City and community struggles with Hiway House Motel in Nob Hill

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Historic Hiway House Motel is causing more than a headache for neighbors and nearby businesses.

Many doors and windows are boarded up, but there are still signs of people living at the Hiway House Motel in Nob Hill.

KOB 4 found belongings in the walkways and signs on doors. We even found one man sitting right outside.

The new owner calls them squatters, but the man we talked to says he’s lived at that motel for 25 years, and was paying rent up until a few weeks ago. 

He was living in a section of the motel that the city had actually condemned four years ago after an explosion.

“It’s had an order since 2019 now, almost four years, to either repair the property and get it up to use or tear it down the portion that’s been destroyed so the rest of it can become usable,” said City Councilor Pat Davis.  

Davis says trouble with the property started when those repairs were never made. 

The motel caught fire again Sunday bringing back those same concerns: why is the property staying in disrepair? 

“It’s an eyesore, it’s a danger to the community and quite frankly, it’s creating a nuisance for the neighborhood,” said Davis. 

The property was sold about three months ago to an investor who plans on reselling it. But an agent for the property says they’ve been unable to move forward with repairs because of the people still living there:

“They’re making us leave, and I got no place else to go.”

Right now, Davis says it’s in limbo. The city is granting more time to get things in order, but the longer it takes, the more trouble that could follow.

“I think it’s time we treat this like every other nuisance property that we’ve done,” said Davis. 

KOB 4 has been told an eviction hearing is set for Tuesday morning. In the meantime, this property is back on the market to be sold again. This time, the price tag is $6.25 million.

The city says it is working with the property owners to address the issues. 

KOB 4 was told there are some permits in place, once everyone leaves the property.

The new owner tells us this building is under constant surveillance.

The owner of the Hiway House Motel sent KOB 4 a statement Monday, it says, in part:

“We believe in the potential of this property and its significance to Nob Hill. Our goal is to find the right fit that will breathe new life into the motel and contribute positively to the community.”

A city spokesperson also sent the following statement:

“Before the recent fire, Building Safety had been collaborating with the property owner to address the property’s identified issues. Building Safety has also been working with the new property owner, who indicated their intention to engage the same engineer and contractor for repairing the structure. The owner conveyed that they were postponing the issuance of the permit until all tenants had vacated the premises. The new property owner was advised that the permit would expire if no steps were taken to initiate the permit issuance or commence construction. In response, the owner assured that they would promptly secure the permit and commence construction once all tenants had vacated the property. It is evident that the new owner is actively engaged in addressing the property’s issues and is presently involved in a legal process to ensure the facility is safely vacated by the remaining tenants before construction begins.”