NewLife Homes Turns The Sundowner Motel, Former Bill Gates Abode, into Affordable Apt. Community
- May 21, 2014
By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor
The Sundowner Motel is famous for its location in the heart of Albuquerque on historic Route 66 and for having served as home to Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen in the mid-1970s, but it is no longer what it used to be. The property has been transformed into a residential complex with commercial space for small businesses by NewLife Homes.
The building was originally built in 1959; after the construction of Interstate 40 it entered a difficult period which ended with the motel closing in 2009. The vintage Vegas makeover required over $9 million; the redevelopment now offers 71 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for low-, middle-income families and disabled people. Funding includes $5.4 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits through the Mortgage Finance Authority and $2.1 through the city of Albuquerque’s Workforce Housing Trust Fund. Through an Affordable Housing Program grant, $500,000 was provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas.
The project complies with LEED for HOMES certification and each unit has ENERGY STAR appliances. Moreover, throughout design and construction the developer worked with Green Insight who focuses on finding opportunities for energy savings. Trees have been planted to reduce the local heat island effect, providing shade for at least 50 percent of sidewalks, patios and driveways within 50 feet of the home. Additionally, a system that harvests and stores rainwater has been installed to be used for landscape irrigation.
Taking into account that the majority of its residents do not own vehicles, a parking waiver has been granted so that the site has less parking than required by code. Furthermore, being “pro-public transportation” in an effort to reduce heat-island effect, Sundowner is conveniently located adjacent to a Central Ave bus stop.
Photo courtesy of NewLife Homes.