Photo Release -- Sundowner Motel Reopens as Mixed-Income Apartments

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., May 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Representatives from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) joined NewLife Homes yesterday for a grand opening celebration for Sundowner Apartments in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Photos accompanying this release are available at

A $500,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from FHLB Dallas assisted NewLife Homes in converting the dilapidated Sundowner Motel into 71 studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. The Sundowner Motel 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 but declined as many Route 66 motels did, with the advent of Interstate 40. The Sundowner Motel's last use was as transitional housing for veterans, before it closed permanently in 2009.

The new apartments serve a mix of very low-income residents, as well as provide some market rate apartments. The development was completed October 15, 2013, and is fully-occupied.

"We're a mixed-use and mixed-income complex. We have a really rich texture of residents, from residents with Ph.D.s who suffer from mental illness, to persons who are chronically homeless. We have students and working families," said John Bloomfield, executive director of NewLife Homes. "I think it's a good demonstration project. We want to be a reflection of society and really show that working families, people who are homeless and people with a mental illness can all share the same community."

In addition to the apartment units, Sundowner also contains a computer training center, commercial and office space for small business incubators, a resident community room, and Microsoft display room showing the Gates/Allen connection to the Sundowner. The large interior span of asphalt within the community was transformed into a park-like series of recreational and community spaces with amenities for all ages, according to Mr. Bloomfield. The complex also contains a community garden, a tot-lot for children, barbecue area, and a gazebo for public performances.

Among the speakers at today's event, was Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry, who touted his support for the project.

"The new Sundowner Apartments are a great complement to what is a burgeoning area of downtown Albuquerque, which will serve an important population of individuals and families within our community," Mayor Berry said. "It is fascinating to consider the history of the property and its ties to technology pioneer Bill Gates, especially in light of our efforts to create an innovation hub in the area which will encompass a large segment of downtown Albuquerque."

Each year, FHLB Dallas returns 10 percent of its profits to the communities served by its member institutions, in the form of AHP grants. The grants are used to assist in the development and/or rehabilitation of affordable, owner-occupied and rental housing for very low- to moderate-income families.

"The Sundowner project is one of the best examples of AHP dollars at work," said FHLB Dallas President and CEO Sanjay K. Bhasin. "With the combination of the AHP grant and other funding sources, a once blighted property was saved from demolition and can now provide 71 families with a safe, affordable place to live."

In addition to the AHP grant, Sundowner has also received tax credit proceeds from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, supportive housing funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and $2.1 million from the city's Workforce Housing Trust Fund.

"This was a dangerous building that needed to be either demolished or rehabbed, and we chose the rehab route," Mr. Bloomfield said. The finished product revitalizes a portion of Central Avenue, and areas around the project are also being rehabilitated.

AHP grants are awarded annually through FHLB Dallas members institutions. The grants are used to purchase, construct, and/or rehabilitate single-family, transitional, and multifamily projects for very low- to moderate-income families. In 2013, FHLB Dallas awarded $11.3 million in AHP grants to help create or rehabilitate 1,654 housing units within the Bank's five-state District. The Bank has made another $11 million in AHP grants available in 2014.

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 $30.6 billion as of March 31, 2014, 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

The photos are also available via AP PhotoExpress.

Sundowner Mayor Sundowner Bruce

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