in the preferred plan is whether or not the entire property can be rehabbed to historic preservation standards using federal tax credits.

The total estimated cost of the preferred plan is listed as $13.8 million, which would include everything from construction to pre-opening marketing costs, according to the proposal.

If  the preferred plan doesn’t work out, the second plan would replace the buildings toward the rear or north end of the 2.1-acre site with two-story buildings that would increase the room count to 95. The new buildings would retain a 1950s feel. The second plan would add another $4.1 million to the total cost.

In order to provide hotel parking, the group will ask the city to close the one-block stretch of Graceland Street, between Central and Copper on the west side of the De Anza, and convert it to secured parking for the hotel.

‘Condotel’

The condotel, alternately called corporate housing, would follow the template of the three-story, 23-apartment Anthea@The Granite project currently nearing completion by Construct Southwest on Fourth Street, between Marble and Granite NW. Anthea is both a niche hospitality company and a brand name.

The DeAnza version, proposed by Anthea@Nob Hill LLC, would have about 30 furnished apartments of various sizes that function like extended-stay motel rooms. The $8.2 million redevelopment project would involve tearing down and rebuilding the more delapidated buildings at the north end of the site.

The buildings fronting on Central would be rehabbed or rebuilt to retain their original architectural facades. The onetime Turquoise Cafe would become a coffee shop or other specialty eatery, while the original lobby building would contain a diner. Five or six conventional motor lodge rooms would be housed in the original building at the corner of Central and Washington NE.