Photo Release -- Construction Underway on the Sundowner Motel Rehabilitation Project

Sundowner Motel
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Logo

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., April 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Construction on the conversion of the Sundowner Motel to affordable housing units has begun. NewLife Homes held the official groundbreaking ceremony earlier this month for the rehabilitation project.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry addresses the crowd at the official groundbreaking ceremony for a project to renovate Sundowner Motel and convert it to affordable housing.

A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=18410

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) awarded NewLife Homes a $500,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant in 2010 to assist with converting the Sundowner Motel in Albuquerque, New Mexico into 71 studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments that will serve a mix of very low-income residents, as well as provide some market rate apartments. The project will also target female veterans and their families, said John Bloomfield, executive director of NewLife Homes.

The Sundowner Motel, located on Central Avenue NE between Cagua and Laguayra drives, currently has 110 rooms and contained a restaurant and nightclub. It was built in the 1950s, but gained notoriety in the 1970s as the site where Bill Gates and Paul Allen lived when they developed their first version of BASIC computer language for the Altair computer. The motel flourished for years because of its location along Historic Route 66. The Sundowner Motel's last use was as transitional housing for veterans, before it closed permanently in 2009.

Because of the Sundowner Motel's connection to Mr. Gates and Mr. Allen, NewLife Homes has plans to name a computer training center within the apartment community after the technology giants, said Mr. Bloomfield.

In addition to the computer training center, the community will contain commercial and office space for small business incubators, a café, and a park. The large interior span of asphalt within the community will be transformed into a park-like series of recreational and community spaces with amenities for all ages, according to Mr. Bloomfield. The space will contain a community garden, a tot-lot for children, barbecue area, and a gazebo for public performances.

In addition to the AHP grant, the Sundowner has also received tax credit proceeds from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority and supportive housing funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"This is an important project for the city," said Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry. "Not only will it rehabilitate a historic Route 66 motel and help to revitalize the area, but it will assist some of Albuquerque's most vulnerable citizens."

The groundbreaking for the Sundowner comes on the heels of the opening of Luna Lodge, another former motel along Route 66, which NewLife Homes converted into a 30-unit affordable housing development with the help of a $210,000 AHP grant from FHLB Dallas.

"The city has put $2.1 million into Sundowner," Mr. Bloomfield said. "They see what we are doing for neighborhood revitalization. There are a lot of dead, blighted structures in need of revisiting and revamping. Once completed, Sundowner Uhuru will offer a number of amenities for our residents. I think it will be a really neat project."

Sundowner Uhuru will begin opening up the buildings in phases, said Mr. Bloomfield. He expects the first building to be completed by June 2013.

NewLife Homes is comprised of seven New Mexico nonprofit corporations, as well as three limited liability corporations that develop, own and manage permanent supportive housing for people with mental illnesses or physical disabilities, the elderly, and the homeless, as well as low-income families.

"We want to demonstrate that mixed-use, mixed-income development is a viable and attractive way for communities to grow," Mr. Bloomfield said. "We want to dispel any myths that people may have about mental illness and low-income housing. Mental illness can afflict anyone at any time. We try to serve the most vulnerable in the community."

AHP grants are awarded annually through FHLB Dallas members, such as BankPlus. The grants are used to purchase, construct, and/or rehabilitate single-family, transitional, and multifamily projects for very low- to moderate-income families. In 2012, FHLB Dallas awarded $8.3 million in AHP grants to 31 affordable housing projects that will help create or rehabilitate 1,248 housing units within the Bank's five-state District. The Bank has made $10 million in AHP grants available in 2013.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $31 billion as of March 31, 2013, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445

Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas